But even chicken thighs and drumsticks can be bad for you, say experts.
The darker the meat, the greater the risk, with scientists finding a direct link between consumption and Type 2 diabetes.
Almost 12 million Britons are thought to be at risk of developing the condition, which is linked to lifestyle factors such as poor diet.
Analysis of more than 60,000 people shows those eating the most red meat increase their risk by 23 per cent while for those who eat a lot of dark poultry meat the risk increases by 15 per cent.
Experts suggest cutting out dark meat and replacing it with chicken breast, fish, shellfish and vegetables.
Dietitian Pav Kalsi, clinical adviser to charity Diabetes UK, said: "We know eating more red and processed meats is associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Comment: Says who?
"Simple changes to diet include eating less processed and red meat and instead getting protein from plant sources such as pulses, beans and lentils and from lean poultry and oily fish.
"Eating more fruit and vegetables and whole grains, as well as cutting down on the amount of sugar, salt and fat in your diet can help too."
Comment: This same old, tired advice had led to nothing but more diabetes. Diabetics benefit greatly from a sugar-free, low carb diet that contains meat and its healthy saturated fats.
The new study, one of the biggest of its kind, looked at the diets of 63,257 people aged between 45 and 74 who took part in the Singapore Chinese Health Study between 1993 and 1998.
Comment: Thanks for not providing a link to the study. We can probably guess that it was one of those self-reporting questionnaires that are notoriously unreliable due to relying on a person's memory. One wonders what else the subjects ate besides meat that influenced their health outcomes?
Scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore then followed the group over the next 11 years, identifying 5,207 new cases of Type 2 diabetes.
They say the association between red meat intake and Type 2 risk was "statistically significant".
Senior author Professor Koh Woon Puay said: "We don't need to remove meat from the diet entirely just reduce the daily intake, especially for red meat, and choose chicken breast and fish or shellfish, or plantbased protein food and dairy products, to reduce the risk of diabetes."
The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Dr Annie Ling, director of the Singapore government's Health Promotion Board said: "The findings affirm HPB's recommendation to consume red meat in moderation and that a healthy and balanced diet should contain sufficient and varied protein sources, including healthier alternatives to red meat such as fish, tofu and legumes."
UK guidelines recommend limiting red and processed meat intake to 70g a day.
Diabetes costs the NHS more than £10billion a year - 10 per cent of its budget - with one person diagnosed every two minutes.
A decade ago no child in Britain had Type 2 but there are now more than 500.
Comment: And the chances are great that children in Britain are eating a high carbohydrate diet, not a diet high in red meat. Hence the resultant obesity.
Nine in 10 patients are overweight or obese. Sufferers do not produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce does not work properly.
They are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have kidney disease.
Each day in the UK, 65 people die prematurely from diabetes while 203 diabetics suffer heart failure, 78 have strokes, 39 people need dialysis or kidney transplants and 20 people have legs amputated.
The number of new diagnoses has rocketed by almost 75 per cent in a decade.
The number of adults with the disease has risen by 1.5 million in the past 10 years, with GPs reporting 3.6 million have the condition.
There has been an increase of 137,000 in the past year alone.