Doctor's Note

I’m so glad I was able to finally cover sirtuins. Such important enzymes, but I was waiting for a dietary tie-in.

I’ve covered advanced glycation end-products previously in:

More on slowing brain aging in How to Slow Brain Aging By Two Years.

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  • Wow! Another nail in the coffin for beef and chicken. I am so glad I gave up animal foods and switched to a plant based diet. I would love to see a list of the top foods for brain function and plaque reduction through diet. Way to go again Dr G! Another awesome video.

    • I agree veggie Eric! I’d say that fruits & vegetables have to be amongst the top brain foods simply due to their antioxidant content! The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress which occurs when the oxygen we breathe picks up an extra electron and becomes what is known as a “free radical.” These free radicals are highly reactive and damaging to DNA. Much of the aging process is attributed to oxidative stress, including age spots that often show up on the backs of people’s hands, which are actually oxidized fat. In order to combat this, it is really important to eat a diet high in antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants, as well as legumes, seeds, nuts, and spices. Animal products just cannot compete – iceberg lettuce has by far more antioxidant units than the same amount of milk, eggs, salmon, chicken, or beef! When researchers averaged the antioxidant content of plants vs animal products they found that the average content of plants was 1,157 antioxidant units per 10 grams, while that of animal foods was a mere 18 units. Here is another Dr. Greger video that discusses prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease with plant-based eating!

    • alessandra

      My grandmother in law got Alzheimer or dementia at around age 85 and was Adventist on a vegetarian strict diet… what can you think about that? I think that moderation in all is the key and for some vegan diet may be the key but not for all

      • jj

        Many Adventist vegetarians eat too much fat. Lots of cheese, eggs, milk, ice cream and fake meats.

      • What did your grandmother eat? I’m only curious because even a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if you consume highly processed food items. A friend of mine had to go on blood pressure medication because he was eating so many of those highly processed and salty Morning Star breakfast meals.

  • BB

    Are there studies on people who followed the high-protein diets (Atkins) when the diets were first popular in the late 60’s? I have friends who followed those diets while we were in junior high school and they are now obese and have heart disease. Many have died from dietary diseases. I wonder how many may have Alzheimers disease. I have friends who more recently have followed other high protein diets (Zone, Paleo) and although they lose weight at first, I have noticed later weight gain most likely from all the fat they eat. Long-term these high fat and protein diets prove to be harmful, but short-term people are pleased because for a time, they can lose weight and eat as they please. Scary what the future holds for them.

    • I’d be interested in knowing if those kids from junior high continued to follow the Atkins diet throughout their lives. That would give you a bit more semi-accurate anecdotal evidence.

      • BB

        Yes, they still follow an “avoid the carbs” plan except when they don’t. They gain weight when they include mostly the junk carbs and then go back to the high protein when they want to shed the weight. It doesn’t work, they don’t see it and they always stare at my baked potato when I eat with them……

        • They stare at your baked potato? Longingly?

    • Blanster

      I know this is totally anecdotal, but I learned of a woman who’s in her late 50s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. I sent her adult daughter some Nutrition Facts videos about Alzheimers and her daughter responded that her mom had been on Adkins or high protein/low carb “for decades”. Again, one anecdotal case, but boy, it solidified my belief that vegetarianism/veganism is the only way to go to stay healthy far into our senior years.

    • The high-fat, low-carb diet is a well-known smoke and mirrors trick often used by people who are unqualified to deliver professional nutrition advice. The average person stores 100g of carbs as glycogen in their liver and another 400 in the skeletal muscles. Since 3 grams of water are stored per gram of glycogen, that’s another 1500 grams. Taken together that equals 2000 grams, or about 4.5 pounds. So it’s easy to see why cutting carbs results in a number change on the scale. However, it does not result in reduced body fat, increased energy, better metabolism, or increased athletic performance. The best book for anyone tentative about carbs is “Carbophobia” by Dr. Greger. It’s short, entertaining, highly informative, and is even available to read for FREE at http://www.atkinsexposed.org.

    • Kim Churchman

      Yup, scary. We will be their caregivers. But here’s a comforting thought: Nobody stays on those diets for long. The lure of carbs is too great.

  • val

    Excellent video and topic here Doc! Thank you for all you do!

  • Jane’s Addiction

    Even better, avoiding glyoctoxins may improve oxidative stress, inflammation, kidney function, insulin function, and may increase overall life span, according to the American Dietetic Association report that Dr. Greger cites in this video. I’m loving this!
    I was a lifelong addict of fried foods, and it’s really only this year that I’ve begun the process of weaning off the fried foods and breaking that addiction. Some days can be a little rough, but knowing the benefits I’m doing to my body by cutting out the chips, fries, and sesame tofu (a double-fried dish) is a HUGE source of encouragement!

  • Alan Thomas

    Evidence suggests that vegetables and meat be eaten together for optimal nutrition.

    • Mark G.

      Do you happen to have a study citation or link for that evidence?

      • Darryl

        Its possible green vegetables prevent some carcinogenic effects of meat 1, 2, 3, 4, begging the question…

      • Alan Thomas
        • Dommy

          So, where are some replies to Alan’s link?

