How You Cook Makes a Difference

Source: J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun

In the past, studies of diet focused on nutrition (what we eat), but recent research strongly suggests that food preparation (how we eat), including preservative methods, has health effects as significant as the food itself. Glycation is a normal metabolic process that binds sugars to proteins or fats, but when the pool of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) becomes excessive in blood and tissues, serious problems can result. Dietary AGEs (dAGEs) are also known as glycotoxins and have been implicated in the inception and progress of chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and kidney disease. Many foods, particularly animal-based foods (meat and dairy), are already rich in dAGEs, but the way we prepare them is key—dAGEs increase with broiling, grilling, roasting, searing, and frying, but decrease with stewing, boiling, and steaming. Dry heat makes the difference. Because many modern food preservation techniques involve dry heat, large numbers of dAGEs may be present even before the food is actually cooked, giving some consumers a double dose of these glycotoxins.