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‘Spam’ Linked to Diabetes in Native Americans

A new study raises questions about processed meat and diabetes


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.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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