        • Neil

          This link summarizes a few short studies where individuals went on a “paleo” diet, and improved their blood work. No where on the page, however, is it explicitly stated that meat and veggies equal optimum nutrition. One perhaps could imply that because the paleo diet improved the blood work compared to those eating standard diets. Of course, going from a standard western diet, and going to some form of “paleo” by cutting out all processed foods, highly processed grains, added sugars and oils, and dairy will obviously improve your blood work. That does not suggest, however, that eating meat and veggies is “optimal.”

          • Alan Thomas

            You’re welcome you vultures

    • Yes Alan…what Mark G. said please

  • Kim Churchman

    This vid made me donate again. I have so much critical information for which to thank Dr. G et al. Very grateful.

  • mitch

    Dr. Greger…You’ve strongly advocated consumption of nuts. Yet many of the most common forms are absolutely off the charts in terms of AGE content. Where does that leave us?

    • mitch
    • Got a source for that statement?

    • ron

      So the benefits of walnut, almonds, cashews and pistashio, don’t exist?

    • Jane’s Addiction

      To anyone asking for a source for mitch’s statement, check out one of the sources Dr. Greger has included in today’s video, the report issued by the American Dietetic Association’s list of the AGE content of foods. On p. 7 of 18 of that report, you’ll find that the first item in their list is solid fats—butter of course, but also avocado and nuts. There you’ll see that roasted almonds, for instance, contain nearly 2,000 AGE units per serving. That’s actually less than a serving of butter, which comes in at around 1,300. Of course, a huge reason for that is that a serving of butter is 5 grams whereas a serving of almonds is 30 g, but that’s how the numbers work out. Similarly, a serving of peanut butter contains over 2,200 AGE units, and pine nuts contain over 3,000.

      • mitch

        30g is nice portion size if you’re nibbling with a martini. But if you don’t eat meat, and are getting a lot of calories from nuts, it’s not much. I might easily have 90g. 90g of almond or walnuts has the same AGE content as a single 90g standard serving of “McDonalds Crispy Chicken”.

        I guess raw nuts are good. Some people like them, but I find them kind of bland. Roasted almonds are, to me, better than a burger.

        So this is a major bummer!

        • Jane’s Addiction

          I agree; this is definitely upsetting news. As far as raw nuts go, they’re too rough on my stomach and I can’t eat them. And I definitely agree with you about roasted almonds being so delicious. Oh well. I guess I’ll try to increase my intake of beans and cut back on the peanut butter.

    • Darryl

      In the largest survey to date, for nuts only the ‘representative’ AGE compound Nε-carboxymethyllysine (CML) was assayed. Nuts do have significant amounts of AGEs, though as serving size is smaller they tend to have intermediate amounts per serving.
      AGE kU
      Food per 100 g per serving
      Cashews, roasted 9,807 2,942
      Walnuts, roasted 7,887 2,366
      Almonds, roasted 6,650 1,995
      Peanuts, dry roasted 6,447 1,934

      Bacon, fried 5 min 91,577 11,905
      Frankfurter, broiled 11,270 10,143
      Steak, pan fried 10,058 9,052
      Turkey burger, pan fried 8,938 8,044
      Chicken thigh, roasted 8,802 7,922
      Fish sticks, oven fried 8,774 7,897
      Big Mac 7,801 7,801
      Chicken nuggets 8,627 7,764
      Chicken, dark, broiled 8,299 7,469Most AGEs are formed at the amine sidechains of arginine or lysine (the latter generates CML, among other AGEs). Estimating AGE content from CML measurements alone can lead to over-, or in the case of high arginine meat, under estimates of total AGE content.

      • guest

        So what you’re saying is that the meat products actually most likely have more than what is listed, and perhaps the plant products might have less if measured by a more balanced type of test? What about non-roasted nuts? I try to get plain unsalted bags of peanuts, pecans, almonds, and walnuts. Does roasting increase their age content?

        • Jane’s Addiction

          Judging by the data provided by the American Dietetic Association it would appear that roasting does increase the AGE content of nuts and that raw nuts are lower in AGE than their (dry and oil) roasted counterparts.

        • Darryl

          All foods have more dietary AGEs than listed, simply because every assay only looks for a subset of those produced either by cooking, or by non-enzymatic glycation during the organism’s lifetime. Nε-carboxymethyllysine became a popular marker because its stable and easy to detect. Its not the major AGE in living animals (that honor probably goes to glucosepane).

          The import of dietary AGEs in inflammatory diseases (Alzheimer’s, but also other chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis etc.) appears to be that it stimulates the receptor for AGES (RAGE), amplifying inflammatory and immune responses. RAGE plays an important physiological role in stimulating macrophages (and other immune cells) to clear cross-linked proteins in the extracellular matrix, but exogenous AGEs are absorbed and likely cause persistent inflammatory cell activation.

          Non-roasted nuts will have fewer AGEs, and non-salted raw nuts are very likely the healthiest way to consume them. Personally, I purchase them unshelled, as cracking the shells slows and reduces intake, preventing binges.

          • guest

            I never even thought of getting the unshelled ones to add some exercise and portion control into my diet! That is genious! Right up there with parking far away so you have to walk more. Thanks, although for busy days I’m sure I’ll have to keep some regular nuts on hand.

