Tis the season to lower your AGEs

StupidVeggieXmasThe holiday season is heavily associated with feasting on delicious food, but according to a new Cosmos article, we should also use this time to focus on good dietary health.

Cosmos is a literary science magazine published in Australia but sold internationally, and its website accumulates two million page views monthly. On December 1, the website posted the article “Season of good cheer – and guilt,” which was written by Norman Swan.

Swan, a doctor and award-winning producer and broadcaster on health issues, wrote:

“Christmas is the season for good cheer, family rows and lots of guilt – mainly about what you eat. Healthy nutrition goes out the window until Boxing Day, when it comes galloping back as one of those resolutions you want to make for the upcoming year. So what should good resolutions look like when it comes to dieting?

Actually, I’m not waiting until Christmas. I’m already on a diet.”

After discussing various aspects of dieting an exercise, Swan wrote:

“What counts is our eating pattern and lifestyle – they feed off each other. The evidence from long-lived populations is that their diets are low in saturated fat and high in vegetables. Consumption of red meat is low – protein is mostly provided by legumes, fish and poultry. Carbohydrates are not refined, and vinegar is used. In the West it’s the Mediterranean diet and in the East, with some variation, the traditional Japanese diet.”

As it turns out, these particular traditional diets are ideal for a low-AGE lifestyle:

“Japanese and Mediterranean cooking also tend to be less likely to burn food or turn it dark brown. Fascinating work at Melbourne’s Baker Institute has shown that the lovely brown caramelised sugars produced by roasting contain compounds called advanced-glycation end products, which are associated with free radical damage and premature tissue ageing. So the slow cooking movement has got something going for it, as does slow eating to keep your stomach and brain in sync, so that feelings of satiety have time to register. I also keep a food diary and try hard to be honest about portion size. You really need to know what 100 grams of meat looks like.”

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