By Gabe Mirkin MD, July 29, 2011  —  When foods are cooked at temperatures above that of boiling water (100 C or 212F), sugar sticks to proteins and fats to form chemicals called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).


Eating food cooked at high temperatures markedly elevates tissue,

blood and urine levels of AGEs to increase risk for; diseases of

inflammation such as cancers, arteriosclerosis, asthma, arthritis,

diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, heart attacks and strokes; damage

to the eyes and kidneys, and conditions such as cataracts, gum

infections, nerve damage and muscle injuries in athletes.


HOW AGEs FORM IN FOODS: When carbohydrates (chains of

sugars) are cooked with proteins or fats at high temperatures and

WITHOUT WATER, sugar binds to proteins or fats to form AGEs. When

carbohydrates are cooked in water, they do not attach to protein

and fat. Browning during cooking is a sign that AGEs are being

formed. AGEs are found in grilled, roasted, broiled, fried or

baked foods, and in coffee (made from roasted coffee beans).


YOUR BODY ALSO MAKES AGEs whenever your blood sugar level

rises too high.  This is most likely to happen when you eat sugary

foods and become inactive after eating.  A high rise in blood

sugar causes sugar to stick to cell membranes. Once there, sugar

cannot get off and eventually destroys the involved cells. Blood

sugar levels rise after you eat.  If you exercise just before or

after you eat, contracting muscles can draw sugar from the

bloodstream without even needing insulin.




  • Avoid foods that cause a high rise in blood sugar, such as

sugared drinks and foods with added sugars


  • Eat plenty of foods that do not cause a high rise in blood

sugars such as raw, streamed or simmered vegetables and fruits.


  • Restrict processed carbohydrates such as foods made from flour

(bakery products and pastas),


  • 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 brown-cooked foods: those that are grilled,

broiled, roasted, fried or baked.


References: Am J Clin Nutr, June 2011;  Am J Clin Nutr. May 2010,

Neurobiol Aging, May 21, 2009;  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci Sept

2010.  Source:



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