New Study Finds High Iron Diet Increases Diabetes Risks

Recent research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology strengthened the causal link between the development of diabetes and elevated iron levels in the blood. A connection between increased iron and type two diagnosis has been known about for years. The study’s lead author, Koh Woon Puay, Ph.D., helped confirm this and also found white meat, such as chicken or fish, could provide a lower risk alternative.

The Study

From 1993 to 1998, researchers recruited 63,257 Chinese people for the study and had them fill out a questionnaire detailing what they ate. Two follow-up interviews were scheduled with recruits from 1999 to 2004 and 2006 to 2010. During these interviews, recruits were asked to report any type 2 diabetes diagnosis.


Within about 10 years, 5,207 cases of diabetes developed.

The researchers compared the diets of those who ate the most red-meat with a selection of those who ate the least. They found that people with high red meat diets were 23% more likely to get diabetes. However, those who ate the white parts of chicken were 15% more likely to become diabetic, and those who ate primarily fish had only a 7% higher risk of developing diabetes.


Should You Cut Out Red Meat?

Even the study authors don’t say that you have to cut out red meat entirely. However, you should reduce your intake and even consider replacing some meat-based meals with vegan meals to help cut your risks. Doctors also point out that elevated iron is just one of many potential risk factors for this condition. Those who have prediabetes or are concerned about diabetes can also control their carb intake, lose weight, and increase exercise.


[expand title=”References“]

There’s a new healthy reason to give a plant-based diet a try. URL Link. Accessed September 8th, 2017.

Meat, Dietary Heme Iron, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. URL Link. Accessed September 8th, 2017.

Iron Levels Linked to Type 2 Diabetes. URL Link. Accessed September 8th, 2017.


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