Cut Out Dry-Cooked Food to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

We all know that what we eat can play a big factor in how well we control our diabetes.

But a new study suggests that we ought to pay attention to something more than the food we eat: how we prepare it.

The study, conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in Diabetologia, is a follow-up to a 2014 article published in another journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The earlier study concluded that a diet low in advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs, could help reverse damage in the body that causes insulin resistance.

“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,” lead researcher Helen Vlassara, MD, said of the first study. “This can provide us with new clinical approaches to pre-diabetes, potentially helping protect certain at-risk individuals from developing full diabetes and its devastating consequences.”

The Study

For the 2016 study, research subjects were divided into two groups and instructed to eat a diet with either normal AGE levels (Reg-AGE) or low AGEs (L-AGE). The first group prepared their food relatively normally, while the second group was discouraged from grilling, frying, or baking their food. Instead, the low AGEs group was asked to poach, stew, or steam their dishes.

At the end of the trial period, all subjects submitted blood and urine samples. Vlassara and her team analyzed these samples, and found that, as they explained in their press release, “the L-AGE group showed significantly improved insulin resistance, as well as slightly decreased body weight and lowered levels of AGEs in the body. The Reg-AGE group had higher levels of AGEs and more markers of insulin resistance than during the baseline measurements.”

How Can I Avoid Dry-Cooking?

The average Western diet is full of dry-cooked meals – foods that are baked, grilled, and fried. So how are you supposed to avoid AGEs? Options like poaching your food might seem difficult, but with a little practice you'll be a pro. If you're still hesitant, that's ok – you can slow cook or stew your dishes and have a tasty, low-AGE diet.

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