Eating just two servings of red meat per week, whether it's processed or unprocessed, could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by 62%, according to a new study.
This research suggests that there's a link between consuming red meat and diabetes risk. It doesn't prove that red meat causes diabetes, but there's a clear association.
A single serving of unprocessed red meat is approximately 3 ounces of pork, beef, or lamb, while a processed red meat serving is roughly 1 ounce of bacon or 2 ounces of hot dog, sausage, salami, bologna, or other processed meats.
Red meat tends to be high in saturated fat and low in polyunsaturated fat which is linked to insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
In the study, data was gathered from nearly 217,000 participants over 36 years.
Over this time, more than 22,000 of them developed type 2 diabetes.
The results showed that those who ate the most red meat had a 62% higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate the least.
For every additional daily serving of processed red meat, there was a 46% increased risk of diabetes, and for unprocessed red meat, it was 24%.
The researchers estimate that replacing a daily serving of red meat with other proteins like nuts or legumes could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Substituting with dairy might lower the risk by 22%.
While these findings support the idea of reducing red meat consumption and choosing healthier protein sources like plant-based options, it's crucial to understand that lifestyle factors like obesity play a significant role in type 2 diabetes.
Improving your diet and staying physically active is essential to reducing your risk, along with limiting your red meat intake.
Therefore, it's important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of plant-based proteins, like nuts, legumes, soy, vegetables, and whole grains, while also considering alternative protein sources such as fish and chicken.
These choices can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications.
The study was published on October 19 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.