Articles, Blog

Why is Meat a Risk Factor for Diabetes?

October 10, 2019

“Why is Meat a Risk Factor for Diabetes?” We’ve known that being
overweight and obese are important risk factors
for type 2 diabetes, but until recently not much
attention has been paid to the role of specific foods. This 2013 meta-analysis
of all the cohorts looking at meat and diabetes found significantly higher risk associated
with total meat consumption, and especially processed meat,
particularly poultry. But why? There’s a whole list of
potential culprits in meat. Maybe it’s the saturated fat
and animal fat. Maybe it’s the trans fats that
are naturally found in meat. Maybe it’s the cholesterol
or the animal protein. The heme iron in meat
can lead to free radicals, and this iron-induced oxidative
stress iron may lead to chronic inflammation,
type 2 diabetes. Advanced glycation end
products are another problem. They promote oxidative
stress and inflammation, and food analyses show
that the highest levels of these so-called glycotoxins
are found in meat, particularly roasted, fried,
or broiled meat, though any foods from
animal sources can be potent sources of these
pro-oxidant chemicals. In this study they fed diabetics
foods packed with glycotoxins, like chicken, fish, and eggs, and their
inflammatory markers shot up: tumor necrosis factor, C-reactive
protein, vascular adhesion molecules. Thus in diabetes, dietary AGEs
promote inflammatory mediators, leading to tissue injury. The good news though is that restriction of these
kinds of foods may suppress these inflammatory effects. Appropriate measures
to limit AGE intake, such as eliminating these foods or
sticking to just steaming and boiling meat, may greatly reduce the
already heavy burden of these toxins in
the diabetic patient. These glycotoxins may
be the missing link between the increased consumption
of animal fat and meats and the development of type 2
diabetes in the first place. Since the 2013 meta-analysis was
published, this study came out, in which about 17,000 people were
followed for about a dozen years. They found an 8% increased risk for
every 50 grams of daily meat consumption. So that’s just like a quarter of
a chicken breast worth of meat for the entire day may significantly
increase risk of diabetes. Yes, it could be the glycotoxins
in meat, or the saturated fat, or the trans fat in meat,
or the heme iron, which could actually promote the formation of
carcinogens called nitrosamines though they could also just be produced
in the cooking process itself, but this is new. There appears to be a clear excess of diabetes
in those that handle meat for a living. Maybe there’s some kind of diabetes
causing zoonotic infectious agent like viruses present in fresh cuts
of meat, including poultry. Over-stimulation of the
aging enzyme TOR pathway by excess food consumption
may be a crucial factor underlying the diabetes epidemic,
but not just any food. Animal proteins may not only stimulate the cancer-
promoting growth hormone IGF-1, but provide high amounts of leucine,
which stimulates TOR activation, and appears to burn out the insulin-
producing beta cells in the pancreas and contribute to type 2 diabetes. So it’s
not just the high fat and added sugars. Critical attention has to be paid
to the daily intake of animal proteins. In general, lower leucine levels
are only really reached by the restriction of animal proteins. As I noted before, to reach the leucine
intake provided by dairy or meat, we’d have to eat nine pounds
of cabbage, 100 apples. These calculations exemplify the extreme
differences in leucine amounts provided by a more standard diet in comparison
to a more plant-based diet. I’ve previously reviewed the role
endocrine-disrupting industrial pollutants in the food supply may play
in a 3-part video series. Clearly the standard American
diet and lifestyle contributes to the epidemic
of diabetes and obesity, but these industrial pollutants
can no longer be ignored. We now have experimental evidence
that exposure to industrial toxins alone induces weight gain
and insulin resistance and therefore may be an
underappreciated cause of obesity and diabetes. Consider what’s happening
to our infants. Obesity in a six-month old is not
related to diet or lack of exercise. They’re now exposed to hundreds
of chemicals from their moms, straight through the umbilical cord, some of which may be
obesogenic — obesity generating. Given the millions of pounds
of chemicals and heavy metals released every year
into the environment, it should make us all stop and think about how we live and the choices we
make every day in the food we eat. As this 2014 review of the evidence
on pollutants and diabetes noted, yes, we can be exposed
through some toxic spill, but most of the human
exposure nowadays is from the ingestion
of contaminated food as a result of bioaccumulation
up the food chain. And the main source, around 95%,
of persistent pollutant intake is through dietary intake of animal fat.

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  • Reply Michael Janavel August 21, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Thank you Dr Greger for getting me off meat and eggs, and 99.9% of dairy (small amount of plain yogurt on my bread in the morning). It really wasn't that hard to do, either.

  • Reply egal August 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm


  • Reply MackaliMesut August 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Dr Greger, could you do a video about soy and soy isolate. I'm hearing bad things about it lately.

  • Reply Stacy August 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    What about the chicken obesity virus that was discovered a few years ago?

