Pooled data from 12 different studies: High meat intake increases diabetes risk

Usually, when we think about foods that increase diabetes risk, we think of white flour-based processed foods, sugary sodas, and desserts, since these foods are known to produce dangerous increases in blood glucose. Also, many diabetics are under the impression that that they should avoid carbohydrate-containing foods, and eat higher levels of protein to keep their blood glucose levels in check. However, dietary factors associated with diabetes are not a simple question of carbohydrate vs. protein. Whole food sources of carbohydrate, like fruit and whole grains, are protective.1 On the other hand, several studies have now confirmed that high intake of meat, which contains no carbohydrate, increases the risk of diabetes.

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A meta-analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies has revealed that high total meat intake increased type 2 diabetes risk 17% above low intake, high red meat intake increased risk 21%, and high processed meat intake increased risk 41%.2

All the reasons behind these associations are not yet clear. One possibility is the pro-oxidant properties of heme iron (found only in animal products), the primary source of which is red meat. High dietary intake of heme iron and also high body stores of iron have been previously associated with increased diabetes risk in multiple studies3,4, whereas dietary nonheme iron (found only in plant foods) was protective. Heme iron from fish and poultry was also associated with diabetes risk.4 Oxidative stress, which may be brought on by excessive iron, plays an important role in the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which contribute to both insulin resistance and diabetes complications.5 Also meat is a concentrated source of calories, it has a high caloric density and people can get a good blast of fat and protein, easily exceeding the body’s requirements for macronutrients.  Meat eating is also associated with weight gain and of course, excess body weight is the most important risk factor for diabetes. Like most other chronic diseases that plague Americans, diabetes is a consequence of a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet-style that is deficient in protective unrefined plant foods. 

 

References:

1. Bazzano LA et al. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Jul;31(7):1311-7.

Kastorini CM, Panagiotakos DB. Dietary patterns and prevention of type 2 diabetes: from research to clinical practice; a systematic review. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2009 Nov;5(4):221-7.

2. Aune D, Ursin G, Veierød MB. Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia. 2009 Nov;52(11):2277-87.

3. Rajpathak SN, Crandall JP, Wylie-Rosett J, et al. The role of iron in type 2 diabetes in humans. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1790(7):671-81.

Luan de C, Li H, Li SJ, et al. Body iron stores and dietary iron intake in relation to diabetes in adults in North China. Diabetes Care. 2008 Feb;31(2):285-6.

4. Rajpathak S, Ma J, Manson J, Willett WC, Hu FB. Iron intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women: a prospective cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2006

5. Reddy VP, Zhu X, Perry G, Smith MA. Oxidative stress in diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Apr;16(4):763-74.

Schalkwijk CG, Brouwers O, Stehouwer CD. Modulation of insulin action by advanced glycation end products: a new player in the field. Horm Metab Res. 2008 Sep;40(9):614-9.

Animal Fat Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a new study claims high intake of saturated fat—specifically red meat and dairy—results in a 36% higher risk of pancreatic cancer, compared to people with lower consumption. And a high in take of total fat lead to a 53% increased risk of pancreatic cancer in men and 23% higher risk in women. Scientists examined data on 500,000 individuals, in which 1,337 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; Food Navigator reports.

Meat, i.e. saturated fat, is risky and research paints a grim picture. Previous studies have linked meat with higher risk of heart disease, age-related vision loss and various cancers. Fortunately, foods like fruits and vegetables lower the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In related news, experts found people who regularly eat charred or barbecued meat have a 60% higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Burned meat builds up of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.

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Less Meat, More Veggies Prevents Prostate Cancer

New research in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics reveals diets low in fat and red meat and rich in fruits and vegetables helps prevent and treat prostate cancer. Using an evidence-based review of dietary recommendations, researchers found avoiding processed or charcoaled meats and dairy products and eating more tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower has beneficial effects on prostate cancer prevention and treatment; Wiley-Blackwell reports.

According Dr. Fuhrman, humans are designed to consume a lot of plants and these foods are essential to preventing disease, such as prostate cancer. Recently, the World Cancer Research Fund said better diets, i.e. fruits and vegetables, could help curb global cancer rates.

In April, experts found pomegranate juice helps slow prostate cancer doubling times and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slash prostate cancer risk by as high as 63%.

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Heart Disease Starts Before a Heart Attack

New findings in the International Journal of Clinical Practice reveal the symptoms of cardiovascular disease prior to a heart attack go largely undiagnosed. Of the 1,573 heart patients surveyed, over 50% claimed their ailment was not identified until they started showing symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath or an actual heart attack, with 22% saying they were diagnosed while being treated for something else; via Booster Shots.

Listen, heart disease doesn’t just happen. In fact, in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child, he explains precursors to cardiovascular, like high cholesterol, start in childhood and lead to heart disease in adulthood, but the problem is, young people don’t take heart health seriously.

In related news, a recent report found people with poor cardiovascular fitness have a 56% higher risk of heart attack and eating red meat is linked to a 27% higher risk of heart disease.

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Citrus Fruits Help Stave Off Vision Loss

Its not just citrus fruits, new findings in the journal Ophthalmology suggest older adults eating a lot of leafy greens, citrus fruits and fish are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major contributor to vision lose. Studying the diets of 4,000 adults, experts claim foods rich in omega-3s, vitamin C and E, zinc and antioxidants lower the risk of AMD. These low-sugar foods do not cause surges in blood pressure, which may harm retinas; Reuters reports.

