[The metabolic, nutritional and toxicological consequences of ingested dietary Maillard reaction products: a literature review]

J Soc Biol. 2007;201(2):199-207. doi: 10.1051/jbio:2007025.
[Article in French]


The field of Maillard reaction in food has recently re-emerged. This reaction which takes place between carbohydrates and proteins at a high cooking temperatures and causes the formation of flavor and yellow to brown colors was already well documented. Little is known, however, about the formation of other Maillard reaction products (MRPs) which may be toxic: the so-called glycotoxins. It is well recognized that only 10% of these have been identified so far, and improved analytical methods are needed for the discovery of more of the neo-formed contaminants. Only a few studies as yet have focused on the digestion, metabolism and excretion of fructoselysine, carboxymethyllysine, pentosidine, acrylamide, the MRPs which have already been identified. MRPs have been shown to be present at significant amounts in a variety of industrially and domestically heat-treated foodstuffs but their absorption appears to be limited and they are readily excreted. Clinical studies indicate, none the less, that the typical Western diet, which contains a high MRPs content, may have an impact on human health. The main effects are observed on the glucose and lipid metabolisms, and on inflammatory mediators. However, the physiopathological role of the ingested MRPs has yet to be investigated in detail, so no conclusive recommendations can be given at present regarding their possible toxic effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Biotransformation
  • Digestion / physiology
  • Food Analysis*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Maillard Reaction*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Taste


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced