Meat link to diabetes

A comprehensive study links meat consumption to type 2 diabetes

The findings of the Singapore Chinese Health Study, including over 63,000 people aged 45-74 years and following their health for an average of 11 years, reinforced previous warnings about meat and type 2 diabetes. The study found that both red and white meat (poultry) consumption was associated with an increased risk of the disease. The more meat people ate, the bigger the risk.

The study also investigated whether there’s a link between haem iron from meat (type of iron only found in meat) and the risk of type 2 diabetes, and found that the more haem iron people consume in meat, the more likely they are to develop type 2 diabetes. The authors speculated that this may be due to the fact that iron is a strong pro-oxidant that enables the production of molecules that may damage body tissues, particularly insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Haem iron has been associated with type 2 diabetes before so this study supports the link between meat and diabetes. On the other hand, plant iron (non-haem) has no such effect.

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Talaei M et al., 2017. Meat, Dietary Heme Iron, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 186(7):824-833.