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Red Meat Boosts Diabetes Risk!

By on August 15, 2011

If you thought red meat was on the dietary “hit list” before just keep reading. It seems that if you eat about two slices of bacon, a hot dog or a serving of deli meat daily you significantly boost the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, according to researchers at Harvard. Yes, that Harvard!

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health represent the largest study of its kind (to date) related to red meat consumption and diabetes. The study findings are in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating 50 grams of processed red meat every day increased a person’s diabetes risk by 51 percent, while eating 100 grams of unprocessed red meat each day, about the size of a deck of cards, boosted the risk by 19 percent. However, those risks went down if the red meat was substituted with nuts, white meat, low-fat dairy or whole grain proteins.

“Clearly, the results from this study have huge public health implications given the rising type 2 diabetes epidemic and increasing consumption of red meats worldwide,” said senior author Frank Hu.”The good news is that such troubling risk factors can be offset by swapping red meat for a healthier protein.”

The data for the study came from questionnaire responses from more than 204,000 people in US nurses and health professionals’ studies. The subjects were tracked for between 14 and 28 years.

Diabetes affects nearly 350 million adults worldwide, and more than 11 percent of adults over age 20 — or 25.6 million people — in the United States have the disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease that involves high levels of blood sugar, is often caused by obesity, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.

For men who already have a family history or a predisposition to heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes, this should encourage healthier eating choices. Small steps are generally the best way to go. Come next Fourth of July; try a nice piece of salmon, poultry, or even a vegetable option.

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