Vegetarians AGE faster

While reading a scientific paper on the benefits of a carnivorous diet I noticed a paper in the list of references at the end that I had never seen cited. I tracked the paper down, read it, and learned that vegetarians have significantly higher rates of advanced glycation end products (AGE) than do omnivores.

Before we get into the study, let’s take a moment and discuss AGEs so we’ll all be on the same page. When proteins are incubated with sugars, over time the sugar attaches irreversibly with the protein in a process called glycation. (There are many names for the reaction: the Maillard reaction, Schiff’s base formation, the Amadori reaction, etc. with minor differences between these different processes, but debating the differences is pointless for our purposes.) If the protein performs a specific function in the body due to its unique structural conformation, and it finds itself with a sugar attached to it that it can’t get rid of, then this protein suddenly doesn’t function so well and becomes a junk protein that the body has to dispose of.

Since most of the structures in our bodies are made of protein, and since all of these proteins are bathed in blood that contains glucose, the normal course of events is for a portion of these proteins to undergo glycation. And the longer the proteins are in contact with the sugar, the more glycated proteins will be formed. All this goes on continuously in our bodies so as we age we accumulate more and more of these substances, thus the clever name AGEs.

If we set out two beakers filled with a protein solution and add an amount of sugar to one and double that amount of sugar to the other, we will end up with many more glycated proteins in the beaker with more sugar. The same thing happens in the body. If blood sugar is chronically high, then there are more glycation products. One of these products – hemoglobin A1c – is used to measure the average blood sugar concentration over the previous couple of months.

Hemoglobin is the protein in the red blood cells that binds to and transports oxygen throughout the body. There is always sugar in the blood, some of which binds to the hemoglobin via the glycation process. If the blood sugar goes up and stays up as it does in diabetes the elevated concentrations of glucose end up producing more glycated hemoglobin, called hemoglobin A1c. (Fructose is a much more potent glycating agent (it’s actually called a fructating agent) than is glucose (blood sugar), so the inclusion of high-fructose corn syrup into almost everything isn’t doing us a lot of good glycation-wise.) And hemoglobin isn’t the only protein being glycated – it’s just the one that’s commonly measured.

More glycated proteins are not a good thing. We all want our proteins to work as nature intended and not be gummed up by having a sugar hanging off of them. These glycated proteins end up in the lysosomes, the refuse boxes of the cells, and are thought to be one of the driving forces behind the aging process. Cells with too much junk don’t function properly. And when enough of our cells don’t function properly, we don’t function properly. (Click here to read an old post about de-junking your cells)

With that background in mind, let’s take a look at the paper.

Researchers looked at a group of 19 vegetarians (lacto-ovovegetarians) and used as a comparison a group of 19 omnivorous subjects recruited from the same region (Bratislava, Slovak Republic). As you can see from the table below, the omnivores (Traditional) actually consumed a little more carb (saccharides) each day than did the vegetarians (Alternative), but not enough to reach significance. What the vegetarians ate more of in significant amounts were fruits and vegetables, giving them a significantly increased intake of fructose.

When researchers measured levels of carboxymethyllysine, an glycation product that represents

a general marker of oxidative stress and long-term damage of proteins in aging, atherosclerosis and diabetes

it was found to be significantly elevated in vegetarians as compared to omnivores. Fluorescent AGEs are basically a direct measurement of AGEs in the blood. As the authors point out fluorescent AGEs serve

as an index of advanced glycation [and] increase linearly for human serum albumin [a blood protein] incubated with glucose and exponentially when fructose [is] added to the incubation medium.

Fluorescent AGEs were also significantly higher in the vegetarians.

Another interesting aspect of this study is the finding of the authors that the vegetarians

do not use high temperature for culinary treatment. They prefer heat treatment at lower temperature for short period of time.

I find this intriguing because so many anti-meat zealots constantly harp about the dangers of overcooking meat (or cooking it on a grill) because of the AGEs that are produced in the process, which, they seem to believe end up in the bodies of those who eat grilled or overcooked meat. I don’t think it’s too much to assume that most of the omnivores eat meat, and some probably overcook it or grill it, yet they have less accumulation of AGES than the oh so fastidious vegetarians.

I’m sure I’ll get a slew of comments from surly vegetarians after this post telling me how healthy they are and how healthful the vegetarian diet is. But in this case the data show otherwise.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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167 thoughts on “Vegetarians AGE faster

  1. Interesting. I tried going veg before and ended up real sick.

    But one thing I wonder about is the study that also showed increased AGE’s in people who are in ketosis.

    14. Beisswenger BG, Delucia EM, Lapoint N, Sanford RJ, Beisswenger PJ. Abstract Ketosis leads to increased methylglyoxal production on the Atkins diet. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1043:201-10.
    PMID: 16037240 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    This question comes up from time to time. I should probably do a post on it at some point. For now you can go to this old post and scroll down through the comments to the ones by Tim Lundeen. There are four or five in which he continues to ask for clarification on this issue and my responses. Hope it helps.

  2. Dr. Eades,

    I find the area of AGE’s fascinating. Low-carb advocate Dr. Greg Ellis is producing work on this matter. I have two questions of a different nature, which i’d love your help on. I’m asking you the first one because i think you have a wealth of knowledge, both academic and street smarts. Here goes: (1.) i was at the dermatologist a few months ago. I received a prescription for a gel. The visit cost €150. I have recently tried calling her to seek advice about changing my prescription. I’ve spoken to her secretary, but she won’t return my calls. What is a lad to do?

    Secondly, my mother had a check-up recently. I wanted to compare her results with the figures listed in Protein Power and Protein Power LifePlan, but unfortunately, her
    tests were done using different measurements, such as mmol/L (units).
    The results suggest ideal ranges, but they do no more than that, in
    that they don’t show, for instance, the triglyceride-to-HDL ratio, as
    you mention in your books as being a good indicator of heart
    disease.I was hoping that you could interpret her results for me, and
    then i will relay the news. Before i present the results, it might be
    important to know that she was fasting when the tests were done.
    Also, she is 54, a non-smoker, a regular exerciser and drinks
    infrequently. Here are her results:

    Cholesterol: 7.2 mmol/L
    HDL Cholesterol: 1.7 mmol/L
    HDL % Total Cholesterol: 23.61 %l
    LDL Cholesterol: 4.7 mmol/L
    Triglycerides: 0.80 mmol/L
    Glucose: 5.5 mmol/L

    I would really, really appreciate your help on this one, as i love my mother dearly and i don’t want to leave her health in someone else’s hands entirely. I really look forward to hearing from you.


    I don’t know how to help on the first issue. It’s inexcusable for a physician and/or staff not to return patient phone calls. Here in the states we could report them to the state medical board.

    The factors for converting the UK system to the US one are as follows: All cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL) is 39; triglycerides is 89; and glucose is 18.

    Your mother’s values in American units are:

    Cholesterol 281 mg/dl
    HDL 66
    LDL 183
    Triglycerides 71
    Glucose 99

    Her triglyceride to HDL ratio (the one I think is important if any lipid ratios are important) is 1.1, which is very good.

    Most physicians would think her cholesterol and LDL levels are way too high. If she were my patient (which she isn’t) I wouldn’t worry about them given her low triglyceride level. But her own physician may have a different opinion.



  3. Years ago trying to eat “healthy” I used to listen to Gary Null (and read his books)
    Don’t get me wrong, I respect the guy for his efforts and zeal, but for some one that eats so “healthy”, he has aged very quickly.
    Thanks for all the great info Doc, loving my meats and veggies and feeling great.


  4. Dr Mike,

    Does the fructose and other non gluocose sugars consumed such as lactose get reflected in the HgbA1c score along with the glucose consumed? Or is just a measure of the damage of gluocose in the blood?


    Good question. I don’t really know the answer to this question with 100 percent accuracy. I would imagine that it is all the hemoglobin that is modified by reacting with any sugar, but I don’t know for sure. I’ll try to find out.

  5. Hey Dr. Eades,

    Could you tell me if a regular Joe (meaning non-doctors) is allowed to join organizations like the American Heart Association or The Obesity Society, and if so how they could possibly contribute? I feel passionate about health and fitness in our society, and am looking for a way to help. I’m sorry this isn’t pertinent to the post, but I wasn’t sure how else to ask you. I’ve followed your blog for about 6 months now, and enjoy it very much. Thanks for your time.

    Hey Nick–

    Yes, non-professionals can join. But you would probably be wasting your time and money because the agendas of these big groups are definitely not low-carb friendly. If you want to join an organization that will put you to good use, consider the Nutrition & Metabolism Society.



  6. I see in that study that vegetarians are skinnier. I didn’t really need a study to show that, as once in a blue moon I eat in a vegetarian restaurant and I noticed that you hardly ever see an overweight person in there. When I googled vegetarians and bmi the studies I found showed the same thing, though they were much bigger studies, involving 50,000 or more people. Why do you think that vegetarians are skinnier?

    I’ve treated plenty of overweight vegetarians, so they are not all skinny. A vegetarian diet is almost by definition a low-protein diet, or at least on that doesn’t contain much leucine, the amino acid responsible for building muscle. Therefore many vegetarians have a reduced lean body mass making them more skinny. And many people follow the vegetarian lifestyle because of the mistaken notion that it is more healthful. These people who have the fortitude to buck up and follow such a diet are usually more health conscious than the average person and so exercise more and watch their weight. Plus, it’s difficult to get a lot of calories on a vegetarian diet, especially a vegan diet, so many are out and out malnourished.

  7. Did you catch Dr. Nir Barzilai’s comment to the press that so far in his landmark study of centenarians he has not found a single vegetarian?

    No, I didn’t see it. If you’ve got the link, I’d love to have it. Thanks.

  8. Could this simply be due to the difference in age of the two groups?

    I thought about that when I first read the study, but I don’t think so. First, these people are all young. If one group were in their twenties and another in their forties, maybe so, but I don’t think so with the ages as close as they are. Second, AGEs are in the blood transiently – they are picked up and taken to the cells where they are put into lysosomes. The accumulation of AGEs are therefore in the cells, not in the blood. Those in the blood represent a more immediate effect, not a long-term effect.

  9. While the results don’t surprise me, there is one thing missing. Were the results checked for statistical significance. It appears that the asterisks; single, double and triple, may have given this information.
    It interesting that these were not vegans who might have had more AGE’s and that they had lower BMI’s, i.e. were thinner. I’ve noticed in pictures of vegans, especially older ones that they look like walking skeletons, Campbell and Ornish come to mind. Thank for the time and space to comment.

    Hey Mark–

    Good to hear from you. It’s been a while.

    If you pull up the entire paper (the full text version is linked in the post) you’ll find that the asterisks do represent statistical significance. * = less than 0.05; ** = less than 0.01; and *** – less than 0.001



  10. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that sugar molecules, when combined with fine dark chocolate (preferably Belgian or Godiva) are very well behaved and don’t bind to anything they shouldn’t.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (er, no pun intended) :)


  11. As you know from our interviews, I tried vegetarianism while in my 30s in an attempt to lose weight — and only got fatter. I cut all sugar and most starch from my diet years ago, and today nobody thinks I look my age. (I was carded in a liquor store in Tennessee last year. When I laughed out loud, the clerk said, “Yeah, I know, it’s silly, but the law says we have to card anyone who doesn’t look at least 40. That made me laugh again, because I’m about to turn 50.)

    I have four friends who are vegetarians. Here’s how robustly healthy they are, thanks to giving up all that nasty meat:

    Veg-Head #1: Recently required extensive dental surgery because she’s lost more than half the bone mass in her jaw. (Of course, you can mash pinto beans with your gums, so no big deal.)

    Veg-Head #2: Looks emaciated, looks older than she is, and takes anti-depressants.

    Veg-Head #3: On prescription medication for Sjogren’s disease.

    Veg-Head #4: On Lipitor because a scan showed — when he was all of 45 — significant plaque build-up in his arteries, even though his cholesterol was on the low side. Also takes pills for pain in his arthritic joints.

    To be fair, there are people who give up meat and remain healthy, but for most of us, it would mean living on grains and other starchy foods and suffering the consequences.

    And yes, you will receive a slew of surly comments, because vegetarianism is a religion. In the future you may want to write about less controversial topics, like the Iraq war or Hillary Clinton.

    I don’t know…Hillary Clinton is pretty controversial. I wrote about a dozen measly words and posted what someone else wrote about her and received a firestorm of attacks. We’ll see what happens with the vegetarians. I’m glad you came to your senses and switched.

    • lol list a few people you know that aren’t doing well as if that means anything…

      Because I’m vegan and don’t have any of those problems.

