Additives in processed meats linked to type 2 diabetes, study finds

TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 26: World Health Organization says bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer. WHO says bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer. at the in Toronto. October 26, 2015. (Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty

A new study warns consumers that additives in processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, could increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. 

French researchers recently published their findings in PLOS Medicine. 

Researchers studied data from more than 104,000 participants from 2009 to 2021. The participants self-reported how much nitrites they consumed. 

Researchers found that those who consumed nitrites such as food additives had a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

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The study’s authors hope their research will lead to more regulations regarding food additives in processed meats. However, they said the study needs to be replicated among other populations as well. 

According to the North American Meat Institute, nitrite "blocks the growth of botulism-causing bacteria and prevents spoilage. Nitrite also gives cured meats their characteristic color and flavor."

However, in 2015, World Health Organization experts said eating processed meats can cause cancer

The meat industry has contested the WHO’s finding, saying it is based on studies that show a possible link but don’t prove a cause, and that single foods shouldn’t be blamed for cancer. Many health experts also say there’s no reason to worry about an occasional hot dog or bologna sandwich.

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and nearly 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes impairs the body’s ability to use insulin to regulate blood sugar, leading to high levels that can cause heart problems, organ damage and blindness. Prediabetes means higher than normal blood sugar levels that can lead to full-blown diabetes.

FOX News and the Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.