Low Carb Diet Decreases Cancer Risk

June 21, 2011 · 14 comments

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cancer, low carb diet

Recently, a study was published in the journal, Cancer Research which indicates that eating a low carbohydrate, high protein diet reduces the risk of cancer and slows the growth of tumors. In the developed world, one in three people will develop cancer in their lifetime. One in three.

Investigations conducted at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center found that mice that ate a diet composed of 15 percent carbohydrates, 58 percent protein and 26 percent fat had slower tumor cell growth than mice that ate a diet composed of 55 percent carbohydrates, 23 percent protein and 22 percent fat (a more typical Western diet).

While the study involved mice, researchers said the biological findings are significant enough to be applied to humans.

This shows that something as simple as a change in diet (my italics) can have an impact on cancer risk,” said study researcher Gerald Krystal, Ph.D., a scientist at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center.

The research also involved comparing two groups of mice that were at high risk for breast cancer. One group was on the low carb diet and the other was on the typical Western diet.

Not surprisingly, as early as the first year of life, nearly 50% of the mice on the Western diet developed breast cancer. In contrast, none of the mice on the low carb diet exhibited breast cancer.

Additionally, 70% of the mice in the Western diet group died from cancer and only one survived a normal lifespan of two years. In contrast, only 30% of the low carb diet mice developed cancer and more than 50% either reached the two year mark or even went beyond it.

According to the scientists there are three reasons for this outcome:

  1. Tumor cells are fueled by glucose and by decreasing the number of carbs eaten, there is a decrease in the amount of glucose available to feed the tumors.
  2. Every time carbohydrates are eaten, insulin rises. Insulin has been shown to promote the growth of tumors.
  3. 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.

Sugar and it’s relationship to cancer is an issue that was addressed in my previous post Sinister Deception: Sugar/Cancer Link.

In his YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, Robert Lustig makes the argument that sugar is as poisonous to health as cigarettes and alcohol.

A 2007 report published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer research entitled, “Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer,” concludes that there is a link between the western diet and cancer and the common denominator is insulin resistance.

Sugar feeds cancer. Nutritionists have been saying that for years backed by scientific proof. One researcher providing this proof is Graig Thompson who is now the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In an interview with Gary Taubes that was presented in The New York Times Magazine article called “Is Sugar Toxic?”, Thompson explains that the fuel for cancer is blood sugar.

Insulin supplies cancer cells with the nutrients (sugar) and signals to grow and multiply. Some cancers develop mutations that increases the influence of insulin on the cell, while other cells simply take advantage of the elevated levels of insulin present in the body.

Thompson believes that cell mutations occur when insulin drives cells to take up and metabolize sugar. These mutations turn precancerous cells into malignant tumors.

There is a clear relationship between cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and sugar.

Cancer Research editor-in-chief George Prendergast, Ph.D., CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research states

Many cancer patients are interested in making changes in areas that they can control, and this study definitely lends credence to the idea that a change in diet can be beneficial.

At long last, conventional medicine can see via research studies that the typical Western diet is a major factor in driving the epidemics of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity that we face today.  They are all related to the “…displacing foods of modern commerce…” As Dr. Weston Price so wisely stated.

Many Real Food diets involve low carbohydrates, whether it is Paleo, Primal, SCD, GAPS, etc. Many are completely grain free.  There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that grain-free, low carb diets positively affect health problems. Now there is more “scientific” evidence which supports what people have been reporting for years…” that something as simple as change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk.”

Photo Credit: GDS Graphics

This post is linked to: Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2DAy Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food. Sugar-Free Sunday, Monday Mania, Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Weekend Carnival, Traditional Tuesday

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