Study Claims – Consumption Of Meat Raises The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Meat Consumption Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way a person’s body metabolizes sugar or glucose. Blood sugar is an important source of fuel or the energy, vital for our functioning.

In individuals with type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or it doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain adequate glucose level.

Common risk factors[1] for the development of this condition include overweight/obesity, sedentary lifestyle, family history, but the latest study showed consumption of meat can also increase* the odds of getting diabetes.

Meat And Type 2 Diabetes

A growing body of evidence confirms that plant-based diets are more beneficial for our health than meat-based eating patterns.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds provide a number of different vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to our body thus keeping us healthy and fending off numerous diseases.

While meat delivers important vitamins and some studies have also confirmed its benefits, moderate consumption is the key to get the most out of this food group.

Unfortunately, most of us consume way too much meat than it is recommended. That turns into a major problem because increased intake of meat can lead to unwanted consequences.

A group of scientists led by Woon-Puay Koh at the Duke-NUS Medical School carried out a study to investigate the link between high meat intake and type 2 diabetes.

For the purpose of their research, scientists analyzed data from Singapore Chinese Health Study which enrolled 63,257 participants aged between 45 and 74.

The primary objective here was to evaluate the relationship between consumption of poultry, red meat, fish and shellfish and type 2 diabetes while taking into account the impact of heme iron (iron content absorbed from meat).

Findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology[2], showed that people with a higher intake of red meat and poultry had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, consumption of shellfish and fish wasn’t associated with diabetes incidence. What’s more, high intake of red meat increased type 2 diabetes risk by 23% and poultry by 15%.

Eating Meat Bad Info

Why Do Red Meat And Poultry Increase* Diabetes Risk?

First of all, you should bear in mind the findings only show that high intake of these meats increases* your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Little to moderate consumption doesn’t induce such a negative effect, which only shows you should limit the intake of meat and avoid eating way too much than it is recommended.

Now you’re probably wondering what makes red meat and poultry risk factors for diabetes and the answer lies in high iron content.

Both types of meat contain the iron-rich compound heme and other chemicals that enhance* one’s susceptibility to the insulin-resistance condition[3].

Scientists explain their findings[4] don’t indicate we should ban meat from our diet, we just have to reduce* the intake. Also, it is helpful to consume parts with lower heme iron content. In poultry, breasts have a lower level of this compound than thighs.

Tips To Eat Less Meat

  • Use meat as a side dish, rather than main meal
  • Order a pizza without meat
  • Try meatless Monday
  • Replace ground beef with minced mushrooms or lentils
  • Find some meat alternatives
  • Make vegetables the main “star” of your meals
  • Try tofu
  • Eat eggs for dinner
  • When making a meatless dish, use vegetables of different textures
  • Eat a high-fiber diet


The latest study showed that high intake of red meat and poultry increases* the risk of diabetes while no connection was found between this condition and shellfish/fish. It doesn’t mean you should avoid eating meat, but it is important to reduce* the consumption.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.

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