Recent research has revealed that those with a highly acidic, meat-based diet are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A study of 66,485 women revealed a link between high-acid diets and type 2 diabetes. The study lasted 14 years, and within that period there were 1,372 new cases of type 2 diabetes recorded. The results showed that those whose potential renal acid load (Pral) scores were in the top 25% had a 56% greater risk of developing the condition compared to those in the bottom 25%.
The Pral scores refer to the potential impact certain foods have on the kidneys and urine acid levels. Typically, acidic foods that have high Pral levels are animal-based products such as meat, dairy and fish. Fruits and vegetables on the other hand are considered more alkaline, and can help neutralise acidity within the body.
Acidic diets can affect the risk of diabetes when chronic acidosis occurs, a condition caused by increased acidity in the blood and tissues. This condition reduces insulin sensitivity, which relates to the body's ability to regulate blood sugar.
If you think your diet is too acidic, there are some simple ways to reduce your intake of animal products:
- Try meat-free Mondays, one day a week where you avoid all meat produce.
- Replace meat with Quorn or tofu once a week.
- Try to push up the amount of alkaline foods in your diet (i.e. fruit and veg).
Need some inspiration? Take a look here for some great vegetarian recipes. If you want to find out more about how your diet and diabetes are linked, take a look at our diabetes page.
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- When you do eat meat, try to stick to lean white meats rather than fatty red meats.
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