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Food Preparation may Play a Bigger Role in Chronic Disease

s to assess whether AGEs played a significant role in age-related inflammation and oxidative stress by measuring AGE levels in both young and older individuals. The study involved 172 healthy men and women who were divided into two age groups—those between the ages of 18 and 45 and those between the ages of 60 and 80. Dr. Vlassara and her team also wanted to assess whether AGE levels correlated with dietary intake. To do this, her team recorded the patient’s body weight, body fat, three-day dietary information, and collected blood samples to measure biomarkers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). Blood samples were used to test for two common AGEs, called carboxymethyllysine (CML) and methylglyoxal (MG), which latch on to proteins and fats.

The blood tests showed that AGE levels were 35 percent higher in individuals age 65 and older compared with those younger than age 45. The study also showed that in all of the participants, the higher the consumption of foods rich in AGEs, the higher the blood levels of AGEs, and higher the levels of CRP and other markers of inflammation.

Much to the researchers’ surprise, the study also showed that AGE levels could be very high in young healthy people. In fact, high AGE levels found in some healthy adults in this study were on par with AGE levels observed in diabetic patients in their earlier studies. The fact that healthy adults had levels similar to those seen in diabetic patients may suggest that early and prolonged exposure to these substances in the diet could accelerate the onset of diseases. Dr. Vlassara notes that the availability and consumption of AGE-rich foods is high and correlates with rising rates of diabetes and heart disease.

"Excessive intake of fried, broiled, and grilled foods can overload the body’s natural capacity to remove AGEs," Dr. Vlassara notes, "so they accumulate in our tissues, and take over the body’s own built-in defenses, pushing them toward a s
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