Proposed Warning Label For Meat: “Eating Meat Contributes To Insulin Resistance And Diabetes”

SodaWarningLabelThe California Senate just passed a bill requiring warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages:

“Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

It’s a shame that sweetened beverages are being singled out. I would like to see a similar label on meat:

“Eating meat contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes.”

Why? Because meat-eating is a risk factor for developing diabetes:
Meat Consumption As A Risk Factor For Type 2 Diabetes, Nutrients, February 2014

Researchers evaluated studies that examined different amounts and types of meat consumption and the risk for developing diabetes. They found that meat-eaters had a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes compared with non-meat-eaters. Here’s a chart summarizing the results of one of the included studies, Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes Care, 2009:

MeatDiabetesRisk2

Mechanisms for meat’s effect on diabetes risk:

  • Effect on body weight – “Nearly all observational studies comparing meat-eaters with those who avoid meat show higher body weights among the former group, a finding mirrored in the results of intervention studies using meatless diets.”
  • Effect on visceral fat (fat around organs in abdominal area) – “Visceral adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance as a result of increased proinflamatory cytokines.”
  • Effect on intracellular lipid (fat inside cells) – Impairs insulin action. This would involve, in part, the glucose transporter (GLUT4), which I discussed here.
  • Effect on iron balance – “Meat provides a substantial quantity of heme iron … a prooxidant that encourages the production of reactive oxygen species, which may damage body tissues, including insulin-producing pancreatic cells.” Even moderately elevated iron stores are associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Nitrates in processed meats – Nitrites and sodium are both linked to elevated diabetes risk.
  • Systemic inflammation – “A 2014 Harvard study reported that as total red meat consumption increased, so did biomarkers of inflammation.”
  • One they didn’t mention was presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs): Animal Fat Is A Natural Reservoir For Environmental Pollutants. “There is now solid evidence demonstrating the contribution of POPs at environmental levels, to metabolic disorders … such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

Do you think a meat label could come to pass? There certainly is enough justification for it.

2 thoughts on “Proposed Warning Label For Meat: “Eating Meat Contributes To Insulin Resistance And Diabetes”

  1. John

    Maybe we should label Hispanics too. Marrying one and having kids could double the children’s risk of diabetes.

    Reply
  2. Bix Post author

    I don’t really think we should label meat. I don’t think we should be labeling or taxing any food (at the consumer level), junk or not. I think it’s done more for political reasons than public health reasons. If you really wanted to help people lose weight and prevent chronic disease, you would spend your resources getting fresh produce into places that have none, or that have none that are affordable and accessible.

    This kind of label creates a slippery slope. If the anti-sugar group gets to label sugar then the anti-meat group should get to label meat, and the anti-dairy crowd should get to label dairy, and the anti-carb crowd should get to label carbs, and the anti-twinkie crowd should get to label twinkies, and the…

    Reply

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