      I could list a bunch of meat eaters with problems…

      so what kind of point are you making? Nothing. your point is “some guy at a shop reckons I look pretty good so that means meat is good for you”. and “i know a few people that aren’t doing well on vegetarian diets so it’s bad”.

      How about you look at those thriving instead? It’s like me going to an amateur golf player and saying “see…humans aren’t meant to play golf because this guy sucks”.

  12. I have yet to meet a vegetarian that I would consider “looked” healthy. I have known several personally so I’ve seen them on more than what could be considered a bad day. I never understood why they didn’t question their diet when complaining about lethargy and their strength deficit. I guess they haven’t resolved their cognitive dissonance. The vegetarians I’ve known all pretty much look the same…frail and pale.

    Frail and pale…that pretty much sums it up.

  13. “What the vegetarians ate more of in significant amounts were fruits and vegetables, giving them a significantly increased intake of fructose.”

    Dr. Eades, do you suppose that this issue is primarily caused by the increased intake by the vegetarians of high-sugar fruit and veggies. This concerns me because I love veggies and fruit, but am thoroughly omnivorous. My diet is certainly high in complex carbs and alot of fruit and veggies. However, this study may suggest that any diet too weighted toward veggies and fruit may be deleterious. Is that your reading of the report? If so, I wonder if there are easy/obvious signs that help us to keep a balanced diet in the context of AGEs.

    Yes, just watch the carb intake. A lot of fruits equals a lot of carbs. A lot of carbs, especially fructose, equals AGEs. People love fruit because they love sweetness and fruit gives them the opportunity to consume sugar while thinking they are doing something healthful. Sugar is sugar even when it is attractively packaged in the form of fruit. This study shows that you’ve got to be careful.

    • Dr. Perlmutter (Grain Brain) says one piece of fruit a day and not the super sweet ones. I am reading all sides of this story and trying to put it together. There are MANY anecdotal instances of people leaving meat/dairy behind and recovering from cancer or heart disease or diabetes not to mention studies. There are sooo many studies from all angles. I think part of the problem is the health/safety/ethics of factory farmed animals and the amount consumed.

      Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants. —Michael Pollan
      The key word is mostly.

      Campbell just has high cheek bones, Caldwell Esselstyn is adorable and Neal Barnard is hot for 60 and they are all older vegans. And then there’s Rip Esselstyn. Tell me he looks skeletal.

  14. I am having a little trouble reading that….but is there a stat for amount of dietary fat per day as well? It seems if you have any diet consistently higher in fructose, dried fruits and honey that the higher insulin response(s) from it would surely not lead to more health benefits if your compared it to a diet higher in fat (with still some fruits and vegetables).

    I don’t know if I’m reading your question correctly or not, but if what you’re asking is if there is a listing for fat intake in this study, the answer is no.

    In my opinion a diet higher in fat (good quality fat) with a few fruits and vegetables is much more healthful than a diet low in fat with many fruits, vegetables and honey.

  15. Does it mean I could ignore salads and vitamins in meat and go animal-only?

    That’s what I often do. I eat very few fruits and vegetables. A few tomatoes, asparagus, squash, celery root, broccoli, berries and that’s about it. And not all of these all at once, but one or so per meal.

  16. I’m happy to see this post. I’ve been getting annoyed with the vegetarian craze lately in my area. It seems almost everyone one that goes vegetarian immediately starts babbling about how they “on average, live 10 years longer, and vegans live 15-20 years longer than omnivores.” I’m happy you read “Mistakes Were Made”, they do a great job explaining why people need to justify the things they do—hence the “live longer”—in order to not feel dumb for giving up food that they might have, otherwise, really enjoyed in the first place.

    I’m not sure what the actual statistics are for vege life span compared to omnivore, but I think it’s safe to say that once people go vegetatian they have such a strong “I’m healthy” mindset that they stop drinking as much; stop smoking, or not smoke as much; and do other thing that contribute to their healthful mindset.

    Maybe the content over at needs a little (citation needed) in a few spots. The vegetarians love to use it for their reference.

    I’m sure the Wikipedia site is written by and for vegetarians. And maintained by them, so I doubt that a conflicting reference would last long.

    • yeah the same reason why I can not use wiki as a bio student my PhD. professors of Biology would put a big fat F on my papers, I can only use sourses from scientist and MD or professors of science as sources

  17. Does it mean I could ignore salads and vitamins in them and get more benefit from animal-only diet advocated by “bear” all over the web?


  18. Hi, Doctor –

    I haven’t seen much recently on this glycation subject. Any comment on the potential benefits of supplementing with carnosine (or ALT-711) in reversing AGEs and cross-linking? As your referenced post says, it DOES make more sense not to generate them in the first place, and to use ketosis as a lysosome-cleaner. Just curious if afflictions like presbyopia would yield to any known AGE-breakers.


    If presbyopia would yield to an AGE-breaker, I would buy a lifetime supply. It’s the curse of aging.

    Carnosine does work as an AGE breaker, but I haven’t seen any clinical studies on its use for presbyopia.

  19. Oh dear, here comes another anecdotal bit about vegetarianism. I was vegan for 60 years (from the age of 13 when I sang at a vegetarian meeting in Philadelphia). At 73, I decided that I wanted to eat pork ribs. I did and I haven’t stopped since-I’ll be a wild and healthy and creative 75 next month.

    As a vegan, I always had thick luxurious hair, great skin and nails, and unlimited energy. As an omnivore, I have the same assets but what is added is what has been subtracted: I no longer experience gnawing hunger and I never have to eat between meals

    I’m glad you finally made the move.

  20. i have been a vegetarian for over a year. i am not frail nor pale. i ride my bicycle for 50k+ every week and am tan because i am out side regularly. also im not sure how one study of 38 people done in the relatively small Bratislava, Slovak Republic region has much to do with the rest of the world population.

    I have an 85 year old relative who smoked three packs per day until just a few years ago and still drinks like a fish. Surprisingly, he is still pretty healthy and active. But that doesn’t mean I would recommend his lifestyle for longevity to anyone else.

    If the vegetarian diet is working for you, I’m glad. It doesn’t for everyone. Nor would I recommend it.

  21. Here’s a link to the interview of Dr Nir Barzilia:

    “Q. Are you looking for the genetic markers for longevity?

    A. Yes, and we’ve found several so far. The most important thing we’ve found is that most centenarians have a lot more than average H.D.L. proteins, the good cholesterol, in their blood. Also, they had a lot more of them when they were younger, because their children have a lot more than their peers do. Also, size matters with the protein molecules. Eighty percent of the children of the centenarians had larger than average high density lipoproteins.”


    “The most common thing this group had is that they did not reveal any particular lifestyle secret for their own longevity. When asked specifically, none has exercised. None was a vegetarian. Not a single one ate yogurt throughout his life.

    In fact, 30 percent were overweight. Some smoked. The fact that they had a strong family history of exceptional longevity seemed to be the main commonality. This supports the notion that they have special genes protecting them from their environment. “

  22. Thanks for the very interesting summary.

    My anecdotal evidence from knowing a few vegetarians is that the Indian ones (that’s Asian Indian, not Native American) who’ve been vegans their entire lives appear quite healthy in contrast to persons — like the ones in the article — who became vegetarians as adults.

    I’ve heard this observation explained in terms of gut flora but have no idea whether that’s true.

    That reminds me, I once read that vegetarians in less well-developed countries are not as fanatical about washing produce as we are in the US and probably get some important nutrients from consuming an insect, etc. here and there.

  23. Dear Dr. Eades,

    I’m going to make sure my husband reads this. We live in Portland, Oregon (where you can find plenty of vegetarians and vegans), and he manages a grocery. He comes into contact with plenty of vegetarians and vegans and he and certain of his co-workers will occasionally express dismay (during conversations among themselves) at how, as Javier says, “pale and frail” these people look. He usually has an opportunity to witness these pitiful looking people close up as they are typically in the vitamin/homeopathic medicine department looking for something to cure whatever their latest ailment is. This is an area where many people are highly concerned about how and where their food is grown, an area with some of the finest restaurants in the country and an area with fabulous farmer’s markets and so you would think people would be a little more well versed in the effects of diet on health, but I think Javier nailed it: cognitive dissonance.

  24. On the flip side, I know some vegetarians who are overwieght because they are what I call “junkfood vegetarians.” But overall, I think frail and pale sums up most of them.

  25. I would like to see a study of different segments of the demographics from the Indian sub continent. You would probably have 500 million vegetarians there and they dont look all that frail and pale.

    And I do eat meat. And I do delight in and enjoy the SCIENTIFIC posts of Dr Michael .

    They certainly don’t look pale because they are dark skinned. But they are crawling with diabetes and heart disease.

  26. I’ve read that lipid peroxidation plays a huge part in glycation, and I wonder if greater consumption of highly peroxidizable polyunsaturated fat and/or less consumption of protective saturated fat is a bigger factor in vegetarian AGE’ing than greater consumption of fruits and vegetables.

    AGEs are made when sugar attaches to proteins. Large amounts of polyunsaturated fats are prone to oxidation and consume large amounts of endogenous antioxidants to keep from becoming peroxidized. These are two different processes. I’ve never read that peroxidation is involved in AGE formation (that doesn’t mean such information doesn’t exist – only that I haven’t read it if it does), so if you have references, I would love to see them.

  27. Y’know, Tom Scholz of the band Boston has been a vegetarian for decades, and no one would call him pale and frail… he’s nearly 60 and looks 45.

    So there will always be exceptions.

    Me? I’m eating Paleo. :-)

  28. Seventh-Day Adventists rank among America’s longevity “all-stars.”

    12-year study of 34,000 Adventists in California:

    “Life expectancy of a 30-year-old vegetarian Adventist woman was 85.7 years, and 83.3 years for a vegetarian Adventist man.”

    “Non-vegetarian Adventist women in the group had a life expectancy of 84 years, and non-vegetarian men, 81 years.”

    It would be of interest to me to see some graphs that included BMI and subgroups of
    the non-vegetarians that ate only fish as their meat..

    I saw this study when it came out. A couple of interesting pearls buried in the article you linked to:

    The study focused on five lifestyle factors, tracking whether individuals engaged in regular exercise, were vegetarian, had a history of smoking, maintained a healthy body weight, or ate a small serving of nuts five to six times a week. Researchers studied the impact on longevity of each of these habits, both separately and in combination.

    “Even though we knew that Adventists live longer, we’d never really dug any deeper and asked, ‘What are the important characteristics of being an Adventist that seem to account for that?'” explains Fraser. Although the five habits tracked in the study are not the only important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, says Fraser, “they were the factors that came out as being statistically significant predictors of mortality.”

    Researchers discovered that the life expectancy of a 30-year-old vegetarian Adventist woman was 85.7 years, and 83.3 years for a vegetarian Adventist man. This exceeds the life expectancies of other Californians by 6.1 years for women and 9.5 years for men. Non-vegetarian Adventist women in the group had a life expectancy of 84 years, and non-vegetarian men, 81 years.

    While health experts have long preached the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise, this study is the first to actually identify the number of years of life added by specific health practices. The results show that the effect of each factor separately accounted for between 1.25 and 2.75 extra years of life, with exercise and nut consumption producing the slightly stronger effects.

    On the other hand, life expectancy dropped nine to 10 years for Adventists who were overweight, past smokers, and non-vegetarian, and who did not exercise or eat nuts regularly.

    Attributing longevity to these folks due to their vegetarianism is like Ornish attributing the results of his studies to the diet component alone when there were actually a handful of modifications besides diet. (I posted on this here)

    In the case of the Adventists studied as compared to the rest of the population to which they were compared, they didn’t smoke, they exercised, they stayed slim, and they ate nuts a few times per week. Although it was stated that researchers analyzed each of these factors separately, those kinds of analyses are notoriously difficult to imbue with meaning. They are statistics, not science. There are, I’m sure, many attributes to the Adventist lifestyle (including higher income levels, for example – and higher income has always been associated with longevity) that increase longevity, but it’s specious to point to vegetarianism as the only thing that does.

    It’s especially interesting to note that those Adventists “who were overweight, past smokers, and non-vegetarian, and who did not exercise or eat nuts regularly” had lower life expectancy than the California population at large. This finding could be used to ‘prove’ that the Adventist religion lead to decreased longevity because when one compares Adventists with the same habits as the rest of the population, the Adventists don’t live as long.

    These kinds of statistics are a tricky business, and it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions from them.

    • “These kinds of statistics are a tricky business, and it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions from them.”

      Now you’re just f*ing yourself.

  29. Hi again. i read your comments about methylgloxal on the old post “The low-fat diet cascade” and I cite below the paragraph I feel is most interesting.

