Recent studies are making a case for cutting back on meat to lower diabetes risks, replacing some of it with plant-based protein.
And, no, it doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian.
I’m sure you know that including too much fat and sugar in your diet increases your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. However, research increasingly shows that a food you might not expect — meat — can dramatically raise your chances as well.
Think about that a minute…Your body needs protein. But if you have Type 2 Diabetes or are at risk of acquiring it, it’s wise to consider cutting back on meat to lower diabetes risks.
A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the deaths of nearly 700,000 people in 2012 from heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- They found that nearly 50% of the deaths were related to poor nutritional choices.
- For people who already had diabetes, the risk of death increased if they consumed more processed meats.
Researchers from Finland released another study this Spring, where the diets of 2,300 middle-aged men (ages 42-60) were analyzed.
At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had type 2 diabetes. Within the next 19 years, almost 500 participants did.
What they found was that the participants who ate more animal protein and less plant protein had a 35% greater risk of developing diabetes.
This included any kind of meat — processed and unprocessed red meat, white meats and variety meats, which include organ meats such as tongue or liver.
The study concluded that choosing plant and egg proteins may help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
And the last study out of Harvard University found that people who ate just a single serving of red meat every day had a 19% higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes than those who didn’t.
Say WHAT??? Go back and read that again. 51%. The statistics are eye-opening.
This study (naturally) concluded that choosing whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, fish and poultry instead of red meat lowers your risk of diabetes.
So, what’s the trouble with meat?
We don’t know yet…The exact reason meat — particularly red meat and processed meat — is problematic isn’t known. But researchers believe there are three main components that increase diabetes risk:
- Sodium, which increases blood pressure, can cause insulin resistance.
- Nitrites used in processed meats may increase insulin resistance and impair pancreatic function.
- Heme iron, which is found in red meat can cause cell damage and chronic inflammation.
Cutting back on Meat To Lower Diabetes Risks
If you’re at increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes or already have it, small changes matter.
- Cut back on red meat consumption
- Replacing some meat-based protein with eggs or with plant-based protein is your best option.
For example, You can get one ounce of protein from:
- One egg
- ¼ cup of cooked beans or peas
- ¼ cup of tofu
- 2 tablespoons of hummus
- 1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter
The fact is, you only need a small amount of protein each day:
- 5 ounces daily for women and 6 ounces for men. That’s it.
And older adults need even less protein in their diet.
The Finnish study estimated that replacing just 5 grams of animal protein with plant protein each day would cut your risk of diabetes by 18 percent.
The next time you’re planning a meal or eating out make some small adjustments.
- Try choosing a 5-ounce steak instead of a 10-ounce serving
- Opt for the chicken or fish instead of a ribeye
Or, better yet, look for plant-based protein options in new recipes or on the menu at your favorite restaurants.
Bottom line? Cutting back on meat to lower diabetes risks doesn’t just make sense. It can save you years of complications from Type 2 Diabetes.
For a great list of Plant-based protein foods and easy recipes you can make at home, Click here to see Eat This, Not That, which you are free to print out.
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