A Diet High In Animal Products And Hydrogenated Vegetable Margarine Is Erroneous Nutrition Advice Hurting Cancer Patients?

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Is Erroneous Nutrition Advice Hurting Cancer Patients?

Does the standard medical approach of encouraging cancer patients to eat whatever they want, especially diets high in meat and dairy products, actually make many cancer patients feel worse? Could certain foods often recommended to cancer patients really be fueling their malignancies?

The answer to these important questions is a resounding “yes,” according to cancer expert and researcher Keith I. Block, MD, Scientific/Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois. “Numerous studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals over the past decade, including the Journal of Nutrition, the British Medical Journal and the Journal of Surgical Research, have linked the saturated fats found in animal products, partially hydrogenated fats and fatty acids omega-6 fatty acids with chronic inflammation,” says Dr. Block. “This can potentially contribute to cancer growth as well as the wasting syndrome known as cachexia.” Cachexia affects 8 out of 10 patients with advanced cancer and can causes a massive loss (up to 80%) of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. In fact, it is often not malignancy but cachexia that takes the lives of cancer patients. According to the National Cancer Institute, cachexia is estimated to be the immediate cause of death in 20% to 40% of cancer patients. In addition to decreasing survival, cachexia also increases complications from all conventional treatments. Typical symptoms include weakness, fatigue, accelerated weight loss, anorexia and chronic nausea, as well as emotional distress and depression.

“Cachexia is not a case of cancer patients simply not eating enough or not feeling like eating,” says Dr. Block. “The current scientific consensus is that cancer cachexia results primarily from an underlying metabolic imbalance caused by the cancer that causes the body’s metabolism to accelerate. This generates chronic, low-grade inflammation and the breakdown of muscle and other lean tissues, as well. . such as immune suppression. Unfortunately, the general recommendations coming out of some cancer organizations encourage eating whatever you want from the typical American diet. High consumption of fats, refined flours, and sugars can increase inflammation and contribute to in more anorexia and poor weight loss.” The error in this approach can be compared to trying to keep a flowing container full of liquid by adding more water to it. Adding water alone will not keep the container full unless the underlying cause – the leak – is corrected. So when it comes to nutritional recommendations, simply consuming more food and calories with high-calorie drinks and shakes is not a meaningful solution. More importantly, addressing the underlying problem, inflammation, with foods that fight inflammation will better correct the underlying metabolic disorder. Then, improving your calorie intake with healthy choices will provide a better potential for overcoming this common condition.

So what kind of diet can combat both cachexia and other causes of weight loss, such as loss of appetite caused by chemotherapy? Dr. Block recommends a diet packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytochemicals, complex carbohydrates and specific, healthy fats and proteins, as well as individually tailored nutritional supplements; while simultaneously eliminating/reducing inflammatory foods, which can promote cancer growth, promote cachexia, and decrease treatment tolerance. Let’s look at these big offenders:

“Bad” dietary fats such as omega 6, saturated and trans fats

“Bad” carbohydrates such as high-glycemic foods

“Bad” cooking methods, such as open flame or high heat cooking techniques such as charcoal grilling and deep frying

To take charge of “bad” fats, you must first keep your total fat intake below 20% of daily calories. Second, reduce or eliminate saturated fats found in milk, cheese, butter, red meat, pork, coconut and poultry. Third, eliminate the unnatural fat, called trans fat, found in abundance in margarine, hydrogenated oils, and many baked goods and convenience foods. And finally, strive for an optimal dietary balance of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) known as Omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 fats (found in some vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, and safflower oils) are reduced better, while omega-3 fats, commonly found in fish oil, as well as monosaturated fats in olive trees, must grow.

Once you have taken responsibility for your fat intake, you should look at the main source of caloric energy – carbohydrates. It turns out that high-glycemic foods, those that cause a sudden spike in blood sugar (even in non-diabetics), accelerate the formation of arachadonic acid, a product of omega-6 fatty acid metabolism. This is the main fuel that supports the inflammatory pathway and foods that increase this should be reduced or avoided. These foods include sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated sweeteners, sugary drinks, cookies, cakes, candies; white bread, crackers and baked goods with sugar or white flour.

“This is a scientifically sound strategy that provides cancer patients with the calories they need from dietary sources that actually support, rather than hinder, their recovery,” says Dr. Block, which, for a quarter of a century, has lived on uninterruptedly. the belief that no cancer patient should ever give up on … there is always something more to prove. “Even during chemotherapy, my clinical experience has shown that a diet based on whole grains, legumes, fish and vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds with targeted ‘superfood’ supplementation is the optimal approach to combating anorexia and the associated weight loss with cancer, even cachexia. “

“It’s time for those treating cancer to abandon the unhealthy ‘eat all you want’ myth and incorporate science-based nutritional strategies into their treatment plans to help patients successfully fight cancer and improve quality of life.” their lives.”

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