    A reduction in blood sugar (even if accompanied by an increase in methylglycoxal) brings about a reduction of AGE formation that is orders of magnitude greater than the increase engendered by even a doubling of methylglycoxal levels (which is about what most papers report). In addition, most other papers demonstrate that methylglycoxal levels track WITH blood sugar levels and not in the opposite direction.

    So basically it is not a doubling of total AGE’s when one goes into ketosis but rather a doubling of Methylgloxal, and this substance is from the start only present in very tiny amounts.

    Do antioxidants reduce AGE’s and are ketones antioxidant?

    Yes, it’s not AGEs that are doubled. Methylglycoxal is present in tiny amounts relative to glucose.

    Antioxidants don’t really reduce AGEs because AGEs aren’t free radicals. That’s the problem with AGEs, they are damaged proteins that can’t really be fixed – they need to be junked, and they end up gumming up the cells. I’ve read in a couple of places that ketones are antioxidants, but I have my doubts. It’s something I haven’t looked into all that closely.

  30. Hi Dr Mike,

    I thought you would appreicate this link:

    Can you believe that a LC diet has been found to be beneficial for diabetics? How can this be? I mean EVERYONE knows that a balanced diet MUST contain wholemeal bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. It must also be low in saturated fat and contain only occasional meat. What can Dr Katharine Morrison be thinking. Madness!

    (I am two years into a LC lifestyle, and still enjoying your excellent blog. Keep up the goodwork).


    Thanks for the link. I hadn’t seen it.

  31. The vegetarians were 6 yrs older on average than the omnivores. I was also a lot “older” at nearly 40 than at 30, those are usually the “ageing” years esp. with children. Would this also have an effect on the production and accumulation of AGEs irrespective of diet?

    It would have an effect on the accumulation, but not the production. The amount measured in the blood as a estimate of production, not accumulation.

  32. I read your old post on de-junking cells. I try to stay in Ketosis most of the time using Ketostix. Do you see any advantage in keeping levels high or is a trace amount as effective. I can never achieve anything more than medium no matter how strict I am.

    If you are in trace to medium when you measure, I’m sure you’re in high at other times. The body adjusts to using ketones once one has adapted to ketosis, so the levels aren’t as high as when one first gets into ketosis.

  33. What do you think of this :

    “Some of the most unhealthy people I’ve ever met, mostly males, are proud carnivores who boast of their prodigious capacities to eat meat. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tease out the ill-effects of excessive meat eating, since these same men also tend to be substantially overweight, smoke, drink excessively, and fail to get exercise unless their job is physically demanding. You know the type”


    I agree 100 percent. I suspect these “proud carnivores” also eat French fries and gobs of other high-carb foods along with their meat. Carnivorous implies eating only meat – these guys aren’t carnivores, they’re overeating omnivores.

  34. I don’t have any arguments about the study itself, but I would hesitate to draw such overarching conclusions based on such a very small study population —

    “19 vegetarians (lacto-ovovegetarians) and used as a comparison a group of 19 omnivorous subjects recruited from the same region (Bratislava, Slovak Republic).”

    — which is also from an area which may not be representative of the dietary habits of omnivores vs. vegetarians in the U.S. or other locales. Note also that the vegetarians studied here were lacto-ovovegetarians — i.e., they used milk & eggs — which is a bit different diet from what vegans eat — that might make a difference too.

    I think a more important point is simply to be aware of AGEs, regardless of the diet one normally eats, & to be moderate in one’s consumption of the kind of stuff that lead to AGEs, rather than using a study like this to tout the supposed superiority of one style of eating over another. I know a number of vegetarians (including vegans), who have very good reasons for having chosen their way of eating. I’d rather simply that they be making the best choices possible within the realm that fits their sense of ethics, philosophy, religion, or whatever, than beat them over the head for not eating animal products. As a consumer of animal products myself, I’ve learned a lot of valuable stuff from vegetarians about how to be more responsible in my choices ethically speaking (e.g., food from free range animals rather than feedlots, which are pretty cruel & unhealthy methods of food production), as well as healthwise. This is in spite of wondering, as a prediabetic working hard to become more insulin sensitive, how possible it would be for a vegetarian (particularly a vegan) in the same situation to get enough protein & be low enough in carbs to prevent themselves from getting sicker.

    But think of this: a typical American vegetarian might eat more fruit than a typical American omnivore, but I wonder just who eats & drinks more junk with high fructose corn syrup in it? Not those of us who are aware, I hope, but most people aren’t. Personally, I’ve found the vegetarians I know to be much more conscious about what they’re eating & drinking than non-vegetarians — with the exception of those non-vegetarians, like those of us following this blog, who have been working hard to educate ourselves about what we put in our mouths.

    This is actually the first article I’ve read at this site, & I’ve got to say that the snide comments about “oh so fastidious vegetarians” did not leave me with a good first impression. I’ve met my share of self-righteous vegetarians; but I find it no more pleasant to meet self-righteous carnivores. Nonetheless, I explored this site further, & found plenty else to recommend it. But I am disappointed that a study like this, with its inherent limitations, is generalized in such a way, with such an obvious bias against “surly vegetarians.”

    — Mel, a surly nonvegetarian

    I’m not so sure that the study has the “inherent limitations” that you ascribe to it. It doesn’t really matter where the subjects come from and how many there are as long as the differences between the groups reaches statistical significance, which is this case it did, and to a highly statistical significance, not just barely a significant difference. And there are reasons that these vegetarians should have higher levels of AGEs – they eat more fructose, which attaches to proteins, making AGEs, at a high rate. So, the findings of the study are in accordance with biology and biochemistry. I suspect that were the vegetarian subjects vegans we would have seen even more AGEs, but that’s only an educated guess on my part because vegans weren’t studied.

    I’m sure their are a lot of non-surly vegetarians out there who are not oh so fastidious, but they are never the ones who write me nor are they the ones who confront me during talks and book signings. If I were to go by my personal experience one on one with vegetarians I would say they are surly and fastidious and self righteous and activist oriented. But that’s just based on my experience. Others, I’m sure, may differ.

  35. There’s also Christie Brinkley who’s is 50 plus and looks about 19.

    My daughter was a Presidential All-American student in 6th grade–all A’s and all 99 percentile in aptitude tests. In 7th-8th grade she became a vegetarian. Soon thereafter she began to struggle with school. She’s now finishing up college but it’s been a long struggle with concentration, focus and depression issues (not helped by the SSRIs and ADD meds she was so willingly given) No doctor ever asked what she ate. I’m trying now to convince her to supplement w/ Omega-3s(must be veg. source), B-12 and a few others but it’s an uphill climb. Flax oil isn’t easily converted to EPA/DHA and of course we must find vegetarian capsules, etc. If a doctor had told her while they had her in the office she would have listened. In other words if it were common knowledge that too many grains are bad and veg. only misses many nutrients she would have reconsidered.

    I don’t know what it is about teenage girls that converts them to vegetarianism, but I’ve heard your same sad story many, many times.

  36. Dear Dr. Eades,

    Many, many thanks for your email regarding my queries. I am going to see whether there is a similar policy regarding “professional” in Ireland, as my dermatologist’s behaviour is, as you said, unexceptable. I was referred to her, because she was “good”. Yeah, “good”, like most medical doctors when it comes to diet, eh?

    I am delighted that my mother’s triglyceride to HDL ratio is very good. As far as her LDL and total cholesterol, like you, i’m not too concerned about those figures. I love my mother so much, i don’t to see her stay in good health, especially seeing as my father had a heart attack two years ago where one of his arteries was completely blocked. He lived, thankfully. But, he finds it hard to part with conventional dietary wisdom, such as butter is bad and margarine is good, fat is the devil, and so forth. It is so hard not to be able to “reach” a loved one. My mother grew up on a farm and ate animals (meat, seafoof, pig, chicken, turkey), butter/lard, fresh milk and cheese, veg, and oats and spuds (typical Irish carbs).

    At present, my dad is on the following medications (one daily), on the request of his doctor:

    Cardicor 2.5MG
    Tritace 1.25MG
    Plavix 75MG
    Nu Seals Aspirin 75MG
    Lipitor 40MG (Nightly)

    Having furthered my understanding of medical practices it is obvious to me that doctors treat the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. In other words, i hate the fact that my loved one is taking meds that are not only expensive, but also probably cause more harm than good. I desperately want to help my dad on the road to better health. I don’t want him to take any unnecessary medications. I will work in that direction. Well, Dr., i am rambling. Keep up the good work…I’ll be reading!

    Good luck on your efforts to help your folks. You’re fighting an uphill battle, but I guess you know that. It’s difficult to get older people to realize that their physicians don’t have all the answers and are often on the wrong track. I hope the information you find here is helpful.



  37. I became a vegetarian in high school because some friends convinced me that it was healthy. This was in the 1970’s when it was still considered a fad, and I received constant flak about it. However, after reading all of the literature available at the time, I was absolutely convinced that it was the only healthy mode of eating. I had never liked meat as a kid, so it was an easy transition for me.

    Zip forward 18 years for a summary of my health as a 35 year old vegetarian:

    1) I had severe adult acne (didn’t have any as a teen-ager)
    2) I had moderate periodontal disease
    3) I had frequent dizzy spells that would keep me home from work
    4) I had a constant gnawing hunger and my weight would yo-yo +- 25 pounds every year
    5) I was pale and emaciated looking during the lean months
    6) I suffered from a general lack of energy and enthusiasm

    Now keep in mind, I thought that I was healthy and had a lot of positive energy about being a vegetarian. However, based on my many symptoms, I began to question the diet and soon abandoned it to become a meat-eating low-carber.

    Flash forward another 15 years and all of the symptoms listed above are gone. I’m 5’11”, weigh a constant 175 lbs with about 10% body fat (BMI is an irrelevant measurement in my mind). I estimate that I’ve gained at least 20-25 lbs of muscle mass in the past 15 years, mostly in my 40’s. At 49, most people tell me that I look 35. I feel great with tons of energy and a love of life!

    I know that this is anecdotal, but wild horses couldn’t drag me back to vegetarianism.

    Thanks for the interesting and enlightening dietary history. I posted about author Nina Planck who had basically the same experience.

    • Your experience tracks that of a vegetarian on an unhealthy diet lacking in sufficient proteins. Glad to hear you changed your diet and it worked for you. BTW a friend of mine used to own the top vegan restaurant in NY and he got rid of it. He said his regular customers were very healthy for several years, then typically became emaciated from lack of quality protein. Eventually he said his conscience wouldn’t let him run the restaurant any longer. Too bad the fast food meat restaurants don’t have the same moral principles. The movie “Forks Over Knives” is very thought provoking on this subject, especially when you look at the condition of the individuals in the movie, and the fact that the movie gives zero guidance on how vegetarians are meant to get their protein. After all, you live off what you eat, not what you don’t eat.

  38. You can find many different write ups about Dr. Barzilai’s longevity study. Here’s one from the New York Times.

    Here’s the transcript of a CNN interview:

    I love the quote, “: We don’t have yoga teachers. We don’t have vegetarians. Thirty percent of them were overweight or obese in the 1950s. We don’t have anybody that’s exercising. There are several people who smoked. So for those people, the environment didn’t matter. They had something else that we think is genetic.”

    So far Dr. Barzilai has found a cholesterol variant that is linked with longevity, a variant of IGF that makes for short statured, long lived women, and the fact that the large cholesterol molecule is protective against Alzheimers.

  39. Re: lipid peroxidation and AGE’s

    Here is the reference and the reference’s reference:

    “The fragments of deteriorating PUFA combine with proteins and other cell materials, producing immunogenic substances. The so-called “advanced glycation end products,” that have been blamed on glucose excess, are mostly derived from the peroxidation of the “essential fatty acids.” The name, “glycation,” indicates the addition of sugar groups to proteins, such as occurs in diabetes and old age, but when tested in a controlled experiment, lipid peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids produces the protein damage about 23 times faster than the simple sugars do (Fu, et al., 1996).”

    “J Biol Chem 1996 Apr 26;271(17):9982-6. The advanced glycation end product, Nepsilon-(carboxymethyl)lysine, is a product of both lipid peroxidation and glycoxidation reactions. Fu MX, Requena JR, Jenkins AJ, Lyons TJ, Baynes JW, Thorpe SR.”

    Thanks for the links.


  40. Dear Dr. Mike,

    Drifting back to the AGEs. Can this be a cause or contributor to cataracts? Any data on improving cataracts with even lower carbs? Is there ANYTHING proven to reduce same?

    Cataracts are absolutely the result of AGEs. Cross linking and gumming up of the proteins inside the lens of the eye is what forms the cataract. I’ve seen papers showing that low-carb diets slow the formation of cataracts, but I can’t lay my hands on the references right now.

    Sadly, as far as I know, there is really nothing that can reduce cataracts other than having them removed. That’s the bad thing about AGEs – they can’t be undone.

