116 Every cancer patient should hear from their oncologist when they are first diagnosed. They should be told that by making certain dietary changes, they could increase their chances of healing from cancer dramatically, no matter what course of treatment they pursue. Cancer patients should be informed that nutrition is their first and best defense when starting down the path of healing from cancer. Information should be provided about how to switch to an alkaline diet,[i] composed of primarily vegetables, with a small amount of fruit, grains and protein. This diet is similar to the ketogenic[ii] diet, which is much discussed in the oncology press, but with further reduction in total protein consumption as well as grains, processed fats and sugar, to help control inflammation in the body.
Instead, the dietary information provided to cancer patients is an afterthought, and amazingly, usually includes foods and meal preparation techniques that are known promoters of cancer progression.[iii] Clearly, there is a disconnect between very well documented information on diet and cancer progression and those who communicate most often with cancer patients – the oncology teams. The modern way of life, particularly in fast-paced Western countries, does not lend itself to an anti-cancer, alkaline diet. Convenience food products, microwave meals, packaged snacks and fast food dominate many people's daily menu. It should come as no surprise that these foods are not optimal if you are battling cancer. But what should a newly diagnosed cancer patient do, right away, to help themselves prepare for the treatments to come and increase their chances for healing?
117 Eat an alkaline diet to reduce inflammation and improve intracellular pH. Most people in the Western world today eat a diet that promotes inflammation and increases intracellular pH, a condition called latent acidosis - understood to provide a perfect environment for cancer to proliferate. A properly constructed alkaline diet will improve your intracellular pH over time, and is the best defense against continuous inflammation in the body. It is composed primarily of organic leafy green vegetables, herbs and spices, root vegetables, onions, garlic, leek and chives, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages, beans, lentils and peas and nuts and seeds, combined with a small amount (a cup or two per day) of non-gluten grains such as rice. A serving of between two and four ounces of clean fish, organic poultry or grass-fed meat, several times per week, can be part of a healthy, alkaline oriented diet. Two to three pieces of whole fresh fruit a day help balance your vitamin and mineral consumption. The more of your vegetables and fruits you enjoy raw, the better.
Cancer cells use more glucose (sugar) per unit of time than other cells. Sugar metabolism creates acid, which also supports cancer progression. Further, a diet high in sugars, including fruits, triggers the insulin response. If you frequently eat sugar or fruit throughout the day, you suppress your immune function while increasing the insulin levels in your body, creating insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has been directly tied to cancer proliferation. Processed sugar depletes magnesium in the body, another contributor to cancer proliferation. High fructose corn syrup, because of its processing methodology, is high in mercury, a cancer-promoting toxin in the body. The recommendation to eliminate sugar includes sugar in all its forms, even "natural" sugars like honey and agave, as well as white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Enjoy unsweetened applesauce, two or three figs or dried apricots, or a piece of fresh pineapple if you need a sweet treat. Moderation with fruit is important, as fructose has been shown to increase the rate of cancer cell division as much as two-fold – more than other forms of sugar.