Crusty foods may worsen heart problems associated with diabetes

ACES: OCTOBER 22, 2012

URBANA – A University of Illinois study suggests avoiding cooking methods that produce the kind of crusty bits you’d find on a grilled hamburger, especially if you have diabetes and know you’re at increased risk for cardiovascular disease because of your diagnosis.

“We see evidence that cooking methods that create a crust—think the edge of a brownie or the crispy borders of meats prepared at very high temperatures—produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs). And AGEs are associated with plaque formation, the kind we see in cardiovascular disease,” said Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a U of I professor of nutrition.

For years nutrition experts have advised people with diabetes to bake, broil, or grill their food instead of frying it, she said.

“That’s still true, but if you have diabetes, you should know that AGEs—byproducts of food preparation methods that feature very high, intense, dry heat—tend to end up on other tissues in the body, causing long-term damage,” she added.

If you’re fighting this vascular buildup anyway, Chapman-Novakofski thinks that consuming products containing AGEs could worsen the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.

In the U of I study, the scientists compared the 10-day food intake of 65 study participants in two ethnic groups: Mexicans (who have higher rates of diabetes and a greater risk of complications from the disease) and non-Hispanic whites. Read more