  41. Dr Mick..just a short note to thankyou for being human and decent and above all else self-deprecating.
    You never play the big Iam nor boast about yr successes and it smacks of someone who is..well, very decent.

    Hey Simon–

    Thanks. I’ve always thought I was a decent guy, but then I’ve always suspected that my confirmation bias was simply kicking in. :-)


  42. I hate to add another comment after already having made one and following at least 46 previous comments, but one thing I noted when I checked the Wikipedia about glycation was that:

    “It appears that fructose and galactose have approximately ten times the glycation activity of glucose, the primary body fuel[6]”^ McPherson JD, Shilton BH, Walton DJ. “Role of fructose in glycation and cross-linking of proteins.” Biochemistry 1988;27:1901-7

    The point being that high milk consumption could produce as many AGE’s as high fructose consumption. This would not apply to fermented milk products such as yogurt or cheese to the degree that the lactose has been converted. The vegetarian group studied probably got a significant portion of their protein from milk products adding to their AGE’s. Thanks for the time and space to comment.

    Hey Mark–

    Interesting. A glass of milk contains about 12 grams of carb, which means that it contains about 6 grams of galactose, which really isn’t all that much. It’s far less than the amount of fructose in a soft drink sweetened with HFCS. It will, however, produce much more glycating (or galactating(?)) power than an equivalent amount of glucose. I suspect that most adults get the majority of their diary from cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. that have gotten rid of most of the lactose. I doubt that milk is the cause of a lot of glycation except for those few who drink it prodigiously.



  43. As a proud American of Asian Indian heritage I can comment on a few things that I have seen in some of the comments above based on my cutural community and my work in the pharma industry:

    1. There are very few Indian vegans – many are vegetarian (many are carnivore as well, the vegetarian segment is highly represented in the U.S. because the higher Hindu castes are more educated in general and are over here in higher numbers due to technical recruitment in the 1960s and during the 1990s through today). Dairy is a huge part of the diet and culture in the form of yogurt and ghee and sweets.

    2. Diabetes is a huge huge huge problem in India. Most of my skinny veggie Indian friends have high blood sugar issues or are on blood pressure medications, some of them are in the late 20s. Increasingly, obesity is a huge (no pun intended) problem in India now. All of my cousins in India are fat – and most of my friend’s cousins are fat too.

    3. My family is from West Bengal. My mother who was wealthy growing up tells me stories of how her wealthiest relatives would eat a few tablespoons (yes tablespoons) of rice in a soup, not with water, but with ghee! Rice was discouraged because it was considered food of the poor. Three meals a day of a cup of ghee, touch of rice, and fatty fish, usually shad. It is sad now that my aunts and uncles don’t eat goat curry because of cholesterol but throw down sugary sweets like no tomorrow.

    As always – thanks Dr. Mike for all of your time and input.

    Hi golooraam–

    Thanks very much for your input. It’s always nice to hear from someone who’s been there. And it confirms reports I’ve heard from others.



  44. thanks for a great post. was wondering if one could predict a low HBA1c value from a low carboxymethyllysine? i’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of HBA1cs and they all tend to cluster in the 5.1-5.6 range(dcct calibrated). many of these people are on very low carb diets. One well-known diabetologist says that true non-diabetics have 4.2-4.6 HBA1c. I can unequivocally say I never see this. how do you interpret A1c?


    I don’t know if one could predict low HgbA1c levels from low caboxymethlylysine. Most of my patients have had HgbA1c levels in the 4.9-5.5 range. 4.2-4.6 seems low. I used to know how to convert hgbA1c figures into average blood sugar figures, but I’ve forgotten how. If anyone remembers, let me know.

    • Milk and eggs.

      Not so much vegetables. Glad to see you’ve found a balance, I’d be incredibly curious to see how much better stronger and healthier you’d be on a quality grassfed steak diet

    • I agree, this article is such crap! NONE of my vegetarian friends are fat or frail. Neither am I and although I do consume meat a couple times a year (grass fed local farm only), I stick to veggies and food from the land year round. This argument, that we are supposed to consume so much animal protein has been debunked so many times! See below:

      I practice Muay Thai/Crossfit/ and compete in trail runs. I would love to prove how strong I am to some of you here posting such ridiculous comments. You can get protein from so many other sources other than animal meat. Hello Spirulina, Quinoa, Tempeh, Hemp Seeds, beans, legumes, etc.

      Also, is everyone here completely unaware of how horrible the meat/poultry/dairy industry is in the United States and North America is? I love meat, but I rarely if ever eat it. Why? Factory farms is what feeds America NOT your traditional farm with free range animals that are grass fed. The meat/poultry you are purchasing at your local store is NOT regulated. Do you know what these factories feed the animals? Do you know about the hormones and antibiotics injected in the animals? That’s why people choose to not eat so much meat. Get a clue! One factory farms fed left over Halloween candy last year to its cows for weeks and later it supplied this meat to a ton of restaurants in the US! The industry is HORRIBLE! GMO corn/soy in the feed, horrible conditions, animals being tortured to death. Its deplorable and I choose not to support it not only for the animals but also for MY HEALTH. Whatever they eat you eat.

      I choose to learn about what I put in my body, you should too. I rarely ever eat bread or any processed food. I research all the ingredients in my food and I definitely try to stay away from Dairy. Home-made Almond milk is my favorite, especially when I add raw cacao and dates!

  45. Would proteolytic enzymes, taken on an empty stomach so as to pass intact thru the GI tract, be able to remove AGE’s from the body?

    Benfotamine is another B vitamin found useful for AGE formation.

    No, I don’t think proteolytic enzymes would work even if they could make it through the GI tract. Those enzymes basically dismantle proteins. AGEs are a sugar protein combination.

    Benfotiamine does help prevent AGEs as does carnosine.

  46. Interesting study I must say. I believe in healthy figures and silhouettes and have never seen a vegetarian with one of those. I did have a moment were I was turning vegetarian because I can’t properly digest red meat.

    Now I would say I m a vegequarian as I mainly eat fish and seafood and from time to time ( very rarely) chicken.

    What is your point of view and advice for people like me?

    Looking forward to your reply :)

    If you are doing fine as a vegequarian (great term, BTW), I would keep after it. Just make sure you get plenty of vegequarian protein. If you eat chicken as well as fish, you could be considered a beady eyed vegetarian as well. :-)

  47. I was one of those teenage girls who went vegetarian. For me, it was compassion for factory-farmed animals. I considered it a boycott for a while, but quickly learned of the supposed health benefits and was quite the zealot for several years.

    I never had a weight problem before starting vegetarianism. I developed one shortly after.

    It’s a common misconception that vegetarianism leads to slenderness, if not emaciation. I now think that’s completely dependent on one’s personal metabolism, physiology and hormonal makeup.

    Earlier on this page, Esther refers to “junkfood vegetarians” being the only overweight vegetarians. This is unfair. It is not possible to look at a person and determine that they eat junk food — or that they overeat — because of their size.

    You don’t have to eat junk food to become a fat vegetarian, or even a fat vegan. All you need is a body that responds a certain way to a high-carb, lowered protein, lowered fat diet. All you need is starch.

  48. This isn’t of the level of intelligence I expected from the author of this article, considering how methodically they shot down the silly article in the Lancelot. All you have done here is selected something to support your view point. It’s only ONE study. It’s not beyond reason that this was a statistical anomaly given the tiny sample size of 38 people. Even it isn’t, you’re using it as a stick to bash vegetarianism when what it really is, is a stick to bash high fructose diets.

    I personally follow a moderate-carb, VEGAN diet (roughly 30/30/40 carbohydrates/protein/fat) with the majority of my protein coming from nuts and soy (so the nuts don’t screw the carb ratio). I eat hardly any fruit, and only lowish fructose fruit when I do eat it (which was an accident from liking bananas and clementines more than other fruit). I eat a varied amount of vegetables.

    Now my diet doesn’t have any of the properties you are slating vegetarianism for so what gives? Not very scientific of you, are you sponsored by the meat industry? No, I think you just made a mistake, assuming it’s impossible to eat a vegetarian diet without huge amounts of fructose. Be a man, change the title to “eating a high fructose diet…”. But I don’t think you will, somehow. Which makes you as bad as those silly almost-doctors who decided ONE single ICU incident was significant and didn’t even consider those valid points you made.

    What a shame.

    Two different articles. One was a case report, which was a misdiagnosis. The other was a study that reached statistical significance. It doesn’t matter how small it is, if it reaches the level of statistical significance it means that it is highly likely that these findings weren’t simply by chance.

    The authors reported that they assumed the difference in AGEs came from the difference in fructose consumption – but they really don’t know. That’s the variable they checked so that’s what they reported. Since this is the only study of this nature I could find, we don’t have another for comparison. And we don’t know whether your version of a vegetarian diet would show the same thing or not irrespective of its fructose content because we (and the authors) don’t know that fructose is the cause. All the article showed was that lacto-ovovegetarians when compared to a similar group of omnivores from the same community have higher levels of AGEs.

  49. Dr. Mike,

    I didn’t get a “hit” when I did a search on your site for aminoguanidine a substance that has been studied for its effect on AGE products. Interestingly enough, the authors of these studies acknowledged the damaging effects of AGE products and were studying the ability of aminoguanidine to reduce or reverse AGE’s damage, especially in diabetics. The aminoguanidine was administered orally.

    Of course no one suggested a low carb approach to reducing glycation in the first place – for these guys there is only one approach – the pill.

    I was surprised to see that Arthur De Vany takes aminoguanidine as a supplement even though he is “low carb”.

    Any thoughts on aminoguanidine?


    Philip Thackray

    I’ve read the reports on aminoguanidine and know how it is supposed to work. I’ve never taken it nor have I given it to patients, so I don’t have any first hand experience with it.

  50. “That’s what I often do. I eat very few fruits and vegetables. A few tomatoes, asparagus, squash, celery root, broccoli, berries and that’s about it. And not all of these all at once, but one or so per meal.”

    One paleo diet author has calculated the amount of alkaline produce needed to buffer the acidity from meat in order to prevent the body from withdrawing K from muscles and Ca and Mg from bones: three times as much produce as meat by weight. Your own meals don’t seem to provide this amount of produce–also as a source of minerals. What is your thinking in this area, including osteoporosis issues.

    Also, where do you get the muscle glycogen for intense exercise?

    I’ve read all the same reports about the alkalinity needed to prevent osteoporosis, but I don’t know if I believe it. Paleolithic man ate a diet that was primarily meat with a few seasonal fruits, roots, and tubers thrown in, and he had a bone cortical thickness that was more than 11 percent greater than the cortical thickness of a person of the same height today.

    Once you’re adapted to a low-carb diet you have plenty of fat available for exercise. And you have an increased activity of glycogen synthase so that you can easily make glycogen through the gluconeogenic process.

  51. “I’ve never read that peroxidation is involved in AGE formation (that doesn’t mean such information doesn’t exist – only that I haven’t read it if it does), so if you have references, I would love to see them.”

    I’ve brought this up on the high-fat blog and in my own group. Here is one study that shows polyunsaturated fats promote glycation about 23 times faster than glucose. I think fructose promotes glycation 3 times faster than glucose, so the PUFAs are still about 8x times worse. Based on this and other evidence that PUFAs are bad news, I focus on low-PUFA foods such as red meat, butter, coconut oil, Lindt 85% chocolate, macadamia oil, shellfish, non-oily fish, etc. I would avoid all the high-PUFA oils (like canola/soy/flax/corn) totally. And those toxic oils are often added to foods nowadays. For example, even salsa often has soybean oil in it.

    Ray Peat has written a lot about the harmfulness of PUFAs. Most nuts – other than coconut, macadamias, and maybe hazelnuts – are very high in PUFAs, mostly omega-6. Almonds are 20% PUFAs, pecans are 25%, peanuts are 32%, brazil nuts are 33%, walnuts 63%. For meats, turkey and chicken fat are about 21-23% PUFAs, whereas duck, goose, and pork have about half as much (11-13% PUFAs). Butter and beef are 3-4% PUFAs. Lamb is under 8%. Also, red meat usu. does not have additives. For example, if you see things like “tender and juicy” or “moist and tender” on poultry and pork, that means it has a solution with up to 12% water, salt, and/or phosphates added. I avoid meat with additivies as a general rule.

    Thanks for the links. This is something I obviously need to read up on.

  52. But the vegetarian group was significantly older (average age 36.1 vs. 30.5 years). If AGE accumulation is correlated with the subject’s age, isn’t it likely that that explains at least part of the higher AGE levels in vegetarians? I suppose they may have normalized for this, but it looks like the table you reproduced just uses the raw numbers.

