nitrite exposure associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes

nitrite exposure associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes

A few months ago, in France, the health authorities confirmed the link between exposure to nitrites, additives added in particular in charcuterie, and the risk of colorectal cancer. Exposure to these additives is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to an epidemiological study conducted by French researchers, which has just been published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Nitrites and nitrates are additives very often added to deli meats to extend shelf life, limit the proliferation of pathogenic microbes, or give a pink color to ham. They are also found naturally in vegetables; or in water and food, via certain fertilizers. The increased risk of colorectal cancer linked to these substances has been established. Scientists wanted to know if they could also increase the risk of having type 2 diabetes.

We were interested in the food consumption of more than 104,000 adults of the French population, and in particular their exposure to nitrites and nitrates, with a follow-up which extended for the first included between 2009 and 2021 “, explains Mathilde Touvier, director of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research.

► To read also: The French health agency confirms a link between nitrites and the risk of cancer

Towards a government action plan

Result: exposure to nitrites is associated with an increased risk of having type 2 diabetes. This is in line with what has been observed in experimental studies. ” There are indeed studies in animals, and then even some very clinical studies in humans, not going as far as the risk of diabetes but going so far as to measure early markers of metabolic disturbances, such as blood sugar at fasting or disruption of insulin secretion, which are potentially involved in the risk of developing diabetes in the longer term “, continues the scientist.

These results need to be confirmed by other studies, but given the risk of cancer, the government is developing an action plan. It is not yet known whether these additives will be restricted or banned in deli meats.

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