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Red meat linked to high risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday June 29, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- The risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus may be increased by eating processed red meat, according to a study published in Nov 18, 2011 issue of Diabetes Care.

The study led by Martin Lajous of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts and colleagues shows French women eating five or more servings of processed meat per week were at 30 percent higher risk for Type 2 diabetes mellitus, compared to those who ate less one serving per week.

The study did not find any significant association between eating unprocessed red meat with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The prospective study involved 66,118 disease free French women who provided dietary information through a survey. During the follow-up between 1993 and 2007, 1,369 cases of incident diabetes were identified.

The risk assessment considered potential effects from other factors including age, education, region, smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, physical activity or inactivity, parental history of diabetes, menopause status, hormone replacement therapy, drinking alcohol, calorie intake, n-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, coffee drinking, fiber intake, and fruits and vegetables.

The researchers concluded "in this large prospective cohort of French women, a direct association was observed only for processed red meat and type 2 diabetes." 

Red meat commonly refers to meat from cows, sheep, and pigs even though some do not classify pork as a red meat. 

An estimated 26 million American men and women live with type 2 diabetes. The cases are on the rise, according to recent reports.

The conventional medicine has no cure for type 2 diabetes mellitus, but treatment can help manage the disease.  It is commonly recognized that a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat/trans fat and sugar may help prevent or improve the condition.

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