    Hi Brandon–

    I’ve answered this question a couple of times already. Check the earlier comments.


  53. Steve – I’m a little confused about the whole “vegetarian” bodybuilder thing. From a quick survey of your web site, it appears you get most of your protein from animal sources.

  54. As a very active athlete, I have a considerable amount of carbohydrates during and subsequent to my training; but at the same time, I want to make sure that I am constantly getting protein in my diet because the body cannot store it. Does this mean that I shouldn’t combine my carbs with my protein subsequent to training?

    If you are doing well and don’t have weight or metabolic problems with all the carbs you’re consuming, it shouldn’t be a problem consuming them with proteins at any time.

  55. if i remember correctly, the conversion of HBA1c to mean blood glucose is: (HBA1c x 35.6)- 77.3

    so, a 5.5 HBA1c would be 195.8 – 77.3 = 118.5 mg/dl —-with a 5.0 = 100

    are there any other commercially available glycation tests that you know of to cross check the HBA1c? Life Extension reports thats in non-diabetics glucose control contributes only 30% of variability in HBA1c. as such, there are instances of high HBA1c in non-diabetics that are attributed to intake of glycotoxins such as grilled meat. yet, if i understood you correctly in your post, you don’t seem to think grilled/high temp meats are contributing that much to AGE accumulation in the body?

    the reference was: “unexplained variability of glycated haemoglobin in non-diabetic subjects not related to glycaemia” Diabetologia. 1990/april

    Hey Gareth–

    You understood correctly. I’ll look up the reference, but it will take some convincing for me to buy into that hypothesis.

    Thanks for the equation, but that isn’t the one I seem to remember. When this book project is behind me I’ll go back and find the one I’ve always used.

  56. I remember my short foray into vegetarianism; two weeks later I was 10 lbs. heavier, furrows under my eyes, 3+ bowel movements a day, and my dormant duendenal ulcer raged back to life. A week or so of low carb fixed it all right.

    Your experience isn’t uncommon. Some people do fine switching to a vegetarian diet, but many have the same experience you did.

  57. Hello Dr. Mike,

    in one of your responses you wrote “That’s the bad thing about AGEs – they can’t be undone”. Aren’t AGEs junk proteins that are broken down in lysosomes?



    Indeed they are. But the comment was about those AGEs in the lens of the eye causing cataracts. Those are trapped and can’t be transported to lysosomes for degradation.

  58. Dear Dr. Mike,

    Your answer regarding trapped AGEs (cataracts) in my eyes have me on edge.

    Have you read any peer-reviewed studies of NAC drops (Can-C Eye Drops)? I have absolutely no one else to ask.

    No opthalmologist or optometrist will even give me an answer.

    I’ve heard good things about NAC eye drops but I haven’t seen any peer-reviewed studies. I can’t imagine how these drops could cause problems, and if I had cataracts I would certainly use them myself.

  59. I’m not sure if it will last, but I updated the wiki page on Vegetarianism to reflect this info you have brought to light. It’s been up a few days so far. I deconstruct the notion of the articles cherry picked meta-analysises showing increasing lifespan for vegetarians on the “discussion” page. It seems that it may be possible to get some head way on the page, albeit with a lot more effort then it would be to add pro vegetarian info. Hope you don’t mind me referencing your site.

    Good job. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

  60. I have an update based on some blood work that I just got back from my doctor. I can compare my 35 year-old vegetarian blood work to my 49 year-old low-carb meat eating blood work. The numbers are:

    35 Year old Vegetarian:

    Total Cholesterol: 135
    LDL: 104
    HDL: 15
    Triglycerides: 80

    49 year-old low-carber:

    Total Cholesterol: 187
    LDL: 133
    HDL: 49
    Triglycerides: 46

    A couple of points here. 1) My doctor was horrified by the increase in total cholesterol and wanted me to consider statins! When I told him that I was intentionally trying to get my cholesterol numbers up, he looked at me like I had 2 heads, and reiterated that I would continue the alarming increase in cholesterol without immediate intervention, and would most likely have a heart-attack just like my father did at 50. I laughed. 2) When looking on-line for what constitutes low-triglycerides, I came across a site by the NIH looking for people to study with triglycerides below 50 “in an attempt to diagnose and follow your disorder.”


    This also made me laugh.

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall when you told your doc you wanted to raise your cholesterol. Thanks for the lab value history – it will probably help others.

  61. Interesting. The idea of vegetarians aging faster doesn’t really surprise me, but the AGEs associated with fructose does. I’m a proponent of the paleo diet and have always figured that since people ate fruit two million years ago (and fruit, unlike vegetables, are “meant to be eaten” in an evolutionary sense), if anything, they would slow down aging. What I didn’t gather from the study was whether the negative effects of fructose were due to heating or not?

    Anyhow, I’ll be sure to keep an eye on your blog in the future.

    You are referring to what I call the fruit myth. Fruit does contain fructose (some fruits more than others) but early man ate fruit when he could get it and when it was in season. Some believe that natural selection designed us to respond to the fructose in fruit that ripened in the fall by putting on body fat in preparation for winter. Fruits available to our ancient ancestors in no way resemble the fruits we find in supermarkets today. Today’s fruits have been Luther Burbankized to contain many multiples of the sugar that we would find in these same fruits growing in the wild. The fruit myth says that fruit is good for us because it is, well, fruit. And everybody knows that fruit is healthful. Fruit, for the most part, is simply a deceptive package for a lot of sugar.

  62. VESNA: Earlier on this page, Esther refers to “junkfood vegetarians” being the only overweight vegetarians. This is unfair. It is not possible to look at a person and determine that they eat junk food — or that they overeat — because of their size

    Vesna, I said: “On the flip side, I know some vegetarians who are overwieght because they are what I call “junkfood vegetarians.”

    The operative words are “know some.” As in I know them personally and I know what they eat and it is junkfood. I did not I say that all fat vegetarians only eat junkfood.

    I do agree that not all overweight vegetarians eat lousy, junky diets and that you can’t tell that just by looking at them.

  63. In response to the gentlemen inquiring about the “vegetarian bodybuilders” diet. It’s a little decieving looking at his lists of foods. Yves veggie…etc., has a variety of “fake” meat products. I’ve tried most of them when I did my one year of vegetarianism. And a vegetarian can eat animal (by)products and still technically be called a “vegetarian”. Kinda odd. If he said he was a “vegan” then there would be a falsehood.
    When I was practicing vegetarianism I ran into a grappling friend I hadn’t seen in months and the first thing he said was, “what,..are you on the bulimia diet?” , cuz I had lost so much muscle.
    Maybe they could call “vegetarianism” , ” anti-animal-actin-myosin-eaters”. Although, I gues that isn’t very catchy.

  64. Lyly Gui: “…I was turning vegetarian because I can’t properly digest red meat.”

    Your problem might be an inability to digest cooked red meat, not red meat in general. You should try eating red meat raw or minimally cooked (rare or medium rare at the most). I have heard that some people definitely have problems digesting cooked red meat. The problem is often solved by cooking it less or not at all.

    Another problem might be that you are cooking the fat out of the meat. Serve with a spoon, eat with a spoon, so that none of the fat is wasted. One more thing, make sure to use stable fats for cooking. 76-degree-melt white coconut oil is cheap (<$2 a pound). Macadamia oil has up to 410F smoke point. Beef suet, lamb fat, and leaf lard are also good.

  65. Did you catch Dr. Nir Barzilai’s comment to the press that so far in his landmark study of centenarians he has not found a single vegetarian?

    This is a misleading statement because Dr. Barzilai was studying a group of Ashkenazi centerarians. Ashkenazi Jews are unlikely to be vegetarians.

    Though I’m not saying that vegetarians aren’t less likely to be centenarians. One thing to do would be to see if there are any vegetarian centenarians in India.

  66. It is my understanding that A1c’s can be deceptively high in non diabetics or diabetics with “excellent glucose control” because the red blood cells live longer.
    A fructosamine test will give a more accurate result.
    See for details.

    Interesting. I’ve never read or heard that. Thanks for the link.



  67. Lyly Gui: “…I was turning vegetarian because I can’t properly digest red meat.”

    Your problem might be an inability to digest cooked red meat, not red meat in general. You should try eating red meat raw or minimally cooked (rare or medium rare at the most). I have heard that some people definitely have problems digesting cooked red meat. The problem is often solved by cooking it less or not at all.

    Another problem might be that you are cooking the fat out of the meat. Serve with a spoon, eat with a spoon, so that none of the fat is wasted. One more thing, make sure to use stable fats for cooking. 76-degree-melt white coconut oil is cheap (<$2 a pound). Macadamia oil has up to 410F smoke point. Beef suet, lamb fat, and leaf lard are also good.

  68. I’m curious how much faster do vegetarians age then.

    I don’t know that there is any way to make that calculation. I do know, however, that in a study of centenarians many commenters on this site mentioned, there were no vegetarians in the group.

  69. What about ” The China Study” ?

    It would take much more space than I have in the comments section to give a complete debunking of the China Study because there is so much there to debunk. Maybe I’ll do a long post on it some day.

  70. It looks like the culprit in the vegetarians’ diet was the fructose since they ate much more fructose rich fruit and vegetables and three times as much honey as the omnivores. Say you have a vegan who does not eat honey and does not eat any dried fruit or very much fresh fruit, who eats primarily starchy vegetables, beans and intact whole grains (cooked by boiling or steaming) which are not high in fructose with the addition of moderate amounts of fresh vegetables and a small amount of fresh fruit, who eats no processed grains, no oils, and no baked foods. Would this person AGE as fast as an omnivore?

    Could be, but I have seen no studies on this so I can’t say for sure.



  71. Vegetarians seem to have issues with osteoporosis to some extent. I’ve know at least five vegetarians whose bones have just shattered as a result of simply tripping or falling down. Three required surgery to repair the breaks, one suffers from stress fractures and she’s only 15 years old (her parents were vegetarians and she grew up eating their way); she’s supposed to take calcium supplements. I think bones may need more than the usual minerals to stay strong and flexible, such as lots of complete animal protein!

  72. Well after reading your statements on the subject it seems that you only have one thing on your mind and this is of course selling more of your books. You took a paper with a small sampling of people from a small part of the world and came to the conclusion that vegetarians age faster. Anyone who would listen to you is indeed in need of help from a doctor……a physiatrist!

    Above someone asks: “I’m curious how much faster do vegetarians age then.” You answer:
    “I don’t know that there is any way to make that calculation. I do know, however, that in a study of centenarians many commenters on this site mentioned, there were no vegetarians in the group.”

    My question then is how many centenarians that follow your guidelines for living are alive in any part of the world today? Is there a way to tell? Your answer to the questions should be that you can’t tell us but I’m sure you will come up with something.

    Someone says they updated the Wikipedia page on vegetarians and you get a hard on because it now shows your name on the page and you might sell another book pushing your pro meat diet. I’m not a vegetarian but I can’t stand the likes of your kind trying to tell people how right you are and how wrong others are just to sell a book. You are no better then the wacko doctor that gives medication to people to make a profit from the drug companies regardless of what they really need to feel better and live better. You will always have to push a high protein diet because that’s how you make your money. And for you retards out there that read this mans garbage as true and factual consider that he is just trying to make money on his books. He is no better then the farmer pushing his eggs or the Montana rancher pushing his cattle on the beef “it’s whats for dinner” commercials. Wake up and see this joke for what he is: a book seller. Just as the rancher is a meat seller.

    For your followers that will never stop reading your crappy blogs and buying your slanted books here is a link to a real doctor that tells us to simply; Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. What say you doctor? If that is indeed your title.

    By the way here is a list of 531 people who are vegetarians or vegan that seem to be doing just fine without your books……


    Ah, a long, vulgar missive from another angry vegetarian whose brain is deprived of saturated fat and cholesterol. Do me a favor, pal. Eat a little meat for a couple of weeks and see if you don’t become a happier person. And a brighter one.



