Common food additive in processed meat is linked to type 2 diabetes

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Nitrites and nitrates occur naturally in water and soil and are commonly ingested from drinking water and dietary sources. They are also used as food additives to increase shelf life.

In a study from the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN-CRESS) of Inserm and elsewhere, scientists found a link between nitrites in diet and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have suggested limiting the use of nitrites and nitrates as food additives.

However, the role of dietary nitrites and nitrates in metabolic problems and type 2 diabetes in humans remains unclear.

In the study, the team analyzed data collected from 104,168 participants in the prospective cohort NutriNet-Santé.

They found that people reporting a higher intake of nitrites overall and specifically from food additives, and non-additives sources had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There was no link between nitrates and type 2 diabetes risk, and the findings did not support any potential benefits for dietary nitrites or nitrates in terms of protection against type 2 diabetes.

According to the researchers, these results provide a new piece of evidence in the context of current discussions regarding the need for a reduction of nitrite additives’ use in processed meats by the food industry, and could support the need for better regulation of soil contamination by fertilizers.

In the meantime, several public health authorities worldwide already recommend citizens to limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrite.

This is the first large study to suggest a direct link between additives-originated nitrites and type-2 diabetes risk. It also supports previously suggested associations between total dietary nitrites and type 2 diabetes risk.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that people with diabetes on Medicare Advantage plans more likely to have worse health, and green tea and coffee could help reduce death risk in diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

The study was conducted by Bernard Srour et al and published in PLOS Medicine.

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