A Singaporean population study has confirmed that a high intake of red meat and poultry can increase a person’s risk of diabetes. Fish and shellfish, however, do not pose any risk, researchers say.
New research confirms that a high intake of red meat and poultry can raise the risk of diabetes.
Recently, many studies have shown that plant-based diets, rather than diets that favor a high meat intake, are more beneficial to health. For instance, last month, Medical News Today reported on a study that linked vegetarian diets with lower cholesterol levels.
At the same time, many existing studies link meat consumption with a higher risk of developing diabetes.
New research from the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore confirms previous findings and adds new considerations as to why eating too much meat can predispose individuals to diabetes.
Prof. Woon-Puay Koh, a professor of clinical sciences at the Duke-NUS Medical School, and her colleagues evaluated the link between red meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish and type 2 diabetes, taking into account the impact of heme iron – which is iron content absorbed from meat – intake.
The researchers’ findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Red meat and poultry increase risk
The researchers analyzed data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, involving 63,257 adults aged between 45 and 74. These were recruited between 1993 and 1998, and they were followed-up by means of two interviews: one in 1999 to 2004, and the other in 2006 to 2010.
It was found that people who had a higher dietary intake of red meat and poultry were at an increased risk of diabetes. Both fish and shellfish consumption, however, were not found to pose any dangers.
Individuals who ate the most red meat, the researchers noted, had a 23 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate little red meat. Eating a lot of poultry was linked with a 15 percent increase in risk of diabetes.
In this context, the researchers also looked at the impact of heme iron on the relationship between meat consumption and diabetes. They found that a higher intake of heme iron was associated with an increased risk of developing the condition.
Is heme iron the only culprit?