This study aimed to investigate the reaction between methylglyoxal and amino acids, polyphenols and sulfur compounds and to provide a new approach for the determination of their dicarbonyl scavenging activities. Various pure compounds and beverages were reacted with methylglyoxal under physiological conditions over a week while monitoring methylglyoxal concentration. From the kinetic data, reaction rate constants and methylglyoxal inhibition ratios (for 2, 6 and 24 h) were calculated for each compound. Time vs methylglyoxal inhibition ratios was plotted for each compound. The area under the curve of this plot for a compound or a beverage was divided to that of cysteine or gallic acid to calculate its equivalent dicarbonyl scavenging activity. The dicarbonyl scavenging activities of some selected compounds were in the following order; phloretin > epicatechin > cysteine > epigallocatechin gallate > gallic acid > creatine > hesperetin > resveratrol > phloridzin > quercetin > chlorogenic acid > naringin > genistein > tryptophan. Based on their dicarbonyl scavenging activities, tested compounds and beverages were classified as "rapid reacting with high capacity", "slow reacting with high capacity", and "slow reacting with low capacity".