Red meat also contains high levels of sodium and nitrites. “Nitrates are often used as a preservative in meat. During cooking, nitrites undergo a chemical reaction to become nitrosamines,” explains Dr Fox.
These have also produced toxic effects on pancreatic beta cells; nitrites also have been shown to impair the insulin response, she said.
What’s more, red meats can produce end glycation products. “These are protein or fat molecules, which as a result of cooking, end up with sugar molecules stuck to the surface,” explains Dr Fox.
Processed foods, like red meats, cooked for long periods and at high temperature, produce the most end glycation products.