The evils of red meat arise once again, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers suggest that daily consumption of red meat is linked to higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, people who consume at least two ounces of processed meat a day have a 50 percent increased risk of contracting T2D, while those who consume at least four ounces of unprocessed meat daily have a 20 percent increased risk. In addition, more red meat consumed leads to even higher increases in risk.
The study consisted of validated food frequency questionnaires and multiple follow-ups that were distributed to over 200,000 people, over periods between 14 and 28 years. Although the surveys focused mainly on each individual’s dietary intake, researchers also considered other lifestyle factors that could affect risk levels. For example, they concluded that the people who ate more red meat had similar tendencies: eating less fruits and vegetables, smoking, and maintaining unhealthy weights.
Although this epidemiological study does not provide any actual evidence of cause and effect, co-author Frank Hu and his colleagues suggest that results could be due to the high iron content of red meat. Previous research has shown that high levels of iron can increase inflammatory chemicals, which can potentially destroy insulin-producing beta cells. Furthermore, abnormally low levels of insulin cause unhealthy glucose build-ups in the blood, which is essentially the basis of diabetes.
Whether the study provides enough evidence or not, these risks should definitely be more closely considered. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is the 7 leading cause of death in America.
Common causes and symptoms of diabetes
Some of the main links to diabetes include smoking, unhealthy diets, obesity, and insufficient levels of exercise. Medical professionals suggest that people be more aware of these causes as well as signs and preventative measures that could lower mortality rates.