Grilling season is a reason for jubilation for many people when summer finally arrives. You can bet they’ll fire up the grill right away and start cooking up their favorite barbecue recipes.
Unless, of course, you have gout or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In that case, the summer grilling season may be especially difficult. You’re trying to stay on track with your gout diet, but you can’t stop thinking about your neighbor’s delicious-smelling broiling beef.
This is especially true if you live in the United States during the July 4th BBQ extravaganza. This holiday is marked by several celebratory traditions, such as the use of fireworks and the wearing of red, white, and blue. And, of course, tons of delicious BBQ meals and drinks.
Even if we’re simply talking about an ordinary outdoor BBQ, the temptation to stray from your diet can be overwhelming. After all, what better way to spend time with family and friends than by grilling and eating together?
Unfortunately, giving in to your hunger may mean provoking a painful attack later. Unless, of course, you follow some of our top gout-friendly grilling guidelines.
The risks associated with high-temperature cooking
Cooking meals at very high temperatures may cause the body to become inflamed. People with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory disorders, such as gout, should avoid it.
If you’re trying to avoid gout and inflammation, the answer is simple: don’t fry your food. At the very least, limit your fried food consumption to only once in a while. Yes, we know, that is much easier said than done.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the ‘Western Diet’ is the high heat at which much of our food is prepared. Food is fried in fat or oil, grilled, grilled, roasted, and baked in hot ovens.
Processed meats, sugar-laden barbecue sauces, and fatty cuts of meat aren’t the only things that end up on the grill. Cooking food over an open flame produces inflammatory compounds known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs.
People with gout and rheumatoid arthritis are particularly vulnerable to them. A high-AGE diet has also been associated with cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.
What Are AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products)?
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that form naturally in the bloodstream when protein or fat combine with sugar. This process is known as glycation. Glycation interferes with cell function, making them more vulnerable to damage and premature aging.
Aside from AGEs that occur in the body, they may also be found in meals. Uncooked animal-derived foods naturally contain AGEs. However, cooking causes the creation of additional AGEs in these foods.
Grilling, broiling, roasting, searing, and frying in particular, promote and speed the production of new AGEs. Diets that include a lot of foods cooked at high temperatures are thought to be the main source of AGEs.
It’s common knowledge that overeating and obesity may lead to major health issues. The fact that they may increase your risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease is particularly concerning.
However, research shows that harmful AGEs may have a significant impact on your metabolic health regardless of your weight.
The body naturally eliminates harmful AGE compounds, but it does not do so effectively when too many are consumed through food. The accumulation of AGEs affects all of the body’s cells.
AGEs are linked not only to aging but also to the development or worsening of many chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, liver, and Alzheimer’s disease.
This article will teach you all there is to know about AGEs and their relationship with high-temperature cooking. We’ll go through what they are and how they affect people with gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, prepare to be given some excellent tips on how to prepare gout-friendly meals that you may have been avoiding due to your symptoms.
High levels of AGEs have been linked to modern diets
Some modern foods have relatively high levels of AGEs. This is primarily due to common cooking methods that subject food to dry heat. Some of the most typical cooking methods include barbecuing, grilling, roasting, baking, frying, sautéing, broiling, searing, and toasting.
Many of these cooking methods are obviously designed to improve the appearance, fragrance, and taste of food. However, they may increase your AGE consumption to harmful amounts.
Meat (especially red meat), certain cheeses, fried eggs, butter, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, oils, and nuts are high in AGEs. High levels are also found in fried foods and highly processed foods.
Even if your diet appears to be relatively healthy, don’t think you’re out of the woods just yet. The number of harmful AGEs you consume is heavily influenced by how your food is prepared.
High levels of AGEs may be harmful to your health.
Your body has natural mechanisms for eliminating harmful AGE compounds. However, if you eat too many AGEs, your body will accumulate them faster than it can clear them. This has the potential to influence every part of your body and has been connected to major health issues.
Inflammation may be exacerbated by a higher concentration of AGEs in the blood. Patients with gout, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other inflammatory disorders would suffer as a result of this.
High levels are, in fact, linked to the majority of chronic disorders. Heart disease, diabetes, liver illness, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, gout, kidney failure, and high blood pressure are just a few examples.
Furthermore, high AGE consumption through diet has been linked to many of these chronic diseases. This is due to the fact that AGEs harm the body’s cells by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation.
Even though gout may be excruciatingly painful and incapacitating, the good news is that it is almost always treatable in nearly all patients. It is critical to identify and treat it as soon as possible to avoid pain and complications. Gout is most commonly associated with the feet, but it may also affect other joints.
Gout is an ancient disease characterized by uric acid deposits, particularly in the joints and kidneys.
