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Can red meat increase the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes?

Category: Diabetes

When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, most people believe that excessive consumption of sugar can influence the development of the condition. While sugar intake is a factor people should be mindful of when trying to improve overall wellness, according to a recent study appearing in JAMA Internal Medicine, red meat could actually also increase the risk for developing the condition.

Researchers examined data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study, which included findings from roughly 100,000 people after they stopped eating red meat - including hot dogs and bacon, NPR reported.

"Some people [in the study] increased their red meat consumption and other people decreased their consumption," said co-author Frank Hu, M.D., M.P.H., of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Among those who ate about 3.5 servings more per week of red meat over the study period, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased by close to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, those who ceased eating bacon, hot dogs and other processed red meats experienced a 14 percent decline in their likelihood of having Type 2 during a follow-up period spanning 10 years.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults are affected by the condition in the U.S., which constitutes about 8.3 percent of the overall population.

Each year, 18.8 million people are diagnosed with the condition, while 79 million people are considered prediabetes, which means they have blood glucose levels that exceed normal rates but are not high enough for diabetes to be considered the cause.

Those with prediabetes are encouraged to monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Those with low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides are considered to be at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and should consider the benefits of cholesterol testing. With cholesterol tests, individuals can get a better sense of their overall health and work to reduce or delay the development of the condition.

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