To keep type 2 diabetes at bay, try reducing red meat and replacing it with legumes, nuts and dairy products. This emerges from a very recent scientific research published by scientists from the prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Gu et al, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2023).
Red meat and type 2 diabetes, the link exists
The study is one of the largest ever carried out. In fact, scientists recruited as many as 216,695 people. The volunteers were followed for an average time of 36 years, during which, every two years, they were called back to assess their health and complete questionnaires on lifestyle and nutrition. The aim of the research was to verify a possible relationship, already hypothesized thanks to previous smaller and shorter research, between regular consumption of red meat and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Well, what emerged is that already two portions per week of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who eat only one portion of red meat or none at all. Not only that, each additional serving of unprocessed red meat increases the risk of diabetes by 24%, while each additional serving of processed red meat increases the risk of diabetes by 46%. However, if red meat is replaced with plant-based sources of protein this process is reversed. In particular, replacing a portion of meat with one of legumes and nuts leads to a 30% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and replacing it with a portion of dairy products leads to a 22% reduction.
The research is vast and covers a very long period of time, which makes its results reliable and very interesting. What emerges is that red meat should be limited to no more than one portion per week. This is clearly a general indication and exceptions to the rule can always be made, the important thing, as scientists say, is to avoid the habit of consuming too much red meat per week. In fact, greater quantities of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, can have a harmful effect in the long term, with an increase in visceral fat, insulin resistance and inflammation, all conditions that increase the risk of developing diabetes type 2.