AGEs Cause Premature Aging and Disease

October 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

AGEs stands for “Advanced Glycation End Products, a term which prompts an immediate further question: “What is glycation?”

Disclaimer

I am neither a medical expert, nor a nutritionist. However, I can read and I can pass on information provided by qualified experts. Medical science is not static, so I urge you to surf the Internet to verify, question or comment on what I am saying. I should also mention that I have not attempted to explain the biochemistry associated with AGEs as I am in no way qualified to do so. Let’s concentrate only on the essentials of AGEs.

What Is Glycation?
In biological terms, it is the bonding of protein and fat (lipid) molecules with sugar molecules. Some experts explain it as a process in which glucose molecules attach themselves to hemoglobin in a destructive process called glycation. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells. These molecules carry oxygen to body tissues and expel carbon dioxide. To summarize:

  • Glycation interferes with your body’s cellular functions.
  • Glycation is mainly caused by the presence of high blood sugar levels.
  • Glycation affects the ability of your red blood cells to carry oxygen to your organs.

So far, this probably does not make any practical sense. However, the damage these processes cause should wake you up and pay attention.

Skin Problems Caused by Glycation
Let’s start with the skin problems. Glycation causes glucose molecules to attach themselves to skin proteins like collagen and elastin which are the proteins that give people a youthful complexion. The sugar molecules cause the skin proteins to become discolored and weak which then causes skin wrinkles and skin sag. Smoking exasperates the damage as a recipe for premature aging.

Diseases Caused by Glycation
There are many more serious issues at stake here:

  • Detructive effects of your blood vessels – primarily damage to collagen in blood vessel walls – which can cause high blood pressure, heart disease or strokes.
  • Microvascular effects –like damage to the pancreas – that can cause diabetes.
  • The formation of plaque-like substances in your brain cells and nerve tissue – a pre-cursor or cause for memory loss, dementia or the dreadful Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nerve damage which can affect hearing and eye sight.

AGEs are formed by food you eat or formed naturally inside your body (in technical terms, when sugar molecules attach to protein or fat molecules without an enzyme).
The lining of blood cells are particularly sensitive as are blood capillaries of the kidneys and eyes, brain and nerve cells. As already said, they are a major cause for skin wrinkles and sagging skin tissue.

Nutritional Aspects of Glycation
It is the presence of glucose (sugar) molecules in your blood stream which, in combination with certain foods and cooking processes, that cause glycation.

  • Animal foods high in fat and protein are more susceptible to the formation of AGEs.
  • Browned and roasted foods like fried meats and packaged foods.
  • Modern diets are largely heat-processed and, as a result, contain high levels of AGEs.
  • Cooking of food at high temperatures without water (frying) causes the sugar in foods to bind with the proteins or fats to form AGEs.

How To Protect Yourself and Minimize Glycation

  • Reduce or eliminate sugars from your diet, particularly High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and fructose.
  • Cook meats at lower temps. Cook in broth.
  • Do NOT eat the crispy skin from turkey or pork. It is as bad as your fried breakfast bacon.
  • Avoid or reduce the amount of “browned” foods you consume. These include brown bread, browned or grilled meat, bacon, crispy brown cookies, donuts, chips, and crackers.
  • Minimize the amount of sodas and sweetened drinks that you consume, including sweetened fruit juices.
  • Avoid processed foods – they often have high sugar content.
  • Avoid browned, roasted, grilled or fried foods.
  • Avoid dark colored sodas as they contain caramel coloring.
  • Endeavor to keep your blood sugar level at or below 90 mg/dl.
  • Avoid or minimize grains – especially wheat and corn (they raise blood sugar levels). Don’t eat brown breads because they are baked or fried. Don’t eat donuts, muffins, pastries and bagels.

The End Benefits
Make these simple change and you will feel leaner, stronger, more alert and in a better mood. You will also sleep better, your joints will be stronger and your sex drive will improve.

Where To From Here
You will find several blog posts about nutrition on this site and I am progressively adding more.
I do it because of personal interest and because I am getting horrified discovering what the farm, fish, processed food and drink industries have done to an entire generation of people. The effects of the unhealthy foods we are sold is a worldwide obesity epidemic. If in doubt, just look around you.

Learning how to buy or access healthy foods and how to prepare healthy meals would require an entire book. Let’s leave this to the experts who are telling the truth and ignore the misleading propaganda and advertisements that you are exposed to every day, on TV and in magazines and newspapers. Fortunately, I have found experts who tell the truth in print and via easy to absorb videos.

The road towards a healthy diet and a healthy body involves 85% nutrition and 15% exercise. The first step is to acquire a sound eating plan.

I always place “diets” inside quotation marks because the term itself is contradictory. The word has two separate meanings, but is too often interpreted as a reduction in the amount of food you consume. This is entirely unnecessary. By eating the right kinds of food, you can actually eat more and still lose weight.

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