Common Food Additives Linked to an Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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Foods that commonly use nitrite preservatives include processed meats such as pork, ham, hot dogs, sausages, corned beef, and cured meats. Additionally, some cheeses, smoked fish, and pickled products may contain nitrite preservatives.

A new study found a link between consumption of nitrites from drinking water and diet and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nitrates and nitrates are found naturally in water and soil and are used as food preservatives to increase shelf life. The research was led by Bernard Srour and published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Some public health officials recommend limiting nitrites and nitrates as food additives, but their effects on metabolic problems and type 2 diabetes in humans have not been studied. To study these relationships, researchers used data from 104,168 participants in the NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort.

The NutriNet-Santé study was a web-based cohort study conducted in 2009. Participants aged fifteen and older enrolled voluntarily and reported their medical history, sociodemographics, diet, lifestyle, and key health updates. The researchers used detailed nitrite/nitrate exposure, derived from several databases and sources, and then developed a statistical model to analyze the reported dietary information with health outcomes.

The researchers found that participants in the NutriNet-Santé cohort reported higher nitrite intake overall and specifically from food additives, and non-additive sources had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There was no relationship between nitrates and the risk of type 2 diabetes, and these findings do not support a potential benefit for dietary nitrite or nitrate in terms of protection against type 2 diabetes.

The study has several limitations and additional research is needed to validate the results. The data were self-reported and researchers were unable to confirm specific nitrite/nitrate exposure using biomarkers due to underlying biological challenges. Additionally, the demographics and behaviors of people in cohorts may not be typical of the rest of the population – cohorts include more young individuals, more often women, who exhibit healthier behaviors. Residual confounding may also have contributed to the results as a result of the study’s observational design.

According to the authors, “These results provide new evidence in the context of the current discussion about the need to reduce the use of nitrite additives in processed meat by the food industry and can support the need for better regulation of soil contamination. fertilizers. In the meantime, some public health authorities around the world The world has recommended citizens to limit the consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrite.

Srour and Touvier added, “This is the first large-scale cohort study to suggest a direct link between additive-derived nitrite and the risk of type-2 diabetes. It also supports the previously suggested association between total dietary nitrite and the risk of T2D.”

Reference: “Dietary exposure to nitrites and nitrates associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study” by Bernard Srour, Eloi Chazelas, Nathalie Druesne-Pecollo, Younes Esseddik, Fabien Szabo de Edelenyi, Cédric Agaësse , Alexandre De Sa, Rebecca Lutchia, Charlotte Debras, Laury Sellem, Inge Huybrechts, Chantal Julia, Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, Benjamin Allès, Pilar Galan, Serge Hercberg, Fabrice Pierre, Mélanie Deschasaux-Tanguy and Mathilde Touvier, 17 January 2023, PLOS Medicine.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004149


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