logo for integrative cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik

New study suggests eating red meat may increase risk of Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

A new study published June 17, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that eating red meat over prolonged period of time increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The study followed several men and women participants for four years and found that those who ate half a serving (about 1.5 ounces) less of red meat a day reduced their risk of diabetes by 14%. However, those who ate red meat and added half a serving per day increased their risk by 50%. Eating more red meat was also found to be associated with weight gain, and that weight gain accounted for some but not all of the increased risk of developing the disease.
This study shows stronger evidence that supports other previous studies that have linked red meat consumption to an increased risk of diabetes. The findings in the study apply to both processed red meats, such as lunch meats and hot dogs, as well as unprocessed meats such as hamburger, steak, and pork.
Diabetes affects today almost 26 million adults and children in the US, and most have type 2 diabetes. A recommendation to consume less red meat may help to reduce the epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Red meat is the problem because of the high amounts of saturated fat, which cause inflammation in the body and thereby increases the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Instead, try eating lean cut of meat such as sirloin steak or top round steak or better yet try getting more protein from fish, poultry, and vegetarian plant-sources.
A plant-based diet includes grains (especially whole grains), beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables to provide adequate protein for growth and repair. There is sound medical evidence that a plant-based diet contributes to longevity and good health. Plant foods are low in saturated fat, which reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Also, plants have much lower caloric concentration than animal protein overall, which allows for more food volume without excessive weight gain.

Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra Sifferlin. “Adding Red Meat to Your Diet Linked to Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes | TIME.com.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2013.

The Permanente Journal. “Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets.” 2013 Spring; 17 (2): 61-66. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/>

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.

Resource Links