By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
As diabetes rates continue to soar throughout Indian Country, one study may point to a possible reason. A study published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links the consumption of processed meats with increased rates of diabetes in Native Americans.
The study followed over 2,000 Native Americans in the southwest.
“All were free of diabetes at the beginning of the study, but those who ate processed meat (e.g., sausage, bacon) were more likely to develop diabetes over a five-year period,” said a statement about the study from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “The association was particularly strong with spam.”
Jennifer Brown, MHS, RD, CDE, is a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with the Cherokee Diabetes Program. “The recent studies that have shown a link between diabetes and eating processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and cold cuts, should be yet another reason why people should limit their consumption of these foods.”
She added, “In addition to diabetes risk, processed meat increases risk of heart disease and cancer. Healthier protein alternatives include: skinless chicken or turkey, fish without breading, nuts, nut butters, eggs, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese or fat-free Greek yogurt, tofu and other soy products. If you do buy processed meats such as hot dogs, look for products that are nitrate and nitrite free. These products are starting to be more available at local grocery stores.”