Overview:
  • Carbohydrates convert to glucose which fuels cancer.
  • Starve cancer away with the ketogenic diet.
  • Processed and red meats indirectly damages DNA and are associated with carcinogens and mutagens.
  • Alcoholic beverages increase the risk of seven different types of cancer.
Carbohydrates

Glucose fuels cancer and most of the carbohydrates we consume convert to glucose. The most common food that we eat such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and more contain massive amount of carbohydrates. We asked the people of the Inland Empire what the contents of their average plate looks like from most to least present between vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates and 33.3% said carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables and 9.5% said carbohydrates, vegetables, and protein. Out of 126 people who responded, 54 people eat carbohydrates the most while the rest of them at least have some amount of carbohydrates in their diet. That means 100% of them consume carbohydrates.

 

The metabolic pathway for normal cells to generate ATP, which is our body’s “energy currency”, is different compared to cancer cells. Both use glucose to feed the first stage, glycolysis, but from there, it changes drastically. Most of ATP is generated in the oxidative phosphorylation stage by using the products from glycolysis, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and the Krebs cycle. Cancer cells, however, use glycolysis to produce large amounts of pyruvate that rather convert into lactic acid than be used to fuel the other stages[1]. Lactic acid acidifies the environment which leads to resistance to cell death and allows cancer cells to spread throughout the body [2].

How do we starve cancer away?

Stop consuming large amounts of carbohydrates. You might be wondering, “how do we starve cancer cells without starving the other cells that are beneficial to our daily lives?” Well, our body begins to look for an alternative source to burn when low on sugar and that is fat. When your body is low on sugar, the body makes small fuel molecules called ketones which are produced from fat, so we become a body running on fat rather than carbohydrates. This is exactly what the ketogenic diet does to the body. The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat, and moderate amount of protein which puts the body in a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Below is a brief look into the ketogenic diet.

Keto diet food list:

  1. Unprocessed meat (moderate amount) 
  2. Fish and seafood
  3. Eggs
  4. Natural fats
  5. Cheese
  6. Vegetables growing above ground

Avoid:

  1. Pasta
  2. Potatoes
  3. Rice
  4. Bread
  5. Soda/Juice
  6. Beer
  7. Donut
  8. Beer

If you’re ready to start the ketogenic diet, click here for further information.

Processed meats and red meats

Studies have shown that high consumption of processed meats and red meats increase risk of colon and/or rectum cancer by 15% to 20% per 100 grams of red meats or 50 grams of processed meat per day [3]. The chemicals found in the meat and the chemicals formed when cooking meat at high temperatures can all contribute to an increase risk of cancer. Myoglobin is a protein that carries and stores oxygen with the help of heme which contains iron. When consuming red meat, the iron from the heme can accelerate nitrosamine formation which indirectly damages DNA. Also, cooking red and processed meats at high temperatures or grilling meat over charcoal produces heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are mutagens and carcinogens, in the meat. Mutagen causes genetic mutation and carcinogens are substances that is capable of causing cancer in tissue [3]. Processed and red meats don’t have to be cut out completely. Eat smaller portions and instead of grilling or frying meat, broil or bake to reduce creating carcinogens and mutagens. Refer to this link for ways to grill safely.

Below is a brief list of types of red meats and processed meats.

Red meats:

  1. Beef
  2. Pork
  3. Lamb

Processed meats:

  1. Bacon
  2. Sausage
  3. Luncheon meats
  4. Hot dogs
Alcoholic beverages

Mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectal, and female breast cancer are all risks from drinking excess amount of alcohol. Studies show that there is a 10% to 12% increase of risk of female breast cancer with each drink per day compared to nondrinkers [3]. While it’s not understood fully how alcohol consumption causes cancer, there is one theory regarding acetaldehyde, a product of alcohol metabolism, that damage DNA of normal cells. Alcohol consumption also increases levels of estrogen and other hormones that increase the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drinks per day for women [3].

For more information regarding how to change your diet to reduce the risk of cancer, visit your local Nutritionist.

References:
  1. Gentric, Géraldine, Virginie Mieulet, and Fatima Mechta-Grigoriou. “Heterogeneity in Cancer Metabolism: New Concepts in an Old Field.” Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 26.9 (2017): 462–485. PMC. Web. 26 July 2018.
  2. Zhao, Luqing et al. “Role of Multifaceted Regulators in Cancer Glucose Metabolism and Their Clinical Significance.” Oncotarget 7.21 (2016): 31572–31585. PMC. Web. 26 July 2018.
  3. Kushi, L. H., Doyle, C. , McCullough, M. , Rock, C. L., Demark‐Wahnefried, W. , Bandera, E. V., Gapstur, S. , Patel, A. V., Andrews, K. , Gansler, T. and , (2012), American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 62: 30-67. doi:10.3322/caac.20140