Healthy eating isn't just about which foods you eat, but how they're prepared. Cooking food wrong can create toxic chemicals that make you sick. These chemicals are called Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs.
An average person accumulates excess AGEs just from eating common processed industrial foods and beverages. AGEs cause inflammation and contribute to heart disease, diabetes and other problems, including damage to the overall immune system. AGEs can simulate premature aging by damaging skin collagen, promoting arthritis and hardening arteries.
Of course, the body is capable purging itself of the small level of AGE intake that results from a natural, whole-foods diet cooked properly. But a typical industrial diet overwhelms the body's ability to keep up, so they accumulate. You should also know that your body's ability to remove AGEs decreases with age (no pun intended).
When meat, or foods high in sugar or fat, are fried, grilled or even baked at high temperature, AGEs are generated spontaneously in the food. The effect is magnified when foods contain high amounts of both sugar and fat together, as is the case with most industrial junk food. Generally speaking, the process is most common in foods that are less healthy to begin with (processed white flour, fatty domesticated meats, sugary foods) that are also heated at too high a temperature. The coffee roasting process also produces an unacceptably high quantity of AGEs.
Potato chips, french fries, dark toast, cold cereal, barbecued and fried meats -- just about any industrial-age foods made crispy, crunchy, roasted and toasted are also made toxic with AGEs. Boxed cold cereal, for example, which tends to contain both fat and sugar and is roasted until it's crunchy, can be very high in AGEs. A better alternative is Spartan Muesli (pictured).
Whole foods, as well as any foods lightly sauteed, boiled or slow-cooked produce much smaller quantities of AGEs.
The Spartan Diet is an anti-AGE diet. The upcoming book will detail exactly how to choose and cook food in a way that keeps the incoming AGEs far lower than your body's ability to remove them.