Eating less processed meat can prevent diabetes and other diseases

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Reducing the amount of processed meat people eat in the US by one-third could prevent over 350,000 cases of diabetes in the next 10 years, according to a new study.

This reduction, about 10 slices of bacon a week, could also lead to fewer cases of heart disease and colon cancer.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of North Carolina developed a tool to estimate the health impacts of eating less processed and unprocessed red meat.

Previous studies have shown a link between eating a lot of processed meat and chronic diseases. However, few studies have looked at the impact on multiple health outcomes at once, and the effects of unprocessed red meat are still not well understood.

The team used data from a national health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a simulated model of the US adult population.

This model, called a microsimulation, is the first to estimate how reducing meat consumption affects the risk of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancer.

The study found that cutting processed meat intake by 30% could prevent more than 350,000 diabetes cases, 92,500 cases of heart disease, and 53,300 cases of colorectal cancer over a decade.

White males and those with an annual household income between $25,000 and $55,000 would benefit the most from these changes.

The researchers also looked at the effects of reducing unprocessed red meat and both types of meat together. Reducing both by 30% could prevent 1,073,400 diabetes cases, 382,400 cases of heart disease, and 84,400 cases of colorectal cancer.

Even cutting unprocessed red meat alone by 30% could prevent more than 732,000 diabetes cases, 291,500 cases of heart disease, and 32,200 cases of colorectal cancer.

The study showed that reducing unprocessed red meat had a bigger impact on preventing diseases than reducing processed meat. This is partly because people generally eat more unprocessed red meat (47 grams a day) than processed meat (29 grams a day).

However, since there is less evidence about the effects of unprocessed red meat, these findings should be taken with caution, and more research is needed.

The study was published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal. Professor Lindsay Jaacks from the University of Edinburgh, one of the study authors, said that reducing meat consumption has been recommended by various organizations to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These organizations include the UK’s Climate Change Committee and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Jaacks stated that their research shows that changing diets could also have significant health benefits in the US, making it a win-win situation for both people and the planet.

In summary, this study highlights the potential health benefits of eating less processed and unprocessed red meat.

By making small changes to our diets, such as eating fewer slices of bacon or one less beef burger each week, we could significantly reduce the risk of serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancer.

This research provides a compelling reason to reconsider our meat consumption for both our health and the environment.

If you care about health, please read studies about the benefits of low-dose lithium supplements, and what we know about egg intake and heart disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about potatoes and high blood pressure, and results showing 6 best breads for people with heart disease.

The research findings can be found in The Lancet Planetary Health.

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