Meat consumption has been consistently associated with the risk of diabetes in different populations. The aim of our study was to investigate the incidence of type 2 diabetes according to baseline total meat consumption in a longitudinal assessment of a middle-aged Mediterranean population.We followed 18,527 participants (mean age: 38 years, 61% women) in the SUN Project, an open-enrolment cohort of a highly educated population of middle-class Spanish graduate students. All participants were initially free of diabetes. Diet was assessed at baseline using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire of 136-items previously validated. Incident diabetes was defined according to the American Diabetes Association's criteria.We identified 146 incident cases of diabetes after a maximum of 14 years of follow-up period (mean: 8.7 years). In the fully adjusted model, the consumption of ≥3 servings/day of all types of meat was significantly associated with a higher risk of diabetes (HR: 1.85; 95% CI: 1.03-3.31; p for trend = 0.031) in comparison with the reference category (<2 servings/day). When we separated processed from non-processed meat, we observed a non-significant higher risk associated with greater consumption of processed meat and a non-significant lower risk associated with non-processed meat consumption (p for trend = 0.123 and 0.487, respectively). No significant difference was found between the two types of meat (p = 0.594).Our results suggest that meat consumption, especially processed meat, was associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes in our young Mediterranean cohort.