Eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet to prevent cancer and disease. Did you know that cancer tumor cells depend almost exclusively on glucose for their survival and growth? It’s true, and restricting dietary carbs has been shown to decrease cancer cell growth and lead to the death of those dangerous cells.
Not only is carbohydrate restriction smart for cancer prevention in healthy people, a new review in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism suggests it can help treat cancer and support disease prevention because eating fewer carbs can lower the inflammation in the body. Researchers base their argument on the fact that within the last few hundred years we have seen a drastic shift from the caveman’s diet of fat, meat, roots, berries, and vegetable-based carbs to one that is dominated by grain and starchy carbs that are easily digested. This diet in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle has produced a dramatic increase in disease and cancer rates.
Eating carbs affects cancer cell growth because, contrary to normal cells, malignant cells depend on steady glucose availability for their survival. As cancer cells grow, they become “addicted” to glucose and are vulnerable to glucose deprivation. Cancerous cells aren’t able to metabolize fat or ketone bodies that are produced by the body when carbs are restricted. Animal and test tube studies show that when cancer cells are starved of glucose, they die.
It was just about 100 years ago that researchers first found that cancer cells need high levels of glucose and therefore high carb intake for growth. A scientist noticed that cancer patients stopped excreting glucose in the urine. More recently, depending on the degree of high blood sugar, there is a corresponding decrease in survival rate in patients with cancer and an increased risk of developing cancer at other sites in the body such as the pancreas, esophagus, liver, colon, stomach and prostate.
Carb restriction can support cell health in other ways too: Higher blood glucose levels lead to less vitamin C entering immune cells, and vitamin C is necessary for activating the immune response to malignant cells. Second, any time there is high blood sugar and high insulin, oxidative stress is produced. Over the long term this will lead to high levels of inflammation, which significantly increases the progression of cancer. Finally, high insulin causes tumor cell growth.
The choice is clear: Limit carbs and grains to prevent the development of cancer. An organic high-protein, low-carb diet can also help prevent type II diabetes, a high cholesterol, and decrease inflammation in the body, decreasing your disease risk. Of course, since most of the readership is healthy, the most immediate motivation of a low-carb, high-protein diet is fat loss and a better body composition.
Kement, R., Kammerer, U. Is There A Role for Carbohydrate Restriction in the Treatment and Prevention of Cancer. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011. 8(75).