Type 2 diabetes risk depends on how the food is cooked, according to new study published in Diabetologia. The research team noticed that dry heat cooking leads to production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study team checked health records for people who ate regular-AGE diet and those who were given low-AGE diet.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are higher in food items cooked using grilling, baking and frying techniques. Boiling, steaming, stewing or poaching food items leads to lower advanced glycation end products in food items. For low-AGE group, research team suggested individuals to replace fried eggs with boiled eggs, grilled chicken with poached chicken and beef stew instead of grilled steak.
The study team found that people with low-AGE group, insulin resistance came down over the period of the study. The study was conducted for a period of one year. The study team also noticed that all the parameters in stress and inflammation improved for people in low-AGE group.
Study participants were over 50 years of age. All the participants had at least two health conditions related to metabolic syndrome. There were 51 individuals in low-AGE group and 49 in regular-AGE group.
Individuals in regular-AGE group were asked to cook their meal as they generally do. Regular Western diet is high in AGE content.
Study lead author Jaime Uribarri, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said, “Restricted AGE intake ameliorates insulin resistance in obese people with the metabolic syndrome, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, without necessitating a major reduction in adiposity. Elevated serum AGEs may be used to diagnose and treat ‘at-risk’ obesity.”
Those in the low-AGE group were given instructions on how to lower the AGE content in their foods. They were told to avoid frying, baking or grilling foods. Instead, they were encouraged to boil, steam, stew or poach their meals — in other words, cook with water.
Some examples of the changes made included substituting boiled eggs for fried eggs, poached chicken instead of grilled chicken, or beef stew instead of grilled steak, according to the study.
The study volunteers completed a three-day food record so the researchers could take into account the types of foods they ate. The researchers specifically asked that the participants not change the types of foods they ate, just the preparation of those foods. They also were instructed to try to eat the same amount of calories a day.
A dietitian checked in with the low-AGE group twice a week, and met with each person every three months to review their cooking methods and to encourage low-AGE cooking.
“We know that we have AGEs that are increased by cooking, but many foods themselves are also high in AGEs. So, in addition to changing how we cook, we also want to change what we’re eating,” said Samantha Heller. She’s a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.
“I think it’s more important to focus on the quality of your food choices. Vegetables and other plant foods aren’t as high in AGEs,” she noted.
But, Heller added, nutrition experts often emphasize making small changes. And switching to lower-AGE cooking methods for at least some of your meals may be one way to start making small, healthy changes.