Avoiding a Sugary Grave

Avoiding a Sugary Grave
4.2 (84%) 10 votes

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

Discuss
Republish

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, hummus and veggie burgers, candy, soups, condiments, and miscellaneous—from Budweiser to breast milk, coffee and Coke, Jell-O 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.

Now, cooking method does matter. For example, boiled chicken is safer than baked chicken. But more important is plant versus animal. Yes, baked apples have three 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’s interesting to note that even uncooked animal-derived foods can contain large amounts of dietary AGEs, these so-called glycotoxins.

Typical New Yorker gets about 15,000 units a day. What’s a safe intake? No clue, but there are studies suggesting cutting one’s intake in half may extend one’s lifespan. How might one do that? Well, 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.

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

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, hummus and veggie burgers, candy, soups, condiments, and miscellaneous—from Budweiser to breast milk, coffee and Coke, Jell-O 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.

Now, cooking method does matter. For example, boiled chicken is safer than baked chicken. But more important is plant versus animal. Yes, baked apples have three 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’s interesting to note that even uncooked animal-derived foods can contain large amounts of dietary AGEs, these so-called glycotoxins.

Typical New Yorker gets about 15,000 units a day. What’s a safe intake? No clue, but there are studies suggesting cutting one’s intake in half may extend one’s lifespan. How might one do that? Well, 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.

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out Glycotoxins, the first video of this series on AGEs.  

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

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

38 responses to “Avoiding a Sugary Grave

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

    1. According to the chart, roasted nuts are indeed higher in AGEs compared to raw nuts. Perhaps eating a mixture of raw and roasted nuts is best?

      1. Best is to soak nuts overnight in the fridge, so you get them easier to digest and enhance nutrient absorption AND also soaking does need not need any heat so there aren’t AGEs produced :)

  6. 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

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Since we don’t know what is a safe intake of glycoproteins.And since we don’t know how much glycoprotein we are producing endogenously;suggesting
    cutting to one half just to extend lifespan is like dealing with the enemy.Cutting in half does not heal any disease and it doesn’t say anything about improving quality of life.The Life Style Change that will heal many of these toxicoinflammatory disorders ,and provide an improved quality extended
    life span is a Plant Based Diet without highly loaded Leucine-Casein-Arachidonic Acid containing foods.Just by substituting meats,milk products and simple carbohydrates you may help prevent,stop and heal many of these conditions ,and live a high quality extended lifespan.

  9. The AGEs in tofu is alarming to me. It is similar or more than meat. It saddens me because I love to make tofu in a bake with vegetables, brown rice, red rice, and lentils…

    1. I wonder if that’s because it doesn’t have fiber in it? But the worst AGEs are when it’s broiled or sauteed, if it’s raw or steamed, much less AGEs. Wonder how many AGEs in edamame.

  10. It’s previously been my understanding that more AGEs are formed in the body by the chemical combination of proteins and sugars in the diet than are ingested by consuming specific foods that already have them. Is this true or not?

  11. Interesting article about glycotoxins, but why is it entitled “Avoiding a Sugary Grave” when it seems to be mostly about avoiding eating meat particularly browned meat?

  12. I have been on a plant based diet for 4 years and although I’ve lost weight and my Type 1 diabetes has disappeared the one thing that doesn’t seem to change is my blood pressure figure. It has stayed high all the time, high being in a range from 130 to 158 and 82 to 98.
    I am still on Ramapril;Metropolol-l;Diltiazem and warfarin. (I was diagnosed with AFib 5 years ago although I have had no recurrence of the symptoms since then.)
    I’m beginning to think that I’m one of these people who doesn’t get benefit from a plant based diet – in relation to hypertension?

    1. Depends what you’re eating specifically? What’s your lifestyle like? What does your doctor say? Do some more research on causes of high BP (here on Nutritionfacts or over on McDougall’s site or Esselstyn’s site and so on?)? Good luck :)

  13. Great video as always! Thanks!
    …not sure how the title “How to Avoid a Sugary Grave” connects with the content.

  14. Hmm… According to Dr. D’Adamo’s observations (which occurred BEFORE these studies) people with type B blood tend to have more health problems relating to the brain. He also advised against eating chicken for them… DECADES ago. I realize these observations don’t prove anything and will be dismissed by those “needing” proof, but observation and philosophy lead science, not usually the other way around. Food for THOT! :-)

  15. Just curious if I missed something… The title indicates avoiding a sugary grave, but I don’t recall any references to sugar in the content?

  16. For everyone who has been asking about the title of this video. What does this topic have to do with a *sugary* grave???
    .
    Thank you for your questions. I wondered that too. I asked the volunteer coordinator at NutritionFacts and Kate did some research for us. She found the following quote on the internet somewhere: “Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. They can be a factor in aging and in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic renal failure, and Alzheimer’s disease.”
    .
    If that is correct, then I think we have our answer. (Thank you Kate!) Note that this is one of NutritionFact’s much older videos. The quality of our videos have gone way up since the early days. I suspect that if Dr. Greger had made this video today, it would be a fair bit longer with a lot more backfill info for us to get a rounder understanding and an explanation for the title.

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This