Inflammatory Food Toxins – AGEs.

This study reports on a high level of food toxins called Advanced Glycation End-products in infants. AGE’s can come into the body from outside (exogenous) by heating food or can be formed in the body through a chemical reaction (endogenous).

AGEs have been implicated in a number of aging conditions like Alzheimers, stroke and cardiovascular disease and are pro-inflammatory affecting many different types of cells in the body. They can cause damage to the cells lining the blood vessels, the lymphatics and the heart.  They are believed to play a causative role in the vascular complications of diabetes and diabetics have higher levels of AGEs. It is thought that high levels of AGEs in children could predispose to diabetes and insulin resistance in later life. AGEs are toxic by-products of sugars/lipids/proteins formed by a variety of mechanisms and are found in most heated foods. Approximately 10% of ingested AGEs are absorbed into the circulation and two thirds of those are retained. 

The researchers in this study found that high levels could be introduced into infants given formula that has been processed under high heat and that these could contain 100 times more AGEs than breast milk. After switching from breast to formula milk the AGE levels doubled to those seen in diabetics and many had elevated insulin levels. More research is required but they have suggested that given the rise in diabetes in children that AGE-less approaches to children’s diet should be considered. 

This report from 2006 provides a more detailed review of AGEs in diabetes. A further report in Diabetes Care July 2011 also reports that a modest cut in foods high in AGEs may improve insulin resistance in adults with diabetes. AGEs were found to be elevated in most grilled, fried or baked foods. Cutting back on heat-processed foods without altering fat or carbohydrate consumption improved insulin levels.The diabetics on the AGE restricted diet had 35% decrease in blood insulin levels. This was associated with improved markers of inflammation and help restore the bodies defences. 

The researchers comment that importantly the study exposes the double role food AGEs play in obesity and diabetes and given the epidemic of diabesity currently in the world it is worth paying attention to. Dietary restriction of AGEs can reduce vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. Roasting, frying and broiling can increase AGEs and it is thought to be better to use steaming, boiling, poaching or stewing. Fish, fruit and vegetables are low in AGEs and high levels AGEs are found in high processed foods, high fat/protein cooked at high temps, high levels of  sugar/fructose foods.  Sugar is perhaps not so sweet! 


  • Reply
    23rd October 2011 at 11:28 am

    So if we want to reduce our intake of AGE we should stew foods rather than grill, fry or bake – and avoid processed foods? (and lay off the baby milk!)

    How do you see the energetic perspective of a disease like diabetes vs the impact of some toxic substances we eat on the onset of disease (e.g. AGE and high fructose corn syrup)?

    • Reply
      The Soulful Doctor
      23rd October 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Hi David, 

      Probably more work needs to be done re which method of cooking is best – but the message seemed to be that very high temps or very prolonged heating was not ideal. 

      Interesting question you pose re the interplay of energetics vs toxins. I feel the root is in the energy and the first separation from who we are – having separated we then make choices that are not aligned to who we are and which compound the problem by choosing food that is toxic or not harmonious for the body eg choosing sugary foods because we are depleted energetically etc.  I know that I am now able to discern certain foods that no longer feel nourishing for me – yet not that many years ago I would not have had that awareness. So the more I live according to my true nature and feel from there what to eat and feel the consequences of my choices in my body afterwards I am better able to discern what feels healthy or toxic for me. SO for diabetes, the separation from self would come first, not living one’s full potential, compounded by the dietary choices made in that separation. 

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