Researchers Link Processed Meat with Type 2 Diabetes
A study reported in the journal Diabetes Care (February 2002), a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Diabetes Association shows that a diet heavy in processed meats, including hot dogs and bacon, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50 percent in men.
A group of Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed the dietary habits of thousands of men and found that those who frequently ate bacon, hot dogs, sausage, baloney or other processed meats were 46 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men who ate less of the food.
Dr. Frank Hu, senior author of the study said that big increase in risk for diabetes 2 came among those who ate the processed meats five times or more per week. For some, it was every day.
The data in the research came from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a project that started in 1986 by collecting dietary information from 42,504 men, age 40 to 75, who were healthy - free of diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
The men in the study were followed for 12 years and the researchers compared the dietary pattern of those who developed type 2 diabetes with those who did not. The results were adjusted for the known effects of such things as smoking, obesity, fat intake and physical activity. After these adjustments, the authors of the study concluded that eating lots of hot dogs and other processed meats was an independent risk factor for diabetes.
The major difference was found when the subjects eat processed meats five times or more per week. The more you eat of these foods, the higher the risk.
Hu said that the risk of diabetes may be affected by other foods often consumed in meals featuring processed meats. People seldom eat hot dogs or baloney or bacon alone. The meats usually are accompanied by high fat condiments, such as mayonnaise, and side dishes like French fries and chips. So, according to the authors, this result may reflect a typical unhealthy dietary pattern than just one isolated meat.
Dr. Ruth Kava, director of nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health, said that dietary studies such as this have a basic weakness because they depend upon how well people remember what they eat.
"The difficulty with this type of study is that you can't be sure how accurate it is," said Kava.
It is known that consuming processed foods can increase your risk of contracting heart diseases by increasing the homocysteine presumably by the lack of B vitamins - especially vitamin B-6 and B-12 and the folic acid. See: Homocysteine and Cardiovascular Health for more details.
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