Vegetarians have another apparent reason to gloat – but you probably shouldn’t do it – about not eating meat: Red meat consumption over time is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association study.
How does this happen? Red meat is not sugary, there’s no aspartame, there’s no glucose . . . so what causes it?
Well, the cause is unclear, so at this point it’s mostly just a correlation. Researchers from the National University of Singapore tracked meat eaters for four years and diagnosed the results of those who changed their meat intake and those who didn’t, and found that those who made no dietary changes were linked with a 48 percent increased likelihood in developing the disease. Processed meats were more likely to lead to diabetes.
Those who reduced their red meat intake in the same period had a 14 percent lower risk. So what to make of this?
It appears unlikely that red meat alone, even the processed kind, promotes diabetes. Unless there is some bodily process occurring that most medical professionals are unaware of, the greater likelihood is that consumption of processed meat is a micro indication of a larger dietary problem. For instance, if someone eats burgers (a processed meat) often, it’s not a stretch to assume that many of those people eat fries with their burger, and again no further stretch to assume that those folks might partake in a sugary drink to wash down that burger and fries.
The same can be said of unhealthy people in general, who are more likely to eat poorly, eat processed meats, become obese, and develop diabetes. Few people who are unhealthy eschew the most unhealthy aspects of a diet (sugar, processed meats); rather, they are unhealthy because of those things. People who consume simple carbs and processed meats are simply more likely to be unhealthy, and develop obesity – and hence diabetes – than those who don’t consume those foods. In other words, it’s more likely to be indicative of correlation, not causation.