Oh, the irony. Age — a number you may be advancing by eating ingredients nicknamed as AGEs (1). You won’t find these highlighted on your ingredients list. They won’t be calling for your attention on the nutrition wheel. Yet they will absolutely be working against your body.
It seems like every day there’s a new evil.
Sugar. Dairy. Trans-fats.
Is there anything left that’s healthy?
As the wise would say — everything in moderation.
Sugar is easy to segment off as a treat. How can anything that tasty be good for you?
Then there are those in-between foods, foods like sweet potatoes. Foods that almost taste too good to be true. Still, all that’s needed is a small amount of research and you’ll know the world of sweet potatoes inside-out.
Here’s one you haven’t heard. One you’ll be celebrating if you’re vegetation. One that may put you off ever nearing an Atkins-style high-protein diet.
Meat contains a high dose of ingredients that actively age your body, stiffen your artery walls and promote heart disease (2). Ingredients called AGEs.
What are AGEs?
AGEs are short for advanced glycation end products. These bad news ingredients are formed when cooking up a meat feast.
Meat contains natural sugars and many proteins. When raw, these molecules hang out like a teabag in cold water. When you add heat into the mixture, things change. Sugar and protein brew together to create a new molecule, a molecule named AGE.
The harder you cook your meat, the more AGEs are formed (3). That means, BBQ-ing, broiling and frying are all bad news for your health.
So just what do AGEs do to your body?
Ever use a two-part glue? Before mixing, those two ingredients are happily fluid, non-sticky and stable. As soon as they lay eyes on each other, you only have minutes before fluid turns to solid, sticky and again stable.
Imagine this happening in your body.
The two parts of your glue are sugar and protein. Cooking activates that binding phase and after finding themselves consumed, they harden into your bodily tissues. That could be your artery walls (4). Your heart (5). Your kidneys (6).
The next part of the story fills itself in. High blood pressure, heart disease and kidney failure.
How to minimise AGEs in your diet.
Vegetarians have a lot less to worry about. If you’re not prepared to forgo meats, these 10 snippets of advice will help you minimise the pathological effects of AGEs on your body.
1. Cook meats at low heat.
2. Eat your steak medium rare, or better yet — rare.
3. Slow cook often.
4. Switch meat for fish.
5. Switch broiling or roasting for poaching or steaming.
6. Pre-marinate meat with lemon juice or vinegar.
7. Cook bacon in the microwave.
8. Try poaching chicken instead of frying.
9. Indulge in sushi.
10. Commit to consecutive days or even a week of passive vegetarianism.
Protect your health and stay youthful. Implementing just a few of these changes to cooking style or diet will dramatically affect the daily portion of AGEs you consume.