      • Timar

        Darryl, what do you make out of the criticism of Vlassara’s et al. work regarding the ELISA assay they employed to determine the CML content being highly non-specific? It seems to make some sense when looking at protein-rich foods, but the supposed high CML content of plant oils seem odd. Where does all this CML in olive oil come from? Even if the olives contain some protein and sugar, any CML produced during storage should have poor fat-solubility and not show up in such massive amounts in the oil. Given its residual protein content, it seems more intuitive that butter may have some AGE’s but then, why is it higher than that of cheese despite a much lower content in both protein and sugar and the lack of maturation? I have to bring up Chris Masterjohn’s blog here:

        http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/10/trouble-with-measuring-ages-butter-and.html

        I’m not Chris’ biggest fan, but Thomas Henle is a renowned researcher and his verdict regarding Vlassara’s papers is pretty damning. It seems to confirm Henle’s objections that the few studies which directly measured AGEs by mass spectrometry have come to entirely different (and intuitively much more plausible) results than the ELISA method. One such study found the highest levels of CML in bread crust, low levels in raw meat and no CML at all in olive oil. Another one found high levels levels of Amadori products in soy milk and infant formula, but none in butter and margarine.

      • elsie blanche

        Darry, I reviewed the link you posted and it shows “dried figs” to have a very high level of AGEs, which surprises and concerns me. Does this imply, in your mind, that maybe excessive consumption of dried fruit could be a significant concern, as far as AGE ingestion? How about the dried fruit that is baked, liked baked mango slices and pineapple, bananas, dates, etc.? Even in the absence of baking these fruits with fat, thus, just baking them alone, maybe this is not wise, huh? I’m sort of new to the AGEs issue, and the cooked sugar thing seems concerning. Interestingly, raisins do not appear so high in AGEs, it seems to me. Thank you for any thoughts and insight on this.

        • Darryl

          While figs appear to have more AGEs than other dried fruit, its still fairly trivial per serving, and as a contributor in most diets, compared to the amounts in fried/roasted meats. I think we can say here, “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” Yes, practically everything you eat will have some components of concern, but if that dried fig prevents you from sating a sweet tooth with candy, its probably well to the positive side of the ledger.

    • Devin Wiesner

      If I’m not mistaken high levels of AGEs are associated with roasted nuts. Eat raw nuts. Needless to say roasting likely affects the nutritional content and fats as well.

    • Dr Orestes Gutierrez

      This discussion reminds me of DOE and POEM that I learned way back in medical school. POEM stands for “Patient Oriented Evidence that Matters” and DOE stands for “Disease-Oriented Evidence.” In other words, if a patient asks me, “Doc, are nuts good for me?” My response will be, “yes, they are.” My answer will not be “don’t eat nuts because they have a high content of AGEs (advanced glycation products).”

      Instead of getting fixated on the theoretical harms of nut consumption based on their content of AGE products, I like to focus on the current human studies that have shown nuts to be healthful. We know from the Adventist Health Study, Physicians’ Health Study, and Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study that nut consumption is associated with decreased mortality from coronary heart disease. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis “indicates that nut intake is inversely associated with IHD, overall CVD, and all-cause mortality…” http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/05/21/ajcn.113.076109

  • Rex Hardesty

    Possibly there may be a link here:

    A 2013 Study on milk by Dr. Karl Michaelsson suggested that milk is good for body nutrition up to 20-something then the nutrient is no longer necessary.
    Maybe meat proteins are beneficial in development to body maturity and should be reduced or eliminated by age 30?

    • Katja Breceljnik

      If a certain food is not safe for human consumption, it is not
      safe in any part of life.

      “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that
      appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan
      diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in
      the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets
      are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including
      pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

      Please see Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

      See more information on why cow’s milk is not food for humans http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/milk/

      And why animal protein carries more risk than benefit http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/animal-protein/
      at any stage in life.

      • Han

        Your description contains a slight mistake: Mother’s milk is good for babies.

  • alef1

    From an article I wrote about AGEs for bodybuilders – who eat a LOT of protein> ( “Optimizing Protein for Long-Term Health,” Ed Kellogg, Ph.D. Frank Zane’s Building the Body Newsletter, pp 20-21, Summer, 2006.) If you want a copy, send me an email. It includes a table of AGE(kU) / 100g Protein not available elsewhere that I calculated and that some might find useful. I’ll try to post it below))

    “High protein foods cooked at high temperatures have high AGE levels. Fortunately, simply changing the method of cooking can decrease AGE content many fold. A 3 oz serving of chicken breast has about 5,000 kU when broiled, but only 1,000 kU if boiled. Also, because of chemical reactions, high protein foods cooked with sugar or fat have much higher AGE levels than high protein foods cooked alone. For example, although a fried egg has over 1200 kU, a boiled egg only has 200 kU. Boiled egg white by itself – almost pure protein – only has about 15 kU. (Goldberg et al, “Advanced Glycoxidation End Products in Commonly Consumed Foods,” J. Am. Diet. Assoc., 104, pp1267-1291, 2004. Supplementary tables provide AGE values for over 250 foods.)

