Consuming high levels of nitrites may increase the risk

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A study finds a link between eating foods high in nitrite levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Hein van Tonder / Em / Getty Images
  • Nitrates and nitrites are found in food and water. They are sometimes added to foods such as processed meats to improve shelf life.
  • Researchers are still working to discover the risks and benefits associated with consuming nitrates and nitrites.
  • A recent study found that exposure to nitrites through food and water sources may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause serious health problems if people do not treat it properly. Researchers are still working to identify the factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A recent study published in PLOS medicine He studied nitrate and nitrite intake and its associated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They found that a higher intake of nitrites was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but there was no risk associated with nitrate consumption.

Nitrates and nitrites It is found naturally in some foods. It can also be in soil and water. Food manufacturers and manufacturers may sometimes add nitrates and nitrites to foods to help keep foods from spoiling. For example, they can be added to processed meats such as salami or ham.

It is not clear the full risks associated with consuming nitrates and nitrites. For example, higher intakes of nitrites may increase some people’s risk of certain types of cancer. However, researchers are still working to understand how nitrates and nitrites may relate to other disorders and conditions. For example, can nitrates or nitrites contribute to the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes?

In this particular study, researchers looked at exposure to nitrates and nitrites and risks associated with type 2 diabetes. They included more than 100,000 adults in their analysis. Of this group, approximately 80% were female. They used 24 diet recalls to look at participants’ exposure to nitrates and nitrites.

I followed the participants for an average of 7.3 years, and they did regular follow-ups. The researchers observed 969 cases of type 2 diabetes during the study. They collected data on several exposures to nitrites and nitrates:

  • Total nitrates and nitrites
  • Nitrates and nitrites from food and water
  • Nitrates and nitrites added

The study found that nitrite consumption may carry a risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, researchers found no association between nitrates and disease risk. They found that total nitrites and food and water sources of nitrites may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Similarly, they discovered that nitrite additives, particularly sodium nitrite, may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes as well.

Study authors Dr. Mathilde Tuffer, Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team Lead, EREN-CRESS, Inserm, INRAE, Sorbonne Paris Nord, and Dr. Bernard Srour, Ph.D., Pharmacist, MPH, Scientist at EREN-CRESS, Inserm, INRAE ​​​​, Sorbonne University Paris Nord, to the highlights of the study MNT:

“This is the first large-scale cohort study to report an association between nitrite intake from additives and risk of type 2 diabetes. It also supports previously suggested associations between total dietary nitrite and risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Hey further suggested that the findings indicate the need to re-evaluate the addition of nitrites to foods:

“These findings provide new evidence in the context of current discussions on the need to reduce the use of nitrite additives in processed meat by the food industry and could support the need for better regulation of soil contamination with fertilizers.

Meanwhile, many public health authorities around the world are already recommending that citizens limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrite.

The study has some limitations. First, the researchers relied on the participants’ self-reports, which introduce the possibility of errors in data collection.

Second, the study cannot determine that nitrite consumption causes type 2 diabetes. The researchers acknowledge that there is also the potential for selection bias and that they could not verify the nitrate and nitrite exposures reported by the participants. There is a risk of residual mixing, too.

The researchers admit that they may not have been able to detect every case of diabetes among the participants. Limitations on sample diversity make it difficult to generalize results or to all subjects. It also indicates the need for researchers to conduct more studies.

Nancy Mitchell, study author and registered nurse with years of experience working with elderly patients with diabetes, noted the following words of caution: MNT:

The study notes the effect of diet on metabolic health, particularly in relation to type 2 diabetes. However, the same study lists selection bias as a limitation of their findings. The most effective investigation should include participants who best mimic the actual lifestyles and eating habits of the average person.

While diet is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes, we often cannot pinpoint a specific nutrient as the cause of a chronic condition. In fact, the risk of developing diabetes is raised by a combination of poor food choices, underlying stress, sedentary habits, and the like. Multidimensional chronic diseases.

Dr. Mathilde Touvier and Dr. Bernard Srour outlined areas of ongoing research based on data limitations:

As this is the first large-scale study to find these associations, these findings need to be replicated in other large-scale cohorts. Short-term intervention studies on insulin resistance could also be tested, for example.”

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