  73. Wow, what a bunch of nonsense this is.
    I’ve been a vegetarian for over the past 20 years. I’m 46 now and people can’t believe how young-looking I am. I have tons of energy every day and need little sleep. I often get thought of to be a teenager. I’ve had 7 babies (one set of twins) and yet now only weight 103 at 5’1″, and I cover 6 to 8 miles (walking, jogging, and running) 5 to 6 times a week. I have low blood pressure and my pulse is around 55 bpm. I’m not saying people should be vegans, but eating the average US diet of animal food three times a day!? No way! I only eat some dairy, egg, or even some fish maybe once or twice a month, if that! I see other people my age who eat lots of animal foods and they look WAY OLDER than me.
    You guys need to look at the amazing Tarahumara Indians in Mexico who eat vegan foods (bean, corn, veggies, fruits) daily and then some meat once a month and yet can run 50 to 100 mile races like it’s nothing. Folks, you’ve all been brain-washed by the meat and dairy industries! The medical scientific literature is full of studies showing that large amounts of animal foods cause cancer! Read The China Study…the doctor who wrote this recounts how physicians are being paid lavishly by the meat and dairy industries to suppress the overwhelming mountains of evidence against eating large amounts of animal foods as THE CAUSE of cancer. Please, read this book, it will wake you up to what’s really gone on in this country!
    And watch Earthlings if you think it’s perfectly fine to keep taking the lives of animals…they suffer tortuously at the hands of human workers. The less animals we eat THE BETTER, especially for the human workers paid to do this savage slaughterhouse work who eventually suffer from drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and/or committing domestic violence to their families, if not worse to their communities, from the constant day in and day out bloody lethal violence against living beings.

    Hi Tammy–

    Thanks for writing, but, alas, I fear the nonsense here is in your comment, not in the blog post or the scientific study the blog post described.

    I’m glad you’ve done so well on a vegetarian diet, but just because it has worked for you doesn’t mean it will work for the majority of humanity. In fact, if you look at the scientific literature, it’s pretty clear that it won’t. I, too, look younger than my age and am extremely active. And I get probably 80-90 percent of my calories from meat. But that’s not a recommendation for the rest of the world just because it works for me.

    The scientific study the blog is about showed what it showed, which is that vegetarians (at least the ones studied) had higher levels of inflammation. I didn’t do the study, I simply reported it.

    As most readers of this blog can tell you, the China Study – although it confirms the dietary bias of vegetarians – is worthless as a piece of the scientific puzzle. It is suitable only for vegetarians who want their worldview confirmed, not as valid science. If you dare to read another take on the China Study than that of all your veggie friends, click on this. Come back when you’ve disproved it.



    • I am surprised that you are so proud of being a FISH-EATING vegetarian. you still eat fish. throw that out of your diet, and then come back after a year and tell us how you’re doing.

  74. It really struck me to read “frail and pale”, because that sums up my girlfriend, who I am becoming concerned about. She became a vegetarian five years ago and seems to be wearing down. The doctor said she has anemia now, and she simply doesn’t look healthy. She’s thin, but not in a good way.

  75. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1996. I’m not going to try and claim my lifestyle is the healthiest. That’s a job for others (some here?) though I’m sure they’ll continue to revise their information as they learn new things, the same as I do.

    And while I’ve never suffered from the dizzy spells or acne, or other weird experiences some have claimed here, which I suspect may have come from most peoples’ early trials at vegetarianism (which almost inevitably end up being some kind of bread or Cheese Pizza Diet) — I try to eat plenty of eggs, nuts, and soy in moderation (estrogen, really?) — I think the largest benefits thus far in being a vegetarian is that it rules out most fast food (and other mindless sources) and forces me to read labels.

    So when I’m looking for things like chicken stock or lard (not exactly requisites for a paleo diet), it’s easy enough while I’m at it to look for things like enriched/bleached flour and corn syrup.

    And to me, it’s the paying attention part that matters. Both paleo-dieters and myself have something in common; we’re both looking to reduce carbs, and find better sources of protein. Paleo-dieters may get there faster, that’s okay. I’m not sure exactly what they gain by beating me over the head with it. :)

    P.S. I do not think meat was easily available or heavily consumed in the paleo-diet as theorists suggest, nor was it consumed to the degree that say, modern Americans do. Our (and chimp) evolution high protein meats are somewhat of a luxury. Occasional, rather than something heavily feasted upon three meals a day.

    It is also pretty much impossible to tell from prehistoric food pits, the frequency with which meat was consumed based on the animal bones alone. It’s easy to look at that data and say, “Wow there’s a ton of animal bones here, they must have ate meat all the time.” Hardly a scientific conclusion, if I may say so. It’s possible to say roughly over how many years the food pit was used, or what broader time span, but to derive any kind of daily consumption data from it would be next-to-impossible.

    While adequate protein is a necessary part of a modern diet, it is not necessarily proven that source of protein is or has to be meat. Unless of course, you like it. Which brings me to a larger point; In this modern age we have the luxury of preference in where we acquire our nutrients. Bugs and reptiles are probably a great source of protein, though I doubt you’ll find many Western paleo-dieters eating them. Interesting, isn’t it? Surely they must be missing out on some health advantages! :)

    Or might I propose, we just eat what we like as long as we can find ways to reshape our tastes along an axis of long term health. Get the best nutrients you can, from the sources you enjoy the most.

  76. I quit smoking almost 2 years ago and have gained more than 30 pounds even though I remained low-carb. Two different naturopaths told me it’s because my liver is severely taxed from all the protein I was eating. They both recommended that I eat a more vegetarian-type diet with whole grains/legumes and very little animal protein. When I followed their advice, I didn’t lose any weight and experienced severe brain-fog to the point that I couldn’t function at work. The only good thing was that my constant acne cleared up. Both docs don’t understand why this didn’t work for me and they said that they see a lot of former low-carbers that have toxic livers.
    I went back to LC and my acne returned but I still haven’t lost any weight. Do you have any suggestions? After almost 2 years, I just don’t know what else to try.

    It’s total hogwash and nonsense that your liver is ‘severely taxed’ from the protein in your diet. Low carbers don’t eat all that much more protein than anyone else, and even if they did, it wouldn’t tax the liver. I wonder if they don’t teach biochemistry and physiology in naturopath schools? I would think not except that I’ve heard this same nonsense from MDs, and I know MDs get biochem and physiology in medical school.

    You should read this post, this one and this one, and act accordingly. You probably need to cut some of the calories from your diet. If you’re truly on low-carb (not just sort of low-carb, but truly low-carb) and you aren’t losing, then you’re taking in too many calories.

    Try to get you diet jump started by substituting a couple of protein shakes for meals, then eat a whole-food, low-carb meal for supper.

  77. Bev,
    are you eating dairy on your Low carb diet (like cheese, yogurt, cream etc)? If yes, this could be why you get the acne. Dairy and acne are hugely correlated (see nurse’s study) and many ppl clear up after removing dairy. It may be too much veg oil or processed meats or a nut allergy. Try changing different things and see what kind of reaction you get. If i were you i’d go back to the prior diet only keep quality meat in and see what happens, then lower grains and see what happens.

  78. was doing some research on why, after going totally vegetarian for the last two months, I was experiencing very low energy levels, I have lost weight ( 20 lbs) and my arthritus in my right knee has gone away, as well as all of my heartburn issues have gone away, but the issue of very low energy levels is a problem, as I was researching it, this blog came up as well as this article:
    Do Vegetarians Live Longer?

    mentioning carnosine as a possible fix for glycation, I have started to try it, but I’m curious if anybody else knows anything about it, (but I am going to reintroduce fish, eggs & cheese back into my diet…

    Carnosine is pretty good stuff. It’s starting to get a lot more play in the literature. There is a lot of it in meat, thus the name CARNosine.

  79. I am a carnivore since 1991.

    I also have an eating disorder where I occasionally eat everything in the house.

    Because I don’t have anything in the house (usually) that isn’t in line with my usual dietary habit, eating everything usually means I get to feeling over stuffed and the next day I’m recovered and resume my usual eating habits.

    I suspect these guy’s who weigh 700 pounds and have to be lifted out of their windows with a crane have the same eating disorder but too many carbs available.

  80. Nicely done. Over the last 10 years, I’ve watched vegetarian friends age exponentially compared to my meat-eating allies. Studies will also show increased mitochondrial decay among vegetarians and vegans. Hope those veggies taste damn good!

  81. I came on here to see if vegetariansim produced slower aging, not faster, so this is really interesting for me. I have 2 vegetarian friends and they age by far the slowest out of everyone. One is a 33 year old woman, who looks early twenties, and the other is a 40 year old man who also looks like he’s in his twenties.

    Now I’m leaning toward some middle ground. I eat a lot of meat, and I think I’ll cut back a bit, and maybe eat some more fish for variety.

  82. Dear Dr. Eades and all the others here,

    im new to the site here and love it immediately. Great site, great infos for me.

    One off topic comment to the vegi or not controversy:

    a close friend of mine brought it to the point: he said to an religiously vegetarian:

    hey, my food poop on yours :-)

    … all said :-)

    Nina K.

  83. I am after the truth and you have seem to genuiely raised some important questions in your article that I want to think about. I am vegetarian. However, the following questions I have in my mind are stumbling blocks before I can use what you present as evidence of eating meat and before I will go back to doing so. I’m sorry for my doubt and mental weakness but these questions keep me from seeing things as I suppose you might. Here are my questions… sincerely.

    1. Do we know for sure that when the body is AGEing it’s proteins, it is not in the body’s best interest?
    2. Have we ever seen anybody with a protein deficiency, that does not also have a caloric deficiency?
    3. Is not every cell of the body fueled by glucose and/or fructose, and is not convert fats and proteins into glucose an energy expensive and “dirty” process, producing ketone bodies and higher levels of enervation and toxemia? Do not carnovorour mammals generally require a lot more sleep and rest than vegetarian creatures?
    4. Does not the overconsumption of fat clog the blood and interfere with absorption as well as drainage? Now here I recognize that vegetarians eat just as much fat as omnivores. Is not all meat and animal foods, and almost all protein rich foods heavy in fat?
    5. Proteins are the building blocks of physiology, like metal for cars. But aside from minor repairs to damaged parts that can’t be met by recycling proteins, just as we don’t feed our cars metal, do we need to eat that much protein for repair?
    6. Is our digestive physiology and anatomy fitted to flesh eating compared to carnivores? Is our stomach acid not much weaker in strength than omnivores, is our digestive track not much longer, causing meat to pass slowly and putrefy on the way? Did I smell worse when I ate flesh than I do now when I eat none and eat more fruits and vegetables? Is that not evidence? How do we keep animal meat from putrefying in our gut? this is a serious question I ask all meat eaters.
    7. Is our psychological disposition geared towards flesh eating, and is this not evidence of our natural diet? And is it not best to test this with children who are pure and unconditioned?
    8. Could any of us take down an animal with horns with our bare fists and teeth? Or assuming it’s dead already, could we pierce it’s skin with our front ‘canine’ teeth? would we eat such fare with relish, compared to a tree ripened mango, say? Is this not evidence of our natural diet?
    9. Is our ‘natural diet’, whatever that turns out to be, not inevitably the best diet for health?
    10. Must all vegetarians, even those who live poorly, inherited weakness, or eat junk demonstrate high levels of health as proot of vegetarianism?

    Sincerely, sincerely, sincerely, sincerely, sincerely and non dogmatically.

    Too many questions to deal with in a comment response. Many are answered in the post I just put up. Thanks for being civil.

  84. Enjoyed the comments.I think a lot of it has to do with genetics. Everyone is different. I am 73, in very good health. Grew up on a farm with raw milk, mostly veggies & fruit in summer, when the garden was in, small amounts of meat, in winter, the root veggies, small amounts of meat and the canned goods. When I left home, my
    diet was terrible. As an Air Hostess, very little money, I ate the unused
    meals on the airplane, mostly desserts, sometimes at home, I would eat a pint of ice cream for dinner. When I had a date, that was a real meal of meat or seafood etc. Later, when I had children, we ate yogurt and wheat germ, etc, food of the 60’s. Then, after my child left home I ate whatever, mostly high protein. I found out I had lost bone mass. I resorted to a more balance veggie, berries, red meat twice a month, chicken, turkey, fish. It didn’t seem to make a difference. Now, somedays I go for days without meat, but
    try to eat a moderate diet with red meat a couple times a month, fish, chx, turkey, now and then, and sometimes not at all. I am still rolling along and people tell me I look 50. I bike and walk at least 2 hours a day, and when weather permits, play pool volleyball and pool basketball with my friends. From my diet over the years, I would have considered myself to be dead by now, or with diabetes or some other disease, but thank goodness, NOT. Just a little high cholesterol LDL109 and HDL94 give or take with triglycerides 75 and glucose 90. So, I think genetics must play a real important part and everyone is different. There is no one fit for all. The thing I am concerned about is the inhumane treatment of animals in the factory farming, and since I have learned about it, I am trying to
    choose otherwise. Enjoyed the comments immensely as I said before. Keep on truckin”!

  85. The study is very small. One is unlikely to have representative data from just 19 persons. From scientific this paper is not showing a strong proof. What does “The groups were randomly selected from 155 subjects…” mean? Why did they use all the 155 subjects in order to get more representative data? How do they classify traditional diet as there is no statement of the frequency of meat/fish consumption?

    Moreover, I would be interested in a reference that states it clearly that AGEs are directly connected with aging (myself having a PhD in molecular biology I have never heard of such a correlation).

