A couple of sausages and rashers of bacon are staples of a full English breakfast.

But, in a blow to red meat fans, scientists warned today that just two servings a week may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Harvard University researchers, who examined the eating habits and diabetes rates for 200,000 people, advised sticking to one serving per week to ‘optimise 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 has around 130g. 

As it stands, UK health chiefs advise Britons to eat no more than one 70g serving a day. 

As it stands, UK health chiefs advise Britonss to eat no more than one 70g serving of red meat a day

As it stands, UK health chiefs advise Britonss to eat no more than one 70g serving of red meat a day

As it stands, UK health chiefs advise Britonss to eat no more than one 70g serving of red meat a day

The findings suggest that eating just two bacon sandwiches, one burger or two-thirds of an 8oz steak raises the type 2 diabetes risk

The findings suggest that eating just two bacon sandwiches, one burger or two-thirds of an 8oz steak raises the type 2 diabetes risk

The findings suggest that eating just two bacon sandwiches, one burger or two-thirds of an 8oz steak raises the type 2 diabetes risk

This amount of meat is also equivalent to five slices of ham, half a beef burger or one third of a typical steak.

Five tablespoons of cooked mince, half a lamb steak, one-and-a-half tinned hot dogs or 15 slices of pepperoni or salami also hit the 70g toll. 

However, experts behind the new health warning classed one serving of processed red meat as 28-45g, while a portion of unprocessed red meat was 85g. 

Red meat has been demonised for decades due to a wealth of evidence suggesting that eating too much can raise the risk of heart disease, cancer and an early grave.

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.

Processed varieties can also be packed with controversial preservatives and chemicals designed to keep it fresher, enhance taste and boost appearance.

No specific reasons have been found for why red meat may lead to an increased diabetes risk.

What does a 70g serving of red meat look like?

Two thick rashers of bacon

One-and-a-half sausages

Five slices of ham

Half a burger 

One third of a typical steak

Five tablespoons of cooked mince

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But red and processed meat intake has been linked with weight gain. Being overweight or obese are among the highest risk factors for developing the condition.

UK health chiefs recommend consuming no more than 70g of red meat — such as beef, lamb or pork — or processed meat — such as ham, bacon and salami — a day. 

Previous studies have indicated a link between red meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. But the researchers said their study adds a greater level of certainty about the association.

Experts examined the health records and dietary patterns of 216,695 people who were quizzed about what they ate every two to four years, for up to 36 years. 

During this time, more than 22,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes.

Results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that eating red meat — both processed and unprocessed — was strongly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Those who ate the most red meat — around two-and-a-half servings a day — had a 62 per cent higher risk of developing the condition compared with those who ate the least.

And every additional daily serving of processed red meat was associated with a 46 per cent greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Each extra daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 24 per cent greater risk, the study found.

However, substituting a serving of red meat for dairy products was linked to a 22 per cent lower risk.

Despite the study primarily looking at daily meat servings, researchers argued their findings showed a clear risk for anything above two portions a week. 

Lead author Xiao Gu said: ‘Our findings strongly support dietary guidelines that recommend limiting the consumption of red meat.

‘This applies to both processed and unprocessed red meat.’ 

Professor Walter Willett, senior study author, said: ‘Given our findings and previous work by others, a limit of about one serving per week of red meat would be reasonable for people wishing to optimise their health and wellbeing.’

Scientists added that swapping red meat for healthy plant protein sources would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change as well as providing other environmental benefits.

Around 3.9million Britons have type 2 diabetes, with an additional 850,000 thought to be living with the condition but not yet diagnosed. 

In the US, around 33 million have type 2 diabetes. 

The number of adults living with diabetes is expected to more than double by 2050 due to a surge in obesity levels, research suggests. 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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