Increased red meat consumption linked to type 2 diabetes

June 24, 2013

Adding more than a one-half serving of red meat daily for 4 years can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus over the subsequent 4-year period, according to a report published online June 17 for JAMA Internal Medicine.

Adding more than a one-half serving of red meat daily for 4 years can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus over the subsequent 4-year period, according to a report published online June 17 for JAMA Internal Medicine.

An Pan, PhD, and her colleagues followed up with more than 26,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006), about 48,700 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1986-2006), and approximately 74,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1991-2007), to assess their diets every 4 years.

During the follow-up, 7,520 cases of type 2 diabetes developed. Researchers found that an increase in red meat consumption of more than one-half servings daily was associated with a 48% higher risk of type 2 diabetes in the following 4-year period (pooled hazard ratio, 1.48); 95% CI, 1.37-1.59). After adjusting for body mass index and weight gain, the risk of developing diabetes was 30% (HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.21-1.41). 

“Reducing red meat consumption by more than 0.50 servings per day from baseline to the first 4 years of follow-up was associated with a 14% lower risk during the subsequent entire follow-up through 2006 or 2007,” Pan and colleagues said.

“Our results add further evidence that limiting red meat consumption over time confers benefits for [type 2 diabetes mellitus] prevention,” the researchers wrote.