The summer tradition of barbecuing may prompt a need for caution, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. They have identified a common compound in grilled foods that could play a major role in the development of obesity and diabetes (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
The team, led by Helen Vlassara, a medical doctor and director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, found that mice that were exposed on a sustained basis to the compound methylglyoxal—a type of advanced glycation end-product (AGE) produced when cooking with dry heat—developed significant abdominal weight gain, early insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, AGEs have been found to lower the body’s protective mechanisms that control inflammation.
The researchers recommend that we replace frequent grilling, which uses high dry heat, with methods that rely upon lower temperatures or more moisture, such as stewing, poaching or steaming.