The formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in foods is accelerated with heat treatment, particularly within foods that are cooked at high temperatures for long periods of time using dry heat. The modern processed diet is replete with AGEs, and excessive AGE consumption is thought to be associated with a number of negative health effects. Many dietary AGEs have high molecular weight and are not absorbed in the intestine, and instead pass through to the colon, where they are available for metabolism by the colonic bacteria. Recent studies have been conducted to explore the effects of AGEs on the composition of the gut microbiota as well as the production of beneficial microbial metabolites, in particular, short-chain fatty acids. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the impact of dietary AGEs on gut microbiota reshaping, which may be due, in part, to the formation of alternate compounds during the thermal treatment of foods. This review summarises the current evidence regarding dietary sources of AGEs, their gastrointestinal absorption and role in gut microbiota reshaping, provides a brief overview of the health implications of dietary AGEs and highlights knowledge gaps and avenues for future study.
Keywords: advanced glycation end products; heat-treated diets; maillard reaction products; microbiota; short-chain fatty acids.