Does grilling contribute to the American obesity problem?

FoodFacts.com has been staying on top of everything related to the growing rates of obesity in the United States. When we find information we deem valuable we share it with our community through here, through our blog. And today we came across some new research that might link the development of abdominal obesity along with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes with the cooking of food over dry heat (aka grilling).

The study was conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. They’ve identified a common compound in our diets that results from grilling food or cooking food with dry heat. That compound is methyl-glyoxal or MG. They have published their findings this month in Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that mice who were fed a diet of food cooked with dry heat on a consistent basis (therefore experiencing prolonged exposure to MG) gained a significant amount of abdominal weight, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. MG is a type of advanced glycation endproduct or AGE. And AGEs can lower the body’s protection against inflammation.

The study spanned four generations of mice and was split into two groups. One was fed a traditional diet without MG and one group was fed a diet high in MG. Over those foru generations of mice, the group fed high-MG food experienced and increase in body fat, and early insulin resistance. The other control group did not develop any of these conditions. There was a definite deficiency in the protective mechanisms of the mice bodies that was related to MG.

Led by Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, the study presents important information regarding the control and possible prevention of both obesity and diabetes. “This was a prolonged but rewarding study showing that a specific AGE compound … contributes to the increase in weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes, reproducing the pattern seen increasingly in humans over the last decades,” said Dr. Vlassara.

“The study demonstrates how the prolonged ingestion of seemingly innocuous substances common in human food, such as MG, can reduce defenses and compromise native resistance to metabolic and other diseases,” said Dr. Vlassara. “The mouse findings are also quite exciting because they provide us with new tools, not only to study, but to begin taking measures to prevent diabetes, either by suppressing their formation or by blocking their absorption with our food.”

Because of this research it does appear that just a small decrease in foods high in AGEs can really improve the insulin resistance of adults with type 2 diabetes. The researchers are recommending that clinical guidelines be revised to eliminate foods cooked with dry heat. Of course, further study is needed to corroborate these findings. But it is possible that avoiding consumption of foods cooked with dry heat and using other methods instead of grilling our foods, we might be able to reduce the instances of both obesity and diabetes.

FoodFacts.com invites our community to read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820152102.htm