Burger Nation: Avoid Red Meat, Diabetes Risk

burger up close

New research about red meat consumption may make you pass on that burger. While there’s nothing new about eating habits being closely linked to rates of type 2 (or adult-onset) diabetes, a new study underscores this link.

A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people who ate less red meat saw a decline over time in their risk of developing diabetes, while those who ate more red meat saw just the opposite – heightened risk for developing diabetes.

“When you decrease your intake of red meat, you’re having a direct impact on your risk of developing diabetes, even though you might not see it immediately,” says Betul Hatipoglu, MD, a staff member of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Cleveland Clinic. “This demonstrates how much you’re able to control your overall health by making good food choices.”

Closely linked

So just how strong is the link between red meat and diabetes?

  • People who increased their red meat intake by more than a half serving per day had a 48 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • People who reduced their red meat intake by more than a half serving per day had a 14 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Study researchers analyzed results from diet questionnaires taken by nearly 150,000 people who were tracked for more than 20 years by staff members at the Harvard School of Public Health.

That survey had already shown the connection between eating red meat and rates of heart disease, stroke and colorectal cancers.

In this newest study, researchers analyzed the changes in diet and rates of diabetes over four-year periods, directly comparing the two between each four-year period. “This demonstrates just how strong the connection between the two really is,” says Dr. Hatipoglu.

What people need to remember

Dr. Hatipoglu’s message to patients is simple and critical to long-term health: Eat red meats in moderation, balanced by plenty of whole grains, healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables.

“We have to be very conscientious about what we put in our mouths, and moderation in eating red meat is very important,” she says. “Consuming less red meat doesn’t just correspond to lower rates of diabetes. It’s also linked to better cardiovascular health and reductions in overall mortality.”

  • Marry

    I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2014. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. On April 13th I found this book on
    w­j­e­5­9­2­.­com/Cure-Diabetes-Naturally.html . I read the book from end to end that night because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100, the next day was in the 90’s and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just one week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds in a month. I now work out twice a day and still have tons of energy. I have lost 6+ inches around my waist and I am off my high blood pressure medication too. I have about 20 more pounds to go till my body finds its ideal weight. The great news is, this is a lifestyle I can live with, it makes sense and it works. God Bless the writer. I wish the ADA would stop enabling consumers and tell them the truth. You can get off the drugs, you can help yourself, but you have to have a correct lifestyle and diet. No more processed foods.

    • Ez Acosta

      It pays to advocate for our own health. The standards of health in conventional medicine is atrocious. Im glad you found the path out of sickness. So much of this countries ills goes back to nutrition and clean living and food. The truth is out there.

  • Kimberly Ryan

    In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, placed on narcotic therapy, extremely active, petite, until three years ago. Cannot take Lyrica or gabapentin due to severe allergies and Cymbalta doesn’t help. I was taken off these medications because of all the studies contraindicated their effectiveness. Now I’m not on anything. I’ve gained almost 50 pounds, due to decreased activity, in severe pain, have increased neuropathy and muscle weakness, all of which are not being addressed. To add fuel to the fire, I had a brain aneurysm in 4/2000 which left me with traumatic brain injury, as well as, physical side effects. I’ve kept these to a minimum by staying physically fit and active. Because my health has deteriorated and by not being as physical, these side effects are becoming more apparent again. There is no one treating fibromyalgia in my area and I also live in NYS with the strict regulations of narcotics. I don’t fit the “normal” treatment for this diagnosis, nor do I have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, yet I cannot get help. It’s unfortunate that someone who goes from being highly active all their life, athletic, loves the outdoors, lives alone, owns their own house, used to be an RN, becomes someone who struggles to get through the day. It’s not right.