Anti-Cancer Diet

The whole concept of an "Anti-cancer diet" is to deprive cancer of what it needs to survive.  Cancer is a hardy, yet fragile, entity. 

Much more is known today, than ever before, about cancer cell physiology .  It has devised ways of hiding within the body, un-detected by the immune system. It is a bully when sharing nutrition with normal cells.  It survives in an oxygen free atmosphere.  It appears bionic yet cannot last long without food.

Therein lies the logic behind the anti-cancer diet.  Feed your normal cells but deprive the cancer cells.

Reno Integrative Medical Center Anti-cancer diet

The most research documented anti-cancer diet is the ketogenic diet.  In his book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, Thomas Seyfried, PhD, former researcher at Yale University, documents the cancer fighting benefits of this type of nutrition.  He was actually able to eliminate brain tumors in mice using only the ketogenic diet!

To understand why this anti-cancer diet is so helpful in fighting this disease, it is necessary to understand the abnormal mechanism that all cancers use to produce energy. 

Cancer's abnormal need for sugar

In 1931 a German physician/scientist, Otto Warburg MD, PhD, received a Nobel prize for proving that all cancer cells use anaerobic metabolism (burn sugar without using oxygen) to produce energy. 

  • The problem (for the cancer cell) is that anaerobic metabolism is 18 times less efficient than the aerobic (oxygen utilizing) metabolism that our normal cells use.  That means the cancer cells need 18 times more sugar than normal cells to grow and prosper. 
  • If they do not get this level of sugar on a second to second basis, they die. 

That being said, it is not possible to eliminate cancer by not eating sugar.  The main reason is the brain requires sugar on the same order of urgency as oxygen.

Training the body to use keytones for fuel rather than sugar

A ketogenic diet (one that generates ketones), consists of moderate protein (yes, including meat), high (healthy) fats, and very low carbohydrates and sugar. 

The most important aspect of generating higher levels of ketones and lower levels of sugar is that the brain can switch over to burning ketones to keep itself functioning. 

Cancer cells cannot, they must have simple sugars to survive. 

The idea, with a Ketogenic diet, is to train your body to gain its energy from fat rather than sugar. This conversion occurs metabolically.

Ketones are created by the liver and the body will use these, along with fat, to fuel the body.  

All carbohydrates in the diet (grains, bread, pasta, etc.) get turned into sugar by our digestive enzymes.

Examples of carbohydrates to avoid in a Ketogenic diet are:

Grain, rice, crackers, cereal, bread, legumes, beans, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, most fruit and fruit juices and of course, SUGAR.

Healthy Fats

Examples of healthy fats 

  • Saturated Fats- butter, whipping cream, full fat dairy, meat fat, cheese, fat from meat such as bacon, chicken fat, coconut oil, cream cheese, coconut and almond milks.
  • Monounsaturated fats- Olive oil, nut butters, olives, peanut oil
  • Unsaturated, Polyunsaturated fats- Nuts like Brazil, almond, macadamia. Fresh avocados as well as avocado mayonnaise. Nut butters and olives. Pumpkin seeds, eggs, poultry, Hemp oil, sesame oil. Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna and trout. Grapeseed oil, sunflower oil,  MCT oil. Flax seeds and cauliflower.

The particular benefits of consuming coconut oil on a regular basis are being revealed by current research.  Long viewed as a dangerous saturated fat, coconut oil is proving itself to be an extremely beneficial fat to include in one’s diet.

Coconut oil is composed of what is called medium chain triglycerides or MCT’s.  The body always burns these kinds of fats for energy and never deposits them in fat cells.  In fact, the burning of them for energy actually helps the body burn excess fat cells in the process.

Coconut oil also pushes the body into producing ketones which have been shown to help fight/prevent cancer.  Maintaining a low normal blood sugar and generating ketones has been proven, by a former Yale researcher, to produce a very inhospitable environment for cancer cells.  He was able to cure brain tumors in mice purely by feeding them a diet that stimulated ketone formation.  Normal function is maintained in the brain because it can burn ketones for energy while the cancer cannot.

In addition, coconut oil contains a compound called monolaurin which has been shown to have an anti-viral effect.

Avoid Trans fats

What are trans Fats?

An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fatty acid, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils.

Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them.

Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarine, crackers, cakes, pies, cookies, biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, microwave popcorn, doughnuts, fried fast food and  frozen pizza to name a few. 

How to tell if food has trans fats

A food label must list the ingredients in order of quantity, from most to least. If hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are listed early on the list and before polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, you know the product contains lots of trans fat.

The US FDA in 1999 proposed that the Nutrition Facts labels on vegetable shortenings and some cookies, crackers, margarines, and other foods may soon carry information about trans fatty acids, or trans fats.

Beyond requiring that some labels list the amount of trans fats in the food, the FDA rule would also define the term "trans fat free" and limits the use of certain nutrient or health claims related to fat content, such as "lean" and "low saturated fat."

In the realm of dietary dangers, trans fats rank very high. It has been estimated that trans fats are responsible for some 30,000 early deaths a year in the United States. Worldwide the toll of premature deaths is in the millions.

Edit your eating style

  • Chicken good- Fried NOT
  • Limit high carbohydrate sides
  • Meat and eggs good
  • Bread and Beans NOT

GREENS are always great

Fresh or powdered

Powdered greens can provide lots of vitamins and minerals as well as added nutrients such as probiotics, prebiotics, detoxification nutrients and disease-protective antioxidants.


Consume vegetables with fewer carbohydrates.

A good way to look at which vegetables to eat is ask, "Do they grow above ground or below ground?" 

Vegetables grown below ground include: beets, potatoes, carrots, sweet potato and onion are higher in Carbohydrate content.

Vegetables above ground would include: Lettuce, spinach, asparagus, olives, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, all sprouts.


  • Berries are rich in anti-oxidants. 
  • You are encouraged to eat blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
  • Green apple (Granny Smith) has less sugar

Dairy Products

  • Kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, heavy whipping cream or half and half, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese.


  • Beef, poultry, lamb, pork, fish, shellfish, egg


  • WATER- Consume lots of water
  • Herbal Tea
  • 2 TBS. apple cider vinegar per day. Mixed with water and stevia as tea or as a salad dressing.
  • Broth- Bone, chicken, turkey or beef
  • Fresh celery juice is excellent


  • 1/2 green apple with almond, peanut or cashew butter
  • smoothie/shake with water, bone broth, protein powder(low in carbs) berries, greens, hemp oil. Can add cinnamon for yummy flavor. Avocado for thicker consistency
  • Whipped cream with berries. (Sweeten with Stevia)
  • Raw cocoa can be added to whipped cream and sweetened with stevia.

Healthy Beginnings Magazine article on Fats in the Diet

Many believe that a diet high in alkaline is the key to decreasing cancer growth.  The normal body has an ebb and flow in its' environmental physiology.  It requires a balance in acid and alkaline to function properly.  More on Ph and health.

Another point to remember, cancer cells, through their metabolism, produce high acid levels in the body.  It is not the acid that produces cancer.

The research is in and it proves an anti-cancer diet that reduces glucose and elevates blood ketones will contribute to starving glucose dependent tumor cells. 

Leaky Gut and how it affects the immune system

Leaky Gut Causes

Ketogenic Diet for Cancer

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