Grilling meat is itself under fire recently as it is being linked to causing dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and speeding up the aging process. Rather, the byproducts in the meat when heated up are what is being reported to cause many health issues. The studies are compelling and many reports show that the chemicals in question, Advanced Glycation Endproducts, commonly referred to as AGE’s, are to blame. AGE’s are compounds that can be found in low levels in the human body. However, AGE’s can be found in heavy quantities in grilled and broiled animal products. Animal products can also carry a variety of preservatives and hormones, as well as ammonia and proprietary chemical mixtures from such companies as Clorox.
Reports by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai state that this predominantly occurs in Western diets. It is key to note that Western diets emerge from the United States, Europe, Canada, etc. – countries that heavily process meat for distribution across vast distances. Products are treated for disease and grown and fed in specific conditions. This study remains up for debate among researchers.
Grilled and broiled meat is under fire, literally, and being blamed for causing conditions such as dementia. As open flames burn their fuel, they contaminate food with carbon dioxide and other byproducts. These byproducts are then in contact with the meat that is going to be consumed. The AGE’s being released by the heating process are absorbed into your system and create chemical reactions that when absorbed into your system are being linked to myriad diseases, including dementia, pre-Diabetes, rampant cellular degeneration (aging), and possibly Alzheimer’s.
Specifically, why are AGE’s important? AGE’s encroach on a compound called Sirtuin, SIRT1, which is a defensive mechanism in our body that helps prevent degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Metabolic Syndrome, which is part of the aforementioned pre-Diabetic state. However, a large portion of the report indicates that the food itself may not necessarily be to blame, but that the grilling and broiling process may be the primary cause. Dr. Helen Vlassara states that a simple change toward cooking with lower heat and with more water present will aid in reducing the level of AGE’s occurring in the meat. Eliminating grilling and broiling altogether would aid in the body’s ability to regain full function of SIRT1, which would aid in maintaining neuronal, immune, and endocrine function.
“Our studies of both animals and human subjects confirm that AGE-rich foods are a lifestyle-driven reality with major health implications,” stated Vlassara. While the indications of this study are increasingly more specific to the West, what results have been wrought from studies of meat consumption as related to health in other areas of the world? Studies in Europe indicate that there are issues with mass consumption of meat, as well as issues of animal welfare, and the environmental impact of mass-produced and industrialized products.
Dr. Simon Ridley, who heads up research at the Alzheimer’s Research UK, the foremost leader in dementia research, stated that there were no participants in Icahn’s study with dementia. “Although these findings add to some earlier evidence linking a decrease in the SIRT1 protein to Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, it’s important to note that the people in this study did not have dementia.” Ridley later added that the research being done on the subject is at an early stage and that it would be important to understand its significance.
Contesting these findings was the European Meat Advisory Panel (MAP), which argued that red meat contains “highly bioavailable nutrients” and continues to debate that there is heavy evidence in recent studies to support that red meat aids in neurological function, immune health, and “addressed iron deficiency.” Is grilling meat actually causing dementia? U.S. studies say it is possible, while U.K. studies report that it has not been proven.
By Emanuel F. Camacho