A study of more than 22,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who ate red meat the most were 62% more likely to develop the condition, and just two servings of red meat per week could increase the risk of developing it. Every additional daily serving of processed red meat was associated with a 46% greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes, while every additional daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 24% greater risk.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and titled “Red Meat Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in a Prospective Cohort Study of United States Females and Males”, was based on an analysis of the health data from 216,695 people from the Nurses’ Health Study, NHS II, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the US, which asked them to complete questionnaires about their diet every two to four years, for up to 36 years. Researchers found that substituting a serving of red meat with a serving of nuts and legumes was associated with a 30% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Walter Willett, senior author and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, said: “Given our findings and previous work by others, a limit of about one serving per week of red meat would be reasonable for people wishing to optimise their health and wellbeing.” It appears that when he used the term “optimising” instead of “improving” he may have been downplaying the significance of the evidence of his own research, as surely the optimum diet as far as avoiding type 2 diabetes is concerned is a vegan diet, not a reducetarian diet. The study’s main conclusion is, “Our study supports current dietary recommendations for limiting consumption of red meat intake and emphasizes the importance of different alternative sources of protein for T2D prevention.”