Dr. Vlassara's AGE-Less Diet

How a Chemical in the Foods We Eat Promotes Disease, Obesity, and Aging and the Steps We Can Take to Stop It

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Dr. Vlassara's AGE-Less Diet
Square One Publishers


6.0 X 9.0 in
336 pg

HEALTH & FITNESS / Diet & Nutrition / Weight Loss

$16.95 Paperback (Trade paperback (US))
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Dr. Vlassara's AGE-Less Diet

By  Helen Vlassara
Sandra Woodruff
Gary E. Striker


Imagine naturally occurring toxic substances that are responsible for chronic disease and accelerated aging. When trying to discover why patients with diabetes are prone to complications such as heart disease, Dr. Helen Vlassara and her research team focused on compounds called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which enter the body through the diet. For years, these amazing studies remained virtually unknown to the public. Now, renowned researchers Dr. Vlassara and Dr. Gary Striker, and best-selling author Sandra Woodruff have written a complete guide to understanding AGEs and avoiding their harmful effects through the careful selection of foods and cooking techniques.

Part One of Dr. Vlassara’s AGE-Less Diet clearly explains what AGEs are, how they enter your body, and how they contribute to the development of chronic disease, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, dementia, obesity, and more. Most important, you’ll learn how you can reduce AGEs and improve your health by making simple changes in the way you eat. Part Two offers over a hundred taste-tempting AGE-less recipes that show you just how easy—and delicious—it is to follow an AGE-less diet.

By lowering your AGE levels, you can reduce the potential of developing any number of serious disorders and enjoy greater health. Dr. Vlassara’s AGE-Less Diet will guide you in making a real difference in your life.


“Physician Vlassara (The AGE-Less Way), physician Striker, and nutritionist Woodruff zero in on advanced glycation end products (aptly shortened to AGEs), offering readers a lucid explanation of how these chemical compounds damage and age the body . . . Based on a wealth of scientific evidence, the authors’ “game-changing” discoveries come across as sensible solutions for those amenable to some uncomplicated culinary modifications.”Publishers Weekly

"Helen Vlassara, MD, has spent years studying another type of age—as an acronym for advanced glycation end products . . . In [Dr. Vlassara's AGE-Less Diet], Vlassara—along with nutrition expert Sandra Woodruff, RD, and geriatrics researcher Gary Striker, MD—explains why AGEs are so harmful and how you can modify your diet to reduce your AGE intake . . . [t]he idea is to eat foods that are lower in AGEs to start with—and to use moist-heat cooking methods, such as poaching, steaming, stewing and braising, along with acid-based marinades and dressings (acids reduce AGE formation). The book provides recipes to help the reader get started."Energy Times Magazine (online edition) - Lisa James

"[The authors'] overall message is inspiring: take a proactive approach to reducing the risk of getting degenerative diseases. They assure readers: 'You have it within your power to take control of what you and your loved ones consume.' "Booklist - Karen Springen

Author Biography

Helen Vlassara, MD, is Professor Emeritus and former Director of Diabetes and Aging Research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She has devoted over thirty years to studying the effects of advanced glycation end products and has authored hundreds of scientific articles and books.


Sandra Woodruff, MS, RD, LD/N, has a master’s of science in food and nutrition from Florida State University. She specializes in diet-related health problems, and is the best-selling author of many health-related cookbooks, including Soft Foods for Easier Eating Cookbook.

- Gary E. Striker, MD, a Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, has conducted research focusing on kidney disease and its complications, including the role that AGEs play in their cause and treatment.

Table of contents





Understanding AGEs

1. The Missing Link, 

2. The Science of AGEs, 

3. AGEs, Aging, and Chronic Disease, 

4. The AGE-Less Diet, 

5. Applying the AGE-Less Way to Different Diets, 

6. Stocking the AGE-Less Pantry, 

7. AGE-Less Cooking Techniques, 

8. AGE-Less Eating Away from Home, 



AGE-Less Recipes

About the Recipes, 


Main Courses, 

AGE-less Diet interior

Main Event Salads, 

Soups and Stews, 

Sandwiches and Such, 

Side Dishes, 

Sauces and Marinades, 

Sweets and Treats, 

Organizations and Websites, 



About the Authors, 

Introduction or preface

For centuries, and indeed as far back as Hippocrates, countless

leaders in the field of health have warned us that what we eat

can greatly affect our mental and physical well being. Since

then, hundreds of fad diets have come and gone. From low-fat to

low-carb, vegan to Paleo, and everything in between, seemingly

every possible eating plan has been devised and touted. And yet,

with all the promises of good health, weight control, and longer life,

we are not getting any healthier. In fact, the number of degenerative

diseases continues to explode. What have we been missing? Is there

some strategy that could actually provide us with more vitality,

greater health, and even a longer lifespan? Fortunately, the answer is

a resounding yes.

Forty years ago as a young researcher, I worked with a team of

other scientists to examine a class of destructive substances that

accumulate in people with diabetes. These toxic substances were

found to hasten many dangerous complications of diabetes, such as

vascular disease and nerve damage. The aim of the research team

was to understand the nature of these compounds. Were they a direct

cause of the diabetes? Were they by-products of another process?

Exactly how did they damage the body? There was much to learn.

And what we discovered was something completely unexpected

and surprising.

These destructive substances were not related to a deficiency or

excess of vitamins or minerals, nor were they contaminants in the

same sense that heavy metals, pesticides, and industrial waste are.

