People with prediabetes who avoid the intake of a cooking by-product called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) could have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study suggests.
American researchers found that obese individuals with prediabetes who avoided AGEs had improved metabolic health compared to those who ate a diet high in AGEs.
AGEs are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars, and are the subject of ongoing research in diabetes. Increased cooking temperatures and times, including broiling (grilling with heat from above) and frying, can lead to increased amounts of AGEs.
This new study, conducted by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, divided obese individuals with prediabetes into two groups: one ate a diet low in AGEs (L-AGE); the other ate a regular diet, which is typically high in AGEs (Reg-AGE).
Those in the L-AGE group were told to avoid frying, baking or grilling food, and instead poach, stew or steam their meals.
Following an analysis of blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the trial, both groups were found to have similar levels of insulin resistance before the study, but the L-AGE group had significant improvements by the study’s end.
The L-AGE group also had decreased body weight – a health marker known to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes – and reduced levels of AGEs in the body. In contrast, the Reg-AGE participants had more markers of insulin resistance than at baseline and higher levels of AGEs.
Lead author Dr Helen Vlasarra explained: “While food AGEs are prevalent, particularly in Western diets, our study showed that avoiding foods high in AGEs could actually reverse the damage that had been done.
“This can provide us with new clinical approaches to prediabetes, potentially helping protect certain at-risk individuals from developing full diabetes and its devastating consequences.”
Dr Jaime Uribarri, a study author, added: “Elevated serum AGEs in individuals can be used as a marker to diagnose and treat ‘at risk’ obesity in patients. Even without losing a significant amount of weight, a reduced AGE diet can help prevent diabetes in these patients.”
The study appears online in the journal Diabetologia.

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