Study Suggests Global Rise In Type 2 Diabetes Attributed To Refined Carbs And Red Meat Consumption 

According to a new study recently published in the journal Nature Medicine, consuming too many refined carbohydrates, such as wheat and rice products, as well as a lack of grains is contributing to the global growth rate of type 2 diabetes. 

Senior author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University said in a statement that the “study suggests poor carbohydrate quality is a leading driver of diet-attributable type 2 diabetes globally.”

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The study also stated that the consumption of red, processed meats is also a contributing factor. The main three conclusions the study cited as primary drivers to over 14 million new cases of type 2 diabetes in 2018 were eating too few whole grains, too many processed carbohydrates/grains, and too much red meat.

“These new findings reveal critical areas for national and global focus to improve nutrition and reduce devastating burdens of diabetes.”

The study estimated that 70% of cases of type 2 diabetes around the world in 2018 were linked to habits relating to food consumption. 

Dr. Mozaffarian and his team involved in the study developed their research model based on dietary intake from 1990 and 2018, and applied the research to 184 countries. When they compared the numbers from 1990 to 2018, they found that 8.6 million more cases of type 2 diabetes brought on by poor diet choices developed. 

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For men, urban residents, and younger individuals especially, the researchers found that eating too many unhealthy foods was a larger contributing factor than not enough healthy foods in some cases. 

Eating too much refined rice, wheat, potatoes, processed/unprocessed meats, and drinking too much sugar-sweetened beverages account for the main dietary habits attributed with 60% of the total global diet-attributable cases of type 2 diabetes. 

On the other end, a lack of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and yogurt attributed to around 39% of cases. 

Individuals in Poland, Russia, and other Eastern/Central European countries where diets tend to focus on red/processed meat and potatoes, had the highest percentage of new type 2 diabetes cases. 

“Our modeling approach does not prove causation, and our findings should be considered as estimates of risk,” the authors wrote.