Reducing meat consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
According to a recent US study, frequent red meat consumption significantly reduces life expectancy. Among other things, this consumption is associated with a higher risk of diabetes. German researchers now report that even occasional abstinence of meat could protect against type 2 diabetes. T
Protect against diabetes
Diabetes is one of the main common diseases in this country. According to medical experts, about 7.6 million Germans are currently a diabetic. In many cases, a metabolic disease can be well controlled by proper diet. However, nutrition can also make an important contribution to protecting yourself from the disease. Thus, the risk of type 2 diabetes can already be reduced by occasional abstinence of the meat.
Diet influences the risk of diabetes
Previous scientific studies have shown how many diets affect the risk of developing diabetes.
For example, US researchers have found that walnut can reduce this risk.
A recent study found that children with low carbohydrate levels have reduced the risk of diabetes.
On the other hand, there are also foods that increase the risk of becoming diabetic. Scientists have reported many years ago that frequent red meat consumption increases the risk of diabetes.
Occasionally, meat abstinence could suppress this danger.
Eat less and live longer
Although numerous studies of the positive effects of (interval) fasting point to the fact that people who eat less, live longer and healthier.
However, in addition to reduced calorie intake, the relation of individual food components is also important, explains the German Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) Nutrition Institute.
Researchers from DIfE, a partner of the German Diabetes Research Center, are now able to demonstrate in the animal model that only the reduction of amino acid methionine prevents type 2 diabetes.
The results of the study were published in the journal "FASEB Journal".
Positive health effects
In previous studies, a research team at DIfE's experimental unit for diabetology found that mice with a low-protein diet had improved blood glucose levels and consumed more energy than animals fed by standard foods.
Current results now show that even the reduction of one amino acid in food has a positive effect on health.
Therefore, methionine poor nutrition improved the metabolism of sugar in mice and their sensitivity to hormone insulin.
"It is interesting that we noticed the beneficial effects of a diet with low methionine without reducing the level of protein and regardless of the intake of food and body fat," explains Dr. Thomas Laeger, Project Manager.
As experts explain, methionine is a vital amino acid containing sulfur and which the body can not produce itself and therefore should be fed with food.
Like all amino acids, it serves as a protein for block building. Among other things, methionine contributes to the formation of neurotransmitters and hormones and thus participates in many important bodily functions.
Although certain nuts, oilseeds and vegetables contain significant amounts of essential amino acids, plant nutrition is usually low in methionine in comparison with the diet of meat and fish.
Possible benefits of vegetarian or vegan diet
Data from the study indicate that the growth factor of fibroblast 21 (FGF21) mediates the protective effects of a low methionine child: when few amino acids are consumed, the liver releases more FGF21.
Vegetarian or vegan diet usually contains small amounts of methionine in relation to foods containing meat and fish.
"Together with colleagues from the Department of Molecular Toxicology and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, we have been able to show that people who eat vegetarian or vegan foods have an elevated level of FGF21 in blood compared to mixed diets," says Teresa Castaño-Martinez, the first author.
After only four days of vegetarian nutrition, levels of FGF21 also increased in the blood of mixed diets.
"If the results of an animal model can be transmitted to humans, this would be an important step in treating diabetes," says Laeger.
"Instead of counting calories and generally refraining from delicious protein-rich foods, only methionine content in foods needs to be reduced. It may already be enough for those who are affected to occasionally take a vegetarian week and thus increase the level of FGF21. This could greatly simplify the acceptance of the change in nutrition. "
However, it should be noted that certain groups, such as children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, have an increased need for methionine.
Extend new knowledge about type 2 diabetes mechanisms
Scientists agree that the trail should definitely continue.
It would be important to find out to what extent a reduced methionine intake actually contributes to an increase in FGF21 levels.
In the future, the research team wants to carry out further studies with vegans to discover additional evidence for the possible involvement of methionine amino acid in the development of Type 2 diabetes (AD)