  • Reply Katie Reines, MS, RD. August 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm


  • Reply 240FP August 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    What the heck? We need leucine, it's your basic amino acid. It helps with muscle growth and reduces body weight.

  • Reply zukodude487987 August 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Got Leucine?

  • Reply nonchalantd August 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    comprehensive, thorough reporting

  • Reply 2111935 August 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply silkhead44 August 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I've treated a proportion (you have to know who and why) of my clients with type 2 diabetes with a paleo diet with great success accompanied by weight loss and new found stamina. And the meat is grass fed (no sugar or additives added) and not processed…mostly lamb and buffalo. It's called personalized nutrition, not this one size fits all . Otherwise eat your organic veggies till you're green in the face and stop eating out of a box or bag and get off your butt and your sugar levels will go down. One man's food is another one's poison Dr Gregor's posts will effect certain sub populations but not all. There was a study with American natives with Type 2 diabetes who were put on a diet that mimicked one they ate over 2000 years ago (before corn)…buffalo meat and certain root vegetables and fruits seeds etc…guess what happened?

  • Reply Dolly Woofwoofer August 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    wow its so crazy how stupid americans will eat ANIMALS but have a problem with eating plant based foods……… WOW!!!!  LEAVE IT TO STUPID FAT AMERICANS TO BE STUPID AND FAT!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Lulu August 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Pleeease make a video abou contraceptive pills!!?

  • Reply Joseph1NJ August 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Dumb question, why aren't most of the carnivorous body builders of the last four decades diabetics, or dying of cancer? Back then, they ate large amounts of eggs, beef, etc. We know exercise is good for you, but it also raises IGF1.

  • Reply Witcherworks August 21, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    When will people remove the Log from their eyes so they can help others remove the dust from others eyes? MEAT is a last resort food! Just because we can pump it out on a conveyor belt doesn't change that FACT. They have gotten us hooked on this stuff and that's why most people are hooked on drugs. Instead of appreciating the blessing we abuse with passion. Now we need more people like Dr. Greger to teach humans common sense again.

  • Reply lollandz August 21, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Organic meat from grass fed cows is extremely healthy.
    Eggs are superb way to get healthy fat and sulfur.
    There are no saturated fat in a clocked artery

  • Reply Cassius August 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    So is this still then true about saturated fat damagin beta cells:

  • Reply Andy Vegan August 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Amazing video!

  • Reply akemp7777 August 22, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I am anti meat and haven't eaten it for 15 years, but just curious why diabetes is so common in Indians (Asian decent)…the largest vegetarian population in the world??

  • Reply Raw Intuition August 23, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Wonderful video as always, Dr. Greger! Thank you for everything you do!!

  • Reply William Read August 24, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Thank you, how long have you been a vegan Dr. Gregor? Keep up the good videos!

  • Reply VeganGains'SlightlyLessRetardedTwin August 24, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Greger is directly funded by PETA, and no one finds that curious or troubling when taking his nutritional advice…


  • Reply Sugarloaf August 24, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Stop eating meat. It is poison.

  • Reply Susan Brock August 25, 2015 at 9:31 am

    good video

  • Reply Practical Pisces August 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm


  • Reply Kickass 101 May 9, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I'm afraid if I go vegan I'll turn into an angry intolerant person like 99% of vegan commenters I see on YouTube.

  • Reply Tom Thomas May 31, 2016 at 5:28 am

    thank you mike, i love you as much as george carlin maybe more.

  • Reply Golan Remmen July 25, 2016 at 5:45 am

    Here's an important additional factor for why meat consumption might increase the incidence of diabetes:  the insulinogenic factor.   Meat is low glycemic, but very high insulinogenic.   Meat forces the pancreas to secrete lots of insulin even though meat consumption causes very little rise in blood sugar.  More insulin secretion,  especially if the blood stream is carrying animal fat,  results in insulin resistance,,  which is what type 2 diabetes is all about.

  • Reply tony beach July 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    He said a lot of maybe's, possibilities, and nothing he said was certain or proven. Human beings have always eaten meat. Our gut is designed to process meat. He should pay more attention to the huge affect sugar especially Fructose in our foods is having on obesity and diabetes instead of rabbiting on about something that we are designed to eat.

  • Reply ghena alhadwah August 28, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Hello doctor, i have a question ,what does the adrenaline in meat effect to us?

  • Reply lamfilipos October 31, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Ναι, το γεγονός αυτό είναι πραγματικά ανησυχητικό. Υπάρχουν τρόποι για το πώς να μειώσει κάτω από αυτόν τον παράγοντα κινδύνου για διαβήτη υπάρχει.

  • Reply epsilon exe December 6, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Please cite the work you show us

  • Reply Here's Hot Rod January 25, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Only process meat does that. :/

  • Reply xBaphometHx April 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I watches the whole video and saw no correlation between meat and animal fat intake and diabetes.

