Common food processing techniques linked to higher risk of Type 2 diabetes
12/21/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

Preparing foods a certain way can affect their nutrient content, especially vegetables. But did you know that there are cooking methods that can also increase your diabetes risk?

According to several Australian studies, which involved researchers from Monash University and the University of Queensland, common food processing techniques are linked to a risk of Type 2 diabetes. These include methods that involve the use of direct heat as a primary treatment source.

The results of the studies have determined that the most common heat-based methods of food processing are associated with reduced insulin sensitivity and Type 2 diabetes. Researchers explained that this occurs because of the high levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in foods processed using these methods.

The research was focused within the country of Australia, but the findings can be applied to other regions that also use the same food processing techniques.

Diabetes risk and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs)

Several countries worldwide are facing epidemic levels of Type 2 diabetes, and at least 25 percent of Australians older than 25 now have diabetes or prediabetes symptoms. Most of the time, cases like this are associated with the unhealthy American diet. In fact, more than 50 percent of Americans have diabetes or prediabetes symptoms.

The study findings reveal that despite being more health-oriented, societies such as Australia are also influenced by unhealthy trends in processed food. The researchers explained that the heat processing of food helps increase its flavor, shelf-life, and sterility. However, it also increases the production of AGEs.


The team warned that certain food processing and preparation methods, such as baking, frying, grilling, and roasting produce more AGEs compared to other methods like boiling and steaming, which use water and steam and not direct flames and high heat. (Related: Well done and overcooked meats greatly raise the risk of developing dementia and diabetes.)

For the study, scientists measured AGE levels in the volunteers’ urine. The test results determined a consistent link between high levels of AGEs and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Over the last few years, Type 2 diabetes has turned into a major public health issue in several Western countries. The condition has reduced quality of life among different societies, and it has also caused heavy economic burdens.

In Australia, the estimated costs for healthcare related to Type 2 diabetes amounted to more than billion per year as of 2016. But experts fear that the figure could still double by 2025.

To address this alarming concern, scientists will continue their research to validate their findings via larger and longer-term studies. They hope that further study can help determine if the reduced consumption of advanced glycation end-products can help lower a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and improve their general well-being.

However, companies that profit off of these dangerous cooking methods are unlikely to change their ways. The best thing you can do to lower your diabetes risk is to make healthier and responsible dietary choices.

Avoid heating food when cooking, and keep in mind that you can obtain more nutrients from fruits and vegetables if you consume them raw or lightly cooked. Choose natural and organic foods instead of processed products to minimize your consumption of unhealthy AGEs.

What are AGEs?

Various studies have confirmed that regardless of your weight, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are major factors that affect metabolic health.

  • AGEs are harmful compounds that accumulate naturally as you age. They are formed when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures.
  • AGEs form when fat or protein combine with sugar in the bloodstream through a process called glycation.
  • AGEs can also form in foods, especially those exposed to high temperatures via frying, grilling, or toasting.
  • Diet is the biggest contributor to AGEs, but the body can eliminate these harmful compounds by consuming foods rich in antioxidants (e.g., blueberries, grapes, raspberries, turmeric) and enzymes.
  • Consuming too many AGEs, or the spontaneous formation of too many of these compounds, may overwhelm the body. When this happens, your body becomes unable to eliminate AGEs.
  • Low levels or AGRs aren't dangerous, but high levels of the compounds may cause oxidative stress and inflammation. High levels of AGEs are also associated with the development of various diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and premature aging.
  • Individuals with high blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes, have a greater higher risk of producing too many AGEs that can build up in the body.

For more articles about the dangers of certain food processing techniques and healthier cooking methods, visit

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