Toxins are present in many of the foods we consume every day. One food toxin of particular interest is Advanced Glycation End (AGE). This food toxin is present in breast milk and commercial infant formulas. Researchers believe there could be a connection between AGE intake and the increase in diabetes cases across the world.

AGEs are found in foods, including breast milk and infant formula. The concentration in infant formula is about 100 times that of breast milk, so formula-fed babies are consuming dangerous levels of AGES, according to researchers. Consuming large amounts of AGEs can lead to inflammation that looks eerily similar to the inflammation adults face when suffering diabetes as adults.

Clearly breastfeeding is the better option of the two, but choosing to breastfeed may not be enough. Researchers in a study published in 2010 reported infants carried AGE levels as high as levels found in breastfeeding mothers. It appears AGEs pass from breastfeeding mothers to infants in breast milk

Mothers who choose to breastfeed can reduce their intake of foods containing AGEs and thus reduce the impact of this dangerous food toxin on the infant. There are no specific foods that contain AGEs, but rather cooking methods that increase AGEs in food. Foods fried, grilled and baked have increased levels of AGEs. According to a 2011 study from Diabetes Care, the increase is enough to cause inflammation and diabetes. The study watched as one group on a restricted diet consumed foods cooked by boiling or stewing. This group showed a 35% reduction in insulin resistance. No medication resulted in the same reduction.

The three most important points researchers and doctors want pregnant women and nursing mothers to take from this study are:


  1. Add water to foods during the cooking process.
  2. Reduce the heat at which foods are cooked. 
  3. Eat at home more often to control how foods are cooked.

Source: J. Uribarri, W. Cai, M. Ramdas, S. Goodman, R. Pyzik, X. Chen, L. Zhu, G. E. Striker, H. Vlassara. Diabetes Care. 6 October, 2011.