According to Harvard researchers, a high consumption of red meat may increase the risk of heart disease in diabetics by up to 50 percent.
The study, part of the Nurses Health Study, looked at the effects of red meat and heme iron intake on the incidence of heart disease among over 6,000 women with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that a high intake of heme iron from red meat, poultry and seafood was associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease. In fact, the highest consumption was linked to a 50 percent increased risk.
Dietary iron is either from heme iron, from red meat, poultry and seafood, or non-heme iron is found in animal and plant sources.
Women who consumed high levels of red meat and heme-iron also consumed less fibre and vitamin C, and had high intakes of saturated fat.
The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care do not prove that heme iron from red meat is the cause of increased heart disease risk. Further studies are needed to find the exact mechanism.
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