New research presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, Sweden (September 19-23) shows that dairy products, especially low-fat ones and yogurt, are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
Red and processed meat was linked to a higher risk of T2D, but moderate amounts of fish and eggs could be eaten in their place, according to the Italian researchers.
T2D is the most common form of diabetes and it occurs when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin (the hormone that promotes the uptake of glucose from the blood into the body’s cells, maintaining normal blood sugar levels ) and/or the insulin it makes does not work properly (low insulin sensitivity).
Overweight and obesity are the main risk factors and the incidence of T2D is expected to increase. Common complications include heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, and circulatory problems that can lead to foot amputation.
Existing dietary guidelines1 for the prevention of T2DM recommend eating specific plant-based foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, olive oil and generally advise limiting the consumption of most dairy products. animal origin.
However, not all animal protein sources are nutritionally equal. Knowing how different animal products are associated with T2DM would help update guidelines, making it easier for people to choose the best foods to reduce their risk of diabetes.
To do this, Dr. Annalisa Giosuè, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy, and her colleagues conducted a review of existing meta-analyses on the links between different foods of animal origin. and diabetes. This type of “review of reviews” provides one of the highest levels of evidence available in medicine.
PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus and Embase databases were searched for dose-response meta-analyses of studies on the relationship between different foods and T2DM.
The 13 appropriate meta-analyses contained 175 estimates of the amount of 12 different animal products (total meat, red meat, white meat, processed meat, fish, total dairy, whole dairy, low-fat dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs) may increase or reduce the risk of developing T2D. (Red meat includes beef, lamb, and pork, while white meat includes chicken and turkey. Processed meat includes bacon, sausages, and deli meats.)
There was a substantial increase in the risk of T2D with the consumption of 100 g/day of total meat (20% increase in risk) and 100 g/day of red meat (22% increase) and with 50 g/day of processed meats (30% increase). The quality of the evidence was moderate.
50 g/day of white meat was associated with a lower increase in the risk of T2DM (4%).
Dr Giosuè says: “There are several potential reasons for this. For example, red and processed meat are important sources of compounds like saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and heme iron, all known to promote chronic low-level inflammation and oxidative stress, which, in turn, can reduce the sensitivity of cells to insulin.
“Processed meats also contain nitrates, nitrites and sodium which, among other adverse effects, can damage insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
“White meat, in comparison, has a lower fat content, a more favorable fatty acid profile and a lower amount of heme iron.”
Dairy products, on the other hand, seemed to protect against T2D or had a neutral relationship with the development of the disease.
Milk (200 g/day) was associated with a 10% risk reduction, whole milk (200 g/day) with a 5% risk reduction, and low-fat dairy products (200 g/day) with a reduction of 3%. Yogurt (100 g/day) was associated with a 6% risk reduction.
Cheese (30 g/day) and whole dairy products (200 g/day) had no effect on the risk of T2D. The quality of the evidence was moderate to low.
Dr. Giosuè says: “Dairy products are rich in nutrients, vitamins and other bioactive compounds that can favorably influence glucose metabolism – the body’s processing of sugar.
“For example, whey protein in milk is known to modulate the rise in blood sugar after eating.
“Probiotics are also known to exert beneficial effects on glucose metabolism, which may explain why we found that regular yogurt consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.”
She adds that although the results suggest that low-fat dairy products are more beneficial than whole dairy products, the finding should be treated with caution, due to the small magnitude of risk reduction and low quality of evidence. .
100 g/day of fish and one egg/day also had a neutral association with the risk of T2DM, with low quality evidence.
Dr. Giosuè says: “Type 2 diabetes is one of the leading causes of diet-related death worldwide. Knowing more about how different food components increase or decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes is essential to its prevention.
“While further research is needed to obtain the high-quality evidence needed to make strong recommendations, our extensive review of the scientific evidence shows that regular consumption of dairy products in moderate amounts, especially low-fat products fats, milk and yogurt, can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
“It’s also clear that while red and processed meat should be eaten sparingly, moderate amounts of fish and eggs could be good substitutes.”