Celebrating the Fourth of July Week-End & Summer Days

The Fourth of July and the rest of the summer are synonymous with BBQs, grilling, swimming and picnics. In previous summers I have written about the dangers of grilling before, but never onthe subject of AGEs.This definition is from Wikipedia:

An advanced glycation end-product (AGE) is the result of a chain of chemical reactions after an initial glycation reaction. The intermediate products are known, variously, as Amadori, Schiff base and Maillard products, named after the researchers who first described them. (The literature is inconsistent in applying these terms. For example, Maillard reaction products are sometimes considered intermediates and sometimes end products.) Side products generated in intermediate steps may be oxidizing agents (such as hydrogen peroxide), or not (such as beta amyloid proteins).[1]Glycosylation” is sometimes used for “glycation” in the literature, usually as ‘non-enzymatic glycosylation.’

After reading this, I asked myself, “So what does this mean?”   I read further and found this:

The formation and accumulation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) has been implicated in the progression of age-related diseases.[8] AGEs have been implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease,[9] cardiovascular disease,[10] and stroke.[11] The mechanism by which AGEs induce damage is through a process called cross-linking that causes intracellular damage and apoptosis.[12] They form photosensitizers in the crystalline lens,[13] which has implications for cataract development.[14] Reduced muscle function is also associated with AGEs.[15]

Since healthy aging is my theme for this summer, the second half of the definition really caught my attention. (Highlighted in red by me.) I read an article in Life Extension Magazine online and also in one of Dr. Susan Silbersterin’s books called Hungry for Health, which I reviewed some time ago. I Google: How are AGEs formed? I found several references, including a You Tube posting, but the abstract below is the easiest to understand. All the source information is included. I just cut and pasted it, highlighting in red what I felt  is most important:

Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet by Uribarri J, Woodruff S, Goodman S, Cai W, Chen X, Pyzik R, Yong A, Striker GE, Vlassara H.Source: Division of Nephrology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA. Published in J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.03.018.


Modern diets are largely heat-processed and as a result contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Dietary advanced glycation end products (dAGEs) are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which are linked to the recent epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This report significantly expands the available dAGE database, validates the dAGE testing methodology, compares cooking procedures and inhibitory agents on new dAGE formation, and introduces practical approaches for reducing dAGE consumption in daily life. Based on the findings, dry heat promotes new dAGE formation by >10- to 100-fold above the uncooked state across food categories. Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking. In contrast, carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk contain relatively few AGEs, even after cooking. The formation of new dAGEs during cooking was prevented by the AGE inhibitory compound aminoguanidine and significantly reduced by cooking with moist heat, using shorter cooking times, cooking at lower temperatures, and by use of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. The new dAGE database provides a valuable instrument for estimating dAGE intake and for guiding food choices to reduce dAGE intake.

2010 American Dietetic Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My Notes: What this means to me is that if you are grilling this summer, consider marinating your high protein foods (meats, esp.) with a marinade that contains lemon juice or vinegar, as well as reducing the cooking time over high heat. Because this is a holiday week-end and I don’t want to spoil your fun, I just thought I would mention this issue for you to think about and to consider for future BBQs and even cooking in your home oven.  ANother article I found to be helpful is: http://greatist.com/health/grilling-bad-your-health. You may also Google the topic for more information.

Also, Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. has posted a terrific article for the 4th called: July 4: Be Safe at Your Celebration. Here’s the link: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/july-4-be-safe-at-your-celebration.htm. It covers the whole topic about safety in the water, at picnics, etc.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday week-end and summer!

2 Responses to “Celebrating the Fourth of July Week-End & Summer Days”

  1. Mary-Lou Meyers Says:

    I’ve heard and read how grilling particularly is unhealthy but the emphasis was on the charcoal.
    It does make perfect sense though, even if we buy the healthiest organic meat we are leaving ourselves vulnerable. The lemon and vinegar makes a great deal of sense. I admit when I use the oven, I do a great deal of basting which certainly helps and often make a pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onions etc.
    Thanks for the valuable information as always.

  2. ellen sue spicer Says:

    If you go on one of the articles in my posting, you will see there are other damaging effects from grilling, not just AGEs, but this is a good way to start. How about marinading the meat in wine vinegar & spices? es

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