According to a study published in Obesity Science and Practice, plant-based foods can reduce inflammatory advanced glycation end products (AGEs) by 79%, compared to an animal-based diet.

The results showed improved insulin sensitivity and an average weight loss of 6.4 kg in the herbal group, representing a 7% reduction in body weight.

“The food and nutrition industry should encourage consumers to replace meat and dairy products in their diet with plant-based alternatives to reduce the number of harmful EFAs they consume.” Explains Hana Kahleova, lead author of the study and director of clinical research. “It’s a simple step that can help them fight the inflammation that leads to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.” The study included 223 overweight participants and took place over 16 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to either a low-fat, plant-based diet or a control group where no dietary changes were made.

Substitute foods of animal origin to avoid disease.

The compound AGE (Advanced Glycation End) is formed in the bloodstream and causes inflammation and oxidative stress, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. It takes shape when proteins or fats are combined with glucose.

AGEs also form naturally through metabolism and are therefore accelerated if a person has the metabolic syndrome – high cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and insulin resistance. The study points out that AGEs are potentially ingested through food and that foods of animal origin are generally higher in AGEs than foods of plant origin.

In the herbal group, there was a 79% decrease in AGEs. While 55% of this decrease resulted from the reduction in meat consumption. 26% reduction in consumption of dairy products and 15% reduction in consumption of added fats.

The researchers note that 59% of dietary AGEs come from meat and white meat consumption, followed by 27% from processed meat.

“We already knew that meat and dairy-based diets were higher in these inflammatory food compounds that can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So we knew that a plant-based diet would be beneficial in reducing the amount of AGEs consumed,” says Kahleova.

Meat-based diet and plant-based diet.

Foods of animal origin fall into two categories: meat consumption and dairy consumption. Participants’ body composition and insulin sensitivity were measured at the start and end of the study, and food intakes were calculated from self-reported intake records.

“Simply substitute fatty meat and dairy with a plant-based, low-fat diet to see a dramatic drop in EFAs,” Kahleova adds. She explains that all dairy products contribute to dietary AGEs, but full-fat dairy products contribute the most.

A recent study found that the growth of children on a plant-based diet is similar to that of children eating meat. Another study also found improved insulin sensitivity when following a vegan diet. However, not all studies show positive results, as another suggested an increased risk of hip fracture in vegetarian women.

Kahleova points out that a plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, provides all the nutrients a person needs. While emphasizing that vitamin B12 must be included either in the diet or in supplements.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has stated that “vegetarian diets, including vegan ones, are healthy, nutritionally adequate and may have benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases”. “In particular heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer and obesity,” she concludes.

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