Recently, an article over at Mercola touched on the role metabolism and diet play in carcinogenesis (causing cancer). I was shocked to read of, despite having been around for some time (going back to about the 1930s and the work of Dr. Otto Warburg, a Nobel prize winner in Physiology and Medicine), the theory that cancer cells and their growth are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar (carbohydrates) anaerobically. For more details regarding the science behind this theory, check out the New York Times article cited by Mercola.
Anywho, the Mercola article goes on to describe a diet protocol which “could effectively ‘starve’ [cancer cells] into remission.” I’ve summarized the details of the diet protocol below, but as with any significant dietary changes consult your physician before beginning. A great starting point if you are considering a diet modification is to start by doing a 2-week diet journal which is made easy with great freeware such as MyFitnessPal (there’s also a mobile app for conveniently logging your meals and snacks!)
- 75 to 85 percent of your total calories as healthy fats with the following considerations:
- In general, focus on more monounsaturated fats than saturated fats. As a rule of thumb, saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature (think butter, coconut oil, lard, etc.); whereas, monounsaturated fats are liquid (think olive oil). Other sources of monounsaturated fats include avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and sunflower, sesame, canola and olive oils.
- Limit polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) to less than 10 percent. Common sources of PUFAs: walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds/oil, fish such as salmon, mackeral, herring, tuna and trout, and corn, soybean and safflower oils.
- Do not exceed 5 percent of your calories as omega-6 fats
- Here are some excellent sources of “healthy” fats:
- Olives and olive oil
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, and cacao butter
- Raw nuts, such as, macadamia and pecans, and seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin, and hemp seeds
- Organic pastured egg yolks
- Grass-fed meats
- Lard, tallow and ghee
- Animal-based omega-3 fat (DHA and EPA) such as krill oil
- Plant-based omega-3 fat (DHA and ALA) found in dark, leafy greens and seaweed
- 8 to 15 percent as carbs, with twice as many fiber carbs (mainly vegetables) as non-fiber (net) carbs like sugar and processed grains. Net carbs are found by subtracting grams of fiber from total carbs (in grams). Try keeping net carbs below 40-50 grams per day.
- Excellent sources of high-fiber carbs:
- Chia seeds
- Raw nuts
- Root vegetables and tubers, such as onions and sweet potatoes
- Green beans
- Vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Psyllium seed husks
- 7 to 10 percent of your calories as protein (high-quality grass-fed or pastured meats and animal products). Contrary to popular belief, there is an upper limit to how much protein you body can use and, according to Mercola, “eating more than your body requires for repair and growth will simply add fuel to disease processes.”
- An ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. For most people this equates to about 40 to 60 grams a day.
I hope this has given you some food for thought! Until next time…