Foods cooked at high heat linked to heart disease

November 19, 2002 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Foods cooked at high heat linked to heart disease

People with diabetes may be able to lower their risk of heart disease by consuming foods cooked at relatively low temperatures, such as salads, preliminary research suggests.

According to the study, foods cooked at high temperatures spurred the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), compounds in the blood that stimulate cells to produce inflammation-causing proteins, in a group of adults with diabetes.

While AGEs are normally produced in the body at a slow rate, they can be toxic and form more quickly when food is heated to high temperatures. Inflammation is associated with heart disease among all people, but people with diabetes are thought to be particularly vulnerable. The study points to a simple way for people with diabetes and possibly healthy individuals to reduce levels of inflammation in the body.

While most of the previous research has focused on foods people with diabetes should avoid, the current study points to the importance of food preparation methods. And it seems that a number of animal studies support these findings in humans.

The researchers fed 24 patients with diabetes one of two healthy diets that were equal in every way except the level of AGEs due to the temperature at which the foods were cooked. After 2 to 6 weeks, study volunteers switched diets.

People who consumed foods cooked at lower temperatures had lower levels of both AGEs and inflammatory proteins than people who consumed the same foods cooked at higher temperatures. After just 2 weeks, blood levels of AGEs rose by nearly 65% among individuals consuming the high-AGE diet and decreased by 30% in individuals consuming the low-AGE diet.

After 6 weeks, levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and concentrations of the inflammatory protein C-reactive protein (CRP) had also risen among those consuming the diet high in AGEs and declined among those in the reduced AGE group. TNF-alpha and CRP are both markers showing increased inflammation.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.