August 26/Washington/Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences-- Eating grilled meat like a sausage sandwich or heat processed chicken can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes and obesity, a new study has claimed.

Such cooking methods have long been hailed as the healthier alternative to fried food, but now it appears that eating grilled and roasted food can soar the risk of these diseases.

Researchers at Mount Sinai University, in New York, have discovered that a compound found when food is cooked in dry heat can trigger significant weight gain, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Earlier study has shown that eating just 50 grams of processed red meat a day is enough to increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 51%.

Unprocessed red meat such as steak has also been found to be a major risk, with just 100g a day increasing the risk by a fifth.

The cooking method is also a factor, with barbecuing, frying and now grilling and roasting particularly dangerous.
The study found that eating overcooked meat with a dark crust on the outside more than doubles the risk of cancer.

Frying and grilling is particularly hazardous because the intense heat turns the sugars and amino acids of muscle tissue into high levels of cancer-causing compounds.

Researchers have now found that grilling and roasting food creates a compound called methylglyoxal (MG), a type of advanced glycation end product (AGE).

These AGEs have been found to lower the body`s protective mechanisms that control inflammation. And inflammation is known to trigger a host of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer`s.

"These key findings should inform how we understand and prevent the human epidemic of obesity and diabetes," said Professor Helen Vlassara who carried out the research.

Her team recommend different methods of cooking such as stewing, poaching or steaming instead of grilling.

Type 2 diabetes normally develops during middle age from obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle.

It differs from Type 1 diabetes, which usually develops before the age of 40 and requires sufferers to take insulin injections to prevent the condition.

The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.