AGE is an acronym for Advanced Glycation End products.
What does this mean?
Dietary AGE’s are created when sugar molecules react with amino acids or lipids and occur in greater numbers over cooking methods that involve high heat such as grilling, roasting, searing and frying.
What does this mean for you?
AGE’s increase inflammation, oxidative stress and free radical production. Elevated levels of circulating AGE’s increase the progression of chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People with kidney disease have a reduced ability to clear dietary AGE’s and diabetics produce AGE’s internally therefore receiving a greater load with a high AGE consumption in the diet. Studies in healthy humans have demonstrated that dietary intake of AGE’s corrolates with circulating blood levels of AGE’s and reducing dietary intake of AGE’s in both healthy people and patients with diabetes and kidney disease resulted in lowered levels of inflammation and oxidative stress.
How do you avoid AGE’s when cooking?
Foods high in fat and protein (typically of animal origin) are more susceptible to AGE formation. Levels of dietary AGE where compared in animal products prepared in a similar way.
Dietary AGE content from highest to lowest was: beef, high fat cheese, poultry, pork, lamb, fish and eggs.
Cooking using moisture eg steaming assists as poached or steamed chicken was found to have ¼ the amount of dietary AGE’s compared with roasted or broiled. Other ways to reduce AGE formation during cooking include cooking over a lower heat, shorter cooking times if the heat does need to be high and using acidic ingredients such as vinegars or citrus juice as a marinade or whilst cooking.
Other foods higher in dietary AGE’s are dry roasted meats and nuts, higher fat cheeses such as parmesan and full fat cheddar (go for lower fat cheeses such as cottage cheese and mozzarella), dry processed foods such as crackers, chips and biscuits.
So next time you are enjoying a barbecue in the beautiful weather remember to marinate your lamb chops in some apple cider vinegar with herbs, cook for a very short period of time and consume with lots of beautiful fresh, coloured vegetables and salads to offset the oxidative stress and inflammation.