Health Front: Meat Products Could Raise Diabetic Risk

By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA, TRT Contributing Writer

Cutting down on meat and dairy products in favor of a diet packed with vegetables, grains and fruit could dramatically reduce the risk of diabetes, reports a new large study. The researchers in France analyzed information from 66,485 female teachers for 14 years. The researchers discovered that a diet of animal products triggered the body to release more stomach acid. A diet rich in animal protein promotes an acid load, or excess acid, which will spark serious complications with the metabolic system. This in turn reduces the body’s ability to regulate insulin levels, leading to diabetes.

Women whose potential renal acid load scores (PRAL) were in the top 25 percent had a 56 percent greater risk of getting diabetes than those in the bottom 25 percent, notes the study published recently in the journal Diabetologia. The renal acid score (PRAL) refers to the potential impact certain foods have on kidney and urine acid levels. They found that those with the most acidic diet were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Meats can have a PRAL value of 13, cheeses 26, and fish 10.

The researchers conclude that this is the first prospective cohort study to show that a dietary acid load is directly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. New dietary recommendations should not only incriminate specific food groups (high sugar foods) but also include maintaining an adequate acid/base balance. Along with watching our calories, avoiding high glycemic foods and kicking up one’s activity level, researchers advise watching out for the dietary acid load.

“A diet rich in animal protein may favor net acid intake, while most fruits and vegetables form alkaline precursors that neutralize the acidity,” wrote Dr. Guy Fagherazzi and Dr. Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, of the Center for Research in

Epidemiology and Population Health, in Paris. “Contrary to what is generally believed, most fruits – such as peaches, apples, pears, bananas, berries and even oranges – actually reduce acid load once the body has processed them.”

About 132,000 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with diabetes each year. At this rate it will eventually cost the United Kingdom‘s National Health Service 1 million pounds every hour to treat almost 4 million people with diabetes. The diabetes epidemic could cripple the National Health Service as patients succumb to complications including heart disease, stroke and amputations.

Experts agree that there is a real opportunity to turn the tide if patients start making simple lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly.

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January 8th, 2014

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