(NaturalHealth365) Recent Australian studies have yielded startling information about diabetes and its causes. Some of the most common food processing techniques have been found to correlate with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The food processing techniques in question tend to use direct heat as a primary treatment source.
Studies led by researchers from Monash University and the University of Queensland have linked the most common heat-based methods of food processing to increased insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes. This is due to the high levels of glycation end-products in foods treated using these methods. While the research was focused within the country of Australia, the data can be extrapolated to any region where these food processing techniques are utilized.
Type 2 diabetes reaching epidemic levels in many countries
Around 25 percent of Australians over the age of 25 now have diabetes or prediabetes symptoms. Such issues are often associated with the American diet, and indeed more than half of all Americans have diabetes or prediabetes symptoms. However, this study illustrates that even more health-oriented societies like Australia are being gravely affected by unhealthy trends in processed food.
While heat processing of food does increase its sterility, shelf life and flavor, it also increases the production of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). Food processing and preparation methods like frying, roasting, grilling and baking produce more AGEs than methods like steaming and boiling, which use water and steam instead of direct flames and high heat.
Advanced glycation end-products linked with type 2 diabetes
Long-term dietary intake of advanced glycation end-products has been found to reduce insulin sensitivity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The studies measured AGE levels in study participants’ urine and found a consistent link between high levels of this substance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes has become a major public health issue in Western countries in recent years. In addition to reducing quality of life for whole societies, the economic burdens are also severe. The estimated costs for healthcare related to type 2 diabetes in Australia are over $1 billion per year at this time, and that figure is set to double by 2025.
Researchers are planning more testing to help confirm their findings through larger, longer-term studies. Additional research is expected to confirm that reduced consumption of advanced glycation end-products correlates with a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes and improved overall health.
Unfortunately, companies will likely be slow to make changes to their food processing methods, so it’s important to be proactive about health. Clearly, “less is more” when it comes to using heat in food processing and preparation. Fruits and vegetables are at their most nutritious when raw or lightly cooked, and natural, organic foods are always the superior choice to processed.