The Simple Breakfast Swap That Could Ward Off Diabetes

By Leah Zerbe

If bacon's a part of your daily breakfast routine, it might be time to consider Meatless Mondays. The results of a new study that followed nearly 70,000 French women for more than a decade found that eating a diet heavy in processed meats like breakfast meats and sausages resulted in a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the study, women filled out lifestyle and health questionnaires from time to time, disclosing the type and frequency of meat in the diet.

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As it turned out, after nearly 14 years, women who ate processed meats like sausage, salami, bacon, and ham five times a week faced a 30 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to woman who ate processed meats less than one time a week on average.

Women who ate unprocessed meat like beef, pork, veal, and lamb did not experience a significant increase in type 2 diabetes risk, suggesting that the excess salt and nitrates added to processed meats could affect glucose metabolism and diabetes risk. There are plenty of other reasons to cut back on the amount of meat you eat. Previous studies have linked additives in processed meats to cancer, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has pointed out that U.S. meat is often contaminated with veterinary drugs, including antibiotics. In terms of the environment, cutting back on animal products, even just going meatless one day a week, can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions associated with industrial farming needed to feed the developing world. For tasty ideas, read 6 Tasty Vegetarian Sources of Protein.

Diabetes Care online article (doi: 10.2337/dc11-1518) (18 Nov. 2011).
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Note: The Rodale Research Feed features new research findings that may include preliminary or unconfirmed results. Check with a healthcare provider, or an appropriate advisor you trust, before making any significant changes based on these reports.

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