(CNN) - Almost 26 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 90 percent of these are type 2 diabetics. New research finds eating red meat increases your risk for developing the disease.
Scientists at Harvard found that eating processed meats, about two slices of bacon or one hot dog a day, could increase the risk by 51 percent.
Eating a daily serving of unprocessed meat increased the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 20 percent.
Researchers looked at unprocessed meats, such as pork, lamb, steak or hamburger, in a portion size equivalent to a deck of cards.
The study looked at data from almost a half-million people who were followed for at least 15 years.
Researchers aren't sure why these meats put people at higher risk for the disease, but suspect that cells in the pancreas are getting damaged by substances in red meat.
The study also found that when people substituted healthier protein sources for red meat, such as nuts, low-fat dairy or whole grains, the risk of diabetes declined.
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