Health Briefs Diabetes and the Effects of Glycation

Published on October 31st, 2020 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


Diabetes and the Effects of Glycation

In 2020, diabetes has been diagnosed in 34.2 million individuals estimated to be undiagnosed in 7.3 million more. Prediabetes is also prevalent in 88 million individuals that are 18 years of older. These rates are growing year by year, as diabetes has become the world’s most significant cause of morbidity and mortality. We have seen how deadly it can be with COVID-19 infection. There are several causes and risk factors for diabetes such as genetics, metabolic dysfunction, nutrition and socioeconomic and ethnic background.

With metabolic dysfunction, glucose is not transported effectively within the body to where it needs to be. This dysregulation leads to hyperglycemia, which can eventually cause damage to the arteries, kidneys, skin and other parts of the body. A study published in 2013 found areas of the body which have high presence of glucose transporter 1, a protein, are at a higher risk for damage from to hyperglycemia.

The rise in glucose within the body can induce glycation, an abnormal process where reduced sugars such as glucose bind to fat and protein, making an inflammatory molecule called advanced glycation end products(AGES). The attachment causes dysfunction in both fat and protein. Glycation alters enzymatic activity and thereby prevents metabolic functions from working properly.

It can damage structural and functional proteins which are required for normal body function and building blocks for connective tissues. This causes a disruption in collagen synthesis and bone remodeling, leading to skeletal fragility.

Normally, AGES increase with normal aging, but it has been abnormally fueled due to food preparation techniques. Studies have found cooking foods at high temperatures, such as frying, grilling, broiling and roasting, increases and speeds up glycation. Cooking at lower temperatures and in the presence of water decrease AGES formation. Higher fat and protein-containing foods, as well as processed foods, contain higher content of AGES compared to high vegetable carbohydrate and unprocessed foods.

It is recommended, in order to help decrease AGES and delay the onset of diabetes, to adopt a low-AGES diet—cooking at lower temperatures (boiling, steaming, baking, stewing, poaching), eating whole foods (vegetable, fruits, whole grains) and limiting sugar intake. This is not only to help delay the onset of diabetes, but also help to decrease its side effects (glaucoma, cataracts, nephropathy, etc.).

Dr. Humaira Quraishi, ND, MS, is from Ishitani Health Center, located at 1600 Parker Ave., in Fort Lee. For more information, call 201-286-0408 or visit

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