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People who regularly eat red meat may have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life, new study shows

People who regularly eat red meat may have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life, according to a large study published in October in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Those who often consume processed meats, like bacon, hot dogs and lunch meat, have an even greater risk.

Cutting down on red meat and making other lifestyle changes could help many people reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes, said Xiao Gu, a nutrition researcher at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and an author of the study. More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and 90 to 95 per cent of those people have Type 2 diabetes. Rates of the disease – which can also damage the heart, kidneys and eyes – are rising in the United States and across the globe.

For the new study, Dr Gu and his colleagues analysed data on nearly 217,000 health professionals who had participated in three large studies spanning several decades. The participants answered detailed questions about their diets and medical histories every two to four years.

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