Preparing Foods at High Temperatures Might Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email

A recent study found that preparing foods at high temperatures might increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The results were published in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The research team from The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai examined studies that assessed the content AGEs (advanced glycation end products) in diets and compared the total AGE’s with rates of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

AGEs combine sugars, proteins and other large molecules, and can either be produced in the body when food is cooked at high temperatures or when food is aged for a long time. Evidence from recent studies has found a relationship between AGEs and Alzheimer’s disease, and also that AGEs increase the risk for several chronic diseases due to inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, evidence has shown that AGEs can bind the RAGE receptor that transports beta-amyloid proteins through the blood-strain, thus contributing to AD development.

In their study, the team of researchers conducted estimations of AGE content diets and the risk of AD. To do this, they used quantified AGEs for different food types that were taken for a study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers. Then they prepared 549 foods with different cooking methods and assessed the AGE content of these prepared foods. Results revealed that high cooking temperatures were related to higher AGE content (for example, a total of 100 g of uncooked beef had 707 kU of AGEs, but 100 grams of cooked beef had 6071 kU).

Results from this study entitled “Observational and ecological studies of dietary advanced glycation end products in national diets and Alzheimer’s disease incidence and prevalence” also revealed that meat has the highest AGEs levels, with vegetable oils, cheese and fish also having high levels. Furthermore, foods like cereals, eggs, fruits, legumes, milk, nuts , etc., have a lower contribution of AGEs, since they are cooked at lower heats or because they are eaten in small portions.

According to Drs. Jaime Uribarri and Weijing Cai of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in a recent press release, “This epidemiological study supports our previous findings in animals and humans of an important role for dietary AGEs in Alzheimer’s disease. We found that mice kept on a diet high in AGEs, similar to Western diet, had high levels of AGEs in their brains together with deposits of amyloid-β, a component of the plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, while at the same time developed declines in cognitive and motor abilities. The mice fed a low AGE diet remained free of these conditions. In addition, clinical studies have shown that subjects with higher blood AGE levels, in turn resulting from high AGE diets, are more likely to develop cognitive decline on follow up.

The findings point to an easily achievable goal that could reduce the risk of dementia through the consumption of non-AGE-rich foods, for example, foods that cooked or processed under lower heat levels and in the presence of more water, raising the importance of not just what we eat, but also how we prepare what we eat.”