The study – published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition – recommends avoiding cooking methods that produce ‘crusty bits’ known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), such as those found on a grilled hamburger or the ‘crisp’ edges of baked goods.
"We see evidence that cooking methods that create a crust produce advanced glycation end products,” explained Professor Karen Chapman-Novakofski from the University of Illinois – who led the study.
“AGEs are associated with plaque formation, the kind we see in cardiovascular disease," she explained.
Chapman-Novakofski and her team compared the 10-day food intake of 65 study participants in two ethnic groups: Mexicans (who have higher rates of diabetes and a greater risk of complications from the disease) and non-Hispanic whites.
"We found that people with higher rates of cardiovascular complications ate more of these glycated products,” said the lead researcher.
“For each unit increase in AGEs intake, a study participant was 3.7 times more likely to have moderate to high risk for cardiovascular disease," added Claudia Luevano-Contreras, first author of the study.
The research data also revealed that that non-Hispanic white people had a higher intake of AGEs, and consumed more saturated fats; however, associations between AGEs and cardiovascular disease was stronger than for saturated fats and heart disease, said the researchers.
Chapman-Novakofski and her colleagues said more research is needed before definite recommendations can be made – adding that they are planning another study which will examine past AGEs intake in diabetic people.
"These findings are preliminary, but they give us ample reason to further explore the association between AGEs and cardiovascular risk among people with diabetes," said Chapman-Novakofski.