PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We already know that chemicals in grilled meat can cause cancer. But with spring on the horizon, there’s a new warning for those looking forward to firing up the grill.

According to new research out of Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, grilled and broiled meats have now been linked weight gain, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

In a press release on Mt. Sinai’s website, lead researcher Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai; says her team studied the effects of increased levels of advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs, which are commonly found in foods like heat-processed animal meats, in mice. What they found is that mice given high levels of AGEs developed declines in cognitive and motor abilities and deposits of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s in their brains. Additionally, high levels of AGEs suppressed sirtuin, or SIRT1, which is a “host defense” against both Alzheimer’s disease and pre-diabetes, in the mice tested.

And Dr. Vlassara’s team didn’t stop with mice; they also conducted a clinical study using people over 60 years of age. That study showed that, over a nine month period, patients with high levels of AGEs also experienced cognitive decline and signs of insulin resistance and SIRT1 suppression, while those with lower levels remained healthy.

“A therapeutic strategy that includes AGE reduction may offer a new strategy to combat the epidemics of AD [Alzheimer’s disease] and MS [metabolic syndrome],” the researchers conclude.

Meaning that grilling or broiling your meat too often may contribute over time to dementia and diabetes.

To see the study, click here.

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