Eating a large amount of red meat each day can significantly increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to researchers in Singapore.
Type 2 diabetes has been consistently linked to consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat in past studies.
To evaluate whether changes in red meat consumption during a four-year period are related to subsequent diabetes risk, investigators from the National University of Singapore examined data from three Harvard group studies that involved about 149,000 non-diabetic men and women.
Diet was assessed using food frequency questionnaires, which were updated every four years. Overall, the participants reported eating between half a serving and two servings of red meat on daily basis, with one serving equal to about two slices of bacon or one hot dog.
A total of 7,540 cases of type 2 diabetes were reported during the study. After adjusting for age, race, family history of diabetes, initial red meat consumption and various lifestyle factors, the researchers found that individuals who increased their intake of red meat during the four year interval had a significantly elevated risk of the metabolic disease during the subsequent four years.
Those who upped their red meat consumption by more than one-half serving per day were 48% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not up their intake, while those who cut their intake by the same amount were 14% less likely to become diabetic during the follow-up.
Lead author of the study Professor An Pan concluded: “Increasing red meat consumption over time is associated with an elevated subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the association is partly mediated by body weight.
“Our results add further evidence that limiting red meat consumption over time confers benefits for type 2 diabetes prevention.”
The findings were published online in the June 17 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

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