People consuming a low or meat-free diet have a lower risk for hospitalisation or death with diabetes, and this is partly attributable to these diet groups having a lower BMI than regular meat eaters, a new study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes reports.
Researchers evaluated participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study who were diabetes-free at recruitment (1993-2001). Dietary intake data at baseline, and linked hospital admissions and death data for diabetes over follow-up (n= 45,314) were assessed. They categorised participants as regular meat eaters (≥50 g/day; n=15,181); low meat eaters (
The study reported 1224 incident cases of diabetes recorded over a mean of 17.6 years of follow-up. Low meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians were 37% (aHR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.54-0.75), 53% (aHR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.38-0.59) and 37% (aHR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.54-0.74) less likely to develop diabetes, respectively, vs regular meat eaters. Addition of BMI, substantially attenuated these associations (low meat eaters: aHR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.66-0.92; fish eaters: aHR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.51-0.80; and vegetarians: aHR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.76-1.05).
Authors call for further results to examine the role of low meat and non-meat diets in other ethnic groups, and to determine (for example, using genetic variants) whether meat is causally related to the development of diabetes.