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Diabetologia. 2009 Nov;52(11):2277-87. doi: 10.1007/s00125-009-1481-x. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies.

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Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1122, 0317 Oslo, Norway.



Diet is thought to play an important role in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have found positive associations between meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes, but the results have been inconsistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies of meat consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.


We searched several databases for cohort studies on meat consumption and type 2 diabetes risk, up to December 2008. Summary relative risks were estimated by use of a random-effects model.


We identified 12 cohort studies. The estimated summary RR and 95% confidence interval of type 2 diabetes comparing high vs low intake was 1.17 (95% CI 0.92-1.48) for total meat, 1.21 (95% CI 1.07-1.38) for red meat and 1.41 (95% CI 1.25-1.60) for processed meat. There was heterogeneity amongst the studies of total, red and processed meat which, to some degree, was explained by the study characteristics.


These results suggest that meat consumption increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the possibility that residual confounding could explain this association cannot be excluded.

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