Diet is one of the important parts of our daily life. At least three meals per day are needed to survive. So, undoubtedly diet does affect our health. Numerous studies have been conducted to understand the effects that the food we eat has on our health.

Recently, a study done by scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine revealed a strong link between barbecued foods and chronic diseases such as dementia and diabetes. According to the study, compounds found in grilled meat can be one of the major causes of dementia. Let’s learn about it in detail.
Barbecued Meat
What Do Studies Have To Say?

The study, which was published in the journal PNAS, was conducted with a few older adults for approximately nine months. The main objective of the study was to find the effect of advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs, on their mental aptitudes. Dr. Helen Vlassara, professor of geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Icahn School of Medicine, found that adults who consumed diets rich in AGEs had high levels of AGEs in their serum. They were even found to have supressed host defences and symptoms of cognitive impairment. The result indicates a connection between AGEs and the onset of dementia in an individual in later years.

Another study done on mice concludes that when fed harmful amounts of AGEs, mice had dementia symptoms such as brain functionality issues. It was also found that there was a drastic reduction of the enzyme SIRT1 (that helps in defence mechanisms) in the brain tissues and blood of mice.  On the other hand, mice that were given foods with lower amounts of AGEs did not show any symptoms similar to dementia.

How Are AGEs Causing The Damage?

Our body has an enzyme called SIRT1 which regulates numerous bodily functions such as the immune system, hormones and the brain. A low level of this enzyme can cause metabolic and brain-related conditions such as diabetes and dementia. Tests done on people with such diseases were found to have lower levels of SIRT1.

According to researchers, the formation of AGEs is the result of the reaction of sugars with nucleic acids, protein or fat. The high amounts of AGEs in the blood and tissues restrict the activity of the enzyme SIRT1. High levels of AGEs also destroy cells or nucleic acids and trigger inflammation. With the passage of time, the destruction caused by AGEs multiplies and can give rise to a host of ailments including kidney disease, brain disease, diabetes and heart disease.

Why Is Diet Important For Your Health?

More than a decade ago, AGEs were recognized as mostly being found in diabetic patients since a high blood sugar level causes the formation of AGE.

Dr. Helen Vlassara reports that the body forms normal amounts of AGEs, and it usually increases with the consumption of certain foods. Some such foods are meats and those high in sugar and fat. It has also been found that cooking can further enhance the amount of AGEs. However, it is important to be aware that AGEs differ from the carcinogens that are produced by charring.

Eating Healthy Foods Can Minimize The Damage

Dr. Vlassara concludes that consuming a low-AGE diet can help to cure dementia. However, further studies are needed to determine if the brain would be able to revert to its normal functioning after reducing AGEs in the diet.


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