What Are Advanced Glycation End Products?

What Are Advanced Glycation End Products?

A quick overview

Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs are harmful compounds that are formed when proteins or fats combine with sugar in the bloodstream.   They also go by the name glycotoxins.  Exogenous AGEs are found in foods that you put into your body as breakfast, lunch and dinner.  As opposed to endogenous AGEs, exogenous AGEs are not formed in the body, but are ingested.  AGEs also accumulate naturally as you age.

The pathological problem happens due to their ability to promote oxidative stress and inflammation.  Then binding with cell surface receptors or cross-linking with body proteins, they alter their structure and function.

Let’s talk exogenous AGEs

Some foods are naturally high in AGEs.  Animal protein and cheese are the richest AGE foods because they are high in fat and protein.   Foods that are highly processed and fried also contain high levels.  I’m talking about foods such as certain cheeses, butter, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, oils, fried eggs, and some nuts.

Let’s talk endogenous AGEs

They are made even worse when they are heated or cooked at high temperatures.  If you grill or fry foods, for example, AGEs increases more than a thousandfold. (1)  To add to this, the longer you cook your animal product, the more AGEs occurs as well.

Does it really matter?

There was a study that was performed with two groups of diabetic individuals who were given the same diet.  In the first group, their meal was cooked by either steaming or broiling their chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes in vegetable oil for ten minutes.  The other group had the same foods cooked, only they fried or broiled their food at 450 degrees for twenty minutes.   The results were rather interesting.  The second group who was given food cooked longer and at higher temps had a 67 percent reduction capacity for arterial relaxation.  They also had oxidative markers in their blood and higher AGE.  It appears that it really does matter!

Years ago, if you recall, saturated fats got a bad rap for not being heart-healthy.  This is probably because it usually occurred in the company of AGEs.  But as I mentioned, the meats you need to be very leery of are actually cured, processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, just to name a few.  These meats are made unhealthy by added chemicals and processing.  They increase AGE formation the most.  Other cuts of meat are not bad for you, but how you cook them can either increase AGE formation a lot or a little.  So it’s a good idea to avoid sources of exogenous AGEs by staying away from the highly processed and cured meats.

Avoid cooking your meats at high temperatures (anything above 350 degrees) for long periods of time.  Yes, this includes deep frying foods!  It’s time to enjoy your cuts of meat cooked closer to the rare or medium side!  This is a great example of why I use animal protein as a “condimea.”   Instead of building my meals around animal proteins, I build them around the vegetables I have in the fridge.  It actually makes preparing meals a lot easier.  Think “bowl” meals!!

Scientists and researchers are still learning about AGEs, so there is still much to learn about potential long-term effects on health and aging.

(1)  Bengmark.


Cathy is a certified Wellness Educator and Coach with a strong passion to help her clients in their journey to improve their overall health and vitality by searching for the sources of their illness and imbalance.  As a Healthy Lifestyle Planner, Cathy shares all of the practical ways people can reduce stress, recover their lost energy, restore their immune system function and manage and maintain their health goals over the years.  She empowers people to hit the pause button in life and become more in tune with their bodies by using evidence-based lifestyle interventions to prevent lifestyle related diseases. This type of approach empowers individuals with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavioral changes that address the underlying causes of their condition.  

Cathy is also the creator and director of the Holistic Wellness Academy; an online training platform. The site offers clients and practitioners step-by-step courses that are short and actionable.  Each course is loaded with scientifically-backed information, ideas and practical, time-saving tips that empower and motivate people to successfully navigate through all the distractions life throws at us. Participants can also converse with fellow students for extra encouragement. She is finalizing her newest program, “RESTORE Your Immune System.”  This program explains why people are struggling to stay healthy and the steps they can take to balance and restore the body back to its natural homeostasis. Today it is so important for people to take back control of their health in order to reverse dis-ease.


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