Whether the craving is for chicken wings, a turkey leg or a nice sirloin, meat eaters may want to rethink their rate of consumption. Researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School have found a link between diabetes risk and a higher intake of poultry and red meat.
In particular, the results cited the dietary iron levels in these meats as a possible risk factor. Given the researchers noted the chances of diabetes development significantly increase among frequent meat eaters, the discovery appears to be no small revelation.
Why that next burger could be costly
The findings, which come from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, examined more than 63,000 Singapore residents aged 45 to 74. Over 11-year follow-up periods, the researchers uncovered heme-iron dietary content specifically had a positive correlation with diabetes risk depending on the dose. However, this factor proved to affect poultry consumption more than red meat intake.
Conversely, the general results revealed red meat as the riskier choice. Beef, lamb and similar options among the study's highest intake quartile raised diabetes chances 23 percent. Meanwhile, chicken and turkey consumption among the same group led to 15 percent more risk.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Annie Ling, Singapore Health Promotion Board director of policy, research, and surveillance, said the study confirms the HPB's caution to eat varied sources of protein, including tofu and legumes. Additionally, she noted the findings prove vital for the local population as a complement to western studies that produced similar results.
What previous research found
The Duke-NUS study isn't the first to discuss the link between meat-heavy diets and diabetes. One 2014 analysis published in Nutrients examined several studies that looked at the correlation. While this research noted that at the time, meat consumption wasn't an official risk factor, many of the reports cited align with the Singapore Chinese Health Study findings.
For instance, one study of Seventh Day Adventist participants, who avoid other risk variables like tobacco and alcohol as part of their religion's guidelines, determined their chance of developing Type 2 diabetes was two times as high for meat consumers compared to those who avoided the food. One point of divergence between this finding and the Duke-NUS study, however, was that the earlier examination didn't find fish substitution as an effective means of lowering risk. The more recent research not only determined fish and shellfish consumption reduced diabetes risk among the Singaporean participants, but it also noted these foods have no association with development of the disease.