If You Knew the Diet You Are Eating Was a Major Contributor to Alzheimer’s, Heart Disease and Cancer?
I am not an alarmist. However the facts on this subject are very compelling and you have a right to know the facts about what you put in your body. What you do after reading the message is up to you. My hope is that it will resonate with you enough to bring healthy change in your diet and lifestyle.
The Ostrich Syndrome
You can’t ignore this and it will not go away. I hear and read reasons to justify food choices all the time. Such as; “Well I am going to die anyway so I should at least enjoy my food”, It’s genetics and its going to happen anyway so I am going to eat what I want”, My granddad lived to 99 and he smoked and ate fried foods and drank a lot so why should I do any different? Sound familiar?
Regardless, this isn’t something you can hide from or run from. As far as genetics go, studies have told us for years that most disease causing genes are dormant until we fertilize them with a poor diet, exposure to toxic chemicals or unmanaged stress. And some genes are going to express and cause disease regardless what we do, however, that is a very small percentage of illness and disease. We create the perfect conditions for genes to spring to life to bring us disease. In contrast, a mostly plant-based diet may suppress these rogue genes. Sure, an occasional hot dog, fries or BBQ isn’t going to cause these conditions but consuming then week after week for years can and does.
The hardcore truth is; American’s are getting sicker and our crap foods and stressed lifestyle have a lot to do with it. Regarding Alzheimer’s, America has the 2nd highest rate and Finland has the highest. America also has some of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The countries with the lowest rates are Asia, Eurasia the Middle East and African Nations. The countries with the lowest rates of Westernization have the lowest rates of these diseases. Interestingly, 30% of people with Alzheimer’s also have heart disease, and 29% also have diabetes. (Alzheimer’s Association) Alzheimer’s rates are climbing drastically. Maybe the American diet rich in AGE’s are a big part of the cause. Should we take a closer look at diet more and less towards drugs to find the cure. Hippocrates nailed it when he said “Let Food be Thy Medicine”.
Numerous, peer-reviewed studies show the majority of today’s rapidly growing diseases are diet influenced.
Could This be a Major Player in Disease and Illness? There are many suspected contributors to disease and illness and the one I am presenting is not the only cause but I believe it is a big one. Read this thoroughly, do your own research and then make your own conclusions.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s) accelerate our aging at the cellular level. Studies link AGE’s to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, vascular disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, vision problems and cancers, even Alzheimer’s, due to the production of amyloid proteins and free radical damage to brain cells.
“We found that mice kept on a diet high in AGEs, similar to Western diet, had high levels of AGEs in their brains together with deposits of amyloid-β, a component of the plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, while at the same time developed declines in cognitive and motor abilities. The mice fed a low AGE diet remained free of these conditions. In addition, clinical studies have shown that subjects with higher blood AGE levels, in turn resulting from high AGE diets, are more likely to develop cognitive decline on follow up.” https://www.j-alz.com/content/new-study-postulates-role-dietary-advanced-glycation-end-products-risk-alzheimers-disease
AGEs are harmful compounds that are formed from dry, high heat cooking that combine sugars, proteins and fats. Even cooking certain foods at lower temperatures for longer periods still increases the production of AGE’s. Other cancer causing chemicals are produced as well, such as acrylamides.
AGE’s are another reason to avoid as much sugar as possible. Sugar is very harmful. Fructose (agave nectar or syrup and HFCS) forms AGE’s 10 times faster that glucose (blood sugar). Fried starchy foods (French fries, fried pies) are also rich in AGE’s and acrylamides.
Let’s get real for a moment and look at a few typical foods Americans eat every day high in AGE’s. Grilled meats, hot dogs, donuts, pastries, French fries, BBQ, breaded meats, potato chips, corn chips, crackers and even a baked potato with butter and cream are big providers of AGE’s. If you are eating these you are greatly increasing your risk for future disease and illness. The amount of AGE’s in food varies. In the list provided in this link you can see the foods with the highest AGE content are animal foods and a few roasted nuts. Eat the nuts raw greatly reduces the AGE content. There are very few AGE’s in plant-based foods like vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds and fruits.
Research performed in animal studies show a restriction of dietary AGEs slowed the progression of atherosclerosis (causes heart disease) and diabetes. A study in humans found that a low-AGE diet reduced blood levels of C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation and a known risk factor for heart disease.
The Standard American Diet is full of simple sugars like sucrose, fructose and galactose (milk sugar). Many of the sweeteners available today are at least 50% fructose or a fructose derivative such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, agave nectar and agave syrup. These added sugars are a major cause of AGE’s when added with fats and proteins in the right environment.
What foods have the most and least AGE’s?
- Fats, dairy and meat products contain the most AGEs
- Carbohydrates are relatively low in AGEs
- Higher cooking temperatures increase AGEs
- Longer cooking times increase AGEs
- The presence of liquids in cooking (such as boiling ro steaming) reduces AGEs
- Processed foods have more AGEs than natural or homemade foods
Looking at this list, we can say for sure a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds provides the least damage from AGE’s. The real problem is with meats, dairy and processed foods.
How cooking influence’s AGE’s
When cooking foods, the higher the temperature, the longer the time and the type of heat determine the amount of AGE’s produced. Dry heat produces substantially more AGE’s than wet heat. Boiling, poaching, steaming and stewing are the cooking methods that produce the least amount of AGE’s and cooking, grilling, frying, baking, and broiling produces the most AGE’s.
AGEs form as food browns during cooking, primarily when foods high in protein or fat are subjected to high temperatures. Cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time creates more AGEs than cooking at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. Also, exposure to dry heat produces more AGEs than cooking in liquid. Thus, broiling, frying, or grilling of meats creates more AGEs than boiling, poaching, or stewing. For example, a chicken breast broiled for 15 minutes contains more than five times as many AGEs as the same food boiled for one hour. If you barbecue or allow meats to char ,not only do you have AGE’s you also have other cancer causing compounds. .
Balance in life
A life of wellness is about balance not perfection. Because certain foods have high amounts of AGE’s it doesn’t mean never consume them. It means be smart about it. Limit the intake and eat as nutritious as you can as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you eat nutritious foods and prepare your foods in different ways, you will cut the risk of health issues from harmful chemicals and compounds present in everyday foods.
Wally Bishop I.N.H.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/114/6/597 (Diabetes and vascular damage)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18473849 (Vascular disease and diabetes)
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