New study finds link between red meat and diabetes - Hornell Evening Tribune

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The importance of eating a well-balanced diet was emphasized once again by a new study, this time by the Harvard School of Public Health, that found eating too much red and processed meat could increase your risk of suffering from diabetes.

The study found that a daily 100-gram serving of unprocessed red meat — which the Harvard study said is about the size of a deck of playing cards — was associated with a 19 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The news was even worse for fans of hot dogs, lunchmeat or sausages. The report also found that one daily serving of 50 grams of processed meat increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 51 percent. A 50-gram serving of processed meat equals one hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon, according to Harvard's report.

"The results from this study have huge public health implications given the rising type 2 diabetes epidemic and increasing consumption of red meats worldwide," said Frank Hu, senior author of the study and a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, in a news release about the study. "The good news is that such troubling risk factors can be offset by swapping red meat for a healthier protein."

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease in the U.S. In this form of diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells ignore the insulin being produced. This form of diabetes can result in blindness, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The Harvard researchers recommend  that people who replace red meat with healthier proteins such as low-fat dairy products, whole grains or nuts will significantly lower their risk for type 2 diabetes.

The study's results didn't shock officials with the American Diabetes Association.

"With type 2 diabetes, genetics play a big role, as well as multiple environmental factors, such as obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet. These environmental factors can interact with genetics to increase your risk of developing the disease," says Vivian Fonseca, president-elect of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association and a professor of medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans.

"People who eat a lot of red meat and processed meat may not be eating as much nuts, beans and fish; those who eat more of those foods tend to reduce their chance of developing diabetes."

Diabetes is not rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 350 million adults across the globe suffer from some form of diabetes. In the U.S., more than 11 percent of adults older than 20 — 25.6 million individuals — have diabetes, the CDC reports.

Most people in the U.S. who have diabetes suffer from type 2. The causes of this disease are largely preventable: obesity, an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity.

24 Sep, 2011

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