Foods that are cooked in high temperatures tend to have harmful compounds, known as Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), scientists have warned.
AGEs accumulate naturally in the body as we get older, but the biggest contributor is from our diet, according to Dr Mary Jane Brown from Ulster University.
The compounds increase inflammation and contribute to oxidant stress, studies have revealed.
High levels of AGEs could lead to osteoarthritis, diabetes, dementia and kidney failure, Brown said on nutrition website Healthline.
Grilling, frying, baking and barbecuing foods exposes them to dry heat, which increases the amount AGEs in them, she added.
Some foods were more likely to have high levels of the harmful compounds after cooking.
Beef, cheese, fried eggs and high-fat spreads were among the foods highest in AGEs, research has claimed.
Dry heating foods increased the amount of AGEs in them by between 10 and 100 times, a 2010 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine claimed.
Animal-derived foods, that are high in fat and protein, generally had more of the damaging compounds, the researchers claimed.
“In particular, grilling, broiling, roasting, searing, and frying propagate and accelerate new AGE formation,” the researchers said.
“A wide variety of foods in modern diets are exposed to cooking or thermal processing for reasons of safety and convenience as well as to enhance flavour, colour, and appearance.”
Cooking with moist heat, using shorter cooking times and cooking at lower temperatures could help to reduce the amount of AGES, and therefore lower the risk of arthritis.
Carbohydrate-rich plant foods, including fruit and vegetables, have low levels of AGES, even when cooked.
About 10 million people in the UK have arthritis, according to the NHS.
Symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, weakness and muscle wasting.
There’s currently no cure for arthritis, but some treatments could help to reduce painful symptoms.
Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms could be eased by taking black cumin oil supplements, studies have claimed.