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“Crusty” Foods May Worsen Heart Problems for Diabetics

by Sandy Todd Webster on Dec 13, 2012

Food for Thought

So you’ve perfected the art of searing meat with the type of caramelized crust that makes television chefs wax poetic. But, alas, according to recent research it turns out that the tasty layer of crust on your food and the beautiful brown bits in the bottom of the pan may worsen heart problems associated with diabetes.

Research from the University of Illinois suggests that people with diabetes or with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease should avoid cooking techniques that produce the kind of crusty bits you’d find on a grilled hamburger. “We see evidence that cooking methods that create a crust—think the edge of a brownie or the crispy borders of meats prepared at very high temperatures—produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs). And AGEs are associated with plaque formation, the kind we see in cardiovascular disease,” said Karen Marie Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, RD, LD, nutrition professor at the university.

What about the years of advice diabetics have received from nutrition experts about avoiding fried preparations and instead baking, broiling or grilling their food? “That’s still true,” Chapman-Novakofski added, “but if you have diabetes, you should know that AGEs—byproducts of food preparation methods that feature very high, intense, dry heat—tend to end up on other tissues in the body, causing long-term damage.”

If you’re fighting this vascular buildup anyway, consuming products containing AGEs could worsen the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, the professor warns.

More research is needed before definite recommendations can be made, said the study authors. They are planning more research in which they’ll examine the past AGEs intake of diabetes patients.

“These findings are preliminary, but they give us ample reason to further explore the association between AGEs and cardiovascular risk among people with diabetes,” Chapman-Novakofski noted.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.