(HealthDay News) — Total nitrites and additive-originated nitrites are linked to higher diabetes risk, according to a study published online in PLOS Medicine.

Bernard Srour, PhD, MPH, from Sorbonne Paris Nord University, and colleagues examined the association between nitrites/nitrates and type 2 diabetes (T2D), distinguishing foods and water-originated nitrites/nitrates from those from food additives. The analysis included self-reported exposures from 104,168 adults followed for a median 7.3 years.

The researchers found that total nitrites and foods and water-originated nitrites were both positively associated with a higher T2D risk (tertile 3 vs 1: hazard ratios, 1.27 and 1.26, respectively). Compared with those who were not exposed to additives-originated nitrites, participants with higher exposure (i.e., above the sex-specific median), and specifically those having higher exposure to sodium nitrite (e250), had a higher T2D risk (higher consumers versus nonconsumers: hazard ratios, 1.53 and 1.54, respectively). There was no association seen between total, foods and water-originated, or additives-originated nitrates and T2D risk.

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“These results provide a new piece of evidence in the context of current discussions regarding the need for a reduction of nitrite additives’ use in processed meats by the food industry, and could support the need for better regulation of soil contamination by fertilizers,” the authors write.

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