Should fruit be consumed when you have cancer?
By Mark Simon, Director Nutritional Oncology Research Institute
I trust that the information provided will help educate, empower and encourage cancer patients and their support team in making wise and informed choices in their healing journey.
Due to a very high volume of inquiries on the NORI protocol, the ebook publication has been delayed. NORI will have the free ebook available in July.
Disclaimer: The information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. One should consult with a qualiﬁed healthcare professional prior to embarking on dietary changes, taking herbs and nutritional supplements or making any changes to medications.
This articles focus is on the issue that constantly arises when I speak with patients or health practitioners. There is a perception among alternative doctors and nutritionists that cancer patients should not consume any fruit or only a very small amount. The belief is that the fruit sugars will feed cancer cells and thus drive tumor growth.
It is well known and accepted that cancer cells have a voracious appetite for glucose but there is much more to this picture. The recommendation to not eat fruit is based on a misguided assumption that fruit equals sugar and sugar feeds cancer. Reﬁned table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup is a major problem partially responsible for our obesity epidemic and rising rates of diabetes. Most fruits are low on the glycemic index meaning that eating fruit does not elevate blood glucose rapidly compared to simple sugars or reﬁned carbohydrates.
The NORI protocol does not allow consumption of fruit juices which can rapidly raise blood glucose and insulin. Unfortunately, fruit has been thrown into the evil carbohydrate bag. Excesses of reﬁned sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white ﬂour, and french fries is a nutritional disaster. Fresh fruit and even frozen fruit can not be compared to processed foods stripped of ﬁber, vitamins, enzymes, minerals and phytonutrients.
Cancer cells consume about 14 times more glucose than normal cells. This is because cancer cells have damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria. This is also referred to the Warburg effect and is why tumors light up on a PET scan. In normal cells, the mitochondria convert pyruvate to ATP (energy currency) in a highly efﬁcient but complex chain of metabolic steps. This is called oxidative phosphorylation or otherwise known as the TCA cycle. When the cancer cell is unable to generate sufﬁcient ATP through the TCA cycle, glycolysis is up-regulated. Glycolysis does not require oxygen and produces only two ATP molecules per molecule of glucose. The byproduct of glycolysis is lactic acid which is released into the tumor microenvironment.
Insulin is a tumor growth promoter so it is essential that high insulin and insulin spikes are avoided. This is accomplished by avoiding reﬁned sugars and carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. In addition, insulin sensitivity must be optimized and the way to accomplish this is to limit total fat intake. Excess fat builds up within muscle cells (intramyocellular lipids) which blocks the signal from the outer cell membrane insulin receptor. Eating fruit and high fat will result in poor glucose regulation and high insulin. Excess body fat also factors into the equation. There is a strong association between cancer and diabetes. The dietary aspect of the NORI protocol is designed to limit the intake of the amino acid, methionine. Fruits have the lowest levels of methionine on a calorie basis. Most vegetables are low in methionine but do not provide sufﬁcient caloric value. Fresh fruits are highly nutritious foods in terms of ﬁber, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.
So, why should one totally avoid or highly limit a perfect and health promoting food?
There is no logical reason except for a misguided fear that the fruit sugar will feed cancer.
Many patients that have contacted NORI have been on the so called “ketogenic diet” and everyone has not experienced beneﬁt in terms of limiting or halting tumor progression. The idea of limiting carbohydrates to lower blood glucose in order to starve cancer cells is wishful thinking. Cancer cells consume both glucose and glutamine for energy. Blood glucose can be lowered only so far or all of our cells would not survive. The real ketogenic diet that has been clinically studied for treating a form of brain cancer consists of 95% coconut oil. Trying to emulate this with intake of fatty animal products does not work and is counterproductive.
In conclusion, eating an abundance of fruit is health promoting, a preventive strategy for many degenerative diseases and is completely in harmony with nature.
Wishing everyone the best of health, happiness, peace and abundance,
80-10-10 by Dr. Doug Graham Vibrance Magazine www.vibrancemagazine.com
Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal Barnard
Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Thomas Seyfried (Excellent book for doctors or researchers but the author is a proponent of the ketogenic diet)
Nutritional Oncology Research Institute
Westlake Village, CA, USA