Foods cooked at high temperatures are risky for diabetics. Even healthy foods cooked at a high temperature are dangerous.
A University of Illinois study found evidence that cooking methods using high temperatures, like grilling, frying, and broiling, are particularly risky because they produce “advanced glycation end products,” or AGEs that make diabetes worse than it already is.
Advanced glycation end products are sugar-derived substances produced naturally in small amounts by your body. They began forming even when you were in the womb, and they continue accumulating as you age. When you have diabetes, you produce higher concentrations of AGEs because of the increased levels of glucose in your system.
AGEs are also produced in foods, especially those that are exposed to heat. Foods cooked at high temperatures produce a higher amount of AGEs. You can even taste them in your charred steaks and the edges of crispy brownies.
Foods that are pasteurized or sterilized at high heat can also form AGEs. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk have relatively few AGEs, even when cooked.
According to the American Diabetes Association, studies show that AGEs contribute to plaque buildup, arterial stiffening, and loss of elasticity in large blood vessels. Blood flow to your heart could become reduced if plaque buildup, inflammation, or oxidation occurs.
To be fair, having grilled meat once in awhile would not be harmful to the extent of being life-threatening. However, if a person is eating grilled or charred burgers, chicken, ribs, etc. several times a week, then that wouldn't be a good idea.
Heart disease is quite common in diabetics, so keeping your blood sugar as near-normal as possible is important for this reason.
A Mount Sinai School of Medicine study published by the Journals of Gerontology found that a high amount of AGEs in diabetics could be dangerous even in younger people.
The way food is cooked can reduce exposure to AGEs. The American Diabetes Association offers tips to minimize the risk:
- Eat more fresh foods instead of charred foods.
- Cook foods at lower temperatures as much as possible.
- Cook using moist heat techniques such as steaming, boiling, poaching or stewing foods.
- Marinate foods in acidic liquids, such as lemon juice and vinegar, rather than sugary sauces, to reduce AGEs.
- Be sure to clean off any charred remains on the grilling rack before cooking.
- To avoid charring, turn your meat every 30 to 50 seconds to avoid charring.
- If a food does become charred or blackened, cut off those pieces before eating.
- Choose thin, lean cuts of meat that require less cooking time.
- Choose fish instead of meat because fish cooks faster, leaving less time for AGEs to form.
- Remove skin before cooking poultry because it chars easily.
While you might not have heard of this information before, there is a reason you are finding out about it now. Think back over to the times when your blood sugar spiked. Could it have been after eating charred foods such as a well done steak, grilled ribs or chicken?