Link to the study: https://ajcn.nutrition.org/article/S0002-9165(23)66119-2/fulltext
First off, Do NOT be Alarmed
This study and its attention-grabbing title are just another example of fear-mongering by the media. Diabetes is a glucose-handling issue, and red meat contains no glucose.
While this study may show an association between red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes, correlation does NOT prove causation. The conclusions drawn from this study have been cherry-picked and are highly anecdotal.
If the researchers who designed this study were to monitor blood sugars in people who follow a carnivore diet, for example, you would find that glycemic control is much better in those who eat mainly meat.
This study merely followed a population and used self-reporting to track data. The serving sizes used in the study changed considerably since the initial food frequency questionnaires. The reported calorie intake differed drastically and seemed largely inaccurate. Closely recording what the participants ate, using methods such as food diaries, measured portions, etc., would have resulted in more reliable data.
In this study, sandwiches and lasagna were classified as red meat. This fact alone should be enough to discredit the conclusion. Sandwiches and lasagna have high levels of carbohydrates, regardless of their red meat component, and often more carbohydrates than protein.
Healthy Person Bias/Confounder
As seen in this study, people who ate more red meat also tended to exercise less, drink more alcohol, eat more processed foods, have a higher BMI, etc. With all these other lurking variables to consider, how can we possibly conclude that red meat is the contributing factor in type 2 diabetes risk?
Carb/Sugar Intake Not Recorded
While macronutrients like protein and fat were considered, the macronutrient we know causes the greatest increase in insulin and glucose levels - carbohydrates - was not included in the results.
And if what we discussed above wasn’t enough to convince you, check this out: A meta-analysis published last year assessed 21 relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and concluded that “red meat intake does not impact most glycemic and insulinemic risk factors for T2D.”
And here's a full debunking of the red meat/type 2 diabetes study:
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