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Study Links Red and Processed Meats to Diabetes

admin - August 15, 2011

Hot dogs increase diabetes riskThis study may put the kibosh on the next Alpha Gamma Delta “Hot Dogs for Diabetes” Contest and may make you rethink your next cookout menu:

A recent USA Today article reports that eating a 2-oz serving of processed meat (e.g. hot dogs, bologna, bacon) and/or a 4-oz serving of red meat a day increases your risk of Type II Diabetes by 50% and 20% respectively. This is according to a Harvard School of Public Health study published online at The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

While the link between processed meats and Type II diabetes may not be new information, the link between unprocessed red meats is, as the study’s senior author, professor Frank Hu, is quoted in the article as stating:

“Many previous studies have shown the link between processed meats and diabetes, but this is one of the first (large studies) to show that unprocessed red meat is a significant risk factor.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association says that these epidemiological studies really can’t identify cause and effect.

While the study does clearly indicate that the failure of such a diet may be the daily consumption of red meat and/or processed meats, it does get the attention of many of us who are trying to be proactive about our health and looking for ways to prevent diabetes.

One of the takeaways of the study and the article, which may be well known but surely worth repeating, is that processed foods contain a lot of sodium and nitrates, which can contribute to diabetes. Another takeaway, which may be considered newer information, is that a person who eats too much red meat is getting an excess of heme iron in their body, which is a risk factor for diabetes.

Last but not least, the final takeaway is the fact that the study has indicated a large population of people with similar diets have an increased risk of diabetes, and it really is a good suggestion to limit the consumption of processed and red meats and incorporate more nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy (like yogurt) in their place to aid in the prevention of diabetes.

This is true no matter what age you are because there is no argument against the fact that diabetes continues to spin out of control.

Additional Resources:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study can be found at:

The USA Today article can be found at:

Photo courtesy of BlueisCoool on


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