    “Many people can cut the AGE content of their diets in half simply by changing how they cook what they eat, rather than by changing what they eat. AGE content increases with cooking methods as follows:

    (LEAST) Raw < Boiled < Microwaved <<< Baked/Roasted < Broiled < Fried (MOST)

    Also, the longer you cook a food, the higher the levels of AGEs. If you decide to decrease the AGE content of your diet by more than half, you will need to change not only how you cook but what you eat. You will need to avoid some foods, such as butter and cheese, almost entirely. One
    tablespoon of butter has about 4,000 kU, a single ounce of American cheese, 2,500 kU. Even an ounce of a lower fat cheese, such as part-skim mozzarella, has 500 kU. And a single slice of thin crust pizza weighs in at almost 7,000 AGE kU!"

    • Mark G

      Does your list have raw walnuts? The link in the PubMed study that Mitch cited lists only roasted walnuts.

      • alef1

        Hi Mark –

        The table I shared focuses on AGE values/100g protein for a few high protein foods. This table does not include values for many
        foods of interest, simply because their AGE values remain untested. For example, one can assume that raw seeds
        and nuts – freshly harvested – such as
        almonds, flax, pumpkin, and sunflowers seeds, have relatively low AGE values. A 100 g serving of these foods would provide
        20- 25 grams of protein, with many other beneficial nutrients, as well as having
        cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
        However, like all high fat foods, you need to store them properly, in the
        refrigerator to prevent oxidation and rancidity. Other foods when cooked at high temperatures have their AGEs increased about 5 fold, the same should apply to nuts. Just take the value of AGEs for the roasted nuts, and divide by 5 to get a ballpark estimate of the raw value.. I suspect tyhat value would seem quite a bit lower for freshly harvested raw nuts, but would climb significantly with time, especially if stored at room temperature.

        • Mark G

          Thanks. That’s interesting. Any guess what levels would be in coffee, which is off course roasted?

  • alef1

    AGE/Protein Table
    Food with AGE(kU) per 100g of Protein (estimates)

    Milk,fat free 12
    Yogurt, nonfat 70
    Milk, whole 150
    Egg whites, boiledX10 min 406
    Oatmeal, instant 568
    Salmon, raw 2,953
    Eggs,boiledX10 min 3,421
    Beans,red kidney, cooked 60 min 3,465
    Chicken breasts, boiledX60 min 3,611
    Mozzarella,part skim 6,797
    Tofu, raw 9,779
    Chicken breasts, broiledX15 min 18,732
    Peanut butter, smooth 28,188
    Almonds,roasted 29,556
    Cheese, American processed 38,562
    Hamburgers, fast food 40,633
    Tofu, broiled 50,980
    Pizza,thin crust 56,875
    Frankfurters,broiledX5 min 94,794
    *Values calculated for my article using data from the Goldberg et al paper (“Advanced Glycoxidation End Products in Commonly Consumed Foods,” J. Am. Diet. Assoc., 104, pp 1267-1291, 2004), and protein values for the same, or similar foods, given in Bowes & Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, 1998 edition. Some values seem approximate, as I could not find an exact match, or where values for the “same” foods from different sources (frankfurters, salmon) varied, and where the Goldberg et al paper did not specify which brand, or type, they used.

  • Ryan Harlow

    You read my mind! This is exactly what I was looking for :)

    • alef1
      • Ryan Harlow

        I will be sending an email shortly. Thanks!

      • Reporting AGE’s per 100 gram of protein would seem to me to guide folks to consuming more protein in their diet and thus may lead to an increase in overall AGE consumption. For instance a food such as nuts which tend to have very low protein would tend to have a higher AGE/ 100 grams protein than AGE/ 100 grams of nuts. I think it would be better to report AGE’s/amount of food. Of course this raises the issue of why anyone would want to go out of their way to insure adequate protein intake. Dr. John McDougall has written three excellent newsletter articles on protein intake, A brief history of protein (Dec 2003), Where to I get my protein (Apr 2007), and Protein Overload (Jan 2004). As Dr. McDougall has pointed out there has never been a case of protein deficiency in history with adequate calorie intake. With intense or prolonged exercise you need to increase your calorie intake but that also increases the intake of your essential amino acids that the body needs to build the proteins it requires. Any additional intake needs to be eliminated via the kidney and other pathways. See the video… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-vegetarians-get-enough-protein/. So the question isn’t how to get protein but how to minimize it. The video also points to the value of fiber. Eating plants will allow you the protein and dietary fiber in the most beneficial package. Of course recommendations for those engaged in intense or prolonged activity as opposed to the general population may have to be modified somewhat but for those interested in the value of plant based nutrition with endurance training I would recommend Scott Jurek’s book, Eat Run or reviewing the success of body builder Robert Cheeke. I believe it is important for persons to become educated about the science and then work with their health professionals as they begin a journey to improved health and quality of life.

        • alef1

          Hi Don –

          I agree that despite the American obsession with getting enough protein, and their predilection for eating high protein foods (such as meat and dairy), that a plant based diet provides plenty of protein for health and long-life, and packaged in a way that provides many other benefits as well. I especially like the fact that most plant proteins (but not all) have a relatively low % of the amino acid methionine, a bonus for cancer prevention and possibly for life extension as well.

          However I wrote that article – and made up that table – for bodybuilders, who generally eat huge servings of protein or the purposes of building muscle mass, which it does. For this group especially, highlighting protein sources low in AGEs to me seems a gilt-edged priority, so in my article I made that table to provide them with healthier protein options.

