Heat-Processed Foods Linked to Metabolic Disease

Published Online: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Scientists recently determined that increased exposure to methyl-glyoxal (MG), an advanced glycation byproduct that is produced when food is cooked with dry heat, promotes the development of increased abdominal fat, increased insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Cooking methods that are considered “dry heat” include roasting, grilling, broiling, and baking.

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine analyzed a group of mice fed a diet high in MG and compared the group with a control over 4 generations. Both diets had the same amount of calories and fat.

Mice that ate MG displayed a deficiency on protective mechanisms over the study period, and the extra abdominal fat they gained produced more inflammatory cytokines. In turn, the unregulated cytokines impaired glucose metabolism in this group.

“The study demonstrates how the prolonged ingestion of seemingly innocuous substances common in human food, such as MG, can reduce defenses and compromise native resistance to metabolic and other diseases,” said lead author Helen Vlassara, MD, director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging. “Thus far, our findings reflect the need for a dramatic departure from standard clinical recommendations, which should now include a reduction in the amount of dry heat and processed foods in the diet.”

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