Image by Dinner Series via FlickrDid you know that eating just two strips of bacon or one hot dog a day will DOUBLE your risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus? A study published in 2011 by the Harvard School of Public Health shows a very strong link between consumption of processed meats and type 2 diabetes. This was a huge study, consisting of 442,101 participants—almost 30,000 of which went on to develop type 2 diabetes during the study.
Processed meats include items such as hot dogs, packaged lunch meat, deli meats such as pastrami and breakfast items such as sausage and bacon. Only a single serving of one of these items a day will double-up your odds of eventually becoming diabetic. Even if one avoids processed meats altogether, the consumption of a single 100 gram serving (3.5 oz.) of unprocessed red meat each day, such as a hamburger or steak, also increases diabetes risk by almost 20%. On the other end of the scale, the Harvard study shows that replacing red and processed meat with healthier proteins, such as nuts or whole grains, can significantly lower the risk.
What are the consequences of diabetes? It is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations of legs or feet not due to accidental cause.
Here’s a scary fact: According to the CDC, if current trends hold, 1 out of 3 people will have type 2 diabetes by 2050. Just last year, almost 2 million new cases were diagnosed. If these trends are not reversed by shifting the world to a healthier plant-based diet, the current health care systems will be overwhelmed.
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes accounting for 90-95% of all cases. It is caused when the body loses its ability to produce and use insulin, which is the hormone that converts sugars into energy. When this happens, glucose and fats remain in the blood, and over time will cause the body to degenerate.
It is suspected that the nitrates used to preserve processed meats as well as the higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol in both processed and unprocessed red meat are responsible for triggering type 2 diabetes.