A recent study suggests red meat and foods rich in heme iron may increase risk of heart disease in diabetics.
Dr Lu Qi , lead researcher of the study says, patients with type 2 diabetes should avoid foods high in 'heme' iron, like chicken liver, clams and oysters.
Dr Qi and his colleagues at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston observe that metabolic abnormalities related to diabetes may magnify the undesirable effects of excess iron on the heart.
However, they have nothing to say about whether iron consumption affects heart disease risk in non-diabetic people.
The database on 6 161 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study, and who reported having type 2 diabetes was studied from 1980 through 2000; 550 of them developed heart disease during the period.
On further investigation the researchers found, high intake of both heme iron and red meat appeared to be related to increase the risk of heart disease.
Women who had the habit of consuming foods rich in high amounts of heme iron were found to have 50 percent more chance of developing heart disease than others. Postmenopausal women were found to have the maximum risk.
The research findings do not suggest high heme iron intake 'causes' heart disease, only that it appears to enhance the disease.
However it seems, it would do diabetics good to avoid heme iron-rich foods as a precautionary measure.