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How crusty foods contribute to diabetic heart disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Crusty foods could worsen diabetic heart disease.

Heart disease is a known risk for people living with diabetes. Just on the heels of a study showing weight loss isn’t much help for cutting cardiovascular risks for people living with the disease comes a new study suggesting avoiding ‘crusty’ foods might be some help for diabetic hearts.

The finding that comes from University of Illinois addresses the problem of AGEs in food that are also known to raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

AGE’s, or advanced glycation end products are chemicals formed in the body with aging and metabolism and affect the body cells, contributing to the aging process and inflammation. They’re also formed when food is heated.

Baked, broiled and grilled foods are the best choices for a type 2 diabetes diet. But according to Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a U of I professor of nutrition, “… 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.”

All of us want to prevent heart disease by eating a healthy diet. Chapman-Novakofski explains. So, if you’re diabetic, she says foods like brownies with crusty edges or hamburgers with crust around the border could make things worse for diabetics with heart disease.

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For their study, researchers compared food intake for 10 days between 65 participants from two ethnic groups - Mexicans who have higher rates of diabetes complications and non-Hispanic whites.

"We found that people with higher rates of cardiovascular complications ate more of these glycated products. For each unit increase in AGEs intake, a study participant was 3.7 times more likely to have moderate to high risk for cardiovascular disease," said Claudia Luevano-Contreras, first author of the study in a press release.

She says one way to make meat that is high in AGE’s is to boil or stew it. Ground meat is especially high in advanced glycation end products. Luevano-Contreras says it’s best to choose whole cuts of lean meat. Cooking spray is better to use than oil.

The researchers are planning another study focusing on past AGE intake among diabetic patients. Diabetic foods should include plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber. The new study suggests avoiding foods cooked at high heat that produces crusty edges could help curb heart disease for people with diabetes.

College of ACES
October 22, 2012

Image credit: Morguefil