Cancer cells thrive on sugars, not typically fats. Diets based on fats versus carbohydrates and sugars may not only slow the progression of cancer, but “starve it to death”. Consider then, the power of the ketogenic diet.
Cancer Cells Feed on Glucose
Cancer cells metabolize and thrive on glucose, so if one’s diet restricts the carbohydrates and sugars that break down to glucose, cancer cells are essentially starved to death.
The Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic Diet eliminates sugars, restricts carbohydrates (except for non-starchy vegetables), includes low to moderate amounts of high-quality protein, and emphasizes beneficial fats.
Starving Cancer to Death
From Dr. Mercola, “The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then lowering the glucose level in your blood though carb and protein restriction literally starves the cancer cells into oblivion. Additionally, low protein intake tends to minimize the mTOR pathway that accelerates cell proliferation.”
Fat Burning vs Carb Burning
Carbohydrates break down to sugars and glucose, while fats break down to ketones. The Ketogenic Diet forces the body’s cells to adapt from depending on carbohydrates to depending on ketones for energy. In essence, the body shifts from carb burning to fat burning.
Cancer Cells Cannot Metabolize Ketones
Cancer cells cannot make the shift: they depend on glucose for energy. Eliminating sugars and restricting carbs to only non-starchy vegetables effectively starves cancer.
Carbohydrates and Sugars Feed Cancer
Fats and Ketones Starve Cancer
Reduce Blood Glucose Levels
Consider reducing blood glucose levels and following a Low Glycemic Load/Index (see our article coming July 7, 2021). Are you aware that fruits are typically high in sugar? But there are exceptions, i.e. coconuts and avocados.
Even though it is a fruit, an entire avocado has only about 1 g of sugar, with healthy fiber and fat content!
Beware: Insulin and Leptin Resistance
Some people have become leptin-resistant (like becoming insulin-resistant) through continuous overexposure to a diet high in sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods. As sugar (fructose) gets metabolized in fat cells, they release surges in leptin. Over time, the body can become leptin resistant, just as it can become resistant to insulin, and overweight.
Whole Food Diets Combat Leptin Resistance
To re-establish proper leptin (and insulin) sensitivity, a whole food diet that emphasizes healthy fats and avoids blood sugar spikes with targeted supplements can enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity. Consider functional health professional guidance, i.e. nutritionists or naturopaths.
Resistant starch is found in starchy plant foods, especially when cooked, cooled and reheated, like rice, oats, barley, potatoes and pasta, but properly prepared whole foods are more beneficial, like raw green bananas, plantains, yams, and other root vegetables. (Consider The Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch)
From one local nutritionist, “They share many properties with fiber, helping food pass through the gut and generally improving digestion. Once it reaches the lower gut, resistant starch feeds our beneficial bacteria, which in turn produce chemicals which can help our immune systems, cardiovascular health and many other benefits.”
Resistant Starches Don’t Spike Blood Glucose
Digestive-resistant starches essentially act as prebiotics. They slowly ferment in the large intestine, nourishing healthy flora. Rather than boosting blood sugar levels, they improve insulin regulation. They also help add volume to bowel movements without bloating or excess gas.
Butyrate Fuels Intestinal Cells
Resistant starch feeds the good bacteria in the intestines and increases the production of short chain fatty acids (butyrate). Butyrate is the preferred fuel of cells that line the colon and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for the colonic cells, and functions to improve the integrity of our gut by decreasing intestinal permeability and therefore keeping toxins in the gut and out of the bloodstream.