The next time you eat that crispy toast in the breakfast, better think again, as scientists have suggested that these toasts could be fast-tracking ageing and chronic disease.
Josephine Forbes of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute conducted a study on how many common foods - toast and croissants included-can produce chemicals now suspected of fast-tracking ageing and chronic disease.
Named Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), these chemicals turn up in foods ranging from hash browns to cola drinks and coffee.
Forbes and researchers overseas have suggested that too many AGEs building up in the body can contribute to heart disease and diabetes - and the wrinkling and pigmentation that goes with ageing skin.
The foods producing the most AGEs tend to be processed foods high in sugar or fat, especially animal fat, that are then grilled, baked or fried at high temperatures, often until they`re crispy and golden, said Forbes.
"The more a food has sugar added to it and the more it`s processed, the more AGEs it usually produces. Baked, crunchy breakfast cereals and toasted mueslis also produce AGEs, but raw oats and porridge are fine," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.
It seems that once you start mucking around with food the more AGEs it produces - there aren`t many foods in their natural state that produce AGEs," she added.
We can accumulate too many AGEs in two ways. One is from some foods; the other is when blood sugar levels are too high, as with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Although research into AGEs` effects is still in the early stages, studies have suggested they can harm the immune system and contribute to hardened arteries and problems with kidney function.
They can age skin by attacking collagen and promote arthritis by damaging the joints.