Warning: Bacon and hot dogs can increase your risk for diabetes

September 20, 2011
Volume 08    |   Issue 39

Money was tight when I was young. We had a victory garden and mother canned fruits and vegetables to make our food stretch. We never went hungry, but we did eat some processed meats because they were less expensive than red meat and chicken. Two such meals included bologna sandwiches and hot dogs. One of our treats, when it was affordable, was crispy bacon. Mother didn’t know that there was any problem with eating processed meats. But the evidence is growing that there is.

We’ve seen reports in the past that processed meat isn’t good for you. Some even suggest a cancer connection. However, none were more convincing than two new studies. And these are the first to connect processed meats to diabetes.

Two separate Nurses’ Health Studies followed more than 200,000 participants over at least 14 years. These are huge, well-done studies. And their warning is clear: You may get away with eating processed meats occasionally. But if you eat hot dogs, bologna, sausage, or bacon every day, you’re at a 51% increased risk for getting type-2 diabetes.

The problem is you don’t have to eat large quantities, either. Just one hot dog or sausage, or two slices of bacon, are enough to contribute to diabetes.

Red meat is not exempt. A single serving of red meat the size of a deck of cards (about 100 grams) increased the risk of diabetes by 19%. This is less harmful than eating processed meats, but hardly healthful.

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Fortunately, these studies also found foods that reduce the path to diabetes. Nuts lowered the diabetes risk by 21%, and whole grains by 23%. In fact, the diet designed to reduce diabetes is the same diet that reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that the more red meat and processed meats someone ate, the more likely they were to die earlier than people who ate half an ounce or less a day.

Not surprisingly, the meat industry disagrees with these studies. But they haven’t given us the proof to support their position. For years, conventional wisdom has said a low-carb, high-meat diet is the way to prevent diabetes. Now we see that the high-meat part may do just the opposite.

Based on this study (and many others), you would be wise to eliminate all processed meats. Don’t fret if you eat them on rare occasions. Just don’t make a habit of eating them.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232629.php

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