When looking for sources of protein, stick with fish, nuts and low-fat dairy--and spurn red and processed meats-- if you want to stave off Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined data on 440,000 people, 28,000 of whom eventually acquired Type 2 diabetes. They found that daily servings of processed meat and red meat significantly increase a person's chances of developing the disease, USA Today reported.

Red meat appears to be the lesser of the two evils. A four-ounce portion of red meat raises diabetes risk by 20%, while a two-ounce portion of processed meat ups it by a whopping 50% according to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Conversely, the researchers also found that replacing red and processed meats with whole grains, low-fat dairy and nuts could reduce a person's Type 2 diabetes risk by as much as 35%.

Those who want to keep red meat in their diets should reach for the leanest cuts, say experts at WebMD.com. Anything that has the word "loin" in its name is acceptable, including tenderloin and sirloin.