Substituting processed red meat with unprocessed red meat, substituting total or processed red meat with fish, and substituting processed red meat with poultry are all associated with a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers in this cohort study of 53,163 participants in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study investigated associations between substitutions of types of red meat (total, unprocessed, processed, high-fat, and low-fat) with fish or poultry, as well as substitution of unprocessed red meat for processed red meat, and the risk for type 2 diabetes. After a median follow-up period of 15.4 years, there were 6879 cases of type 2 diabetes. At baseline, a 192-item food questionnaire was used to assess diet. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals for type 2 diabetes associated with various food substitutions of 150 g/week were calculated using adjusted Cox proportional hazard models.
Substituting processed red meat with poultry (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-0.99) or fish (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.91-0.97) and replacing total red meat with fish (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99) were associated with a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes. Substituting unprocessed red meat for processed red meat was also associated with a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes. Although replacing high-fat or low-fat red meat with fish was associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk, the same substitutions with poultry did not show the same associations.
Study investigators concluded that “adopting a diet that replaces red meat, particularly processed red meat, with poultry or fish may prevent development of type 2 diabetes.”
Ibsen DB, Warberg CK, Würtz AML, Overvad K, Dahm CC. Substitution of red meat with poultry or fish and risk of type 2 diabetes: a Danish cohort study [published online September 17, 2018]. Eur J Nutr. doi:10.1007/s00394-018-1820-0