Aim/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between processed and other meat intake and incidence of Type 2 diabetes in a large cohort of women.
Methods: Incident cases of Type 2 diabetes were identified during 8 years of follow-up in a prospective cohort study of 91246 U.S. women aged 26 to 46 years and being free of diabetes and other major chronic diseases at baseline in 1991.
Results: We identified 741 incident cases of confirmed Type 2 diabetes during 716276 person-years of follow-up. The relative risk adjusted for potential non-dietary confounders was 1.91 (95% CI: 1.42-2.57) in women consuming processed meat five times or more a week compared with those consuming processed meat less than once a week ( p<0.001 for trend). Further adjustment for intakes of magnesium, cereal fibre, glycaemic index, and caffeine or for a Western dietary pattern did not appreciably change the results and associations remained strong after further adjustment for fatty acid and cholesterol intake. Frequent consumption of bacon, hot dogs, and sausage was each associated with an increased risk of diabetes. While total red meat (beef or lamb as main dish, pork as main dish, hamburger, beef, pork or lamb as sandwich or mixed dish) intake was associated with an increased risk of diabetes, this association was attenuated after adjustment for magnesium, cereal fiber, glycaemic index, and caffeine (relative risk: 1.44; 95% CI: 0.92-2.24).
Conclusion/interpretation: Our data suggest that diets high in processed meats could increase the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.