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Grilling Food Produces Toxic Byproducts Causing Obesity and Diabetes

After years of research, scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that prolonged consumption of foods cooked in dry heat may result in weight gain and type 2 diabetes due to sustained exposure to a compound called methyl-glyoxal (MG). MG is a toxic byproduct which has been found to lower the body’s protective mechanisms against inflammation.

For the experiment, the researchers, led by Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, fed one group of mice a diet high in MG (but with normal amounts of calories and fat) and another group of mice, a similar diet without the compound. They observed that over four generations of mice, those which received AG regularly developed significant weight gain and abdominal fat, increased insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, the mice that did not consume MG had high levels of SIRT1 and AGER1, which are factors that protect against insulin resistance and diabetes. The researchers also found that MG led to a marked deficiency in these protective mechanisms that control inflammation and enhance the metabolism of glucose and insulin.

Dr. Vlassara believes that these findings should enhance people’s understanding on how to prevent obesity and diabetes since ingestion of apparently harmless substances in food, such as MG can increase one’s risk for metabolic diseases. The researchers recommend revising clinical guidelines to eliminate foods cooked using dry heat and replacing them with cooking methods that use low heat and moisture, such as stewing, poaching or steaming.



Mount Sinai Medical Center. Stop grilling dinner: Specific toxic byproduct of heat-processed food leads to increased body weight and diabetes, mouse study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2012.

Posted in: Diabetes, Diabetes Research, Diet, Healthy Eating, Inflammation, Lifestyle, Meal Preparation, News Briefs, Obesity, Overweight, Type 2 Diabetes

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