It’s Not Just What You Eat

If you are really serious about healthy nutrition, it’s time to reconsider not just what you are eating, but also how you are cooking the food. More and more studies are showing that grilling, frying and broiling (especially flame-broiling) meat products produces toxins known as Advanced Glycation End-Products, known as AGEs.

The highest amounts of these toxins are found in fried chicken and broiled or grilled meats.

So what?

Here’s what… AGEs accumulate in the body over time. Older people naturally have higher levels than younger ones, but when a younger person eats a diet high in these compounds they too have high levels.

A new study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine that supports a previous study by the National Institute on Aging, found that the levels of AGEs in a person’s body were determined by direct dietary intake of them rather than the number of calories, fats or sugars they ingest.

In other words, eating fried, grilled and broiled meats raises the levels of AGEs.

AGEs were previously known to be associated with diabetes and insulin imbalance; but there’s more. High levels of AGE’s cause oxidative damage which increases inflammatory processes and inhibit synthesis of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is needed by many systems in the body including the cardiovascular system, immune system, nervous system and the brain.

Inflammation is the underlying cause for a bunch of diseases including heart disease, kidney damage and Alzheimer’s disease. Basically, AGEs increase the body’s inflammatory processes and hence aging.

Too many AGEs in the body begin to overwhelm the ability of the body to get rid of these toxins and so they accumulate. The researchers found that people aged 65 and older had 35% more accumulated AGEs than those under age 45. The speculation is that the kidneys loose efficiency as we get older and are unable to clear the AGEs as efficiently as a younger person.

You have probably heard a lot about trans fats in the last few years. Well, the researchers in this study are advocating the same sort of approach with AGEs: that people eat less fried, grilled or broiled meat and that food nutrition labels reflect the AGE’s in the products. They advocate cooking methods that keep the water content of the meat higher.

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