It is well known that natural antioxidants contained in foods are significantly lost during processing. Nevertheless it was recently demonstrated that thermal treatments can induce the formation of compounds with new antioxidant properties. This is the case of the Maillard reaction products (MRPs) whose presence as well as their potential effects have been scarcely investigated. In the present work the loss of natural antioxidants in relation to processing and the formation of MRPs with antioxidant activity were studied in different food systems such as tomato derivatives and coffee. Results showed that, although the concentration of natural antioxidants was significantly reduced as a consequence of the thermal treatments, the overall antioxidant properties of the food products were maintained or even enhanced by the development of MRPs.