Diabetes mellitus associated with processed and unprocessed red meat: an overview

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Nov;67(7):735-43. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1197187. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


According to American Diabetes Association "as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050" imposing a serious burden on healthcare services and highlighting a substantial need to reduce "new-cases" incidence. Diabetes is inextricably linked to diet, in the prevention-spectrum. Red-meat-intake has been positively associated with reduced glycemic control. However, divergence exists among meat subtypes (i.e. fresh and processed) and the magnitude of their impact on diabetes development. The present overview attempted to summarize the latest data regarding red-meat subtypes on the examined association. Four meta-analysis and 10 prospective studies, focusing on the role of fresh and processed red meat in diabetes prevention, were selected. All of studies highlighted the aggravating role of processed meat-products in diabetes incidence, while fresh meat reached significance in only half of them. Therefore, the contribution of fresh red meat on diabetes remains inconclusive. Valid conclusions seem more robust concerning processed-meat-consumption.

Keywords: Diabetes; diabetes mellitus type II; meat products; processed meat; public health; red meat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Red Meat / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors