If you are a meat lover then here is some bad news. A new study has found that higher intake of lamb, beef, pork and poultry can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) in Singapore found that the higher intake of red meat and poultry is associated with significantly increased risk of developing diabetes. The higher content of heme iron in these meats are considered as the major contributory factor.
For the study, the team analysed 63,257 adults aged 45-74 years between 1993 and 1998, and then followed them up for an average of about 11 years.
They found a positive association between intakes of red meat and poultry, and risk of developing diabetes.
People in the highest quartile intake of red meat and poultry had a 23 percent and 15 per cent increase in risk of diabetes, respectively, while the intake of fish/shellfish was not associated with risk of diabetes.
The increase in risk associated with red meat/poultry was reduced by substituting them with fish/shellfish.
The study also investigated the association between dietary heme-iron content from all meats and the risk of diabetes and found a dose-dependent positive association.
After adjusting for heme-iron content in the diet, the red-meat and diabetes association was still present, suggesting that other chemicals present in red meat could be accountable for the increase in risk of diabetes.
"The findings affirm HPB's recommendation to consume red meat in moderation, and that a healthy and balanced diet should contain sufficient and varied protein sources, including healthier alternatives to red meat such as fish, tofu and legumes," said Dr Annie Ling, Director from Research and Surveillance Division.
The research was recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
(With Agency Inputs)