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Processed food may be tied to food allergies?

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

You may want to be more aware of the ingredients in the food you are feeding yourself as well as your children...


With food allergies are on the rise, new research suggests that increased consumption of processed foods may be related to the higher levels of food allergies seen in western societies.

This is thought to be due to accumulation of advanced glycation end products or AGEs.

What in the world are AGEs...

AGE's naturally occur in the body in small amounts, but are found in processed foods and cooked meats in very high amounts. They are created when sugars react to proteins or lipids in the bloodstream through a process called glycation.

They are also formed in foods that are cooked in a dry environment at high temperatures (grilling, frying, toasting, etc). Foods that are high in AGEs due to the cooking processes are meats, cheese, eggs, butter, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, oils, nuts, and other processed or high fat dairy products.

Your body eliminates AGEs with antioxidants and other enzymes--- however, if consumption of AGEs are too high or the AGEs form too rapidly in your body, you may not be able to keep up and accumulation may occur. This causes high inflammation over long periods of time that can cause damage to the body.

Negative outcomes associated with chronic high AGE's

High AGE's in the body have been linked to conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer's, and premature aging. Those with diabetes are at higher risk of producing too many AGEs. It also may have effect on metabolic health.

Children tested in Italy showed that those with food allergies had higher levels of AGEs than children without allergies. Also those that had higher AGE levels did have higher amounts of processed foods in their diets---approximately 20-40% more.

There was no difference in AGE level in children with respiratory allergies, therefore the connection is only with food allergies (at this time).

In conclusion...

There is no conclusive evidence regarding the above information at this time. Therefore, there are multiple factors as to why AGEs may cause food allergies.

Research has shown that AGEs may directly interact with immune cells as well as produce a negative effect on the gut barrier.

Other factors that could be root causes of food allergies include overall gut microbiome health as well as inclusion of fruits and vegetables in the diet (because gut health as well as antioxidants help control AGE levels).

Therefore, the main culprit causing food allergies may not only be processed food, but the lack of nutrient dense foods consumed in the diet (fruits and vegetables).

What we should take from this?

If we focus on consuming whole foods from REAL ingredients, we will automatically begin to decrease our processed food intake. Consume a colorful diet filled with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains ---- and we will automatically be on a path to success!

To see how Mamas Maternal Health can help you achieve this, check out our website!

Until next time!

Mikayla and Cassie

Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors

Reference: What Are Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)?

Children with food allergies are found to have higher levels of substance in processed foods

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