    I, personally, believe that the best diet is neither pure vegetarian nor low carb. I am against the industrialization effect of people’s health i.e. meat is cheap and very easily available and people eat much more of it now than they used to have 50-60 years ago. That might also be the reason why nowadays there are so many discussions about diets and the enlarged lobby of the vegetarians.

    • Exactly-the sample size is just too small to make a huge leap and generalize the findings to the vegetarian population at large. In addition, with a sample of only 19 for each condition, it’s impossible to have enough statistical power to control for a host of covariates that may interact with the dependent variable and therefore confound the study. Was dietary recall used for each condition? Did the “alternative” condition represent a true vegetarian diet;that is, is this a “natural study”, or did they assign the “alternatives” to a diet that the author’s prescribed?
      What tests were used to determine significance?
      I doubt that you can even meet all of the statistical assumptions needed to use parametric tests with a sample of size of 19 for each condition.

  86. I have a question that is somewhat off topic- Can you please explain the truth in whether the human digestive tract is designed to digest meat? I have read ( mostly on veg websites) that the human digestive tract is longer than other carnivores/omnivores and therefore we humans should not eat meat because by the time it reaches the exit it has produced parasites from its decay. I myself am an omnivore and have been my whole life! Thanks

  87. Very interesting article!
    However, I think much more details are needed in terms of what these ‘vegetarian’ diets were. Were they whole food diets with no processed starch and sugar, or were they junk food vegetarian diets with tons of overly processed and imitation foods? I think these facts are very crucial. Yes meat eaters want to pat themselves on the back that they are doing themselves good on this front, but just being vegetarian doesn’t mean they’re actually eating real food. I think the same thing goes for meat-eaters eating a whole food diet with properly raised and prepared meats vs. a junk-food diet with processed meats and other products. It’d be interesting to see a study done with these variations for more clues regarding AGE’s in the body. Also including raw vegan whole food diets.

    • Well they have a raw food vegan on youtube and she is 72 and looks stunning no plastic surgery. Maybe it is mostly gentics, I recall going to the dermatologist office and they had pictures of people from all around the world in their seventies Mountain people, Americans, Europeans and Asians, Eskimos etc… the pictures that stunned me me the most was the group of vegetarian buddhist monks standing outside the monastary they look so young it was stunning maybe even shocking not a wrinkle on their faces! .Maybe the lifestyle vegetarian no stress, mediation, simple diet, staying inside a no sun bathing is the key,and living in simplicity is the key. Anyhow once you see this with your eyes it really changes how you look at things.

    • My husband is from a small town in Slovakia. There is no such thing as a vegetarian in his town. Their celebrations revolve around roasting pigs and eating smoked lard. Sausage is also a staple. They use white flour and sugar in everything. They don’t know what a raw vegetable is. Fruit is limited by what they grow or find in the mountains. It is preserved in heavy sugar syrups. Milk is available raw but few adults drink it.

      From what I could tell while visiting for several months was that the people over 30 are overweight and aging very quickly. Old women are badly hunched over and very wrinkled. The older men are very angry all the time. The young girls while very beautiful in their 20’s start looking decades older in their 30’s.

      Diseases of note are appendicitis (at least 2 victims in every family including my husband’s) and various digestive disorders -ulcers, gallstones, severe constipation and enlarged bowels.

      These were the facts as I observed them. No judgements here. Perhaps Bratislava is different but I think one would be very hard pressed to find a vegetarian who doesn’t eat massive amounts of overcooked eggs, pasteurized milk, vegetable oils (now available in every store) and white flour/sugar products. They have great mountain spring water though!

  88. I’ve been vegan for 16 years. All I ever hear is how young I look. People often guess that I am 10+ years younger than my actual age. Choosing a plant based diet is the best thing I ever did for myself. I never get sick. Never get the flu. I don’t even have a doctor because I never need one. What do you make of that, hmmmmm?? Manny vegetarians eat a ton of dairy and eggs… only vegans eat no animal products. I wonder if this study applies to vegans? My guess is no.

    • I’d like to counter that. Being severly hypoglycemic made me only be able to eat an atkins like diet. I eat at the most 50 grams of carbs a day and that’s only from a bit of dairy, nuts and low glycemic index veggies. the rest are from meats and fats. I only eat a bit of berries but besides that no fruit. Ever since I started that diet, people have been saying I look younger and look even 13 years younger than my real age. I never catch colds Unlike when I was eating fruit I was sick every month and my gray hair has literally disappeared. I know my case is a bit different since I’m hypoglycemic but restricting carbs has been my fountain of youth.

    • Well, we need to acknowledge saying your vegetarian or vegan is still a vague statement about the quality of your diet. You can be vegan and live on low gylcemic index carbs, I’m sure the outcome you get will be a lot better than my friend Fred the Vegan who lives on cornpops.

  89. Is thiEur J Nutr. 2001 Dec;40(6):275-81.

    Plasma levels of advanced glycation end products in healthy, long-term vegetarians and subjects on a western mixed diet.
    Sebeková K, Krajcoviová-Kudlácková M, Schinzel R, Faist V, Klvanová J, Heidland A.

    Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.

    That is a very small sample and of very little value therefore. I do also have a few other comments. First let me say I have been doing research on glycation for some time. I am a biochemist and director of research and development of a small pharmaceutical company and a vegan. My research point to fructose as a culprit in promoting glycation. I, myself, and recommend to others to not drink more then 8 oz of fruit juice per day and never drink the sugar spiked drinks. I also suggest that they go easy on fruits such as melons peaches and other low flavanoid/flavanol containing fruits. So I do agree with your position of fructose being something to minimize eating. However, vegetables have little if any fructose and are rich in elements that inhibit glycation. I have identified hundreds of infhbitors of glycation from botanical sources in my research. I have also identified hundreds of pro-glycation ingredients from animal based products. carboxymethyllysine is a marker for glycation but by no means the only one. In my research we have identified many. But another very interesting and important confounding issue when using fluorescense is that many of the flavanoids in the vegetables do fouorophores and thus can comfound the testing. That is blood and skin autofluorescense must be done after 6-8 hours of fasting or the reading can be high from ingested botanical highly fluorescing entities.
    There is no healthier diet then a balanced vegan diet with the highly colored vegetables being at the center of the diet.
    Fruit is moderation and plenty of complex carbs in addition.

    s the research you are quoting? from 2001

  90. I don’t know any vegetarians who do it for health reasons. They do it for humane reasons. They love animals. They don’t want to eat dead bodies. Further, there are ecological reasons. the earth cannot support all those farm animals. And the animals, unless you are eating organic, are fed antibiotics and hormones as well as food they were not meant to eat. There are healthy and unhealthy vegetarians; the unhealthy ones don’t bother to try to create a balanced diet and many eat junk food. They are only focused on not eating meat, not on eating healthy. There are tons of unhealthy carnivores as well; eating meat does not guarantee health.

  91. I find your article disappointing for several reasons: First and foremost that a doctor would quote a study that used only 38 test subjects; secondly that no VEGANS were studied – Vegetarians eating diets heavy in milk, cheese and eggs are still consuming animal products, and many people claim to be “vegetarians” while still consuming fish and poultry.

    I also find it shocking how little you know about the vegan diet. Low in protein? Not by a long shot! And as far as aging is concerned, I can tell you as a 48 year old vegan the one comment I get on an almost daily basis is that I look about 20 years younger than my actual age. I have no wrinkles, I literally only got my first gray hair last year, and I have more energy than most people half my age. I have been a vegetarian for 22 years – the last 3 years of that vegan and I can tell you that the health benefits of going vegan were remarkable. I now have no symptoms of the asthma and allergies I’d had my entire adult life. I quite literally went from using my inhaler several times a day to using it maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and I haven’t had to use any of the pills I used to take at all. My husband who went vegan at the same time as I did noticed that he now no longer gets the headaches that used to plague him pretty constantly. Both of us have noticed that we are now rarely sick.

    When I see other women my age who are meat eaters I am usually taken aback at how old they look compared to me. I usually try not to tell them my age because I don’t want to hurt their feelings! So needless to say it was shocking for me to read this article and then to see the comments afterward. All I can think is, “Have these people ever SEEN a vegan?!”

    I suggest you do a little research on what a real vegan diet consists of – not a meat eating diet where someone has just subtracted the meat – but an actual healthy diet in which no animal products exist and would actually be redundant.

    • To lump all vegetarians into a category of “frail and pale” is ridiculous, and just simply bashing a vegetarian diet and the people who choose to not eat rotting animal flesh.

      Studies and conclusions can be drawn to create many different answers. There are healthy vegetarians, and healthy meat-eaters….just look at history, and you’ll find people who have lived long and relatively healthy lives on both sides of the spectrum. While I believe diet is very important, genetics, and spiritual / emotional health are equally important to a long and healthy life. But the aim of this blog post and most of the responses here is to bash vegetarians and their diet while insinuating that a meat only diet is the best diet for longevity and health.

      Some of the statements made here are irresponsible and false. Protein, and a healthy diet doesn’t just exist in animal flesh, look deeper than the typical cliche’s if you really want to find the truth.

      I’m a vegetarian because it’s cruel what’s done to animals to feed humans, and I have no issues with my health or the way I feel and look.

    • Me to, I am 27 and most people think I am around 17-20 years old. Just last week in the gym, the people of our yoga class all thought I was still in high school.

      I do eat a very healthy mostly vegan diet (with the exception of an egg from my pet chickens every 2 months or so). I drink green and white tea every day. Also have some treats like chocolat :p or sometimes dried apple.

      But usually on a daily basis a lot of vegetables and good carbs like sweet potato or rice. Also a couple of nuts and flaxseed. I usually eat 1 big raw salad a day as well.

      The comments on here shocked me as well. If anything, most of the vegans Ive seen looked very great and often much younger than their age. I think it is just what they want to believe.

      When I look at vegans and omnivores, some look young, some look old, some look their age… in both groups.

      Btw do you mind sharing what kind of things you eat on a daily basis Adhara?
      I usually eat 70% carbs, 20% fat and 10% protein

  92. Ah, yes, the usual everybody-else-is-doing-it-wrong argument. Yes, I HAVE seen (and known) quite a few vegans, and they’ve all looked like the deuce. And no, they were not healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

  93. I have made comments here previously. I have been doing research on glycation and natural anti-glycation agents. I do in-vitro studies looking glycation inhibition and also use skin auto-fluoroescence (SAF) to determine systemic glycation load. Vegans that have diets with high simple cards as a main component do have higher SAF than vegans that typically have low amounts of simple carbs in the diet but have diets rich in vegetables and whold grains. However, individuals that have high intake of meat and low intake of vegetables also have higher SAF.

    I am a 62 year old vegan. The mean SAF for a man my age is 2.1-2.4. My SAF is 1.7. That is a reading typiucally found in a man age 40-45.

  94. Diets must be individualized. There is no one perfect diet for the masses. Eating less volume of food is very important as well as fasting to give the body a natural detox cycle.
    I believe in regular vitamin/supplement fasts as well. (obtain from vitamins 1-2 days a week)

    Drinking iodized water, getting plenty of sun exposure and supplementing with Vitamin D3 is important.

    The rest can be managed with bio feedback, meditation, proper stress/relaxation cycles, fresh foods and a good outlook on life.

    To your health!


  95. This study does not impugn the vegetarian diet at all. However, is does point to problems with any diet high in fruit, whether it be vegetarian, paleo, meat-eating, vegan, or whatever.

    • “This study does not impugn the vegetarian diet at all. However, is does point to problems with any diet high in fruit, whether it be vegetarian, paleo, meat-eating, vegan, or whatever.”

      *** For starters…..maybe you missed the title?

  96. A more meaningful study would be one that compares vegetarians whose diets don’t contain any animal foods with meat eaters. A lacto-ovo vegetarian is still consuming animal proteins and fats. It’s a misnomer to call someone with such a diet a vegetarian.

  97. I agree that there is no singular diet plan that will work for the masses. I was a meat eater for 27 years and had a slew of health issues that the Dr.s couldn’t figure out. After tests, tests and more tests I decided to do a little experimenting with my diet. I did the clean eating thing- no refined foods, grass fed beef, organic everything. I didn’t notice much of a change. I still had horrible allergies and fatigue. I did the low carb thing and was miserable and hungry the entire time. I have been vegan for almost 3 years. One of the first things I noticed was that I did not miss meat and dairy at all. I thought for sure I’d be having some crazy cravings, headaches… something. After all, that’s what happened when I gave up carbs. After that first day, I never looked back. I had never tried a diet that made me feel better on the first day. After the first 3 weeks, I noticed huge (positive) changes in my skin, body and mood. I can honestly say that I feel better and look better… as long as I stay away from a lot of refined food. A vegan diet can provide everything the body needs. However its very easy to fall into eating convenient, pre made, processed food because its, well, convenient. I think no matter what diet you chose to follow, its important to eat “real” food. I think processed foods do the most damage.

