Current dietary guidelines for T2D prevention recommend a limited intake of most animal products.
However, research suggests that certain animal products might offer health benefits for lowering T2D risk.
Which meats promote T2D?
The 13 meta-analyses provided estimates of how 12 different animal-based foods may elevate or lower the risk of developing T2D. Categories included:
- total meat
- red meat
- white meat
- processed meat
- total dairy
- full-fat dairy
- low fat dairy
Daily consumption of 100 grams (3.53 ounces) of total meat was associated with a 20% higher risk. The same amount of red meat was associated with a 22% increase in risk.
Half that amount of processed meats, such as deli meat, bacon, and sausages, may have contributed to a 30% increase in T2D risk.
On the other hand, 50 g (1.76 oz) of white meat, which includes chicken and turkey, corresponded with only a 4% higher T2D risk.
This is because this meat has less fat, a healthier fatty acid profile, and less animal-derived iron.
Dairy’s protective potential
Dairy foods might offer protection against T2D or have no effect on its onset.
Consumption of 200 g (almost 1 cup) of milk was associated with a 10% lower risk of T2D, and 100 g (3.52 oz) of yogurt correlated with a 6% risk reduction.
A cup of total dairy and low-fat dairy were each associated with a 5% and 3% reduced T2D risk, respectively.
Nutritionally speaking, dairy products are a source of nutrients, vitamins, and other components (namely calcium, proteins, peptides, etc.) with potential beneficial effects on glucose metabolism. For instance, whey protein in milk has a well-known effect on the modulation of the rise of glucose blood levels after meals, and also on the control of appetite and body weight.
Protective effects in relation to body weight gain and obesity — drivers of type 2 diabetes development — have been reported for probiotics, which can be found in yogurt, the other dairy item whose consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
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