Like clockwork, every couple years there is another article that surfaces implicating red meat consumption in the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, of course, is a growing problem in developed countries, with millions of new diagnoses each year. Additionally, metabolic disease, a precursor to diabetes, aka “pre-diabetes”, is an even bigger looming problem, affecting millions of people. Does Red Meat Cause Diabetes?
There are certainly dietary implications to this––one of the biggest known culprits being added sugar in the diet. Americans consume well over 100 lbs of added sugar every year, largely in the form of sweets, soft drinks, and processed foods. This is noteworthy, for a few reasons. One, eating lots of sugar is known to regularly spike insulin, leading to insulin resistance. Ultimately, diabetes can develop if this happens long enough and with enough frequency.
But sugar is also known to fuel another problem––yeast overgrowth.
But can yeast, fungi, and the poisons they make (known as mycotoxins), really be implicated in diabetes? That is exactly the premise in The Fungus Link To Diabetes by Doug Kaufmann. One of the more interesting passages in the book details how injecting mice with the a mycotoxin known as streptozotocin in order to give the mice diabetes. This is but one of the many links between diabetes, yeast, and fungal poisons made in the book.
Back to red meat: fresh cuts of beef, lamb, pork, or bison are known to be high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Yes, they are also high in fat, but there is conflicting research over whether fat, particularly saturated fat, in health amounts is bad for you, or directly leads to the development of diabetes, specifically.
One distinction most researchers make is that often the alleged worst red meat offenders are processed red meat products, such as lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc. One caveat we have made with The Kaufmann Diet is that you must be a smart shopper when it comes to shopping for meat. Processed meat products are often high in sugar, additives, colorings, and other ingredients you would not want to include in your diet.
Another factor to consider is the source of red meat; are you buying factory-farmed, antibiotic and hormone laden red meat products? If so, you made be inadvertently be exposing yourself to things like antibiotics and exogenous hormones. These may play a role in certain health problems, and there is a case to be made for them influencing an underlying fungal problem.
Conversely, grass-fed, grass-finished meat has a healthier fat profile––high in omega 3 fats––and is higher in vitamins and minerals than factory farm red meat. It is also lacking in antibiotics, hormones, and the potential mycotoxins that factory farmed animals are invariably exposed to via grain and corn feed.
So is red meat, itself, in its purest, natural form the problem? Or is it processed red meat? Factory farmed red meat? Or, is it the fact that many people who eat enormous amounts of sugar also eat red meat? The blanket statement that red meat causes diabetes is likely lacking in much nuance and context. Certainly, if you are under the eye of a physician, you should heed his or her dietary advice; but notwithstanding any other factors, it is likely perfectly fine to enjoy a grass-fed steak with peace of mind.
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