Actually, last year researchers determined plant nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, found in foods like spinach, kale and collard greens, promote eye health and prevent cataracts, while eating red meat 10 times week increases the likelihood of age-related macular degeneration by 47%.

In related news, a recent study showed vegetable-based diabetes offer superior diabetes control and omega-3 fatty acids, like those contained in walnuts, reduce inflammation linked to heart disease.

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Charred Meat Raises Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Bad news for that greasy steak! Discussed at the 2009 Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, individuals who regularly eat burned or barbecued red meat may have a 60% higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Charred meat contains cancer-causers like heterocyclic amines. For the study, researchers closely monitored the diet of 62,000 healthy people. Over nine years 208 participants were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The participants eating foods like hamburgers were far more likely to develop cancer. And very well-done meat came with a 70% higher cancer risk; Reuters reports.

Barbecued meat is a nightmare. Last year, a study showed diets loaded with red meat increase risk of colon cancer. Grilled chicken is no better. In January, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine warned against grilled chicken, due to PhIP, another known carcinogen. And fake charring food is horrible too. Smoke flavorings are now being linked with liver and kidney problems.

But some folks don’t take a hint. The ballpark for the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team in Illinois, sells a grilled burger topped with bacon and cheese served in a glazed doughnut. Eek!

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Too Much Meat and Dairy Harm Sperm

No, no! Don’t mess with my sperm. A new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility reveals diets low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and high processed meats and full-fat dairy heighten risk of low-quality sperm. The study involved 61 men visiting a fertility clinic. Of the participants, half had poor sperm quality. Those men also had a higher intake of meat and dairy, but the other half of men had normal sperm counts and tended to eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts cite increased levels of antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene, for better sperm; Reuters investigates.

Antioxidants are like Superman and Batman rolled up in one. Take blueberries, they’re packed with healthful nutrients, like flavonoids, which are associated with cancer prevention and plants like broccoli protect against things such as respiratory inflammation and stroke, while antioxidant-devoid foods like hotdogs and bacon may lead to leukemia and raise lung cancer risk.

The bad news for meat keeps piling up. Just last month, a study linked processed meat to increased death risk, as high as 50% and recently red meat was pinned to blindness. Eek!

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Ha Ha! Atkins Diet Raises Heart Risks, Duh!

More bad news for the Atkins fad, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association new research reveals the high-protein, i.e. high-saturated, Atkins diet reduces blood vessel dilation, an important factor in heart health. Scientists placed 18 healthy people on three different diets, the Atkins diet (50% fat) and two others lower in saturated fat, 30% and 10%. Four weeks after completing the experiment, Atkins participants performed the worst on a blood vessel test. Atkins Nutritionals had no intelligent rebuttal; HealthDay News reports.

High-fat diets are dangerous. A couple years ago, a study linked the Atkins diet with inflammation linked with heart and artery disease. Atkins himself was overweight and had heart problems. In addition to heart problems, consuming copious amounts of meat, i.e. saturated fat, and little to no fiber and fruit, heightens risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Recently, hotdogs were tied to leukemia risk and red meat with blindness.

In related news, a previous report showed low-carb high-protein diets sap people’s energy and discourage activity and another study revealed Atkins produced only modest weight-loss results with limited sustainability in the long run. Tisk, tisk.

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Red Meat Pinned to Blindness in Old Age

Sorry cows, a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology links higher risk of age-related macular degeneration, i.e. blindness, with heavy consumption of red meat. Australian researchers recruited 6,734 people, ages 58 to 69, living in Melbourne, surveying them about how much meat they ate, and then taking macular photographs of their retinas to evaluate eye health. Findings revealed participants eating red meat 10 times a week were 47% more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those eating less red meat; Medical News Today reports.

Red meat is vile. In November a report found harmful bacteria, called Subtilase cytotoxin gravitates to red meat and dairy products. Then just last week, consuming large amounts of red and processed meat was associated with higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular mortality and beyond that, eating red meat has been linked to metabolic syndrome, a known predictor of heart disease.

In related news, previous research shows antioxidants from foods, such as spinach, kale and collard greens promote eye health and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

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Red Meat, Processed Meat Lead to Death

New findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine link increased risk of cancer mortality and cardiovascular mortality with eating large amounts of red and processed meat. The largest study of its kind, researchers surveyed over 545,000 men and women, ages 50 to 71, on their eating habits and then followed them for 10 years, during this time 70,000 participants died, revealing men eating the equivalent of one quarter-pound hamburger each day had a 22% higher risk of dying of cancer and 27% for heart disease, compared to men eating only 5 ounces per week. Women had a 20% higher risk of death from cancer and 50% for heart disease; the Associated Press reports.

The low-carb kooks must be throwing a tantrum right now, but this study isn’t the first. In November, findings in the journal Cancer Research showed consuming foods high in saturated fat such as red meat heighten the risk of cancer in the small intestine and last January, a study in the International Journal of Cancer revealed foods like red meat amplify breast cancer risk with every 25 grams of meat resulting in a higher risk.

As for cardiovascular mortality, that’s obvious. According to Dr. Fuhrman, eating a lot of animal products, like meat and dairy, raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease, but diets rich in fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse cardiovascular events. In December, experts determined eating two servings of red meat each day raise the risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease.

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