endogenous vs exogenous glycation/Maillard

Answered on March 08, 2015
Created April 20, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Can someone tell me the difference (if there is one) between the endogenous glycation (through the Maillard reaction) that takes place when sugar is ingested compared to searing a steak (as in the browning reaction) which is also supposed to be detrimental to health? If health compromising glycation occurs when sugar and proteins cross link then how is browning of fat or meat where there is no sugar comparable and equally destructive?

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on March 08, 2015
at 12:26 AM

Hi Richard,

I'm actually working on a post for the PH blog at the moment on AGEs, so hopefully I can shed some light on your question.

The Maillard reaction is the same thing as the browning reaction. Along with caramelization (degradation of sugar), these are the 2 ways in which AGEs are most commonly formed during cooking (exogenous - out of the body formation).

There is actually sugar present in most meats, albeit in a small quantity. Things get worse if you are cooking with starchy vegetables (like carrots), sauces with sugars in them, or you marinate the meat in certain brines.

The endogenous (in the body) AGEs are formed with sugar from the bloodstream. This is why diabetics, who often have hyperglycemia, have such a big issue with AGEs and their health effects.

We still don't know all there is to know about AGEs. It describes a wide range of molecules. But the negative effects also come from how fast they can be cleared out, as well as the quantity that you ingest/make.

Does that clear things up at all?


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