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Avoiding a Sugary Grave

500 foods were tested for advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

December 29, 2011 |
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Images thanks to

Image thanks to Brian Ferrell and Janne Karaste via Wikimedia Commons.

Transcript

Now that we know the major source of glycotoxins is our diet, the remaining question is which foods do we need to avoid. The major barrier to progress in this field has been the lack of a large reference database of these toxins in various foods, until now. For the first time ever, 549 foods tested for AGE content.

They tested nuts and seeds, oils, beef, poultry, pork, fish, cheese, soy, eggs, breads, cereals, beans, grains, veggies, crackers, cookies, fruit, dairy, juice, Big Macs, and Hot Pockets, and Hummus, and veggie burgers, candy, soups, condiments, and miscellaneous, from Budweiser to breast milk, coffee, and coke, jello to vodka.

Here were the top 15 most contaminated foods. Chicken, bacon, chicken, hot dog, chicken, beef, chicken, chicken, beef, chicken, turkey, chicken, fish, beef, and chicken.

Cooking method does matter. For example, boiled chicken is safer than baked chicken. But more important is plant versus animal. Yes, baked apples have 3 times more than raw apples, but the amounts are totally negligible.

Here's a McDonald's hamburger; Here's a veggie burger fried the same way. Whereas cooking is known to drive the generation of new AGEs in foods, it is interesting to note that even uncooked, animal-derived foods can contain large amounts of dietary AGEs, the so called glycotoxins.

Typical New Yorker gets about 15,000 glycotoxin units a day. What’s a safe intake? No clue, but there are studies suggesting cutting ones intake in half may extend one's lifespan. How do you do that? Those who are regularly consuming lower-meat meals prepared with moist heat (such as soups and stews) as part of a diet rich in plant foods could realistically consume half the units.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out "part 1" on AGEs in Glycotoxins.  And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

For some context, please check out my associated blog post, Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out “part 1″ on AGEs in Glycotoxins. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toddmisk/ toddmisk

    Loved this video – posting it on FB in hopes that my “friends” will be vegucated….. Would love to see what you have to say about pyroluria and you take on it. I worked in mental health and there was no mention of pyroluria being a factor in mental health…..I feel this is an issue that needs a spotlight – providing millions of sufferers with an healthful alternative to the psych drugs, you know, with the side effects which then require more medications……….you know the story.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/chewy/ chewy

    are AGES in rice cakes,air popped popcorn, plain puffed grains?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/becochic/ becochic

    How can I view the database?
    I noticed one source said milk was low… wonder why that is, but it is higher in cheese?

    Also, I want to sign in with fb, but the button won’t work.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/becochic/ becochic

    Never mind. I got it. I’m going to stay enrolled in college forever for access to all these awesome journals online. ;)

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/paul3917/ paul3917

    I’d be interested in knowing how raw nuts and seeds compare to roasted ones. I remember you recommending that we roast our nuts to take advantage of better mineral absorption of roasted nuts. But if AGE’s are too high as a result of roasting, I’d rather get my minerals from some other source.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mike-quinoa/ Mike Quinoa
    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Thanks Mike–I changed the link. All thanks to you!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/vegimator/ vegimator

    I posted this in the previous glycation thread, but I’ll post it again here. If you do some googling, it’s evident that vegetarians and vegans have higher AGE levels than omnis because they consume taurine which drastically lowers AGE levels. So it might be a good idea to take taurine.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15607576

    • Lily

      interesting. Dr. Greger – what are your thoughts on this?

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

        The pilot studies (here and here) that found higher levels in vegetarians appears to have been a fluke. A larger study performed by the same research group (90 vegetarians compared to the originals involving 19) did not find significantly higher AGE levels. McCarty’s hypothesis paper about taurine was published before the new data came out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000079502489 Kelly Olsen

      Yes, Dr. Greger — any thoughts? I’ve seen taurine recommended for vegans before but know nothing about this.

    • http://www.animalliberationaction.org/ Brandon Becker

      The link you cite says:
      “Thus, a taurine supplemented low-fat vegan diet may be recommended as a strategy for minimizing AGE-mediated complications in diabetics and in patients with renal failure.”

      I don’t know how this applies to those who aren’t diabetic or have renal failure. Maybe the full text explains more but that costs money to read.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      The one study that found higher levels in vegetarians appears to have been a fluke. A larger study performed by the same research group (90 vegetarians compared to the original 19) did not find significantly higher AGE levels. McCarty’s hypothesis paper bout taurine was published before the new data came out.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies!

  • Kar

    I have diabetes type 1 ,and I`d like to know weather there are specific foods or substances or supplements that counter balance the accelerated production of AGEs in the body of a diabetic.In other words,things I can do to go against AGEs.
    The AGEs created by the hyperglycemia. Not just the AGEs found in foods.
    Thank you very much.

  • blackbart

    Wrong wrong wrong. Glycation comes from sugar, not protein or fat.