          For those that want to look at AGEs per serving, check out:

          Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet
          JAIME URIBARRI, MD; SANDRA WOODRUFF, RD; SUSAN GOODMAN, RD; WEIJING CAI, MD; XUE CHEN, MD; RENATA PYZIK, MA, MS; ANGIE YONG, MPH; GARY E. STRIKER, MD; HELEN VLASSARA, MD
          J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:911-916.

          Ed

        • Lawrence

          Hi Dr. Don. Great video reference and refresher training. From the Doctor’s Note section in that video, I will add my own ‘must see’ recommendation:
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nations-diet-in-crisis/

          Slightly off-topic…apologies: I love this website and I recommend others to it every chance I get. The only problem I have in doing so is that there isn’t a ‘User’s Guide’ or ‘Welcome to the Wonders of a Whole-Food Plant-Based Lifestyle’ to which I might refer them so that they may get an introductory, high-level perspective on why this website even exists and what it can do for them if they adopt its myriad recommendations.

          I know you folks are busy, but maybe down the road you may be able to put together a page of this sort that will guide the uninitiated into this encyclopedic amount of information in a way that will capture their imaginations and allow them, as I have, to take ownership of their health and wellness through this remarkable lens which continues to evolve. Thank you.

          • Hi Lawrence… I avoid directing folks to my website but since you asked if you go to http://www.DonForresterMD.com>resources>resources for everyone I have put together on a single page some of the information that I refer my patients and other persons to for information. It is a free resource and I have no financial interests tied to any of the recommendations. Sorry for any errors as I only get around to updating every 1-2 years. Hope this helps.

          • Arjan den Hollander.

            Hi Dr. Forrester, I was browsing your link and under immune disorders there is link on a book about lupus. It seems to be a term people love throwing around, I do however have a very mild form of butterfly rash next to my nose. I’ve never had that before I started tweaking my diet, and it has been with me now for a year or so, my skin is actually thinning there now. It heals till its gone and then immediately flares up again. I eat nothing but whole foods in general, haven’t touched anything animal based in two weeks now. Is this something to worry about? And then especially in relation with that feeling of heat in my upper spine and scalp in combination with such feeling of mental overload that just looking in a woman’s eyes would make me physically recoil.
            Could these two be related and my nerves have been inflamed? That cerebral effect mostly disappeared with the choline but the rash did not. . . Regards.

        • guest

          Does eating more plants help with the removal process of excess age’s via protein consumption? Is it possible that even though some plant foods may contain a lot of age’s, they, along with other plants, help to remove the age’s through whatever pathway the body does so normaly?

          • I don’t think anyone has done research in this area specifically. However in mine and others experience they like to think that if you remove the injurious substances from your diet your body is always working to heal itself. That said there are times the “horse is already out of the barn”. For me it is about risk so that if you consume 10% animal products you are at more risk than if you consume 5% animal products. After 8 years on plant based diet with my wife we are still making changes. As vegetarian was running BP’s of 120/85( Normal??) and now 110/65(More normal!). So i might have a stroke but I’m less likely too all things else being equal. Two terms that require context for me are NORMAL and OPTIMIZING. The latter has very little meaning when approaching adaptive systems especially with reductionistic science. The best you can do is not violate the design of the system. Our biological system is a hind gut fermenting herbivore. So provide the right nutrition and get regular exercise and maintain fitness and keep on trucking. But since the devil is always in the detail keep tuned to NutritionFacts.org for the latest in science!

  • Off Topic: European Commission Alert system for foods on the market that are potentially dangerous. (RASFF)

    http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/rasff/reports_publications/index_en.htm

    “RASFF – Food and Feed Safety Alerts

    The EU has one of the highest food safety standards in the world – largely thanks to the solid set of EU legislation in place, which ensures that food is safe for consumers. A key tool to ensure the cross-border follow of information to swiftly react when risks to public health are detected in the food chain is RASFF – the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.

    Created in 1979, RASFF enables information to be shared efficiently between its members (EU-28 national food safety authorities, Commission, EFSA, ESA, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) and provides a round-the-clock service to ensure that urgent notifications are sent, received and responded to collectively and efficiently. Thanks to RASFF, many food safety risks had been averted before they could have been harmful to European consumers.

    Vital information exchanged through RASFF can lead to products being recalled from the market. A robust system, which has matured over the years, RASFF continues to show its value to ensure food safety in the EU and beyond.”

    I read about it in Italian here: http://espresso.repubblica.it/attualita/2015/02/09/news/cibi-pericolosi-ecco-cosa-c-e-in-quello-che-mangiamo-1.198546?ref=huffpo This article said the 2014 annual report is out, but I can find only the 2013. Nevertheless, I thought some might be interested in both the findings and in the system.

  • Ninobur

    A look at the 2010 Uribarri et al list of AGE’s in foods reveals that nuts are high in AGE content rivaling fried meat. Are nuts good or bad for us?

