Diabetes, red meat and spinach

The link between red meat and diabetes, and spinach gets even better.

Living in the US, you have a 1 in 10 chance of developing type 2 diabetes. This rises to 1 in 4 once you hit 65 (source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases). A paper in Am J Clin Nutr, evaluated by Pagona Lagiou of the University of Athens Medical School, reports an increased risk of type 2 diabetes associated with eating red meat(10.3945/ajcn.111.018978). This is “the strongest evidence so far” of a link between meat, especially processed meat, and diabetes.

Interestingly, Colin Butler at the Australian National University in Canberra is suspicious because the paper is published in a journal known for “excessive ‘nutritional cacophony’.” On the other hand, one of the authors at least is well-known with a good reputation.
Kangaroo Fillet - Coles Supermarket, Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown
If true, what does this finding mean for our diet? Well, I for one think that life is too short for it to be miserable, and am going home this evening with some juicy Hereford sirloin in my bag. That said, I’ll be taking aspirin and exercising more too.

But Colin raises another interesting question–what about kangaroo meat? Kangaroo is a low-fat, dense meat that resembles a gamey steak. It is, frankly, delicious (although it’s difficult to cook kangaroo sausages without them drying out). I think studies should be performed forthwith.

In other food-related news, something strange is happening to spinach. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I go to the shops I tend to look for groceries with the longest time before their sell-by-date (unless I’m rooting around in the bargain bin, of course). But it seems that at least for spinach, beloved of Popeye for its Vitamin A content, that might not be such a good strategy10.1021/jf903596v.

Home Grown SpinachAllow from me to quote from Asok Antony‘s (Indiana) evaluation at F1000:

It turns out that spinach that is stored at approximately 4 degrees in clear plastic containers and continuously exposed to fluorescent light for up to 9 days has an enhanced nutritional value for folate and vitamin K.

Wow. This obviously has implications for people on anticoagulants, as Asok notes, but also for food preservation and nutritional enhancement. It’s not going to solve world hunger, but it’s a very interesting finding.

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Filed under Diabetes & Endocrinology, Editor's Choice, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Hematology, Public Health & Epidemiology.

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