The Maillard Reaction is the process by which your body creates AGE.
If you’ve read some of my previous articles about AGE, you know that this is short for “Advanced Glycation Endproducts.” These are the caramel-like sticky substances that get jammed within and between your cells and contribute to feeling old and tired.
The acronym “AGE” seems appropriate, doesn’t it?
In addition, there is evidence to suggest AGE formation is associated with high levels of inflammation in the body. And since inflammation is a basic factor in all chronic degenerative diseases (cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), finding ways to reduce AGE in your body is vital to keep you feeling strong and healthy.
There are two sources of these nasty substances. One is the the reactions within our bodies to specific metabolic and biochemical imbalances and the other is from certain foods we eat. Let’s look at both kinds.
Internal AGE Formation
The Maillard Reaction happens within our bodies when certain conditions exist. The most common trigger for this is high blood sugar.
High blood sugar exists in the following conditions:
- Diabetes (both types)
- When eating more carbohydrates than your metabolism can handle
- In the initial phase of hypoglycemia when your blood sugar spikes before dropping too low
To deal with this elevated sugar in your blood, your body uses the Maillard Reaction to “cook” the sugar down into AGE.
You can think of this process as similar to what happens when you simmer milk for hours on end – you end up with a much smaller volume of caramel. In fact, the Maillard Reaction is also called “caramelization.”
If you can imagine how you’d feel with sticky, gooey caramel jammed between and inside of every cell of your body you’re pretty close to getting the picture.
Dietary Sources of AGE
The other source of AGE is our diet. Some foods are naturally high in AGE. Others create AGE when they are prepared in certain ways.
Here is a list of foods that are high in AGE:
- Pasteurized milk
- Sugar and other concentrated sweeteners
- White flour (bread, bagels, cookies, cakes, etc.)
- Regular salt (unrefined sea salt is okay)
In addition, foods cooked over 112° F typically contain AGE. The higher the cooking temperature, the more AGE.
What can you do to prevent overwhelming your body’s defenses and creating high amounts of these health damaging AGEs?
Fighting Back To Avoid AGE
Here are some tips to help you avoid AGE:
- Reduce or eliminate refined, simple sugars in your diet. And, of course, eliminate those things made with these sugars. This will reduce the high blood sugar spikes that can trigger AGE formation.
- Reduce or eliminate refined grains (especially white flour), and the products made from them.
- Chew your food thoroughly. This reduces the effects of AGE in your foods.
- Avoid charred, fried, pasteurized, dried and processed foods. Many prepared foods have been exposed to high temperatures to lengthen shelf life, so they may have high AGE contents.
- Eat more raw and lightly cooked foods. By eating raw vegetables and lightly cooked meats, the enzyme levels are higher and you don’t draw on your body’s own enzymes as much. Do this by preparing your foods the following ways:
- Light steaming
- Slow Crock Cooking
- Eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits according to your Metabolic Type®.
- Take antioxidant supplements. These help you combat the damaging free radicals that are part of AGE formation.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,