By Vishal Bagchi MBA, RD, LD | Director of Medical and Scientific Affairs | Patient Care America
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are harmful compound in the body that are formed when protein and excess sugars bind. This process is part of life and happens normally in the body, but our bodies have a mechanism to get rid of them via the kidneys. Problems happen when we have access consumption and formation of AGEs or lower excretion due to damaged kidneys. AGEs are responsible for accelerating oxidative stress that alters normal cells and tissue function. This could lead to degenerative diseases such atherosclerosis, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer disease. A study published in the American society of nephrology from 2005 by Meearwaldt et.al showed AGE as a contributor to mortality and CVD and warrants interventions specifically aimed at AGE accumulation. Dialysis patients tend to have higher levels of AGEs because of chronic inflammation and reduced excretion.
The more processed, overcooked and sugary foods we consume, the more AGEs our body creates. Raw fruits and vegetables have lower AGEs vs. food derived from animal products that needs to be cooked before consumption. Cooking them low and slow forms less AGEs, and reducing sugars, along with healthy physical activities, help reduce AGE levels in your body. Animal proteins have the highest amount of Dietary AGEs (dAGEs) with beef having the highest amount followed cheese, poultry, pork, fish, eggs and lamb.
For example, 100% whole-wheat toasted bread would have 120 AGE kU/100gm, a McDonald’s Biscuit has 1470 AGE kU/100g and fried bacon (2 min and no added oil) would have 91,577 AGE kU/100g. In contrast, an apple only has 45 AGE kU/100gm.
Tips for Lowering AGE Consumption
Eliminate Foods High in AGEs
- Sugary items such as candy, cookies, cakes, soda, and pastries
- Processed foods, including packaged meats and cheese
- High-fat (especially red) meats
- Fats, including butter, margarine, and oil
- Fried foods
Eat More Foods Low in AGEs
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat breads
- Vegetarian burgers
Optimize Your Cooking Methods
- Use a slow cooker
- Cook foods in water through boiling, steaming, or poaching
- Marinate foods in acidic or citrus-based sauces
Make Healthful Lifestyle Changes
- Get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night
- Exercise 150 minutes per week
- Treat preexisting conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure