The science supporting the adverse health effects of regular red meat consumption continues to roll in and boosting the risk of type 2 diabetes is especially notable. In a powerful new evaluation from Harvard researchers that included over 149,000 adults whose dietary habits were closely monitored over a 20-year period, even very modest increases in red meat consumption were associated with a big jump in type 2 diabetes risk. Study subjects who increased their red meat intake, particularly processed red meats like bacon and sausage, by just a half serving (1.5 ounces) a day over a four year period, were 48% more likely to develop diabetes vs. those whose red meat eating did not increase. Weight gain, a greater caloric intake, and poorer diet quality were also associated with increases in red meat consumption. On a more positive note, study subjects who decreased their red meat intake by just a half serving a day, lowered their risk of getting diabetes by 15% over the next 14-16 years.
If you have not already made the dietary pledge to limit your red meat consumption to two servings or less a week, I encourage you to join me in doing so. And when you do eat red meat, always choose the leanest cuts and free range, or grass fed, if available.
( JAMA Internal Medicine online June 2013)