Replacing Red Meat with Other Nonmeat Food Sources of Protein is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in a Danish Cohort of Middle-Aged Adults

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BACKGROUND: Few cohort studies have modelled replacements of red meat with other sources of protein on subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes using dietary changes.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether replacing red meat with other food sources of protein is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: We used data from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort (n = 39,437) of middle-aged (55-72 years old) men and women who underwent 2 dietary assessments roughly 5 years apart to investigate dietary changes. The pseudo-observation method was used to model the average exposure effect of decreasing the intake of red meat while increasing the intake of either poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, whole grains, or refined grains on the subsequent 10-year risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with no changes in the intakes of these foods.

RESULTS: Replacing 1 serving/day (100 g/day) of red meat with 1 serving/day of eggs [risk difference (RD), -2.7%; 95% CI: -4.0 to -1.1%; serving size: 50 g/day], milk (RD, -1.2%; 95% CI: -2.1 to -0.4%; 200 g/day), yogurt (RD, -1.5%; 95% CI: -2.4 to -0.7%; 70 g/day), whole grains (RD, -1.7%; 95% CI: -2.5 to -0.9%; 30 g/day), or refined grains (RD, -1.2%; 95% CI: -2.0 to -0.3%; 30 g/day) was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Analyses of replacements with poultry or cheese, but not fish, also suggested a lower risk, but with wide CIs. After further adjustment for potential mediators (BMI, waist circumference, and history of hypertension or hypercholesterolemia), only the replacement with eggs was associated with a reduced risk (RD, -1.7%; 95% CI: -3.0 to -0.5%; 50 g/day).

CONCLUSIONS: Replacing red meat with eggs in middle-aged adults may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In models not adjusted for potential mediators, replacing red meat with milk, yogurt, whole grains, or refined grains was also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1241-1248
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition.

ID: 261493653