Who doesn't enjoy the occasional order of french fries or a little crispy bacon? But indulge too often and you could be setting yourself up for developing diabetes or Alzheimer's, a new study says.
Researchers have pinpointed chemicals found abundantly in both meat and dairy products, known as advanced glycation end products or AGEs, with advanced cell aging and inflammation. AGEs are particularly abundant in foods cooked at high temperatures.
Scientists found that both humans and mice with high AGE levels were more likely to develop problems with memory and mental processes. In a study of 93 adults over age 60, individuals with high AGE levels in their blood were more likely to experience insulin resistance and also cognitive issues compared with those who had lower levels. Similarly, mice that were fed a diet high in AGEs were found to have higher levels of beta amyloid plaques in the brain, indicative of Alzheimer's, compared to mice with lower AGE diets.
"The findings are very promising," researcher Helen Vlassara of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told The Guardian, "but the question that needs to be answered is whether cutting down on glycotoxins can prevent or reverse dementia."
Although researchers admit more advanced studies need to be done to prove causation, they recommend that people take the results into consideration and avoid cooking meats in very high, dry heat. Prevention and early detection are key, as there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer's.
"We are often told that burgers or fried chicken are bad for us and this study is not the first to link the chemicals in some cooked foods to Alzheimer's... However, this research adds to our understanding of how they might work and makes a strong case for further research," Doug Brown of the Alzheimer's Society told The Guardian. Evidence suggests that the best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is regular exercise, not smoking, and following a healthy diet."
Another reason to avoid fried foods could be their high saturated fat content. A study published last year showed people with diets high in saturated fats were at increased risk for the buildup of brain plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's.
Physician Neal Barnard told Prevention that diet and lifestyle changes, like limiting the amount of bad fats you eat, can cut your risk of Alzheimer's by up to 80 percent!
Now there's some food for thought.
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