Meat Consumption Can Boost
Your Diabetes Risk By 40 Percent
High intake of processed meat may increase the risk of developing
type-2 diabetes by 40 per cent, according to a new meta-analysis
from Norway and the US.
Data from 12 cohort studies showed that high intakes of all types
of meat were associated with a 17 per cent increase in the risk
of type-2 diabetes, while similar risk increases were also noted
for high intakes of red meat.
The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, adds to an
ever increasing list of bad news for red and processed meat, following
previous studies from the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) that
reported high intakes of red and processed meats may raise the
risk of lung and colorectal cancer by up to 20 per cent.
The World Cancer Research Fund published a report in 2007 that
directly linked diet to cancer, with alcohol and red and processed
meats posing particular risks.
Earlier this year, the same authors published similar findings
from a study with half a million people, noting that that increased
consumption of red and processed meat may have a modestly increased
risk of death from all causes and also from cancer or heart disease
(Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol 169, pp. 562-571).
The Archives study was described by Barry Popkin from the University
of North Carolina as excellent in an accompanying
editorial. Popkin added that the results reiterate the concerns
echoed in other major reviews and studies on the adverse effects
of excessive meat intake.
The new meta-analysis, led by Dagfinn Aune from the University
of Oslo, sought to iron out the inconsistencies from previous
studies which found both positive and negative associations between
meat consumption and the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Of the 12 cohort studies pooled, the overall data suggested the
high intake of total meat increased the risk of diabetes by 17
per cent, while red meat and processed meat were associated with
21 and 41 per cent increases in diabetes risk.
These results suggest that meat consumption increases the
risk of type 2 diabetes, said the researcher. However,
the possibility that residual confounding could explain this association
cannot be excluded, they concluded.
A direct mechanistic study of how meat may affect diabetes risk
has not been performed. However, an earlier study from Harvard
University suggested several possible biologically adverse
effects of components in red and processed meats, including
saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. However, their study (Diabetologia,
2006, Vol. 49, pp. 2604-13) failed to find an association between
Another possibility is the effect of nitrites, frequently used
as preservatives in processed meats. Nitrosamines can be
formed by the interaction of amino compounds with nitrites present
either in the stomach or within the food product, they explained.
They have been linked to beta cell toxicity. In addition,
low doses of the nitrosamine streptozotocin were found to induce
type 2 diabetes in animal models, they added.
The possible effects of residual confounding and
uncertainty over the possible mechanism show that more research
is clearly needed in this area.
Reference Source 184
October 30, 2009