AGEs increase diabetes risks AGEs Increase Diabetes Risk
January 23, 2014
by Gabe Mirkin, MD
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.
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.