Purine-rich foods may cause your body to produce more uric acid. This increases the possibility of crystals forming in your joints, particularly your feet, causing pain. You can reduce your chances of having an unpleasant problem by avoiding purine-rich foods and beverages and consuming alternative healthy options.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune illness. In layman’s terms, this means that your immune system is mistakenly attacking healthy cells in your body. Inflammation (painful swelling) occurs in the affected areas of the body.
RA, like gout, is primarily a joint disease. Unlike gout, however, RA attacks frequently affect numerous joints at the same time. The hands, wrists, and knees are the most common joints affected by RA.
The lining of a joint affected by RA becomes inflammatory, causing joint tissue destruction. Long-term or chronic pain, unsteadiness (loss of balance), and deformity may all result from tissue injury.
Controlling gout and RA symptoms with a good diet program
Inflammatory disorders such as arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are not for the faint of heart. While drugs may provide some immediate relief, most doctors advise making lifestyle changes to improve physical health. To keep gout and RA symptoms in check, this usually requires starting with a solid diet program.
Inflammatory foods, such as saturated fat and sugar, are typically avoided in diets meant to decrease and prevent the occurrence of symptoms. This would also require avoiding meals high in purines.
Who says gout and RA diets are a bad thing?
As gout sufferers, we must exercise a great deal of self-control, especially when it comes to our diets. Over time, we may learn to loathe our diets and believe that they limit our ability to enjoy food.
Over time, this can be extremely tough to live with. It’s all too easy to find ourselves breaking our diets in favor of “more pleasurable” meals.
Good-for-you food tastes terrible. Isn’t this what your fellow dieters, friends, parents, and fitness bloggers all seem to agree on? This myth has been around for a long time and is difficult to disprove. The truth is that we are often influenced by cultural and biological reasons to favor fried nuggets to a low-calorie vegetarian salad.
However, with a few changes to the way we prepare our foods, we can still enjoy great grilled food. We recommend skipping this if the agony of a recent gout attack is still too fresh in your mind. But if you’ve had your gout symptoms under control for a while, these suggestions are still safe to try.
Make some changes in your diet
More physicians are advocating reduced AGE diets as a result of current research. Limiting dietary AGEs, according to the findings, could enhance health in a variety of ways, not just in terms of reducing inflammation.
Foods like beef, pork, and poultry that are seared or grilled produce a lot of AGEs. Other meals that contain these hazardous compounds include fish and eggs.
Patients with gout and RA, who may benefit from a low-AGE diet or lower cooking temperatures, may be adversely affected by the additional quantities.
On the other hand, undercooking your meat, poultry, eggs, and fish can be a problem. As a result, your goal should be to simply practice balance, mindful eating, and reduced AGE exposure.
Raw vegetables and fruits are an important part of a well-balanced diet. This will reduce your exposure to dietary AGEs as well as other inflammation-causing AGEs from cooking other foods at high heats.
Associating your inflammation with flames or high temperatures is a terrific method to keep things simple. To put it another way, the higher the temperature, the greater the chance of inflammation. Therefore, reduce the heat when cooking meat.
Here’s a simple reference guide to help you remember which foods are high in AGE and which are okay to eat.
- Sugary foods like candy, cookies, cakes, soda, and pastries
- Processed foods, such as packaged meats and cheese
- Meats with a lot of fat (especially red meat)
- Fats such as butter, margarine, and oil
- Deep-fried foods
Foods that are low in AGEs:
Cooking food in high heat may produce toxins
According to research, cooking foods with high, dry heat releases toxins known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). To put this in context, consider a 3.5-ounce slice of raw beef. This slice may naturally contain 707kUS (or kilo units) of AGEs.
When cooked, however, the number of AGEs may increase eightfold, for a total of 6,071 kUS!
In the June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, more information about AGEs was published. Animal-derived foods high in fat and protein, according to the study, are naturally AGE-rich. They are, nevertheless, susceptible to the generation of additional AGEs when cooked.
Carbohydrate-rich meals, on the other hand, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk, have a low AGE content even after cooking.
Practical tips for cooking toxins-free meals
Long-term high-temperature cooking of meat may result in the formation of harmful compounds that may increase disease risk. Choosing cooking methods that minimize nutrient loss and produce the least amount of harmful chemicals can help to maximize the health benefits of meat consumption.
Let’s take a look at how we can still enjoy that smoky flavor without going scorched earth on our burgers and steaks. Here are a few of our favorite professional BBQ techniques and recommendations.
- Start with your ingredients at room temperature:
Remove meat and fish from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. This will help them cook evenly from the inside out. This is especially beneficial for thicker joints, such as a whole bird or huge steaks. If you must wait for the fridge-cold middle to cook through, these might easily burn on the outside.
