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Cutting Back on Processed Foods Reduces the Risk of Chronic Disease

Updated on November 5, 2009
Processed foods increase your risk of high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.
Processed foods increase your risk of high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

An exciting study published in the October/November, 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has shown that cutting back on heat processed foods can reduce the risk of chronic disease, restore your body’s natural defense, promote weight loss and may increase longevity. Eating a diet low in glycotoxins appears to benefit people of all ages, regardless of health status, and does not hinge on a reduced calorie diet. The findings confirm that a simple dietary intervention could have a dramatic impact on the occurrence of several epidemic diseases including obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension and heart disease.


Processed foods contain high levels of glycotoxins called Advance Glycation End products, or AGEs. When absorbed into the body, AGEs adhere to tissues and cause oxidation, which can lead to disease. The study's lead author Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, with her colleagues have shown that oxidative stress from high oxidant levels and inflammation related to long term exposure to AGEs increase the risk of kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease. This means that oxidants may play a greater role than genetics in the occurrence of several chronic diseases. Unlike genetics, oxidant levels can be controlled, which can potentially decrease the effects of aging and provide added protection against disease.

The research also found a positive effect on a cellular receptor known as AGER1, which is necessary for removing toxic AGES from the body. The AGER1 gene is commonly suppressed in people with kidney disease, who as a result have very high levels of AGES. Eating a diet low in the glycotoxins, called the AGE-less diet, was effective in restoring the AGER1 genes to normal levels within a relatively short period of time.

The Western diet may be as much as three times higher than what is considered to be a safe level of AGES. While this poses a more immediate health threat to older individuals, younger people, pregnant women and children can greatly benefit from eating an AGE reduced diet. Doing so reduces the amount of AGEs in the body, and works to restore the body’s own defenses.

Avoiding pre-packaged fried and fast foods, in addition to using healthy cooking methods such as stewing, poaching and steaming can greatly reduce the amount of AGEs in the body.


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    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

      Excessive sugar produces AGEs. Sugar glycates to protein. The immune system sees this unnatural combination and initiates an inflammatory response. That is why sugar causes systemic low-grade inflammation that is the contributing factor to many diseases such as cardiovasular disease, diabetes, and even dementia.

      I avoid processed foods in general. And especially avoid them because they tend to be high in sugar and trans fats which also causes inflammation.