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Diabetes risk increased by consuming red and processed meats

Posted On Thu, August 11, 2011

Eating processed and red meats can increase an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health. The study found that regularly consuming processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, salami or bacon, as well as red meats like hamburger, pork or steak, leads to a definitive increase in the risk of diabetes.

According to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a daily two-ounce serving of processed meat increases the lifetime risk of diabetes by 50 percent. A daily four-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat leads to a risk increase of 20 percent.

The study's senior author, Frank Hu, says that the high amount of iron in red meat is the most likely culprit. The high levels of sodium in nitrates in processed meats are probably the driving factors that increase diabetes risk.

"Clearly, processed meat is much worse than unprocessed meat for raising the risk, but unprocessed red meat is not benign," Hu said.

Limiting the amount of processed and red meats in an individual's diet could help lower medical insurance quotes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

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