Red meat is high in saturated fat, and this is the major reason why you need to restrict it in your diet – particularly true if you do concern to your heart health. Even recent studies suggest that its saturated fat content probably is not the only culprit since red meat is considered bad for diabetics, too!
The role of Insulin in diabetes
Insulin is a crucial hormone to support the metabolism of glucose (sugar). It is made by cells of the pancreas.
The cells of the body need energy to keep running well. The energy comes from glucose in the blood, and it is derived from foods you eat. Insulin unlocks the body of cell, allowing glucose to get into the cell to be used for energy.
So, if something’s going wrong with your insulin, some sugar (glucose) in the blood don’t get into the cells. As a result, your blood sugar will increase higher than normal.
The following are the major checklists of how your insulin works to control your blood sugar :
- When there is a high blood sugar (typically after a meal), your pancreas releases more insulin into the bloodstream.
- Insulin travels and circulates through bloodstream, enabling glucose in the blood to get into the cells.
- Then your blood sugar backs to normal. As the blood sugar decreases, the same goes for the amount of insulin secreted by your pancreas.
Not all glucose will go directly into the cells and converted for energy. Some are converted to become glycogen, stored in the liver and muscle cells. When your body has lack of energy, glycogen is converted back to glucose and released into the bloodstream to boost your energy supply.
But when you eat ‘too much’ carbohydrate (higher than what your body needs), your liver and muscle cells cannot accommodate these excess calories. So your body would convert them to become fats (for longer term storage) and as a result you gain weight.
Type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes
Both types end with the same problem, the body loses its normal ability in controlling blood sugar. But type 2 is usually easier to treat than type 1.
While the risk of type 2 is likely associated with some lifestyle factors (such as obesity), type-1 is thought as a consequence of immune system abnormality or genetic factor. See also the differences type1 vs. type 2 diabetes!
In type 2, the pancreas is still able to release some insulin into the bloodstream, but this doesn’t meet to the body needs – or– pancreas can make normal amount of insulin but the insulin doesn’t work as well as it should, less sensitive (a condition called as insulin resistance).
The problem is worse in type 1, because the pancreas is only able to make too low insulin or even sometimes it cannot make any insulin at all!
For this reason, type 1 is also called as insulin-dependent diabetes. This means sufferers would take insulin injection regularly to help keep their blood sugar level normal.
However, some people with type-2 diabetes may need to occasionally take insulin, too.
Why is red meat considered bad for diabetics?
The risk of diabetes is often associated with foods high in glucose (such as simple carbohydrates in white rice).
As mentioned before, since the performance of insulin in diabetics doesn’t work well, it’s important for them to control their dietary glucose. How about red meat?
We know well that red meat is a bad for the heart. Its saturated fat content can increase LDL (our bad cholesterol). This is reasonable since scientists have confirmed that saturated fat is the top leading cause of increased blood cholesterol. And high blood cholesterol is bad for the heart.
One study suggests, high consumption of red meat is linked to the increased risk of type-2 diabetes, too .
The study observed the habits of some participants in eating red meat. Some reduced the consumption of red meat, while others increased it.
The research showed that the risk of type-2 diabetes increased among participants who ate more red meat. On the other hand, those who ate less red meat had decreased risk (about 14 %) during several years of follow-up.
Another interesting finding, the way of how you cook the meat may have an effect, too. Red meats such as in bacon and hot dogs, for examples, are probably quite significant to make type-2 diabetes more likely.
The next question, how red meat affects the risk and why it is considered bad for diabetics?