  • Matthew Smith

    In this video, Dr. Greger shows that DNA damage could be responsible for brain decline or even Alzheimer’s disease. In another article, he shows that spices ginger, tumeric, and rosemary can reduce DNA damage 25-50 percent. Dr. Greger discusses a particular type of brain decline where people lose the spools on which their DNA threads, causes by spool damaging glycotoxins. Perhaps spices like tumeric, ginger, and rosemary in particular are good at replacing these spools or in some other way bolster damage to restore DNA. Perhaps DNA damage can and brain loss could be treated by spices. The vegetarian diet should be very good at reducing risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Greger argues, because plants are not rich in glycotoxins. He has already suggested that tumeric is good for Alzheimer’s. Perhaps there are plant foods that could replace damaged spools, and perhaps they are the best performers in their categories already, like beets, garlic, kidney beans, black beans, walnuts, pecans, cranberries, lemons, tumeric, ginger, and matcha, hibiscus, or dandelion teas.

    • fred

      And then there are the cannabinoids…

      http://www.alternet.org/drugs/pot-could-save-your-life-4-ways-cannabis-good-your-brain

      Now there is no doubt that cannabinoids cause new brain cells to grow in the hippocampus. This helps explain previous research showing that cannabinoids effectively treat mood disorders like depression, anxiety and stress – they are all related to a lack of adult neurogenesis.

      This confirmed earlier studies, such as one from 2008 which found that THC “simultaneously treated both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.” This study concluded that, “compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is considerably superior.”

      Several recent studies have found that cannabinoids protect the brain from permanent damage after trauma or stroke.

      One exciting use of cannabinoids is in the treatment of cancer. Repeated laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids kill cancer cells and shrink tumours, while helping to protect normal cells.

      joke: A cop and a politician went into a bar…so which was dumber?

      • gilmenish

        Marijuana known to cause schizophrenia in those who are susceptible. It’s a game of russian roulette for a
        teenager to smoke pot even once. Once is enough to trigger this disease later in life. Trust me, go talk to the
        neuro doctors studying this as esteemed US universities: smoking pot is not benign as far as mental illness goes.
        Legalization of pot will likely trigger a dramatic increase in mental illness down the road.

        http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html

        • Johanna

          Hmmm…. Are the drugs the “cause”–or are people prone to schizophrenia more likely to try drugs?

  • Sidney

    All the paleo freaks are going down an unknown path. Such excessive meat and fat consumption can not be good. It is amazing that so many people throw scientific opinion to the wind and follow the dietary advice of marketers.

  • prioris

    My strategy will be eating Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets to lessen my risk of alzheimers …
    I’ll be dead way before alzheimers strikes … lol

    Here is another perspective

    Here is an excerpt from mercola article …

    His book, Grain Brain, reveals how and why sugars and carbohydrates destroy your brain, and how to eat for neurological health. He notes Mayo Clinic research that reveals diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 percent increased risk for dementia while high-fat diets are associated with a 44 percent reduced risk. This combination of very little sugar and carbs, along with higher amounts of healthful fats is KEY for addressing not only Alzheimer’s, but diabetes and heart disease as well.

    All of these conditions are rooted in insulin and leptin resistance, and the dietary answer is identical for all of them. Understanding this can make your life easier, as you don’t need to memorize the dos and don’ts for each and every disease you seek to avoid. Instead, what you need to do is shift over to a mindset that is focused on optimizing health. Disease prevention then becomes a beneficial “side effect.”

    Dr. Perlmutter suggests that anything over 92 or 93 is too high. He believes the ideal fasting blood sugar level is around 70-85, with 95 as the maximum. If your fasting blood sugar is over 95 mg/dl, it’s definitely time to address your diet to lower it. If you’re fat adapted, there’s no reason to shun fasting blood sugar levels below 70, as your body is then able to tap into body fat as an energy source. According to Dr. Perlmutter:

    “This notion that your brain needs sugar is really old news. Fat, specifically ketones, which your body produces by metabolizing your fat, is now called a ‘brain superfuel.’ There is even a pharmaceutical product; a medical food that you can write as a prescription, which raises the level of ketones or fat in the bloodstream of patients, offered up now as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Who knew? The point is the brain loves to burn fat. That’s what we have to shift it over to…”

    Intermittent fasting is a great tool to help “reset” your body to burn fat as its primary fuel again. Dr. Perlmutter also recommends starting off with a period of fasting, and he’s particularly aggressive about it in patients who are insulin/leptin resistant. I typically recommend keeping your fasting insulin level below 3. The so-called normal, however, is anywhere from 5-25 microU per mL. As with fasting blood sugar, please do not make the mistake of thinking that the “normal” insulin range equates to optimal! As noted by Dr. Perlmutter:

    “If somebody has an insulin level of 26, they need a lot of work. They need to fast; drop the carbs; add back the good fat. They need to add in some anti-glycating agents like benfotiamine and resveratrol. We need to hit these people aggressively. This is what works. This is what reduces their risk of converting to diabetes, and therefore has a huge role to play in protecting their brains.”

    Here is an excerpt from another article

    To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.

    You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

    This is because it takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.

  • Car

    If you look at the list in the video, chicken in the form of chicken skin is mentioned, and BBQ and fried forms. –Followed by lots of other junk meats. Avoiding these seems like common sense.However I’m not so sure it debases limited healthier meat consumption.

  • cyndishisara

    IMO the practice of heating up foods contributes to this Milliard reaction. Perhaps sprouting ones beans might help and be the healthiest course. I have found this article on consumption of sunflower sprouts as way towards inhibiting AGE formation.
    J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Mar 28;60(12):3260-5. doi: 10.1021/jf300737y. Epub 2012 Mar 19.
    Cynarin-rich sunflower (Helianthus annuus) sprouts possess both antiglycative and antioxidant activities. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22394088

  • agent

    Unless aggressive steps are taken, many aging adults will suffer the devastating effects of glycation to proteins throughout their bodies. This fact was established recently when it was shown that even healthy people with slightly elevated glycation levels are at higher risk for heart attack.

