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Eating grilled meat 'increases risk of Alzheimer's and diabetes'


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25 February 2014

There is no denying that Americans are big fans of barbecues. In fact, figures state that 62% of us use our grills all year round. But new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that consuming heat-processed animal products, such as grilled or broiled meats, may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY, say that heat-processed meats contain high levels of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). These compounds have been associated with the worsening of many degenerative diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

AGEs already naturally exist in the body at low levels. But in their study, the researchers found that consuming foods with high levels of AGEs increases the body's levels of AGEs, therefore raising the risk of associated diseases.
To reach their findings, the investigators monitored the cognitive health of mice that consumed foods with high levels of AGEs - foods that are commonly found in the Western diet. This diet is high is saturated fats, red meats and "empty" carbohydrates, and low in seafood, poultry, whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Western diet led to Alzheimer's and metabolic syndrome in mice

Mice that consumed foods with high levels of AGEs demonstrated high levels of AGEs in their brains, compared with mice that ate a diet low in AGEs.

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