The Cancer Research medical journal has found that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet slows tumor growth and prevents cancer from starting.
Scientists from the BC Cancer Research Center in Canada gave one group of mice a traditional western diet that is typically high in carbohydrates and low in protein and the other group of mice a diet that was low in carbs and high in protein. The protein was increased, rather than the fat, because of links with high fat diets to cancer and heart disease.
They found that animal tumors grew quicker on a western high carbohydrate diet. Additionally, those on the low carb, high protein diet had lower blood glucose, insulin and lactate levels.
The mice on the western diet developed cancer at a rate of nearly 50 percent, strikingly similar to the one in three humans who will develop cancer at some point in their lives, whereas no mice in the low carb group got cancer and all of them reached or exceeded their life span. Only one mouse on the western diet lived to its expected life span.
The researchers concluded, "Taken together, our findings offer a compelling preclinical illustration of the ability of a low CHO diet in not only restricting weight gain but also cancer development and progression."
Their comments about weight gain are important, because the western world is facing an obesity crisis. Obesity rates have increased in 28 states of America and more than two thirds of states have an adult obesity rate of over 25 percent. Back in 1991, there was no state that had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In addition, almost one third of children and teenagers are obese.
In the post-war era, food was typically much higher fat with people regularly eating things like lard and yet the average woman had a slim, hour-glass figure, probably because they ate more protein and so they weren’t always snacking.
So, what about the nutritional recommendations given to us that say we should all consume high carbohydrate, low fat and low protein diets? One would assume that such advice would be founded in solid scientific evidence. This is not the case. According to the medical journal, Nutrition, this type of dietary recommendation has never been scientifically proven, yet governments all over the world continue to recommend it while our cancer and obesity crisis reaches pandemic levels.
They wrote, "Concerns that were raised with the first dietary recommendations 30 y ago have yet to be adequately addressed. The initial Dietary Goals for Americans (1977) proposed increases in carbohydrate intake and decreases in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt consumption that are carried further in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. Important
aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased."
Dr. Gerald Krystal, lead researcher of the BC Cancer Research Center study, said that a low carb, high protein diet may boost the immune system’s ability to kill cancer and that since tumors thrive on glucose, this may be why the diet slows their growth.
Cancer Research UK said the study was done in mice so it’s not representative but they have used mice in other studies and have not made the same comment. So next time you follow a nutritional or medical recommendation, ask your doctor how much scientific evidence there is to back up the advice. You may just be surprised.
Ho, VW et al (2011). A Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet Slows Tumor Growth and Prevents Cancer Initiation Cancer Research DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3973 – http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2011/06/10/0008-5472.CAN-10-3973.abstract
Cancer Research UK, 17th June 2011 - http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2011-06-17-Too-soon-to-say-whether-low-carb-diet-can-prevent-cancer-or-slow-tumour-growth-?view=rss
In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans Committee, Nutrition 26 (2010) 915–924 - http://www.spfldcol.edu/homepage/dept.nsf/91C8B01CAAC804C0852577C9006A5012/$File/Hite_Nutrition_2010.pdf
How women's bodies have been transformed in the past 60 years... with huge implications for our health, Daily Mail, 15th September 2009 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1213475/Whats-happened-bodies-Womens-figures-transformed-past-60-years--huge-implications-health.html#ixzz1QBVPBkfU
Reviewed June 24, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.