Originally published November 26 2009
Stop eating processed and fried foods and you'll restore the body's natural defenses, study finds
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) There's a drugless and side effect-free way to reduce inflammation in the body, restore the body's natural defense system, lose weight, possibly increase lifespan and improve or prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. What's more, you can get the benefits from this natural health strategy no matter what your age or whether you already have a serious disease. So who's behind these "wild" health declarations? It's not a supplement maker or natural health group. Instead, the claims come from mainstream science -- researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, to be exact.
Their findings, published in the October/November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism conclude there's a simple, inexpensive dietary intervention that could control weight even without changing caloric intake and help make people healthier in a host of ways. The key? Stop eating processed and fried foods.
According to the Mount Sinai study, these foods, which are abundant in Western diets, are loaded with harmful toxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). AGEs are produced when foods are heated, pasteurized, dried, smoked, fried or grilled. Then, once consumed and inside the body, AGEs adhere to tissues and oxidize them, causing inflammation which can result in numerous diseases. In fact, a long list of animal studies conducted by Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and her team have previously shown the dangers of AGEs. The oxidative stress from high oxidant levels and inflammation associated with long-term exposure to AGEs increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and other chronic ills.
The new clinical study, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), built on this earlier animal research but this time looked at what people ate and how it affected their bodies. The researchers studied 325 healthy adults and 66 with chronic kidney disease. A subset of 40 healthy participants and another nine with kidney disease were randomly assigned to follow a regular Western diet full of AGEs or to follow a diet with only one-half the amount of AGEs typically found in the American style of eating. Research subjects in the "AGE-less diet" group were advised to avoid grilling, frying or baking their food. Instead, they were told to eat food that was poached, stewed or steamed. There was no change in calories or nutrient intake during the time of the study.
After four months on the low-AGEs eating plan, the scientists checked the blood of the healthy research subjects. They found that AGE levels, lipid peroxides, inflammatory markers, and biomarkers of vascular function declined by as much as 60 percent. What's more, a similar reduction was found in the kidney patients after only one month on the AGE-less diet.
In addition, the research team found a positive effect on a cellular receptor for AGEs called AGER1. That's a critical finding because the AGER1 receptor is needed for removing toxic AGEs from the body. On the other hand, the participants with kidney disease, all of whom had extremely elevated levels of AGEs, had severely suppressed AGER1 receptors. The Mount Sinai scientists speculate that's because this important defense mechanism is "exhausted" as a result of persistently elevated AGEs.
But there's good news. After even a short period of not eating AGEs loaded fried and processed foods, the number of AGER1 gene copies was restored to normal levels among patients with kidney disease. That means by simply adjusting the diet to avoid processed and fried foods, the body was rebuilding its healthy defense system.
"What is noteworthy about our findings is that reduced AGE consumption proved to be effective in all study participants, including healthy persons and persons who have a chronic condition such as kidney disease," said Dr. Vlassara, the study's lead author, in a press statement.
"This suggests that oxidants may play a more active role than genetics in overwhelming our body's defenses, which we need to fight off disease. It has been said that nature holds the power, but the environment pulls the trigger. The good news is that unlike genetics, we can control oxidant levels, which may not be an accompaniment to disease and aging, but instead due to the cumulative toxic influence of AGEs."
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