Foods High in AGEs
The principles of a healthy eating plan for diabetes also guard against advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can increase chronic inflammation and contribute to heart disease and other complications. Sandra Woodruff, MS, RD, LDN, shares two guiding principles to reducing AGEs in your diet.
Know which foods are high and which are low in AGEs.
- Protein-rich foods: Red meat and cheese tend to have the most. In descending order, chicken, fish, eggs, and legumes have less. When eating meats, stick to a 3- to 4-ounce serving, about the size of your palm.
- Grains: Boiled grains, such as rice and oatmeal, and sandwich breads are low in AGEs. When grains are processed into crispy brown crackers or fatty cookies and sweetened with sugars, however, their AGE content can soar.
- Dairy: Milk and yogurt are low in AGEs, but when moisture is removed and fat is concentrated (as in cream, butter, and cheese), the AGE content rises dramatically. Choose reduced-fat or nonfat dairy most often.
- Fats: Vegetable fats tend to have fewer AGEs than animal fats. Animal fats are also more likely to be high in unhealthy saturated fats.
Choose cooking methods that minimize AGE formation.
To further reduce AGEs, cook foods at low temperatures and with lots of water-based moisture by steaming, stewing, poaching, and braising. Stay away from fried foods. Compared with the same-size serving of boiled chicken, deep-fried chicken has more than six times the amount of AGEs. Satisfy a taste for grilled foods by grilling more fruits and vegetables and fewer burgers, chicken, and other meats. Grilling fruits and vegetables does increase AGEs, but it is a small amount compared with grilled meats. When you grill meats, marinating your food in an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar before cooking it will reduce AGEs by up to half.