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Fried Food Compounds May Harm Heart

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 -- Foods high in compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) -- such as hamburgers, french fries and other fatty foods cooked at high temperatures -- cause a short-lived but significant dysfunction in blood vessel dilation that can lead to heart disease, a new study suggests.

"Although the effect was temporary, it suggests that AGEs could, over time, pose a significant risk to the vascular integrity of both diabetic and healthy persons," lead researcher Dr Jaime Uribarri, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

His team published its findings in the journal Diabetes Care.

High levels of AGEs are formed when foods rich in protein and fat are cooked at high and dry heat, including broiling, grilling, frying or roasting. Foods that are steam-cooked or stewed tend to have lower AGE concentrations, the researchers explained.

Previous research has found AGEs to be associated with a number of diabetes-associated chronic conditions, such as heart disease. This study found that consuming an AGE-rich beverage caused significant endothelial dysfunction in both people with diabetes and in people without diabetes.

Endothelial dysfunction is an early indicator of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which leads to heart disease, the study authors noted.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about heart disease and diet.

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Posted: September 2007