Yet their path of damage was clear. The compounds were found to be

directly linked to virtually every aspect of aging and degenerative

disease, including cardiovascular and kidney diseases, bone loss,

cognitive and neurological issues, and the weight gain and wrinkles

that creep up on us as we age.

The researchers called these toxic substances advanced glycation

end products, or AGEs. The acronym AGE was actually coined to

remind us that these compounds are linked to the accelerated aging

that is part of diabetes and other chronic diseases. It was already clear

that having high blood sugar levels caused more AGEs to form in the

body. What we did not suspect until much later was that most AGEs

actually enter the body with our food—and that they have the potential

to affect many more people than was previously believed!

Over the past two decades, studies in both animals and humans

have strengthened the case for AGEs as key players in many of the

diseases that plague the modern world. A striking realization

throughout these studies was that food AGE intake goes hand in

hand with markers of inflammation, which has long been known to

underlie most chronic degenerative diseases.

Unfortunately, the existence and nature of AGEs remain largely

unknown to the general public—and, for that matter, to many health

care professionals, as well. The translation of research into clinical

practice is notoriously slow in the medical community, even in

today’s information-obsessed world. Meanwhile, our modern health

predicament is all too clear: We may now live longer, but we struggle

with poorer health.

The intention of this book is to open your mind to a whole new

way of thinking about food and health. It exposes a root cause of the

modern “lifestyle diseases,” including obesity, cardiovascular disease,

diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and many more.

But it also shares exciting and inspiring news: We have found that as

people adopt the AGE-less diet, regardless of age or health status,

indicators of inflammation and disease quickly plummet. This book

will show you how you, too, can reap the benefits of AGE-less eating.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One helps you understand

AGEs and how you can minimize your exposure to these harmful

compounds. Chapter 1 provides a brief but illuminating look at

the groundbreaking research that led to our current understanding of

AGEs. In this chapter, you will get a sense of how long, difficult, and,

yes, fascinating the history of AGE science has been.

Chapter 2 focuses on the science of AGEs. What exactly are these

compounds? How do they form in the body? Why are they so prevalent

in the modern diet? And how do they cause us so much harm?

Chapter 2 answers these questions and more, all while making AGE

science easy to understand.

Chapter 3 takes a closer look at the many health problems that are

linked to excess exposure to AGEs. You will find that AGEs are intertwined

with virtually every aspect of chronic disease and aging, from

arthritis to diabetes; from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease.

While this may seem disheartening, it also provides a simple key to

better health—improving diet to provide fewer AGEs.

By the time you reach Chapter 4, you will know that the main

source of AGEs in the body is the food you eat. In this chapter, you

learn exactly which foods provide large amounts of AGEs, and which

foods offer good nutrition without burdening the body with an

excess of these substances. Best of all, Chapter 4 presents the three

basic principles of healthy AGE-less eating.

At this point, you may wonder if you have to abandon your current

diet to eat the AGE-less way. Fortunately, AGE-less principles

can be applied to any type of diet. Chapter 5 focuses on five of

the most popular diet philosophies: low-carbohydrate diets, low-fat

diets, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleolithic diet, and various forms

of the vegetarian diet. You will see how simple it is to integrate

AGE-less principles into these and other diets to make them even

more healthful.

Once you’ve learned the basics of eating the AGE-less way, it will

be time to stock your pantry with healthy foods. Chapter 6 highlights

foods that can fit into an AGE-less eating plan, offers smart substitutions

for high-AGE foods and ingredients, and provides additional

tips for selecting and preparing foods. You will find that AGE-less

food can be tasty, easy to prepare, and economical.

Although it’s important to center your diet on low-AGE foods,

the way in which you prepare your foods is just as important as the

foods you choose. This is because while some cooking methods promote

the formation of large amounts of AGEs, other methods greatly

minimize AGE formation. Chapter 7 guides you in the use of simple

AGE-less cooking technique, including braising, boiling, poaching,

pressure cooking, slow cooking, simmering, stewing, and steaming.

In addition, it offers practical tips for preparing some of your favorite

foods with fewer AGEs.

Increasingly, people are eating away from home or picking up

take-out fare rather cooking meals in their kitchen. Besides being

generally higher in calories and lower in nutrition, food prepared

outside the home often makes AGE-overload a near certainty. But it

doesn’t have to be that way. Chapter 8 guides you to the best choices

when eating out, enabling you to make the most of the menu’s offerings

in a wide variety of settings while keeping your AGE load at a

modest level.

Throughout this book, we assure you that AGE-less food can be

delicious and satisfying. But tasting is believing. That’s why Part Two

of Dr. Vlassara’s AGE-Less Diet offers over a hundred recipes that

emphasize low-AGE foods and employ AGE-less cooking techniques.

From breakfasts to desserts, from main courses to sides, these

dishes are not just easy to make, but also easy to love. Just as important,

each includes Nutrition Facts—calorie, carbohydrate, fiber, protein,

fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calcium counts—so

you can be sure that the recipes you choose match your dietary needs

and restrictions.

Beyond a doubt, research has shown that AGEs are the “missing

link” which explains why our modern diet is so strongly associated

with inflammation and a wide range of chronic diseases. While this

may strike you as just one more piece of bad news, the truth is that

AGEs pose a problem which you can control with ease and at no

extra cost. It is our hope that you will use the information provided in

this book to introduce small but important changes that can make a

real difference to your health and that of your loved ones. We wish

you greater health and many satisfying meals to come.