Dr. Abrams shares the food that may hinder a woman fighting cancer.
Personally, I ask people with cancer, and my friends who don’t have cancer, to avoid three things--red meat, dairy, and sugar. Red meat, I think, has bad fats and we tend to overcook it or grill it, which changes the proteins to heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic. So I think, red meat also because we feed it corn, when cows are not meant to eat corn, they make the fat into fat that’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids and our diet has become so excessively omega-6 that that pushes it into a pro-inflammatory as opposed to an anti-inflammatory state.
Also oftentimes these animals are injected with hormones, bovine growth hormone, sometimes estrogens, and particularly women with breast cancer don’t need the effects of those hormones, which may not be the hormones themselves coming into their bloodstream, but insulin-like growth factor which is increased when those hormones are used. So, so, red meat I think is a no.
Dairy--there is no other animal species that drinks another species’ milk and no other species drinks milk after it’s been weaned. We talk about lactose intolerance as if it’s a disorder or a disease when in fact it’s neither. It’s the norm. The ability to digest the sugar and protein in dairy is a genetic mutation on the second chromosome. It’s found mainly in northern Europeans, usually those of Scandinavian extraction, who needed to be able to drink reindeer milk in times of frost.
For the rest of us, we are all lactose intolerant and that inability to utilize the sugars and proteins in dairy leads into another one of those states of a chronic allergen or chronic antigens stimulating the immune system, suppressing the immune system, and it’s been suggested that dairy consumption is related to development of breast cancer, lymphoma, and for men, prostate cancer.
So, again, dairy I think is not good, and sugar, refined sugar--we have become a society that not only eats a lot of refined sugar and other carbohydrates, but makes sugar out of corn. So high fructose corn syrup, dextrin, maltodextrin, all of these things, because they are consumed without the accompanying fiber, cause our body to squirt out insulin and insulin-like growth factor because it’s expecting fiber to be associated with the sugar, and when the fiber is not there, then that insulin, insulin-like growth factor overshoots and our blood sugar goes down and our energy and our mood go down and the only way to get them up again is to eat more sugar.
So people are on this roller coaster of sugar high and low, and what’s worse, those squirts of insulin and insulin-like growth factor promote inflammation and they also cause cancer cells to divide. So, again, sugar would be the third food or substance that I ask people to avoid.
About Dr. Abrams, M.D.:
Dr. Donald I. Abrams, M.D., a cancer specialist, is director of clinical programs at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. Abrams provides integrative medicine consultations for cancer patients and has completed research in complementary and alternative therapies including mind-body treatments, botanical therapies, medical use of marijuana and traditional Chinese medicine herbal therapies.
Visit Dr. Abrams at UCSF Medical Center