Processed Red Meat and Diabetes

You may just want to think twice about having bacon, hot dogs and bologna or even letting your kids eat them. A new study published November 18th online in Diabetes Care found an association between processed red meat and incident Type 2 diabetes.

In this prospective study of over 60,000 healthy French women, investigators observed an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in women who ate five or more servings of processed red meat each week compared to those who averaged less than one serving per week.

The intake of processed, but not unprocessed red meat, is associated with incident type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in Diabetes Care.

Martin Lajous, D.Sc., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the association of processed and unprocessed red meat and incident type 2 diabetes in a prospective study of 66,118 disease-free French women.

Dietary information was collected using a validated questionnaire. In multivariate analyses, adjustments were made for age; education; region; smoking; body mass index; hypertension; hypercholesterolemia; physical activity; parental history of diabetes; menopause; hormone replacement therapy; alcohol consumption; and intake of calories, n-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, coffee, fiber, and fruits and vegetables.

The investigators identified 1,369 cases of incident diabetes between 1993 and 2007.

A significant association was observed between processed meat intake and incident diabetes (hazard ratio, 1.30) when comparing the highest category of processed meat intake (five or more servings per week; median, 48 g/day) to the lowest category (less than one serving per week; median, 5 g/day).

No association was found between unprocessed red meat and diabetes.

“In this large prospective cohort of French women, a direct association was observed only for processed red meat and type 2 diabetes,” the authors write.

Processed red meat includes products such as:

  • Beef jerky
  • Beef sticks
  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Deli meat
  • Sausage

The abstract of the study is available here or click here

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