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This interesting result, recently published in the Journal PNAS, suggests food rich in a compound known as glycotoxins, may increase the risk of dementia. Glycotoxins are formed when sugars bind with proteins or fats – a process known as glycation. Essentially the browning (sometimes blackening) which occurs when food is cooked is glycation in action.
Why are glycotoxins bad for you?
Researchers have found that older mice fed a diet high in glycotoxins developed decreased amounts of a protein responsible for cell survival and increased amounts of amyloid beta proteins compared to the mice fed a diet low in glycotoxins. They also found that the mice on the high glycotoxin diet developed memory and movement problems over time.
The researchers also measured the amount of glycotoxins in the blood of 93 human participants (all aged over 60) over a nine month period and found that those who had high levels of glycotoxins also seemed to have measurable cognitive deficits. However, they didn’t actually report on the diets of those 93 participants. So it cannot be confirmed that cooked food was responsible for this.
The authors of this study suggest that modifying your diet to contain less glycotoxins may reduce your risk of dementia and other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dementia News asked Associate Professor Michael Woodward, one of Australia’s leading experts on dementia research, for his views on this recent finding.
“While these results are interesting and should be noted, they are certainly not a cause for suggesting we should all stop cooking our food.
“These studies are only preliminary and more evidence is required in the form of large scale epidemiological studies before we start recommending how to best cook our food.
“However, this study further adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests what you eat - for example highly fatty, fried and processed foods can be linked to diseases such as dementia, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
For further recommendations on the latest dementia risk reduction techniques please visit www.yourbrainmatters.org.au
Image - FotoosVanRobin via Wikimedia Commons
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