Limiting consumption of animal products is a common advice that health practitioners extend to patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), but new research has discovered that eating certain animal-based foods could in fact reduce this risk.
Italian researchers lead by Dr Annalisa Giosuè, of the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery at University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy, carried out a review of existing meta-analyses into the links between animal products and diabetes. The scientists browsed four databases - Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus and Embase – to uncover suitable studies that compare how different animal products could lead to or prevent the development of T2D.
The team found 175 estimates of how much 12 animal products are linked with T2D. These were total meat, red meat including beef, lamb and pork, white meat including chicken and turkey, processed meat including bacon, sausages and deli meat, fish, total dairy, full-fat dairy, low-fat dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs.
According to the findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, Sweden held recently, consuming 200g of milk per day was associated with a 10% reduction in risk; the same amount of total dairy was associated with a 5% reduction, and low-fat dairy – with a 3% reduction. Eating 100g of yogurt meanwhile slashes the risk of T2D by 6% according to the study.
Cheese and full-fat dairy (daily portions of 30g and 200g respectively) appeared to have no effect to the risk of T2D.
Dr Giosuè commented: “Dairy products are rich in nutrients, vitamins and other bioactive compounds which may favorably influence glucose metabolism – the processing of sugar by the body. For example, whey proteins in milk are known to modulate the rise of blood sugar levels after eating.
“Probiotics are also known to exert beneficial effects on glucose metabolism, which may explain why we found that a regular consumption of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.”
She added that although the results suggest that low-fat dairy products are more beneficial than full-fat dairy products, the finding should be treated cautiously, due to the small size of the reduction in risk and the low quality of the evidence.
Bad news for beef
Other animal products didn’t fare as well as dairy, however. The researchers found that there is a 20% increase in T2D risk with the consumption of 100g of meat per day, with processed meats (30%) and red meat (22%) being the biggest contributors to increased T2D risk.
White meat such as chicken, however, was associated with a lower, 4% increase in risk per 50g daily consumption, and eating moderate amounts of fish and eggs had no apparent effect on developing T2D.
Dr Giosuè concluded: “Although more well-conducted research is needed to achieve high quality of evidence required to give solid recommendations, our extensive review of the scientific evidence shows that regular consumption of dairy foods in moderate amounts, especially low-fat products, milk and yoghurt, may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
“It is also clear that while red and processed meat should be eaten sparingly, moderate amounts of fish and eggs could be good substitutes.”
Source: Consumption of different animal-based foods and risk of type 2 diabetes: An umbrella review of meta-analyses of prospective studies
Published: September 02, 2022