In a large new study, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the more red meat a person eats, particularly processed red meat like hot dogs, bacon, and cold cuts, the greater the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.*
The research, published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracked the dietary habits of 200,000+ men and women for a decade or more, and found:
- A mere 2-ounce serving a day of processed red meat increased the risk of diabetes by 50%.
- A 4-ounce serving a day of unprocessed red meat (such as steak, hamburger, and pork) was linked with a 20% increased risk of diabetes.
- Eliminating 1 serving of red meat a day and eating instead a healthful protein-rich substitute like fish, beans, or nonfat dairy lowered the risk of diabetes by up to 35%.
The scientists, led by Harvard research fellow An Pan, stressed the need for Americans to fight diabetes’ relentless upward trajectory by adopting a healthier lifestyle that promoted whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, daily physical activity, and loss of excess weight.
Never was there a more important time to get our commitment for healthier living into high gear. In the U.S. alone, nearly 30 million people have diabetes. And if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050, recently estimated the Centers for Disease Control.
Our economy suffers mightily too. The American Diabetes Association calculates that the health costs associated with diabetes are nearly $175 billion annually. The price tag explodes to $214 billion annually when the costs of pre-diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome (another precursor to diabetes), and undiagnosed diabetes are taken into account.
Diabetes worldwide: 366 million people
And diabetes isn’t just a U.S. problem. In new estimates announced last week at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, 366 million people worldwide now have diabetes. That’s 54 million more people than the entire population of the United States.
The power of the Pritikin Program
As studies published over the past three decades on people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center have shown, a healthy Pritikin lifestyle can not only control but reverse the disease processes associated with diabetes.
Following 652 Type 2 diabetic men and women who attended the Pritikin Longevity Center, UCLA researchers found that within three weeks, 76% of those in the early stage of the disease (not yet taking oral medications) lowered their blood glucose to normal ranges.**
Several studies have also shown that people on medications benefit from the Pritikin Program. A meta-analysis of 864 Type 2 diabetics attending Pritikin found that fasting glucose fell on average 19%. Plus, of those on oral drugs, 74% left Pritikin free of these drugs, and the majority of the remaining 26% had their dosages reduced. Of those taking insulin injections, 44% left insulin free.***
Studies have also found that the Pritikin Program reduced fasting insulin by 30 to 40%.
Optimal control of Type 2 diabetes
In their lectures at the Pritikin Longevity Center, physicians Yanelis Martin, MD, and Danine Fruge, MD, summarize that optimal control of Type 2 diabetes involves:
- Following a healthy low-calorie-dense diet, like the Pritikin Eating Plan, that includes plenty of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, beans/legumes, minimally processed whole grains, nonfat dairy products and/or soy, and modest amounts of lean animal protein choices.
- Exercising regularly: 1) Aerobic exercise daily, a minimum of 30 minutes and optimally 60 to 90 minutes, alternating moderate-intensity days with vigorous-intensity days; 2) Full-body resistance routine two to three times weekly; and 3) Stretching exercises daily to greatly enhance overall flexibility and ability to exercise more freely.
- Scheduling routine medical, podiatric, and eye evaluations. Dental exams are important, too.
- Self-monitoring of one’s own blood glucose daily, if not more frequently, at least until it is very well controlled, in order to assure that blood glucose and other risk factors are properly controlled. Self-monitoring will also help detect and treat any complications in their early stages.
- Prompt adjustment of medications (possibly reductions and/or eliminations) as guests master and enjoy the most powerful intervention of all – a Pritikin lifestyle.
** Diabetes Care, 1994;17: 1469
*** Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005; 98: 3