Seems there’s no escaping news about diabetes these days. Lately, we’ve seen an outpouring of nutritional criticism over celebrity chef Paula Deen’s new deal to promote Novartis’s (NYSE:NVS) diabetes drug Victoza. That endorsement came along with the news that Southern cooking specialist Deen suffers from Type 2 diabetes. Then on Friday, the Food & Drug Administration approved a new diabetes treatment from Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) that holds great promise. The new drug, Bydureon, is a once-a-week injectable and adds a new weapon to combat this growing scourge.
And it couldn’t have happened a moment too soon. Today’s diabetes news comes from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reports in a new study that Native Americans who eat processed meat were at higher risk of developing diabetes. Much to the likely chagrin of Hormel (NYSE:HRL), which makes the brand-name Spam processed meat, the study referred to the processed meat commonly consumed by Native Americans on reservations as “spam.” The lower-case spam is an often-used term for a wide variety of processed meats, especially those that come in a can.
That sort of food “is available freely to many Native Americans on reservations as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program,” as a Reuters report on the study points out. University of Washington researcher and a lead author of the AJCN study told Reuters: “A lot of communities in this study are in very rural areas with limited access to grocery stores… and they want to eat foods that have a long shelf life.”
The American Meat Institute, which represents companies that process meat, told the news service that “processed meats are a safe and nutritious part of a balanced diet.” And Fretts added that “more follow-up” needs to be done before drawing any conclusions about the spam-diabetes connection.