What are AGE’s? Why these are avoidable with a WFPB Diet?

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  • What are AGE’s?
  • Why these are avoidable with a WFPB Diet?

AGE’s is the acronym for Advanced Glycation End-Products of which there are two types:

  • Dietary
  • Endogenous.

Dietary AGE’s are the advanced glycation end-products which enter our bodies through what we eat. Your body naturally produces Endogenous AGE’s.

Most dietary and endogenous AGE’s eventually breakdown and are flushed from the body.  However, the most prevalent AGE in our bodies is Glucosepane which the body has the hardest time breaking down, and which stays in our bodies the longest, having the most impact. 

At this point in time, whether or not dietary AGE’s have any real effect on your body is still under contention, as is whether a Vegan diet is healthier than an Omnivorous or Meat eating diet where AGE’s are concerned in this context.

What is known about AGE’s?

What is known is that AGE’s exist in higher quantities and concentrations in processed foods like Whipped Butter and Beef Frankfurter than in whole foods like Pistachios, Popcorn, and Honey. Furthermore, dietary AGE’s are multiplied when meats like raw beef and chicken are grilled, fried, seared, or baked. Roasting, and frying of vegetables and toasting of breads can also raise their AGE content, but these items usually start out with lower AGE’s to begin with.

Processed foods like cheeses, butter, and margarine have exceptionally high dietary AGE content. Dry heat causes AGE formation more so than moist heat.

Within laboratory settings, and on mice, AGE rich diets raised the likelihood of atherosclerosis and kidney disease. This is especially important for women who have PCOS, or those of you struggling with chronic lifestyle illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, inflammatory issues, high blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity.

High levels of AGE’s in the body have been linked to diabetes, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, premature aging, and arthritis, though again, whether and how much of this is directly caused by Dietary Advanced Glycation End-Products is still up for debate.

How to avoid AGE’s?

Since we know that dietary AGE’s are produced and increased by cooking with dry-heat as you would in frying, roasting, and grilling, cook instead with moisture rich heat as you do when you stew, poach, boil, and steam. Rather than cooking with dry rubs or just salt and pepper, try cooking any meats you wish to prepare in Vinegar, Tomato Juice and Lemon Juice. These cooking methods can reduce production of Dietary Advanced Glycation End-Products by as much as 50%.

Another important thing to remember is that your body has a way of flushing AGE’s out of your body.

You can help the process along by eating foods rich in:

  • Vitamin C   –   most commonly found in citrus fruits like oranges
  • Quercetin*   –  a plant pigment (flavonoid)
  • Curcumin   –    Curcumin is the compound found in Turmeric
  • Resveratrol   –  found in the skins of dark fruits like blueberries and grapes.
*  It is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort, American elder, and others. Buckwheat tea has a large amount of quercetin. People use quercetin as a medicine.

In highly controlled laboratory settings compounds like taurine, aspirin, metformin, and Alpha-Lipoic Acid have shown their ability in inhibiting AGE formation, though how this transfers to be relevant to you and your diet is still yet to be seen.

Basically, high levels of AGE’s in your body can hinder your body’s ability to eliminate AGE’s at an acceptable rate.

For example: People with diabetes who have diminished kidney function will have a harder time eliminating AGE’s from their body’s because of the positive feedback loop inhibited urinary removal creates, even if an individual has other symptoms under control.

AGE’s have been linked to high inflammation, and subsequent illness related to this. However, whether this is from dietary or endogenous AGE’s is still debated. Our current diets are generally high in AGE’s because of the way we process and heat our foods. To minimize your body’s need to flush them, sticking to a whole-food plant-based diet which focuses on raw or wet cooked foods may be beneficial.

Works Cited
Uribarria, J. M., Woodruff, S. R., Goodman, S. R., Cai, W. M., Chen, X. M., Pyzik, R. M., . . . Vlassara, H. M. (2010).
Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to their Reduction in the Diet. PMC. 
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