A few vegetarian and vegan hackles will be raised due to research demonstrating a low-carb diet may be a better choice for preventing and healing cancer. Unfortunately, vegetarian diets tend to rely heavily on carbohydrates - mainly in the form of grains. When excessive carbohydrates are consumed, tumor growth is aggravated as a consequence of increased glucose and insulin levels. Considering the typical Western diet is 55 percent carbohydrate, it's no wonder cancer rates are through the roof. The problem is further inflamed by organizations like the American Cancer Society who advocate atrocious food choices for cancer patients. Rife with propaganda and misinformation, the establishment has kept the myth of healthy high-carbohydrate diets alive.
Glucose: The silent killer
Think of glucose as nourishment for cancer -- malignant cells thrive on it. And since carbohydrates convert to glucose within the body, carb-heavy diets are problematic for those wishing to avoid or treat cancer. When ingested in small quantities, carbohydrates supply energy for both the body and mind. But if the diet becomes overly laden with grains, starches and sugars, glucose levels rise and so does the risk for cancer. Adding fuel to the fire is the USDA food pyramid which recommends an astonishing 6-11 servings of grains each day. On the current "Choose My Plate" USDA program, up to half a pound of grains daily is considered healthy for the average adult male. Incredibly, the American Cancer Society recommends high-carb foods for cancer patients. Angel food cake, cookies, bread and muffins are endorsed as nutritious "snack foods" for those struggling with this devastating disease. In the end, if chemotherapy doesn't kill you, the American Cancer Society will.
Think outside the popular pyramid
Instead of being drawn into the carbohydrate-rich pyramid propaganda, an alternative is found with a high-quality paleo diet. Organic grass-fed beef, eggs from pastured chickens, fish, healthy fats like olive and coconut, an abundance of berries and vegetables along with nuts and seeds keep this style of eating healthful. Even though a paleo diet contains more carbohydrates than a strict ketogenic plan, it eliminates the carbs that are the most dangerous: grains, starches and refined sugar. All three are converted to glucose rapidly, prompting an insulin spike. Not only does this strain the pancreas, but insulin actually encourages tumor growth. A low-carbohydrate diet forces the body to use fat for fuel instead of sugar. Normal cells can utilize fat readily, but cancer cells cannot. By severing the glucose supply to cancerous cells, the disease has a better chance of being healed.
A study at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center in Canada found that mice who consumed a high-protein, low-carb diet experienced slower tumor growth and longer life spans than mice who were fed a typical Western diet rich in carbohydrates. The researchers believe these findings are applicable to humans as well. Gerald Krystal, head of the study, states "… Tumor cells, unlike normal cells, need significantly more glucose to grow and thrive. Restricting carbohydrate intake can significantly limit blood glucose and insulin, a hormone that has been shown in many independent studies to promote tumor growth in both humans and mice." Krystal continues, " … a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet has the potential to both boost the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells and prevent obesity, which leads to chronic inflammation and cancer."
Photo Credit: Karen Struthers
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"A Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet Slows Tumor Growth and Prevents Cancer Initiation" Victor W. Ho, Kelvin Leung, Anderson Hsu, Beryl Luk, June Lai, Sung Yuan Shen, Andrew l. Minchinton, Dawn Waterhouse, Marcel B. Bally, Wendy Lin, Brad H. Nelson, Laura M. Sly, and Gerald Krystal, The Journal of Cancer Research, The American Journal of Cancer, April 6, 2011. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/71/13/4484
"Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?" Rainer J Klement, Ulrike Kammerer, Nutrition & Metabolism, 2011. http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-8-75.pdf
"Paleo Diet prevents Cancer?" Lila Solnick, Paleo News, July 13, 2011. http://paleodietnews.com/1268/paleo-diet-prevents-cancer/
"The one life-saving low-carb secret you never hear about" Dr. Allan Spreen, Natural Health News & Community, July 12, 2011. http://www.healthiertalk.com/one-life-saving-low-carb-secret-you-never-hear-about-4271
USDA MyPlate & Food Pyramid Resources. http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/myplatefood-pyramid-resources/usda-myplate-food-pyramid-resources
"How many grains are needed daily?" USDA Choose My Plate. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-amount.html#
"Converting Carbohydrates to Triglycerides" National Council on Strength and Fitness. http://www.ncsf.org/enew/articles/articles-convertingcarbs.aspx
"Preventing cancer, Easy as Paleo!" Jasper Boyschau, Hive Health Media. http://www.hivehealthmedia.com/preventing-cancer-easy-paleo/