New Harvard Study Finds That Red and Processed Meat Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Over 70% of new cases of type 2 diabetes have been attributed to dietary factors, such as an excess consumption of processed meat.1 According to new research published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, each serving of processed red meat consumed per day was associated with a 46% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and each serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 24% higher risk.2
Consumption of red meat has been linked with type 2 diabetes risk in past studies, but the authors of the latest research wanted to improve upon them by adding details about how diabetes diagnoses and related biomarkers were affected by intake over a long period of time.
Processed meat, the authors defined, included sausage, beef or pork hot dogs, bacon, processed meat sandwiches; one serving equaled 28 grams of bacon or 45 grams of the other meats.
Unprocessed meat included lean or extra lean hamburger, regular hamburger, beef, pork or lamb as a sandwich or mixed dish; and pork, beef or lamb as a main dish. Eighty-five grams of pork, beef or lamb constituted one serving of unprocessed meat.
The same analysis found that substituting red and processed meat with plant-based sources of protein, such as legumes and nuts, was protective against developing type 2 diabetes.
1. O'Hearn M, Lara-Castor L, Cudhea F, et al. Incident type 2 diabetes attributable to suboptimal diet in 184 countries. Nat Med. 2023;(4):982-995. doi:10.1038/s41591-023-02278-8
2. Gu X, Drouin-Chartier JP, Sacks FM, et al. Red meat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in a prospective cohort study of United States females and males. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023. doi:10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.08.021
3. Robert O. Young, The PH Miracle for Diabetes. Grand Central Life & Style; Reprint edition (May 12, 2005)