    Thanks dr. Greger.

  • Reply Oblivion 1 May 10, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I'll just steam chicken for now on.

  • Reply Lane2268 June 25, 2017 at 4:20 am

    this is amazing I have all of my blood test as a diabetes since 2000 I have kept track and have categorized my inflammation markers… sorry this according to my markers is Bullshit. Diabetes is carbohydrate intoxication, Vegans sure are idiots and peopole who beleive this nonsense are lemmings.

  • Reply joel quinn July 9, 2017 at 1:14 am

    no shit an all around diet of plants and animals is fine an excess of anything is bad for you

  • Reply Lane2268 July 10, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    DR. Greggor, or is it mr hyde? Perhaps a Charlatan, you state studies where has these so called studies found and who supported their funding? hoe many people are useless vegans on these panels. Last question where is the funding for a trial on said your findings and the results of diabetics on the paleo diet? We will never see that because all the talk of inflammation leads to is the greatest culprit for inflammation in the body is Sugar. Your a schill for vegans and Peta, A charlatan. Get a 10,000 person trial 5k on your stupid guidelines and 5k on a paleo all diabetic with aic ranges over ten Lets see who has better results, I already know My diabetes is in near remission from a switch to paleo over crap from nutritionist in the past. What a fraud!

  • Reply PumpkinEskobarr July 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Jeez, remember when the atkins diet was a life saver… an all meat low carb diet… bad decision. Although white flour, rice and such are the worst choice of carb.

  • Reply J Sot. August 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Thank you for quantifying all this evidence linking diabetes 2 and obesity to meat and dairy consumption…Funny thing my mom has always read health based books and she told me that toxins are stored in the fat of animals. This video has just supported and explained well many of the health facts I've heard and then some.

  • Reply Henrik Rasmussen February 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    IT ISNTH!!

  • Reply sinead macrae April 14, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Hi, does anyone know how to read the science results that he posts up where it is something like beef 18 ± 6 for glucose.

  • Reply Thales Nemo May 20, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    A Totally nonsensical video ! Cherry picked data !

    It is the rubbish USDA food pyramid written by an unscientific vegan staffer of the McGovern commission in 1977 !

    Two men all meat diet for one year 1930 by Walter S McLean and Eugene F Du Bois

    Nina Teicholz: Red meat and health

    Why vegans dislike Jordan Peterson ( Awesome argument— its a BELIEF DUH)

    Did America Get Fat by Listening to Government Experts?

    David diamond -An update on demonization and deceptive research of saturated fat

    In defense of the carbohydrate insulin model of weight gain

    Dietary sugars stimulate fatty acid synthesis in adults.
    Randomized controlled trial
    Parks EJ, et al. J Nutr. 2008.

    1977 McGovern commission report – The birth of the rubbish USDA food pyramid!

    How Big Government Backed Bad Science and Made Americans Fat: New at Reason

    The differences between plant and animal proteins

    A brief history of why we get fat, why we hate it

    Dr Gary Fettke :The role of nutrition in everything

  • Reply Life pro Lover June 10, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    This so called dr seems to be very bias

  • Reply Ruby July 15, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Fucking vegans

  • Reply Plush Toys Chaotic Adventures September 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Healthy animals eat grass and their bodies covert this grass into protein and fat… Common sense would say that meat is healthy. Unhealthy animals are fed unwisely and are given antibiotics… Common sense would say that meat is bad. What's the deal with meat Dr? There's so much research on the type of bad meat we're eating that it makes lots of sense to avoid it. But if the meat is healthy why avoid it? Vegans get sick too. Stop proposing a lifestyle that makes no sense. I know someone that was eating a vegan lifestyle and got diabetes… How? Explain that to me. The man though he was doing himself a favor and got sick because of this non sense. You sir need to research the real deal and accept it if it is contradictory to what you preach. Open your mind but I'm sure you have backers and would hate to lose their sponsorship.

  • Reply Dexter Lacroy October 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    What about leucine levels in legumes?

  • Reply R L Guerrero October 24, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Fuck you, leftist fake scientist!

  • Reply Aleksander Amid January 8, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Everything is about carbs, meat in keto diet is not a diabetes problem… But miX high carbs with high fat and protein = 100% diabetes. Carbs/sugar is dangerous. Especially Sugar.

  • Reply Keith Morrison March 18, 2019 at 4:57 am

    What a truckload of garbage. Meaning this video.

  • Reply Mark Pignataro March 23, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Diameates rather than diabetes 🍄🥦🥒🌶🌽🥕🥔🍆🥑🥝🥥🍎🍏🍌🍍🍅🍓🍒🍑🍐plant based foods for the win

  • Reply Nathalie Jolivert September 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    All bullshit.

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