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Low and Slow Cooking

October 12, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The term “Advanced Glycation End product” or AGE isn’t exactly well known. Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine aim to change that and with good reason. To the uninitiated, AGEs are toxic byproducts that are linked to numerous health threats ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. They’re formed during the cooking and processing of various foods using high heat. Within the body, AGEs can also be produced – especially in the context of diets rich in carbohydrates.

The latest evidence suggests that this prevalent risk factor affects everyone from infants to seniors. Why infants? A report in the December 2010 issue of Diabetes Care explains that infants receiving baby formula had twice the level of AGEs typically found in adult diabetics. The authors go on to reveal that baby formula can contain 100 times the AGE content of breast milk. In seniors, elevated AGEs are an emerging risk factor for “accelerated cognitive aging” and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, there are simple ways to mitigate the effects of dietary AGEs and to discourage their manufacture internally. For instance, according to a study published in July 2011, switching to an AGE-restricted diet for as little as 4 months can lower inflammation and insulin levels by 35% in type 2 diabetics.

Here are several specific ways to decrease your own intake of dietary Advanced Glycation End products: 1) Cook foods, especially those rich in fat and protein, using low heat and moisture when possible by poaching and steaming. 2) Marinate foods that require higher heat preparation with acid and/or antioxidant ingredients such as aromatic herbs and spices, citrus juice, soy sauce and vinegar. 3) Eat a low-glycemic diet that is nutrient dense. Dietary models including the Mediterranean and Okinawan diets provide viable examples. 4) If overweight, reducing your body mass index via caloric restriction has been shown to lower AGE concentrations by roughly 7%. In closing, I want to mention that Mrs. Healthy Fellow and I have found Crock-Pots or slow cookers to be invaluable in our quest to cook “low and slow”. They’re an inexpensive and practical tool for anyone striving to reduce dietary AGE exposure.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – New Study Shows Inflammatory Food Toxins Found In High Levels … (link)

Study 2 – Maternally Transmitted and Food-Derived Glycotoxins(link)

Study 3 – Advanced Glycation End Product Level, Diabetes, and (link)

Study 4 – Oxidative Stress and β-Amyloid Protein in Alzheimer’s Disease (link)

Study 5 – Restriction of Advanced Glycation End Products Improves Insulin (link)

Study 6 – Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide (link)

Study 7 – Antiglycation and Antioxidant Properties of Soy Sauces (link)

Study 8 – The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie (link)

Study 9 – Nutrition and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Detrimental Role of a (link)

Study 10 – Short-Term Low Calorie Diet Intervention Reduces Serum Advanced (link)

How AGEs Promote Accelerated Aging and Disease

Source: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Sep;65(9):963-75. (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Memory

3 Comments & Updates to “Low and Slow Cooking”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    What surprised me was that 2 extra minutes of boiling an egg yolk, resulted in a 50% increase in AGEs.
    Egg yolk, boiled 10 min 12,134
    Egg yolk, boiled 12 min 18,616

    In absolute terms, butter had the highest AGEs but wasn’t bad per serving. Highest AGEs per serving was broiled frankfurter and chicken nuggets.


  2. JP Says:


    Yes, I found that interesting as well. Another item of interest: tofu.

    Tofu AGEs (U/g) Serving (g) AGEs/serving (kU)
    Broiled 41,067 90 3,696
    Raw 7,875 90 709
    Sautéed 38,303 90 3,447

    Even raw tofu has more AGEs per serving than a few eggs. But, I wonder to what degree the beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals in each of these nutritious foods offsets the potential damage?

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 04/02/16:


    Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar 30.

    Diet low in advanced glycation end products increases insulin sensitivity in healthy overweight individuals: a double-blind, randomized, crossover trial.

    BACKGROUND: The consumption of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) has increased because of modern food processing and has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes in rodents.

    OBJECTIVE: We determined whether changing dietary AGE intake could modulate insulin sensitivity and secretion in healthy, overweight individuals.

    DESIGN: We performed a double-blind, randomized, crossover trial of diets in 20 participants [6 women and 14 men; mean ± SD body mass index (in kg/m2): 29.8 ± 3.7]. Isoenergetic- and macronutrient-matched diets that were high or low in AGE content were alternately consumed for 2 wk and separated by a 4-wk washout period. At the beginning and end of each dietary period, a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and an intravenous glucose tolerance test were performed. Dietary, plasma and urinary AGEsN€-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML),N€-(carboxyethyl)lysin (CEL), and methylglyoxal-derived hydroimadazolidine (MG-H1) were measured with the use of mass spectrometry.

    RESULTS: Participants consumed less CML, CEL, and MG-H1 during the low-AGE dietary period than during the high-AGE period (allP< 0.05), which was confirmed by changes in urinary AGE excretion. There was an overall difference in insulin sensitivity of -2.1 mg · kg-1· min-1between diets (P= 0.001). Insulin sensitivity increased by 1.3 mg · kg-1· min-1after the low-AGE diet (P= 0.004), whereas it showed a tendency to decrease by 0.8 mg · kg-1· min-1after the high-AGE diet (P= 0.086). There was no difference in body weight or insulin secretion between diets (P= NS). CONCLUSIONS: A diet that is low in AGEs may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Hence, a restriction in dietary AGE content may be an effective strategy to decrease diabetes and cardiovascular disease risks in overweight individuals. Be well! JP

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