Eat Smart, Beat Cancer: The Diet That Helps Zap Tumors and Eases Chemo Side Effects

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with over 2 million new cases diagnosed per year. And even with successful treatment, many women suffer toxic damage from the chemotherapy designed to save their lives.

That’s why researchers have spent decades looking for a better way, and it looks like they may have found it…

It turns out that dietary intervention has the power to protect cells against the DNA damage caused by chemotherapy — but even more exciting is that it’s been shown to boost the tumor-shrinking effects of cancer treatment, too.

Cancer growth factors in a normal diet

Breast cancer, like so many other types of cancer, requires certain nutrients or growth factors in order to take over, continue to spread and, sometimes, evade the currently available treatments we hope will destroy it.

And since these nutrients that fuel cancer growth come from dietary sources (like sugar), it’s easy to see why previous studies have looked into the effects of short-term fasting on cancer treatment. In that research, short-term fasting was shown to protect tumor-bearing mice against the toxic effects of chemotherapy, while enhancing therapeutic efficacy.

Related: Sugar’s cancer-causing secret exposed

But let’s face it… fasting is tough!

Who wants to give up food completely for not just hours but sometimes days or a week at a time?

That’s where the fasting mimicking diet comes in

Researchers knew that while fasting worked, it could be too much of a challenge for people to stick to. So, they decided to go back to the mice to see if a diet that was designed to mimic fasting, while not actually having to give up food, could offer the same level of benefits.

When they checked it out, sure enough, they found that the diet did increase the efficacy of cancer treatment, just like they were hoping it would.

Then, they moved on to humans, although ones without cancer.

And in human tests, researchers found that using a fasting mimicking diet (FMD) decreased two growth factors that support cancer — insulin and insulin-like growth factor — by limiting protein and glucose intake. According to the scientists, protein and glucose don’t just encourage cancer growth, they’re “essential nutrients for cancer survival.”

Putting it to the test against cancer

Since things were going so well, the researchers decided to really put the diet to the test by comparing its effects in patients with breast cancer.

Known as the DIRECT study and led by scientists from Leiden University Medical Centre and Breast Cancer Research Group, its results now give us a window into just how much of a role diet plays in treatment outcomes.

Related: How intermittent fasting keeps diabetes, heart disease and cancer away

The study involved 131 patients, half who stuck to the fasting mimicking diet three days before and on the day of chemotherapy. The others went on with their usual dietary routine.

And here’s what they found:

  • The breast cancer tumor was more likely to shrink in patients receiving the FMD. In other words, the diet increased the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
  • Following the FMD significantly curtailed DNA damage in white blood cells — a result the researchers say suggests that the diet helps to protect against chemotherapy-induced cellular damage.

How to follow the fasting mimicking diet

The fasting mimicking diet was developed by Dr. Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.

It’s basically modified fasting. Rather than skipping food altogether, you eat small amounts but in a way that your body still “thinks” you’re fasting.

Related: The reason diabetes raises cancer risk

Generally, you stick to the diet for five days (and Dr. Longo now sells diet packs that meet all of your nutrition needs during the fast). The amount of carbs and protein during the diet is very small but the intake of fat is high.

The goal for your calorie intake is about 40 percent of normal — which is pretty extreme.

After five days on, you can return to your regular diet for a 25-day “re-feeding” timeframe and then do it all again if you choose.

If you want to put the power of the fasting mimicking diet to work for you, check out Dr. Longo’s site, Recipes of Longevity. He discusses the diet for use during cancer treatment and for prevention.

Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!


First results of fasting mimicking diet to support cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy — Medical Xpress
What You Need to Know About The Fasting-Mimicking Diet — Fullscript