People with diabetes may benefit from staying clear of crusty cooked foods after a study found that such foods may increase the risk of diabetes-related heart problems.
The research, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, found that certain cooking methods that create crusty bits, such as those found on well-done steaks and burgers, produce harmful chemicals known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs are by-products of food preparation methods that feature very high, intense, dry heat. According to nutrition expert Karen Chapman-Novakofskin, they can cause long-term damage to individuals with diabetes as they are associated with the build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) in the blood vessels – a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
For the study, Dr Chapman-Novakofskin, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, and colleagues compared the 10-day food intake of 65 people and found that those who consumed more AGEs had higher rates of cardiovascular complications.
“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,” explained Claudia Luevano-Contreras, first author of the study.
Dr Chapman-Novakofski said although preliminary, the findings provide “ample reason” for further investigation into the connection between AGEs and cardiovascular risk among people with diabetes, adding that her team is already planning another study that will examine past intake of AGEs in diabetic patients.

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