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Iron in Red Meat Linked to Diabetes

Several studies show that eating red meat is associated with increased risk for developing diabetes. The authors of a recent paper showed that having large amounts of stored iron in the body, as measured by a blood test called ferritin, is associated with increased risk for diabetes (BMC Med., October, 2012;10(1):119). Excess iron in the body acts as a potent oxidant that can destroy the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Iron and protein in red meat can combine to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogens that increase risk for cancer.

Dietary iron is classified into two types:
• heme iron, found in animals, that is absorbed very efficiently; and
• non-heme iron, found in plants, that is absorbed very poorly.

People who eat a lot of meat have far more iron stored in their bodies than those who eat only plants.

Red meat also contributes to diabetes by tripping off a person's immunity to cause inflammation. High levels of saturated fat in meat can lead to diabetes by blocking insulin receptors to prevent insulin from doing its job of driving sugar from the bloodstream into cells. See the following eZine issues:

November 9, 2008

April 17, 2011
December 31, 2011


Reports from

High PSA often infection

Late-onset asthma



"Energy Drinks" No Better than Caffeine/Sugar Drinks

A study from Minnesota State University in Mankato shows that Red Bull has no more effect on athletic performance than a drink containing only the equivalent amounts of sugar and caffeine. They measured the use of oxygen, heart rates, and how hard the athletes felt they were working during intense exercise (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, October, 2012). This suggests that the other components in Red Bull (taurine, glucuronolactone, vitamins) do not add any benefits beyond those of caffeine and sugar. You can get caffeine and sugar in many soft drinks, coffee, tea or chocolate.


How Sugared Drinks Can Shorten Your Life

Sugar in a drink is much different from sugar in solid food. Sugar in liquid form causes a much higher rise in blood sugar than sugar in solid foods, to increases risk for obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, strokes and premature death.

All sugared drinks contain two sugars called glucose and fructose; either as:
• glucose and fructose bound together in a single molecule (sucrose), or
• glucose and fructose already separated (as in High Fructose Corn Syrup).

GLUCOSE goes from your intestines into the bloodstream to cause a high rise in blood sugar. Your pancreas tries to lower the high blood sugar by releasing large amounts of insulin. Insulin converts glucose to triglycerides which are the fats you store in your body. So all sugared drinks can make you fat.

FRUCTOSE goes directly from your intestines into your liver. It is not allowed to circulate in your bloodstream. In the liver, it is:
• converted to glycogen, the form of sugar that is stored in the liver and muscles; or
• converted to glucose and released into the bloodstream to raise blood sugar levels, or
• converted to triglycerides which are stored as fat in your body.

If you take only a small amount of a sugared drink, you will be fine. However, most people do not drink just a little, and the more they drink, the fatter they become. Too much sugar leads to:

• DIABETES: Fat (triglycerides) inside cells block insulin receptors so the cells can't respond to insulin, and blood sugar levels rise higher and higher. The extra sugar in blood and cells is converted to triglyceride fat which is deposited in the liver to cause a fatty liver that prevents insulin from doing its job of lowering blood sugar, blood sugar rises too high and the person becomes diabetic. The fat is deposited in your muscles to block insulin receptors and prevent them from removing sugar from your bloodstream, and the fat is also deposited in your heart to increase your risk for a heart attack.

• HEART ATTACKS: Diabetes is the single strongest risk factor for heart attacks. People who cannot respond to insulin have very high blood levels of insulin. Insulin constricts the blood vessels leading to your heart to cause a heart attack.

• CANCERS: Insulin stimulates cells to grow and cancer is uncontrolled growth, so high insulin levels can promote cancer. Cancer cells have more insulin receptors on their surfaces than normal cells do, and depend more on sugar for energy. Everything that causes high blood sugar levels also increases your risk for cancer.


This week's medical history:
King George III 's Porphyria Started the American Revolution

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries


Recipe of the Week:

Salade Nicoise

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE


October 21st, 2012
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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