The Connection Between Diabetes & Red Meat


imagesDoes consuming red meat lead to diabetes?

Does eliminating red meat prevent diabetes?

The answers to these two complex questions could hold an important key to healing not only ourselves as individuals, but ourselves as a country and our entire healthcare system.

According to a new study published in the June 17th JAMA Internal Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal published twice per month by the American Medical Association, eating red meat over time is associated with a higher probability of developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of the disease in this country.

First, let’s look at the staggering numbers…..

 Important Statistics on Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association:

•  About 8.3% of the US population has diabetes which translates into 28.8 million children and adults.

•  79 million people are considered pre-diabetic

•  1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 and older in 2010

•  complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney failure, severe nervous system damage, amputation

•  total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 1012: $245 billion

The new study, citied in JAMA Internal Medicine, was the first of its kind to track people who ate red meat over a long period of time.  Previous studies had been done over shorter time periods. There were a total of over 149,000 people participating in three separate Harvard studies of health professionals. These subjects did not have diabetes at the start of the study for 12 to 16 years.

According to CBS News, the conclusions of this study, “confirm the robustness of the association between red meat and Type 2 Diabetes and add further evidence that limiting red meat consumption over time confers benefits for Type 2 Diabetes.”  The study showed that increasing red meat by more than 1/2 serving a day over a 4 year period was associated with a 48% increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes during the subsequent 4 year period.  When people reduced their red meat intake by 1/2 serving or more over a four year period, a 14% lower risk was experienced during the follow-up period.

According to Harvard Magazine, “after adjusting for other risk factors, the researchers found that a daily serving of red meat no larger than a deck of cards increased the risk of adult-onset diabetes by 19 percent. Processed red meat proved much worse: a daily serving half that size—one hot dog, or two slices of bacon, for example—was associated with a 51 percent increase in risk. (The average 10-year risk of getting diabetes for U.S. adults is around 10 percent.)”

Unknown-2What can we take away from this information? As a layman, every indication seems  to me that eliminating red meat is plainly better for preventing diabetes, but, of course, not all doctors are on the same page. Doctors do seem to be in agreement that diet plays a necessary role in reducing a patient’s chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Of course, it’s complicated and there are so many factors at work. Surprisingly, despite the fact that the evidence from this and previous studies point to saturated fatty acids from red meat as one of the main culprits behind the link to diabetes, not all doctors assert that eliminating red meat completely from one’s diet would be a great course in preventing diabetes!

On the other hand, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of the Heart and Vascular Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, asserted to CBS News,”…get the meat out of your diet and you’re going to prevent diabetes, that’s hugely empowering.” Now that’s taking a decisive stand backed by the scientific evidence!

Bravo, Dr. Steinbaum and fellow doctors who will be using this new study to advise their patients about weighing the benefits of eliminating red meat from their diets, among making other important lifestyle changes, for better health and prevention of diabetes and it’s widespread complications.

xox Ellen

VAP Photo of me retouchedDSCF0406-150x150


  1. The results of this study are powerful! Dr. Steinbaum from Lenox Hill is certainly taking an unwavering position…thank goodness!

  2. joel e. matthews says:

    W e SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST , for decades was saying that meat eating causes cancer , heart disease , tuberculeses and many blood diseases , etc , but doctors , and other denide it , …I joel says that meating eating kill TENSof thousand of people , and more than all kill in the second world war ,in cluding THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGING PROFESSION

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