    Vegetarians have higher levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in their blood compared to those who eat meat.58,59 This is because an exclusively vegetarian diet would lack carnosine, nature’s most potent anti-glycating agent.

    • RAslam RD

      When you state that vegetarians have higher serum levels of AGEs than omnivores perhaps you are referring to this study? From what I can find, this is the only study to report this finding. I think it is important to note that this was a very small study, and the vegetarians studied were primarily lacto-ovo vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. You go on to state that the reason for higher AGE levels in vegetarians is a lack of carnosine. That is a theory which has been put forth by the author of this review however it has not been studied directly. The study which found higher levels of AGEs in vegetarians did not study carnosine at all.

      The review I linked above references many articles which show some possible benefits of carnosine. But as the author of the review notes, “There is little clear evidence to either support or refute the proposal that a carnivorous diet or carnosine-supplementation suppresses glycation and secondary diabetic complications in humans.” He also notes that while omnivores consume more carnosine, “any accompanied increased intake of animal fat may mask any benefit which carnosine might exert.”

      You may want to check out this article which provides a comprehensive list of AGE content of foods. Of note, some of the most significant sources of AGEs are butter, cheese, fats, chicken and other meats, most of which might be frequently consumed by lacto-ovo vegetarians and semi-vegetarians.

      AGEs are certainly a real concern and hopefully will be studied further, but in the mean time it seems to make sense to limit our dietary intake as much as possible!

  • NutriSoinsSante

    Glycotoxins are also produced with plant-based foods when they are cooked at high temperature (above 110oC) – Maillard reaction. In fact, the formation of glycotoxins and other toxic compounds occurs when cooking and can be reduced by decreasing the cooking temperature (boiled in water, low-pressure vapor,…) to avoid the coloring of the products : animal or plant ! (cookies, cakes, toasts, chips, french fries… as well as bacon, chicken, beef,…)

  • dogulas

    If there is a better place to as an Team Member this question, please let me know.

    I’m looking for information/the video about the harmful, rather than helpful, effect of taking antioxidants, specifically vitamin C, in pill form.

    • jen

      Try this or just go to the search feature and type in vitamin c.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-vitamin-c-pills-good-for-you/

      • dogulas

        Yeah unfortunately that search brings up not only every video that says the word “vitamin” but also every word that begins with C…

        • Thea

          dogulas: I believe that Dr. Greger has addressed the topic of vitamin C pills in more than one place. And I agree that it is hard to find them. Here is the one place that I find pretty easily that will probably interest you:
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-vitamin-c-pills-good-for-you/

          Since this is one of Dr. Greger’s earlier videos, there isn’t as much background as we get today. But it still gives you a starting place. Hope that helps.

        • KWD

          dogulas, search tip: quotation marks around a phrase, e.g. “vitamin c” in the search bar, retrieves focused search results of all posts tagged as such . Hope that helps!

  • Stewart

    OK, this is of particular interest to me as a type 1 diabetic. Certainly bouts of hyperglycemia suggest an increase in AGEs that I produce myself. But I would like to know to what extent the internal production of AGEs is of more or less importance than dietary AGEs. Looking at Dr Greger’s videos and this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/ I noted that they had shown that increased AGEs increased insulin resistance in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. I suspect this is another factor in the elimination of type 2 diabetes with a low AGE diet.

    All this is a tremendous argument for the elimination of animal products in the diet for type 1 or type 2 diabetics. I suspect that even with frequent hyperglycemia things improve for me tremendously by dramatically reducing the dietary AGE. Oh yeah, while cholesterol is still the primary determinant of atherosclerosis development this work on AGEs is a strong indicator of why there is a recommendation to treat all diabetics as though they have already had one heart attack.

    So again, my question; though I have reduced my risk by reducing the dietary AGE, just how much elevated risk remains?

  • davidbala

    I would like to access the database that was referenced in the video. Can you describe how I can access the video?

  • Jordan

    What about this? Seeing as I am on vegan diet should I take a taurine supplement to prevent internal AGE formation?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15607576

    “The low-AGE content of low-fat vegan diets could benefit diabetics – though concurrent taurine supplementation may be needed to minimize endogenous AGE production.”

    “An alternative or additional possibility is that the relatively poor taurine status of vegetarians up-regulates the physiological role of myeloperoxidase-derived oxidants in the generation of AGEs – in which case, taurine supplementation might be expected to suppress elevated AGE production in vegetarians. “

    • Jordan

      Well… should I or not?

  • Valerie Cartwright

    I wonder if anyone here has an answer to a question that I have: Are there any negative effects to eating only vegetables and no fruits? I have been plant-based for five years and absolutely love my life. I never have had a sweet tooth, and therefore rarely eat fruit; I gorge on vegetables almost without exception. There was a time that I ate a banana a day, but that was three years ago, and if I buy them now they go to waste. [If you think I’m missing out on potassium, I eat a ton of parsley and other potassium-rich greens.] I have found that I have no problem between meals and never get “hangry.” I attribute this to the fact that I eat so little in the way of sugars. What think you?

