AGEs Increase Diabetes Risk

Eating a lot of foods that are high in AGEs (advanced glycation end products) prevents your cells from responding to insulin, which can lead to diabetes or make it harder to control existing diabetes (Diabetes Care, January, 2014;37:88-95).

AGEs are formed when sugars or carbohydrates (chains of sugars) are cooked with proteins or fats at high temperatures and without water. The sugars bind to the proteins or fats to form chemicals called advance glycation end products (AGEs). When carbohydrates are cooked with water, they attach to water molecules instead of binding to protein or fat. Browning during cooking is a sign that AGEs are being formed. AGEs are found in fried, grilled, roasted, broiled, toasted or baked foods, and in coffee, which is made from roasted coffee beans.

Study Results Many animal studies have shown that a diet high in AGEs prevents cells from responding to insulin, raises blood sugar levels, raises insulin levels, and causes and worsens diabetes, while restricting AGEs helps to lower blood sugar levels. This study shows that AGEs can lead to and worsen diabetes in human subjects.

Seventy-three overweight women, ages 20-50, were fed either a high-AGE or a low-AGE diet for four weeks. The high-AGE group ate fried, baked, or roasted foods and the low-AGE group ate the same foods that had been prepared by steaming, simmering or boiling. Both diets contained the same total calories, and carbohydrates. Those on the low-AGE diet had lower blood sugar and insulin levels and responded better to insulin. Being overweight is a major risk factor for diabetes. Overweight women who go on a low-AGE diet can decrease their chances of becoming diabetic or control their diabetes better if they are already diabetic.

To Reduce Your Exposure to AGEs * Eat raw foods, or use water-based cooking methods whenever possible: steaming, simmering, blanching or boiling. Water prevents the sugars from attaching to proteins and fats. * Limit or avoid foods that have been browned in the cooking process: foods that have been fried, grilled, broiled, roasted, toasted or baked.

Other environmental factors that markedly increase your risk for diabetes include: * being overweight, * not exercising, * lack of vitamin D, * having small muscles, * storing extra fat, particularly in your belly, * not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and * taking sugared drinks and eating a lot of sugar-added foods.

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