    Anyway, I really just meant to ask you this question :)

    I read somewhere (and I wish I could remember where) that different blood types may do better with a plant based diet than others. Just wondering if you have any thoughts or information about that. Thanks for your time :)

  98. Being a vegan is foolish and would not be possible if we didn’t have the vitamin supplement tech that we do! It’s completely unnatural to replace the vitamins your not getting from food with ones in pills.

  99. To Wilcox……..
    Why is foolish to not want to eat animals? It is totally possible. The only vitamin that most studies say that vegans don’t get from plants is Vitamin B12….that’s the only vitamin or mineral that does not come from plants! or so many think. But there is strong evidence that many plants do in fact contain B12 when they are organically grown without chemicals or pesticides. Root plants also absorb B12 from the soil. Taking a natural course and eating plants that are fertilized by organic means (animal dung) plants have a much higher level of B12. When you use pesticides and herbicides you destroy many microorganisms in the soil that are key to vitamin development in plants. Saying that you shouldn’t supplement with vitamins is the same as saying you shouldn’t spray dangerous chemicals on our crops to make them grow……which I’d agree with. What’s the difference really? Why don’t we stop using chemicals and in turn grow moiré nutritious food!

    Also, there is little evidence that vegans actually suffer from a B12 deficiency, they have lower concentrated levels in their blood, but little evidence that they actually suffer from a B12 deficiency.

    Do a little more research before you close the door on this. I believed as you do about this subject at one point, but have learned just how wrong I was, and how much better I feel by eating a plant based diet. I tried it, stuck with it, and now years later I still feel far healthier, and I haven’t had a cold or any significant health issue in years. Don’t just believe the propaganda.

  100. I really have to laugh at all this “stuff”. I am, as I mentioned previously, director of research at a small pharmaceutical company. Our group has studied glycation and continue to explore for botanical based anti-glycation entities and have discovered many. Some of the stronger ones out perform the benchmark aminoguanidine. These are BOTANICAL biochemicals. READ – PLANTS. Vegans that do not eat a good balance of berries, whole grains, fruits and all colored vegetables but rather consume high fat, simple carb and vegetable deficient diets probably do have greater glycation potentials. But still probably outlive their meat eating counterparts (isocaloric diet, total fat % and the like). This idea of not being healthy on a vegan is bunk. For those who will want to know the truth just do a little research. Start with Rich Roll’s recent book Ultraman and get the scoop. Unless you want to exist is a state of willful blindness.

    • “…probably outlive their meat eating counterparts…” Weasel words indeed. It would be nice to see some proof. I’ve heard vegetarians spout this party line for ages but have never seen any documentation.

      • Here ya go chief:

        Duke Med Health News. 2010 Jan;16(1):1-2.

        Vegetarian diets may prevent & treat some chronic diseases. Plant-based diets can meet all current nutrient needs and may lessen disease risk.

    • “But still probably outlive their meat eating counterparts (isocaloric diet, total fat % and the like).”
      Looks dogmatic to me. Since we don’t know of any vegans in the past, everything we say about the longevity of this group must be pure guessing/dogma.

  101. Another:

    Public Health Nutr. 2007 Jun;10(6):590-8. Epub 2007 Mar 5.

    Dietary patterns and survival of older Europeans: the EPIC-Elderly Study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition).


    Greater adherence to the plant-based diet that was defined a posteriori in this population of European elders is associated with lower all-cause mortality

  102. Well you can enjoy yourself living in the past. I always said most MD’s are not scientists and I guess you are in that bucket.

    All the best to you sir :)

  103. I would not based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Atlas that the prevalence of diabetes (percentage of population, not total numbers) is similar in USA and India (range between 8-10%). So, no, Indians are not quite “crawling” with diabetes. What’s more better, neither country makes the top 10 for diabetes prevalence.
    Another note that may surprise you: all Indians, even all Hindus, are not vegetarians. Time and again, surveys done in India revealed that >55% of the population are in fact carnivores. But, India still hosts a significantly large vegetarian population.
    Too bad Dr Barzalai never encountered my very vegetarian family. My grandfather’s elder brother lived to an extremely healthy 102 and did consume yoghurt and rice ALL HIS LIFE, never drank, never smoked. If you wanna talk about healthy, here’s a person who broke his hip after 85 and has had repair (no, not replacement) surgeries done twice after that age, healed and walked normally, and could still climb stairs at 97. My grandfather is now 94+ and his hands are more steady than many youngsters I see today. My mother’s grandmothers both lived past 85, her maternal grandmother didn’t have a single gray hair.
    Based on the last seven generations, none in our direct patrilineal or matrilineal lines ever died of cardiac or diabetic complications.

  104. Well I think it is well known that sugar spikes in the blood are not a healthy thing, and that fructose from eating fruits can do this, especially in juiced form. I wouldn’t say that this is an argument against or for being a carnivore, though, more one for not eating to many fruits over vegetables, and maybe even avoiding products with a lot of HFCS in them. As for eating meat for slowing aging, I remain unconvinced by the arguments in the article as there are so many other contributing factors to dietary decisions and aging.

  105. My experience is:
    Vegetarian scream about how healthy they are but their energy span is short. Their skin wrinkles and hangs already when they are 40 years old. And most of them has an unpleasant, rotten smell coming out of their mouth. My recent friend is a meat- eater and has always fresh breath. Just the matter of bad breath makes my wonder if vegetarian diet is healthy. I avoid vegetarians because their bad breath is really disgusting. They may go on defending their healthy choice but numb you with their unpleasant smell. Does somebody share this experience?

    • I am practically a vegan and do not have a smelly breath and look very young for my age.
      I have encountered also many omnivores with a very bad breath. So no need to be nasty and project it to all vegetarians or vegans. I wouldnt do that with omnivores as well.

  106. Sorry

    but i find this study hilarious and quite frankly i wouldn’t listen to the guy on here. Anyone who says to eat less fruit and veg needs to be binned or sent to some psychiatric ward. Personally i am vegan but whether you should eat meat or not isn’t too important. What is important is you eat as much calories from fruit and veg everyday and anyone who says it’s bad for you should be ignored.

    He also claims that ” sugar is Sugar ”

    i couldn’t stop laughing at this one. I eat 1800 calories a day from fruit and veg which includes 12 bananas a day so i guess i must be diabetic right????

    Also lets just assume this study is correct and eating lots of fruit makes you look older. What do you want to be older looking and healthy??? or younger looking with dementia/cancer because you didn’t eat enough high nutrient fruit and veg????

    i bet when i’m looking old walking down the street i’ll look better than those who are rotting in there graves having died young from lack of nutrients

    The guy supporting this study is a nut job people. You only need some common sense to see that. All people who say don’t eat too much fruit and veg are nutters

    Wake up and ignore him. Listening to him will kill you

    • I was initially going to delete this comment because I hate rudeness and name calling. But on reflection, I decided to post it for the amusement of my readers. Shows the mindset of many, but not all, vegans.

    • 12 bananas a day? Holy crap! That’s about 324 grams of carbohydrates! That would make my blood sugar shoot through the roof. I don’t think I eat a banana a year. Or any fruit other than berries, and those only sometimes.

  107. Dr. Eades,
    1) Would it be correct to say meat cooked Sous Vide has less AGEs than grilled meat? How about meat cooked in a Sous Vide for a long period?
    2) What is the proper daily intake of blueberries, cherries, blackberries? Supposedly, those are highly nutritious and relatively low in sugar compared to many other fruits.

    • It is correct to say that meat cooked sous vide has less AGEs than grilled meat. The AGEs are created as part of the grilling process. Since meat cooked sous vide requires very little grilling, many fewer AGEs are created.

      There is no proper daily intake of blueberries, cherries and blackberries. At least not that I know of. If you have to have fruit, these are all better choices than higher-carb fruits.

  108. I have been almost vegan since I was16. I am now 27 and people often still mistake me for being 17-18 years old. Im also very good at endurance and my strenght is often bigger than other girls my age.

    My diet exists mostly of carbs 70%, then fat 20% and protein 10%.
    I also get a yearly bloodtest to make sure everything is allright. My B12 is high because I use a spray under the tongue.

    I pretty much combine a diet that looks like Okinawans and Japanse, but with a little variety and no fish. On some occassions I consume the eggs of my pet chickens. But daily I eat either rice or potatoes (usually sweet potatoes). And lots of vegetables and about 1-3 pieces of fruit.

    Their is a vast difference within the group of vegetarians and vegans. One vegetarian can eat very healthy while another can eat crap all day. Or one consumes a lot of fruit every day while the other consumes no fruit at all etc…

  109. Hi Mike, with all due respect, don’t you think that there is too much confounding information within this table to say anything conclusive about veg vs. nonveg? I am leading a vegetarian diet that is heavy in dairy products, vegetables, fats (animal/olive), eggs and grains. A few hundred million indians share a similar diet to this, this is a very common vegetarian diet that is not necessarily high in fruits or fructose. The levels of fructose difference, dried apples (???), honey (almost 3 times as much?!) do NOT match my diet or, in my opinion, are representative of a balanced and well-thought vegetarian diet. How is this comparison relevant to a comparison of omnivores and vegetarians where these differences are so marked? Also, why did they say in their abstract that saccharide levels differed between the two groups where there was no significant p-value? Aside from this “short communication” being a little fishy and the diet discrepancies between the two groups being poorly controlled, I am pretty sure that the high fructose diet of these 19 vegetarians (low degrees of freedom here for such a confounding factor), especially when you consider the notoriety of fructose to glycate both in vitro and in vivo, render these results a little inconclusive… cheers, Dan

  110. The Adventist studies:

    14-year study, 34,000 subjects

    started in 2004, over 96,000 subjects

    started in 2006, 11,000 subjects

    Many of the results showed health advantages of the vegetarian lifestyle of Adventist vegetarians compared with the general public.

    Yet, 34 years of study on over 141,000 people showing benefits of vegetarianism, such as longer life span, is dismissed by some as nothing but flawed statistics.

    In contrast, a short communication publication of a report of 19 vegetarians in the Slovak Republic who were measured once is taken as the holy grail and proof that vegetarians age faster than the general public.

  111. Take a look at the following web article that has noted a paradox of lean vegan and vegetarian people who are known to have better health and longevity yet who in studies have been known to show a higher level of CML (a serum marker for AGE) compared with overweight and unhealthy people. It makes one question whether serum CML is an appropriate marker for trying to assess health and longevity. It’s possible that the state of already being unhealthy somehow depresses CML giving the impression of a healthier condition.

    In a somewhat related matter, serum cholesterol at time of a heart attack may already have been depressed due to other health conditions that had already developed in the person, giving the impression that lower cholesterol increases the risk of heart attack when in fact it doesn’t. One has to be careful to sort out what is cause, what is effect, and what is simply correlation that may have no cause or effect.
    CML lower in obese children; higher in vegan and vegetarian

    From the article:

    “What’s going on here? Leanness is well documented as associated with improved health, yet, in these studies, lean subjects had higher CML relative to those with higher fat mass. In addition, two separate studies showed higher CML in healthy vegans and vegetarians, compared with meat eaters! How is this possible?

    First, use of fluorescence to detect products related to oxidative stress has been problematic (Muller 2009), as auto-oxidation of the probes commonly used for detection often makes the measurement unreliable. But what about CML? There is a wealth of data detailing the adverse effects of CML on both rodent and human health. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of correlation not proving causation. In most of the studies that measure AGE products, CML is used as the global marker of AGE product content. Because the data in healthy populations (vegans, vegetarians, lean subjects) contradicts the wealth of CML related evidence in terms of health, something must be wrong in using CML as a marker of AGE products, and, overall health. In other words, CML is associated with many adverse outcomes, but does not prove it. In support of this, in one of the rodent studies that showed a reduction in lifespan that was associated with increased CML, an additional AGE product, methylglyoxal was also associated with this adverse outcome. Methylglyoxal has been shown to increase inflammation (TNF-? production) and oxidative stress (glutathione depletion) to a much greater degree than CML (Cai et al. 2002). Although both methylglyoxal and CML have both been shown to increase during aging (Ubarri et al 2007), methylglyoxal is not commonly measured in relation to the adverse outcomes found in humans.

    So, if you’re lean, vegan or vegetarian and you have high levels of CML, should you worry that you’re on the road to ill-health? The easy answer is no, but, in my opinion, if your methylglyoxal levels are also high, it might be time to stop/minimize eating foods that have been cooked at a high temperature.”