    • It seems like what you are doing is working for you. I don’t know of any good reason to add fruits to what you are doing. There are some patients with fructose maladsorption syndrome that have problems with fruits and seem to do well without them. The sugars in fruits seem to be less of an issue due to the “company” they keep see… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/if-fructose-is-bad-what-about-fruit/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-added-sugar-is-too-much/. I’m not sure I would be able to tie your success to lack of sugar. In complex systems it is generally impossible to attribute our success to specific nutrients. By eating consistent with our biochemical processes you can generally trust your “systems” to make adjustments for you. Do to complexity in this area it a good idea to eat a variety of plants. Doing that will minimize your likelihood of getting sick but as always you need to see a health care professional for symptoms. You do need to make sure you get enough Vitamin B12… see the series of videos by Dr. Greger in February 2012… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change/.

      • Valerie Cartwright

        Thank you so much Doctor Forrester for your thoughtful and reassuring response. I do pay special attention to B12 and my blood tests have shown that the only thing I struggle with is vitamin D, so I take supplements for that as well. I also am very conscious of my iodine, choline, iron, calcium, zinc and DHA fatty acids.

        • Remember that the best treatment for low Vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Sunlight not only makes Vitamin D through the UVB light but also improves arterial health through the nitrous oxide by liberating stored nitrates, nitrites and other compounds from the dermis.

          • Emmy J

            Agreed. I’ve struck what Mcdougall has said about vitamin D pills: DON’T TAKE EXCEPT UNDER RARE SITUATIONS. GET ALL VITAMIN D FROM SUN. I had no idea he was so emphatic on this issue. He says there are actually very very few situations that would ever warrant supplementing with vitamin D. Those darn pills maybe altering human immune system in not so natural way.

    • Rami_RD2B

      The Okinawans tend to eat very little fruit but eat plenty of vegetables. They also have the most cenetarians per capita and are largely plant based. It should not be a problem for you.

  • Stewart

    As a type I diabetic, I am particularly concerned with AGEs. The question I have had is “what risk from excess AGEs remains if I eliminate most dietary source?” (I think I posted that question elsewhere in one of these discussions.) Certainly on the face of it what is presented here is a great argument for going all plant based. But I would like more info. One thing I did find was an article here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953708/ . I found this to be a very useful article and it did have some very suggestive points about countering AGEs by means other than diet. Still the most important factor they found was this:”,,,several studies have shown that dietary restriction of AGEs is feasible in patients with diabetes or renal failure as well as in healthy persons and results in marked decrease in circulating AGEs and markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance.” Now we know the dietary means for reducing AGEs and reducing inflamation, endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance and oxidative stress.

    TaDah!!!. This statement alone makes it inconceivable to me that any diabetic would continue with other than a whole food plant based diet if they are educated on this.

  • Kim Churchman

    It’s obvious, but people roll their eyes at the thought of living longer. We all want to live WELL longer.

  • Freya Nielsen

    How come you don’t mention sugar? That headline “avoiding a sugary grave” was in your video but you don’t speak of sugar at all. There are many researchers who are blaming high sugar consumption for Alzheimer’s disease. (Type 3 Diabetes). Are you saying there are no vegetarians with AD? Come on. Many vegetarians consume nothing but bread and pasta along with fruit juice and an array of pesticides from produce, but they’re good right?

  • Finally after searching a long time, I am able to stumble upon this video. Who knew Glycotoxin can b a top contributor for Alzheimer’s. But I believe that we can help reduce the brain age by avoiding certain other types of things such as coffee and smoking as well. I have read somewhere that the older we get, the lesser we should eat to keep our brain healthy. Is that true to any extent?

    Param
    http://www.caplashdental.com/

  • Susan

    Your recent information on AGE’s caught my attention, as most of your information does. Infomaniac that I am I want to thank you for the regular tidbits of thoughtful knowledge to chew on that you send out. It might also be helpful for your readers to know that AGE’s are also found in large amounts in:
    • Sugary items such as candy, cookies, cakes, soda, and pastries,
    • Processed foods, including packaged meats and cheese
    • Fried foods
    • Fats, including butter, margarine, and oil
    • as well as High-fat (especially red) meats

    Foods low in AGE’s include real foods like:
    Fruits and Vegetables
    Seafood
    Whole grains·
    Low-fat breads·
    Pasta·
    Vegetarian burgers

  • Dave

    I have difficulty with exercise-induced myalgia. The myalgia effect can be reduced significantly and, often, entirely eliminated if I consume ribose or glucose shortly before exercising. (Yes, I have discussed this with my doctor.) Ribose works faster and better than glucose, so I prefer ribose — I mix about five grams with a pint of water and drink it before exercising.

    Since ribose is normally a smaller component of the diet, I looked into how the body uses it to make energy, and, as far as I could tell (I’m not great at organic chemistry.), it produces energy, mostly, through glycation. So I googled ribose and glycation, and among the top hits were these three studies from a group in China, indicating that ribose metabolism may result in AGEs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22274132 , http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0024623 and http://bmccellbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2121-10-10 .

    Since you spend quite a bit of time reviewing studies, I was wondering if you have run into this research previously and if you think one ought to be concerned about ribose and AGEs. Thanks!