Can eating red meat increase the risk of diabetes?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

Some studies have shown that heavy consumers of processed meats have a higher incidence of diabetes. Processed meats are bologna, ham, salami, corned beef, and other deli meats. Diets that are more heavily plant based are more likely to decrease the risk if diabetes. You do not have to give up meat. Eat it less often, eat smaller portions, and always include a salad or serving of vegetables.

Rose Reisman
Nutrition & Dietetics

We have been led to believe that sugar and processed sweets are the main culprits in the rise in diabetes type 2. But now we are being instructed to limit the amount of red meat and specifically processed such as hot dogs, bacon and sausages. As little as 2 ounces of processed meats daily could increase the risk by as much as 50%! The excess sodium was one of the contributing factors. This study came from researches at the Harvard School of Public Health over the past 10 years. Other factors taken into consideration were the participants’ weight, family history, diet and lifestyle factors as well as physical activity.

Four ounces of unprocessed meats such as beef, lamb and pork attributed to a 20% increase in diabetes type 2. The key is to find substitutes for the meat that will be nutritious and give you your protein needs. Foods that are ideal are those high in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, complex carbs, 100 % whole grains and specific vitamins. Nuts, whole grains, fish and low fat dairy such as Greek Yogurt are considered excellent substitutions and actually lowered the risk to about 16% - 35%.

Diabetes is on the increase in children today. One in three children born after the year 2000 will get diabetes type 2. Let’s change those statistics!

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.