Advanced glycation end products are pro-inflammatory molecules found in various foods (animal derived proteins and processed food). They also formed inside the body by a chemical reaction called Glycation. AGEs from diet absorbed partially in the intestine (only 30% ) and about two third of absorbed AGEs remain in the body for 3 day resulting in increased oxidative stress and inflammation.
Factors which may increase the formation of AGEs in food.
Urbarri and his colleagues formed a database of 560 different food and their AGEs content based on standard serving size. This database revealed that AGEs content of food depends on several factors like type of food, cooking temperature and cooking time.Food with higher content of proteins and fats are rich sources of exogenous AGEs as compared to carbohydrates.
- Animal derived proteins have higher levels of AGEs, On the other hand, fresh fruits vegetables, low-fat milk and legumes have the lowest AGEs (Goldberg et al .,2004). The reason must be sought in the higher quantity of water and in a richer presence of vitamins and antioxidant molecules, which may be able to prevent AGE formation.
- Cooking techniques; Different cooking techniques are linked to the formation of AGES like grilling, frying, roasting. Foods items processed by dry heat like chips cracker contains the highest level of AGEs per gram of food (Uribarri J, 2010) this processing method also increases AGEs content of lean red meat and poultry. As this pyramid shows formation of AGEs by different cooking techniques frying>grilled>boiled>raw.
The AGES Pyramid
AGEs and their link with chronic diseases;
Advanced glycation end products are believed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of different diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, liver diseases, heart diseases, arthritis and kidney failure. our body can eliminate AGEs by enzymatic mechanisms and through the kidney. however, when we consume too much AGEs, they begin to accumulate in our body and promote oxidative stress and inflammation.There is also evidence that people with Diabetes and PCOS have higher levels of AGEs in their body as compared to healthy population.
How much do we need;
limited data is available regarding the exact amount of AGEs intake however, according to Uribarri, the average total daily adult consumption of AGEs in our diet is around 16,000 AGE kU/day. Therefore, a high-AGE diet is often referred to as anything significantly above 16,000 kilo units daily and anything well below this is considered as low AGEs diet.
How we generate low AGEs diet;
studies has shown that by restricting the dietary intake of AGEs in patients with diabetes and kidney diseases as well as in healthy people, reduces the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation.one study reported that consumption of low AGEs diet over 4 weeks improve insulin resistance in overweight women .Some studies reported that reduced level of serum AGEs are associated with reduction in body fat mass and adipose tissues in women with PCOS.
Reduced intake of AGEs can be achieved by ;
- Increasing the consumption of fish, legumes, low-fat milk products, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.one study reported that phytonutrients like iridoids found in deep red coloured berries can reduces AGEs formation in our body.
- By reducing the intake of solid fats, fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and highly processed foods.
- By switching cooking techniques; boiling, steaming and stewing reduces the production of AGEs in food. For example, the high AGE content of broiled chicken (5,828 kU/100 g) and broiled beef (5,963 kU/100 g) can be significantly reduced (1,124 kU/100 g and 2,230 kU/100 g, respectively) when the same piece of meat is either boiled or stewed.
- The use of acidic marinades, such as lemon juice and vinegar, before cooking, can also be encouraged to limit dAGE generation.
- Get active; regular physical activity may reduces the formation of AGEs inside the body.
Finally, more research is needed to fully understand the role of dietary AGEs in chronic diseases and a complete database on AGE content in different foods may helpful for future studies. however, low AGEs diet guidelines are consistent with the existing healthy eating recommendation. As with most dietary issues, the key is moderation: “Just diminish your exposure.