Grilling, Baking, and Health

Kim Lohbeck

Article Summary

This article is an argument against grilling and baking for health reasons. While grilling and baking are cooking methods that reduce calories and fat in food, the long-term benefits of not using these cooking methods may outweigh the short-term benefits. Advanced glycation products (AGEs) are a natural byproduct of normal metabolism. AGEs compounds are formed from the combination of sugar with protein, fat, or nucleic acid. Large quantities of AGEs are produced in animal-based foods cooked with high heat such as during grilling and baking. Research is showing that elevated levels of AGEs in the body lead to oxidation and inflammation which promotes chronic health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s. Current research is showing that the body absorbs about 10% of AGEs consumed. Dietary AGEs can be found in foods with high protein from animal source. Foods low in dietary AGEs are boiled/steamed grains, legumes, breads, vegetables, fruits, and milk. Research is showing that elevated levels of AGEs increase serum inflammatory markers in the body such as C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Alternative methods of cooking that reduce the production of AGEs are moist-heat methods - braising and poaching- and shorter cooking time and lower temperatures. Although AGEs is a natural byproduct of the metabolism process, the less dietary AGEs we consume or add into our diet from cooking methods the lower serum levels of inflammatory markers. This ultimately lowers our risks for developing chronic disease and promotes longevity.

Article Review

This is a well-organized and well-written article. Food & Nutrition is a magazine that is published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The articles published are based on the readers' interests and editor's judgement. The magazine is not influenced by industry sponsors, donors, or advertisers. The author, Jill Weisenberger, is very knowledgeable about this topic. She is a RDN with a masters in science who is a nutrition communications consultant as well as the author of Diabetes Weight Loss. This gives her credibility in the field of nutrition and nutrition linked to chronic disease. Weisenberger wrote this article in a very informative yet simple manner that allows readers without a scientific background to be able to comprehend the message of the article. She explains the reactions of the body and food clearly. She even lists foods that are high or low in AGEs. One thing I found very helpful in this article is the suggestion of alternative cooking methods and dietary choices that will help reduce excess AGEs from accumulating in the body. She also gives a link to another article which discusses other methods of reducing AGEs in the foods you eat for readers who want to take an active approach to living a healthier life. At the end of the article Weisenberger breaks down the effects of elevated AGEs on the development or progression of common chronic diseases that plague the nation. She makes references to research studies to support her reasons and explanations. However, she does not give the names of the studies for readers who may want to do more research on the effects of AGEs on the body themselves. I really like how the article does not criticize people’s food choices but rather gently offers alternatives that will help promote a healthier and longer life. Moderation is key. Reducing foods with high levels of AGEs and limiting the amount of grilling and baking of foods will help reduce excess AGEs in the body to be absorbed. These foods and cooking methods do not have to be eradicated from one’s lifestyle but rather limited exposure will benefit you.


Weisenberger, J. (2015, October 10). Are Grilling and Baking Harmful Ways to Cook. Food & Nutrition. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from