Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Meat Products Could Raise Diabetes Risk: Study

But more research is needed to confirm the findings

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- To avoid developing type 2 diabetes, you may have been told to watch your calories and kick up your activity level. Now researchers say there's something else you might consider: your so-called dietary acid load.

And that might mean cutting down on meat, since the French researchers say a diet heavy in animal products and other acidic foods can cause an acid load in the body, resulting in health complications. This includes reduced insulin sensitivity, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, according to the new study.

"We have demonstrated for the first time in a large prospective study that dietary acid load was positively associated with type 2 diabetes risk, independently of other known risk factors for diabetes," the researchers said. "Our results need to be validated in other populations, and may lead to promotion of diets with a low acid load for the prevention of diabetes."

The term animal products refers to meat, eggs and dairy. On the other hand, greater consumption of fruits and vegetables is believed to lead to a lower acid load, the researchers said.

One diabetes expert in the U.S. called the finding "interesting," but he said he believes there are worse dietary culprits than meat and dairy when it comes to diabetes.

"There is a much stronger causal connection between the consumption of high glycemic foods -- for example, sugar and refined carbohydrates -- and the development of type 2 diabetes," said Christopher Ochner, director of research, development and administration at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City.

"Further, the health and potential weight-controlling benefits of foods like fish, legumes and whole grains likely far outweigh any potential increase in risk associated with these food due to acid production when they are digested," Ochner said. The main dietary advice to people with diabetes or at risk of the disease remains the same, he said: "Avoid high glycemic foods, particularly sugar and refined carbohydrates -- cookies, cakes, candy, white bread, pasta, rice."

The new French study included more than 66,000 women in Europe who were followed for more than 14 years. During that time, nearly 1,400 of the women were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner