Daily consumption of red meat increases risk of type 2 diabetes

Researchers recommend replacing red meat for healthy proteins such as skim milk, nuts or beans

Foto: Harvard School/Public Health
Frank Hu, autor sênior do estudo
Frank Hu, autor sênior do estudo

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States, found a strong association between red meat consumption, particularly when the meat is processed, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study also showed that replacing red meat for healthy proteins such as milk with low fat, nuts or grains, can significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease.

The senior author Frank Hu and colleagues analyzed data from 37,083 men followed for 20 years, 79,570 women followed for 28 years and 87,504 women followed for 14 years.

They also conducted an updated meta-analysis combining data from the new study with data from existing studies, including a total of 442,101 participants, 28,228 of whom developed type 2 diabetes during the study.

After adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle and dietary risk factors, the researchers found that a daily portion of 100 grams of raw meat was associated with 19% increased risk of type 2 diabetes . They also found that a daily dose of half the amount of processed meat - 50 grams - was associated with a 51% higher risk.

"Clearly, the results of this study have major implications for public health, given the increasing epidemic of type 2 diabetes and the consumption of red meat in the world," Hu said. "The good news is that risk factors such concern may be offset by changing the red meat for a healthy protein."

The researchers found that for an individual who eats a serving of red meat, replacing it with a serving of nuts per day is associated with a 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, the substitution of milk low fat, reduced the risk by 17%, and the substitution of whole grains reduced the risk by 23%.

Based on these results, researchers recommend that the consumption of processed meat - like hot dogs, bacon, sausage and cold - which generally have high levels of sodium and nitrites should be minimized, as well as consumption of red meat was not processed.

If possible, they add, red meat should be replaced with healthier choices such as nuts, whole grain products, low fat, fish or beans.