A group of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai studied the link between the way people cook their food and the risk of diabetes.

The investigation, called “Oral AGE restriction ameliorates insulin resistance in obese individuals with the metabolic syndrome: A randomized controlled trial” was published in Diabetologia last week, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by the National Institute for Research Resources.

A group of researchers studied the link between the way people cook their food and the risk of diabetes. Photo credit: Mequilibrium
A group of researchers studied the link between the way people cook their food and the risk of diabetes. Photo credit: Mequilibrium

The main finding proved that obese people with insulin resistance showed improvement in their system’s response to sugar and interaction with insulin by changing the method of cooking of their meals, avoiding the ingest of Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs).

Advanced Glycation Endproducts are mostly proteins or lipids that change their chemical structures once exposed to sugars and are present in food cooked with dry heat or heat-processed food.

In research published in 2014 in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine confirmed the negative effect that high levels of AGEs have on the insulin-resistance system, even causing pre-diabetes and brain changes linked to degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Given these previous findings of AGEs, Dr. H. Vlassara, from the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging and specialist in Geriatric science, decided to continue with the investigation of AGEs and insulin resistance, this time considering the cooking method of food as a relevant item in the process.

An experimental research

The previous research used existing data and laboratory-related activities to understand the role of AGEs in the insulin system, while this study was experimental and used data from volunteer participants.

Obese individuals, who participated as volunteer subjects in the investigation,  were split into two groups with different dietary regimes. The first group was exposed to higher levels of AGEs and consumed a regular diet with grilled, fried and baked food, while the second group maintained a diet limited to poached, steamed and stewed food, what proved to have less AGEs’ levels.

The experiment included analyzing samples of blood and urine to evaluate the insulin resistance in each patient. In the beginning, most patients had similar results but at the end of the study, those in the group with less grilled, fried and baked food showed considerable improvements in their insulin resistance.

“Our study showed that avoiding foods high in AGEs could reverse the damage that had been done, this can provide us with new clinical approaches to pre-diabetes, potentially helping protect certain at-risk individuals from developing full diabetes and its devastating consequences,” stated Dr. Vlassara.

Changing the way you cook could help prevent diabetes

Reducing the AGEs presence in diets could be the answer to obese individuals vulnerable to diabetes. The easiest way to control this high levels of AGEs could be switching the most common dry-heat cooking methods, such as baking and grilling, to steaming and poaching.

Also, reducing the amount of baked, grilled and, fried food can also have a positive effect on the body in different ways: Hormonal response, genes associated with the regulation of stress and inflammation and body weight proved to get better with low dry-heat cooked foods’ diets.

Source: EurekAlert!