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Low-, no-meat diet linked to lower diabetes risk

13 Mar 2019
Individuals following a diet low in or free of meat are at lower risk of diabetes, and this protective association is partly attributable to having a lower body mass index (BMI) when compared with regular meat eaters, according to a study.

The analysis included 45,314 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study who were free of diabetes at baseline and had available data on dietary intake and linked hospital admissions for diabetes over follow-up.

Participants were grouped into four, according to their diet: regular meat eaters (≥50 g per day; n=15,181), low meat eaters (<50 g per day; n=7,615), fish eaters (ate no meat but consumed fish; n=7,092) and vegetarians (ate no meat or fish, including vegans; n=15,426).

Diabetes developed in 1,224 individuals over a mean follow-up of 17.6 years. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis showed that the risk of developing diabetes, when compared to regular meat eaters, was lower in low meat eaters (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95 percent CI, 0.54–0.75), fish eaters (HR, 0.47; 0.38–0.59) and vegetarians (HR, 0.63; 0.54–0.74).

The associations were substantially attenuated following adjustments for BMI. The HRs were 0.78 (0.66–0.92) in low meat eaters, 0.64 (0.51–0.80) in fish eaters and 0.89 (0.76–1.05) in vegetarians.

Researchers pointed out the need for further research to examine the role of low-meat and nonmeat diets in other ethnic groups, as well as to determine whether meat is causally related to the development of diabetes.

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16 May 2019
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