Healthy food, AGEs, anti-aging, aging? FRAUD? – Daily Kos


While doing research on food, I came across the term AGE.  I was not familiar with the term and in addition, as usual, I was skeptical of the claims made about foods that are high in AGEs.  Most of the information for this article came from the National Library of Medicine.  They referred to an article from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

At the bottom of the article (National Library of Medicine ), they referred to  44 references from prestigious locations and groups and I have listed them at the end of this article.

As you see, I feel this article is very important and I want, as well as I want you, to feel comfortable with the points about food and health being made.   

Just what is an AGE?  

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins, are a diverse group of highly oxidant compounds with pathogenic significance in diabetes and in several other chronic diseases. AGEs are created through a nonenzymatic reaction between reducing sugars and free amino groups of proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids… In addition to AGEs that form within the body, AGEs also exist in foods. AGEs are naturally present in uncooked animal-derived foods, and cooking results in the formation of new AGEs within these foods. In particular, grilling, broiling, roasting, searing, and frying propagate and accelerate new AGE formation. ”  National Library of Medicine

Although AGE’s are present in the body, it was thought that  AGE’s were not fully absorbed by the body.  It is now known that they are absorbed in the body from the food that we eat.

However, recent studies with the oral administration of a single AGE-rich meal to human beings as well as labeled single protein-AGEs or diets enriched with specific AGEs such as MG to mice clearly show that dAGEs are absorbed and contribute significantly to the body’s AGE pool ”   National Library of Medicine 

It is probably no surprise to the reader, meat has more AGE’s than grains or vegetables. Another factor comes into play.  How the food is prepared increases the amount of AGE’s introduced into our body. The higher the heat used to process the food, the higher amounts of AGE’s that go into our bodies.  

For one example, a serving of green beans that we prepare ourselves in a lightly boiling pot of water will have less increase of AGE’s than what could be expected from a can from the grocery store.  Those green beans would have been processed at a higher heat both to speed the production and to make sure the microorganisms that might cause spoilage would be killed.  Another example would be a slice of bread compared to a biscuit.  The biscuit (as tested from McDonalds) has 1400 units compared to a slice of Wonder Bread (crust) containing 73 units. At the same time, scrambled eggs have less AGE’s than fried eggs.  The amount of heat for a longer period of time making a difference.

A Big Mac tested out at 1700 units.  You can make your own comparison on a chart at the National Library of Medicine.  

 Meats are another story and how they are cooked does make a difference.  Just as cooking vegetables in slightly boiling water raised the AGE’s less than a rapidly boiling water, meat can be cooked in different ways with varying cooking temperatures. One can boil, poach, stew, and steam instead of frying, broiling, grilling, and roasting. In addition, by using moist heat, for example, a closed container with moisture added for your roast.  One more item that reduces the AGE’s is to marinate your roast for one hour in vinegar or lemon juice. This reduces the AGE’s produced in cooking meat. 

The article recommends that AGE’s should be restricted to 20,000 units.  I am sure that a change of diet will help, but at the same time, by changing how you prepare your foods and by using less prepared foods, that alone would reduce your AGE’s. I think a lot of it is a mindset.  If I am wanting to improve my health, then on a daily basis, as I prepare my food or purchase food from sources, I can make changes like buying frozen vegetables instead of those already processed canned.  Or, fry my own hamburger over lower heat instead of getting a Big Mac. I still am eating a lot of the same foods, just changing how they are prepared.

But the major reason for a new mindset is understanding just what AGE’s do to our bodies.  With an increase in diabetes type 2 and other ills that seem to increasingly infect our bodies, let me quote from  Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics:

Modern diets are largely heat-processed and as a result contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Dietary advanced glycation end products (dAGEs) are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which are linked to the recent epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

On the other hand, (National Library of Medicine )  ”…restriction of dAGEs prevents vascular and kidney dysfunction , diabetes type 1 or type 2, improves insulin sensitivity , and accelerates wound healing “.

I am not diabetic, so I don’t have any personal knowledge of how diabetics are treated except for insulin monitoring and application. I wonder if there are doctors utilizing the above information and giving advice to patients.  With the increase in Type 2 diabetes, I think it might cause all of us to consider preventive measures.  I know that only a few years ago, I had never heard of increased oxidant stress and inflammation. Who would have thought how we cook our food makes a difference.

A point I will make is that many cases of research are funded by parties interested in having an outcome of the program that will financially benefit the funders.  Although the research declares that there is no conflict of interest, we all know that, that statement if it comes from projects financed by interested parties may be far from a truthful statement.  In the case of this study, I can see no value to any commercial businesses and in fact, some businesses such as food manufacturers, producers, and sellers, might see a reduction of their sales.  

From the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The article was written by

  • J. Uribarri is a professor of medicine,
  • G. E. Striker is a professor, Division of Nephrology, and
  • H. Vlassara is a professor and director, Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, Department of Medicine,

  • S. Goodman is a study dietitian,
  • W. Cai is a senior scientist, X. Chen is a research coordinator,

  • R. Pyzik is a senior research coordinator, and

  • A. Yong is a senior clinical research coordinator, Department of Geriatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York,

  • NY. S. Woodruff is a dietitian consultant, Nutrition Options, Inc, Tallahassee, FL

A rather impressive group of experts!

Some of the references referred to in these articles are listed in the following. This is an impressive list and should be a contributing factor to consider of the article:

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Biol Chem. 1983;258:9406–9412.

Diabetes Metab Rev. 2001;17:436–443. Biochem Pharmacol.

Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104:1287–1291. 14.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1997;94:6474–6479.

Diabetes. 1999;48:1308–1315.

Am J Pathol. 2008;173:327–336.17.

Atherosclerosis. 2003;168:213–220.

Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2007;62:427–433.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002;99:15596–15601.

Am J Kidney Dis. 2003;42:532–538. 28.

Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94:4483–4491.

Mol Med. 2002;8:337–346.

Proc Nat Acad Sci. 1993;90:6434–6438.

Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:883–888.

Nutr Biochem. 2003;14:49–60.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005;49:691–699.

N Engl J Med. 2008;359:229–241.

AMA. 2007;297:969–977.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88:1–11.:

World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington, DC: American Institute for Cancer Research; 2007.

 Diabetes Care. 2008;31(suppl):S61–S78.

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