A few sausages and rashers of bacon are a must for a full English breakfast.
But in a blow to red meat lovers, scientists today warned that two servings a week may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Harvard University researchers, who examined the dietary habits and diabetes rates of 200,000 people, recommended to stick to one serving per week to “optimize health”.
But a typical 70g serving is roughly equivalent to just two thick rashers of bacon or one and a half sausages, meaning a cooked breakfast contains around 130g.
As it stands, UK health officials are advising Britons to eat no more than one 70g serving per day.
A typical 70g serving is roughly equivalent to just two thick rashers of bacon or one and a half sausages, meaning a cooked breakfast contains around 130g. As it stands, UK health officials are advising Britons to eat no more than one 70g serving per day. However, the experts behind the new health warning ranked a serving of processed red meat at between 28 and 45g, while a serving of unprocessed red meat weighed 85g.
The results suggest that eating just two bacon sandwiches, a hamburger or two-thirds of an 8-ounce steak increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
This amount of meat is also equivalent to five slices of ham, half a beef burger, or a third of a typical steak.
Five tablespoons of cooked ground meat, half a lamb steak, one and a half canned hot dogs or 15 slices of pepperoni or salami also weigh in on the 70g.
However, the experts behind the new health warning ranked a serving of processed red meat at between 28 and 45g, while a serving of unprocessed red meat weighed 85g.
Red meat has been demonized for decades due to a wealth of evidence suggesting that eating too much can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and early death.
Although it is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins, it can be high in salt and saturated fat.
And processed varieties can be filled with controversial preservatives and chemicals designed to maintain their freshness, improve their taste and improve their appearance.
No specific reason has been found as to why red meat might lead to an increased risk of diabetes.
What does a 70g serving of red meat look like?
Two thick slices of bacon
A sausage and a half
Five slices of ham
Half a hamburger
A third of a typical steak
Five tablespoons of cooked minced meat
But eating red and processed meat has been linked to weight gain, and being overweight or obese is among the highest risk factors for developing the disease.
British health officials recommend eating no more than 70g of red meat – such as beef, lamb or pork – or processed meat – such as ham, bacon and salami – per day.
Previous studies have indicated a link between red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes risk, but the researchers said their study adds a greater level of certainty to the association.
The experts looked at the health records and eating habits of 216,695 people who were asked what they ate every two to four years, for up to 36 years.
During this period, more than 22,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes.
Results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that Consumption of red meat – processed and unprocessed – was strongly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Those who ate the most red meat – about two and a half servings per day – had a 62% higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate the least.
And each additional daily serving of processed red meat was associated with a 46% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to the study, each additional daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 24% higher risk.
However, replacing a serving of red meat with dairy was associated with a 22 percent lower risk.
Although the study focused primarily on daily servings of meat, the researchers argued that their results showed a clear risk for any consumption greater than two servings per week.
Xiao Gu, lead author and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nutrition, said: “Our results strongly support dietary guidelines that recommend limiting red meat consumption.
“This applies to both processed and unprocessed red meat.”
Professor Walter Willett, lead author of the study and expert in epidemiology and nutrition, said: “Given our results and previous work by other researchers, a limit of around one serving per week of red meat would be reasonable. for people wishing to optimize their health and well-being. .’
Replacing red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, while providing other environmental benefits, scientists say.
Around 3.9 million Britons have type 2 diabetes, with a further 850,000 people thought to have the condition but have not yet been diagnosed.
In the United States, approximately 33 million people have type 2 diabetes.
According to research, the number of adults with diabetes is expected to more than double by 2050 due to increasing levels of obesity.