You may not think that meat consumption can play a role in diabetes risk, but a recent study suggests it might.
Type-2 diabetes, as you may be aware, is a condition marked by high blood sugar and insufficient insulin supply. It’s not something that a person can be born with. Instead, it’s acquired over time by regularly consuming foods that contribute to spikes in blood sugar.
Meat does not lead to spikes in blood sugar. In fact, it is essentially sugar-free. That’s why this study may be interesting.
The study suggests that eating a healthy plant-based diet, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, minimally sweetened coffee/tea, vegetable oils, and legumes, are associated with diabetes prevention.
Unhealthy plant-based foods include refined grains, fruit juices, and other sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets, desserts, potato chips, etc.
Researchers looked at data from more than 10,600 participants in three long-term studies in the U.S. They found that people who got type-2 diabetes ate fewer healthy plant-based foods than those who didn’t. They also tended to have a higher body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and be less active.
The researchers also looked at metabolites which are produced when the body breaks down food, etc., to make energy.
However, it’s important to note that suggesting a healthy plant-based diet is associated with a lower risk of diabetes does not mean that meat boosts the risk.
Rather, it says that avoiding unhealthy foods and eating more healthy ones is a good way to prevent type-2 diabetes.
Eating a steak with a side of mushrooms and asparagus, for example, is a healthy meal. So are some chicken thighs with broccoli and quinoa or a bowl of chilli.
But that same steak served alongside French fries, or chicken breaded and served on a brioche bun, or the beef cooked as a burger and smothered in ketchup and BBQ sauce, may boost diabetes risk.
At the end of the day, trying to eat as much unprocessed food is the best way to prevent type-2 diabetes.