Processed Meat Found to Increase Risk of Diabetes in Native Americans

A recent study is showing results that may not be all that surprising, but should be a good reminder for most people about some basic food facts, as it researched the effects of canned processed meat like SPAM on Native Americans, along with the increased risk of developing diabetes. The results were indicative of things we already suspected, but that became even clearer on this specific test group.

It’s long been suspected that eating a large quantity of processed meat, canned foo products like the brand SPAM, was not good for your health. In the case of Native American, this is a particular concern because of how remote some of them are. These canned products have a good shelf life, and as such make perfect options for those without a grocery store nearby. Also, they are cheap, subsidized by government programs, hence get consumed a lot by this particular group. The study was conducted over a period of 5 years on a group of 300 Native Americans to see whether consumption of canned meat, usually pork or beef, would affect the rate of diabetes in the study group. The results showed that the risks increased by 19% when compared with those who ate little or none of this product. The large difference between processed meat and unprocessed meat is the quantity of sodium used, to allow for longer preservation. This is also found in abundance in brands like SPAM.

The study was conducted on this particular group since Native Americans traditionally have a higher chance of getting diabetes than other races. Half the population are affected by age 55. According to the researchers, the sodium that’s overly present in processed meat is responsible for these results. This would make sense, since other studies found sodium at the source of many cardio vascular diseases. While the effect is more pronounced on Native Americans, it would still apply on everyone else as well. Meanwhile, the American Meat Institute disputes this claim saying that the results are too quick, and that more studies should be done. While the researchers did use enough of a sample, and the conclusions are based on science, it may be too early to draw a parallel to all processed meat.

Overall, one thing is clear is that sodium is still nasty for our health, and it;as important to keep this substance to a minimum. Whether that means processed pork and beef should be avoided is another story, but if you don’t want to take any chance, then perhaps it’s time not to eat SPAM at every opportunity, at least as long as there are alternatives. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, is always a good idea.

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