- Allow it to soak:
Adding moisture may help to lower the amount of AGEs produced. If you’re going to cook your meat, marinate it first, preferably in an acidic liquid. Lemon juice, vinegar, and even tomato juice are all excellent options. Acidity not only lowers AGE levels, but it also improves the flavor of food and spices.
- Learn the art of poaching (the good kind):
Poaching is a cooking technique that involves gradually heating food in a liquid that is slightly below the boiling point. Poaching imparts some of the liquid’s flavor to the product being poached, giving it a delicate flavor.To begin, bring a pot of water to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Carefully lower the chicken or fish into the liquid, ensuring that it is completely submerged. It could take as little as five minutes, depending on the size of your fish.You can also use a liquid made of wine and herbs, such as vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth. This will help to enhance the flavor of your fish.
- Take a hands-on approach to manage the heat:
Light the charcoal grills approximately an hour before you plan to cook. Allow time for the flames to catch and begin going, then walk away for at least 30 minutes, or until the coals are grey-white and the smoke has subsided. Instead of inconsistent flames or overbearing smokiness, you’ll get an even heat for cooking.Splitting the cooking into two halves is also a smart idea. To start, place coals on one side of the grill to create a hotter area for searing meat.Maintain a lower heat zone on the other side with less coals. This is ideal for delicate fish and veggies, as well as slow-cooking larger chunks after they’ve browned on the outside.
- Let off some steam:
Another good approach to cook meats, fish, and fowl without adding AGEs is to steam them. Braising and stewing are also good options. Furthermore, some items can be steam-grilled by wrapping them in foil and placing them on the grill.When food is aged, such as hard cheeses, AGEs are produced. As a result, moist cheeses such as yogurt or soft cheeses are a great option.
- Stick to stress-free cooking:
Avoid trying to cook too many different items at once, whether you’re cooking, grilling, or both. You already have enough to be concerned about. Cook similar items together instead, turning once and cooking for the same length of time on both sides. This is much easier to manage and stops them from drying out too much from constant handling, pushing, and pressing.
- Use tinfoil to protect your food:
Tinfoil is an excellent grilling utensil since it protects delicate items from scorching on the outside. It also keeps loose things (such as potatoes or vegetables) together, evenly distributes heat, and seals in moisture and flavor.Wrapped parcels, like spicy chipotle corn on the cobs or buttery garlic bread, can be cooked directly over the coals or on the grill.
- Break up larger chunks:
On the grill, thicker pieces and whole joints can be difficult to cook thoroughly. To make a thinner slice of meat, open them up and flatten them down first. Working with smaller bits at a time will help them cook faster and more evenly.
The aforementioned guidelines are essential for cooking in a way that does not allow for the development of AGEs. As you can see, there’s no reason to avoid AGE-containing foods. Instead, you’ll have to just eat a lot less of them.
Doctors aren’t convinced that the data is strong enough to advise people to avoid grilled or fried meat, as well as other high AGE meals, as a strategy for preventing gout or rheumatoid arthritis. They do agree, however, that eating fewer fried foods and fatty meats may help you lose weight.
Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that losing weight may assist with gout and arthritis in general.
The key to a successful gout-friendly diet is, of course, learning how to strike a balance. If you’re going to grill steak for dinner, eat low-AGE foods for breakfast and lunch. Oatmeal, poached eggs, and salad are some of the best options.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to eat a reduced AGE diet and some healthy lifestyle suggestions:
- People who don’t get enough sleep have more AGEs in their bodies. Sleep is when the body’s tissue grows and repairs the most, allowing it to better defend itself against AGEs. Get the seven to nine hours of sleep per night that is recommended.
- Make a weekly commitment to exercise for at least 150 minutes.
- Make sure that any pre-existing conditions, such as obesity and high blood pressure, are treated.
- Limit your consumption of grilled, broiled, fried, and microwaved meats.
- Meats and proteins should be cooked at a lower temperature. Steam fish, braise red meat in a cooking liquid, and boil chicken in a sauce.
- Reduce your intake of processed foods. To extend shelf life, many prepared foods have been cooked at a high temperature. Unfortunately, this results in huge amounts of AGE content being added.
- Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. They’re naturally low in AGEs, whether cooked or uncooked. Many of them also contain antioxidants, which may help to mitigate some of the damage caused by AGEs.
Changing your diet now is preferable to waking up in the middle of the night with a painful gout attack. However, keep in mind that this does not always mean that you must eliminate the foods you enjoy from your life.
That being said, it may imply eating only one burger or hot dog, foregoing the beer, and focusing on fruits and vegetables to fill up your plate at barbecues or any other meal. Pay attention to what you eat and keep an eye out for foods to avoid if you have gout.
If you have a gout flare-up, seek medical advice from your doctor. Oh, and avoid listening to self-medicating “gurus” as much as possible.