Foods high in compounds called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) could contribute to the build up of beta-amyloid, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study in the journal PNAS found AGEs in cooked foods. They have previously been linked to health conditions including diabetes and dementia. This new research has uncovered a potential mechanism for how AGEs in the diet might contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. According to the authors, AGEs suppress SIRT1 – a protein in the body thought to protect against neurodegeneration.
AGEs are found in cooked food, particularly high fat proteins such as animal meat. They are produced by cooking so are very low in raw fruit and vegetables.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society said: “We are often told that burgers or fried chicken are bad for us and this study is not the first to link the chemicals in some cooked foods to Alzheimer’s. However, this research adds to our understanding of how they might work and makes a strong case for further research.
“Diets with low levels of the compounds show promising effects in mice and should be further explored as a way to prevent dementia through changes in diet. Of course, we must not forget that the majority of research was conducted in mice and the human element of this study is too small to draw any conclusions.
“Evidence suggests that the best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is regular exercise, not smoking and following a healthy diet.”