Epidemiological studies suggest that a diet high in processed meat, with a high glycemic index is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It is not clear if this is due to altered insulin sensitivity or an enhanced postprandial glucose. We aimed to compare the acute metabolic response of two different types of meals after ingestion of the matching diet for four weeks. The study was a randomized, crossover acute meal study. Volunteers consumed either a red meat/refined grain meal or a dairy/chicken/nuts/wholegrain meal after four weeks of the matching diet. After a three-week washout period and four weeks of the alternate diet, they consumed the matching meal. The diets differed with respect to both protein and carbohydrate sources. Blood samples were taken for 180 min for the measurement of glucose, insulin, C-peptide and triglyceride. Fifty-one participants (age: 35.1 ± 15.6 years; body mass index: 27.7 ± 6.9 kg/m2
, 17 with normal and 34 with impaired glucose tolerance) completed two meal tests. The area under the curve (p
< 0.001) and incremental area under the curve (p
= 0.001) for insulin was significantly higher after the red meat/refined grain diet than after the dairy/chicken/nuts/whole grain diet. There was an interaction between meal and glucose tolerance group (p
< 0.05) in the area under the curve (AUC) and the incremental area under the curve (iAUC) of glucose; the red meat/refined grain diet increased glucose relative to the dairy/chicken/nuts/whole grain diet only in the normal group (+2.5 mmol/L/3 h). The red meat/refined grain diet increased glucose and insulin responses compared with the dairy/chicken/nuts/whole grain diet. This meal pattern would increase pancreatic stress long term and may account for the increased risk of type 2 diabetes with this diet.
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