Diabetics Need To Stay Away From Crusty Bits On Grilled Foods
October 23, 2012

Crusty Bits, Fried Foods Lead to Worsened Health for Diabetic Patients

Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Watch out meat eaters: a study by the University of Illinois recently found that individuals should avoid cooking meat in a way that results in crusty bits similar to those found on a grilled hamburger.

In particular, crusty foods and foods high in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) could result in worsened health problems that are related to diabetes. The findings were included in the online edition of the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

"We see evidence that cooking methods that create a crust–think the edge of a brownie or the crispy borders of meats prepared at very high temperatures–produce AGEs. And AGEs are associated with plaque formation, the kind we see in cardiovascular disease," commented Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, in a prepared statement.

In particular, Chapman and other nutrition experts have advocated that people who suffer from diabetes should limit frying food and bake, broil or grill food instead.

"That's still true, but if you have diabetes, you should know that AGEs–byproducts of food preparation methods that feature very high, intense, dry heat–tend to end up on other tissues in the body, causing long-term damage," continued Chapman in the statement.

The study included a comparison of food intake data from 65 study participants who were of two different ethnic groups. Participants were of Mexican descent and of non-Hispanic White background. The researchers were interested in studying Mexicans, as they have a health history of elevated rates of diabetes along with higher risk of complications from the illnesses.

"We found that people with higher rates of cardiovascular complications ate more of these glycated products. For each unit increase in AGEs intake, a study participant was 3.7 times more likely to have moderate to high risk for cardiovascular disease," noted the first author of the study, Claudia Luevano-Contreras, in the statement.

Based on the findings, non-Hispanic White participants were found to have a higher intake of AGEs and higher consumption of saturated fats. On the other hand, there was a stronger link between AGEs and cardiovascular disease as opposed to AGEs along with heart disease and saturated fats. Researchers recommend that individuals with diabetes consume less saturated fat and more fruits, fibers and vegetables. They also believe that better food preparation could be a step forward for diabetic patients. For example, boiling or stewing meat could decrease AGEs intake and scrambling an egg rather than frying it will continue to reduce intake of AGEs.

"AGEs are higher in any kind of meat, but especially in ground meat," she said. "If you put hamburgers or brats on the grill, you'll likely have a higher AGEs content than if you chose a whole cut of meat, say round steak or chicken," noted Chapman-Novakofski in the statement.

In moving forward with the study, researchers believe that there should be more concise recommendations made for patients and they plan to conduct another study that will look at past AGEs intake by patients.

"These findings are preliminary, but they give us ample reason to further explore the association between AGEs and cardiovascular risk among people with diabetes," concluded Chapman-Novakofski in the statement.