Does Eating Food At High Temperatures Cause More Inflammation?

Grilling and searing meat is a summer pastime many people enjoy. But if you've ever scorched a patty, then thought about eating it, you may want to think again. While ketchup and mustard may mask the taste, it won't combat the side effects of high temperature. High heat, whether you're grilling, frying, or sauteing can trigger inflammation, points out Healthline.

One study reports that when diets contain high amounts of heat-processed foods, this also creates elevated levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the body. While AGEs are produced by the body, they're also naturally occurring in meats, fish, eggs, and other raw animal products, explains Healthline. But cooking at high temperatures triggers the release of even more AGEs. It becomes problematic as high amounts are found in your tissues and bloodstream.

High levels of dietary AGEs trigger both inflammation and oxidative stress. While inflammation is necessary for supporting the immune system, chronic inflammation can influence serious health conditions like arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and more. On the other hand, too much oxidant stress also plays a role in influencing serious health conditions. According to a 2015 study, AGEs and oxidative stress overload can both cause and impact diabetes. This is because sustained elevated levels of each of these stressors damage insulin sensitivity and production over time.

Reducing inflammation while cooking

There are several ways to reduce inflammation when it comes to eating and cooking at high temperatures. For barbecuing and grilling, the first thing you'll want to do is turn down the heat. "We associate inflammation with flames, or being hot. So to dial down the inflammation, dial down the heat when cooking meat," points out certified nutritional health coach, Jennifer White to Healthline. That means lowering your temperature, while also being mindful of the overall cook time. In this situation, less is better. Just make sure your food is thoroughly cooked as undercooked food can be a problem. The same is true for broiling, microwaving, and frying foods (via Arthritis Foundation).

For extra caution, opt to cook with different types of heat. For instance, cooking foods in moist heat helps impede new advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation, reports a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The researchers also recommend using acidic ingredients (i.e. vinegar and lemon juice) when cooking to reduce exposure.

One of the best ways to limit exposure is to eat more fruits and veggies, many of which contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The Arthritis Foundation shares that fruits and veggies are low in AGEs, while beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and fish are naturally high in dietary AGEs (especially when cooked). Processed foods are also high in AGEs, since they're often cooked at high temperatures to last longer. It's encouraged to limit these too.