Cancer: Humans Need Plant Matter

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.

Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.

It may never be possible to extract the precise symphony of nutrients found in vegetation and place it in a pill. Isolated nutrients extracted from food may never offer the same level of disease-protective effects of whole natural foods, as nature “designed” them. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, which work in subtle synergies, and many of these nutrients cannot be isolated or extracted. Phytochemicals from a variety of plant foods work together to become much more potent at detoxifying carcinogens and protecting against cancer than when taken individually as isolated compounds. Continue Reading...

Meat: Grill, Fry, or Broil it?

It seems neither. A new study claims that grilled, fried, or broiled meat contain toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs). And, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that AGEs can lead to a myriad of serious health problems, like diabetes and vascular disease. Here’s more:
Grilled, fried or broiled animal products such as meats and cheeses contain a class of toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs), which have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease, say a team from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City…


…"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," senior author Dr. Helen Vlassara, professor of medicine and geriatrics, and director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai, said in a prepared statement.

"So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking," Vlassara said.
Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear. Too much meat and other animal products can contribute to serious health problems, namely cancer and cardiovascular disease. Here are couple posts that highlight this connection:
Okay, back to cooking foods. Does it really matter how we prepare our food? Be it animal or vegetable-based. Well for starters, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t thinking frying is a good idea. He explains why in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Water-based cooking is the preferred way to cook because you can avoid cancer-causing acrylamides that are created when foods are browned by baking or frying.


Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
Now, recently I asked Dr. Fuhrman if acrylamides show up in other foods, like cooked meats, specifically barbecued meat. No surprise here, his answer was yes. Actually, he pointed out that acrylamides form in all foods. Check out this study from the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition, it sheds some light on the development of acrylamides:
The exact chemical mechanism(s) for acrylamide formation in heated foods is unknown. Several plausible mechanistic routes may be suggested, involving reactions of carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, lipids and probably also other food components as precursors. With the data and knowledge available today it is not possible to point out any specific routes, or to exclude any possibilities. It is likely that a multitude of reaction mechanisms is involved. Acrolein is one strong precursor candidate, the origin of which could be lipids, carbohydrates or proteins/amino acids. Acrylamide is a reactive molecule and it can readily react with various other components in the food. The actual acrylamide level in a specific food product, therefore, probably reflects the balance between ease of formation and potential for further reactions in that food matrix. There are indications in support of that the Maillard reaction being an important reaction route for acrylamide formation, but lipid degradation pathways to the formation of acrolein should also be considered.
At this point it kind of seems like a basic math equation. If too many animal products are bad and eating overly cooked food is also bad, then putting the two of them together has got to be really bad, right? Well, it sure seems that way. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman considers barbequed meat (and cheese) one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. From the book:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.


Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.
So, will people heed these warnings and cut back on the amount of animal products they eat and be careful not to dangerously cook their food? My guess, probably not, especially with this kind of rhetoric kicking around the blogosphere. Like LivinLaVidaLowCarb’s ringing endorsement of frying meat in butter—sadly, I’m not kidding. Proceed with caution:
I agree with the advice to shun the fried foods specifically because of the breading. But if you want to fry up your meat in a pan full of butter, then knock yourself out. It’s a healthy way to enjoy that succulent protein-loaded food.


While it’s nice to bake, broil, and especially grill meats, don’t fall for the illusion that cooking these ways is any healthier than cooking meat in fat. Avoid the trans fats, of course, but you shouldn’t worry about saturated fats as long as you are livin’ la vida low-carb.
Take a moment to note that butter is also on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the seven worst foods. Okay, it gets worse. Check out this quote from Carbohydrate Addict, apparently this Atkins dieter thinks grilled-cheese is fabulous—sigh. Here it is:
I think one of the reasons Atkins was so perfect for me was because I was on low fat/low cholesterol for sooooo many years. All of the forbidden foods suddenly became okay to eat without guilt and my cholesterol is finally FABULOUS. I'm still on a high when I eat them! Egg salad, bacon, chicken wings, mac and cheese, grilled cheese.... YUM!
Yum? For bacon and egg salad? Whoa! What a world we live in. Reading rants like this makes me think about the opposite. What does eating a lot of fruits and vegetables do for us? Well, when you’re talking health and disease-prevention, Dr. Fuhrman explains they’re the best! From Fruits and Veggies vs. Diabetes and Colon Cancer:
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.


These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
And here’s more, from Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable? Take a look:
The Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications.


During the two years that the Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been under research study by the University of Southern California, patients have shown an average weight loss of forty-nine pounds, the most sustained weight loss ever recorded in a medical study in history.

In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.5
Continue Reading...

Breastfeeding Protects Against Breast Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman is a big advocate of breastfeeding. He believes it is an essential human function. It’s also a pretty popular topic here on DiseaseProof. Here are a couple good posts on breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding makes headlines at least a couple times a month. Like this for example. ParentDish relays new research claiming that breastfeeding may prevent breast cancer. Take a look:
[Breastfeeding] helps reduce the breast cancer risk for women who wait until after 25 to have children, as previous research has found that these women are more prone to the disease. In fact, after analyzing data on a number of women aged 55 and older, doctors found that breastfeeding help ward off breast cancer regardless of what age the women started giving birth.


Seeing as the average age for starting a family is 25, and current trends indicate the majority of women are waiting until they're older to have kids, this information seems particularly relevant.
Dr. Fuhrman would agree. In Disease-Proof Your Child he echoes similar sentiments. Check it out:
Nursing helps protect against breast cancer. During lactation, the secretion of estrogens in a woman’s body falls to virtually nil, and continuing to breast-feed for a prolonged period has a significant effect on resetting her estrogen to a lower level thereafter.1 Maximum protection is achieved after breast-feeding for approximately two years, which corresponds with the baby’s immunologic development, maximizing protection against disease for the baby as well. So breast-feeding plays a role in protecting both the baby the mother from developing cancer.


The American Cancer Society reports that reports that approximately 200,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United Stats in 2002 and about 40,000 breast cancer deaths occurred.2 Despite extensive research and the establishment of breast cancer screening programs, these statistics have changed little in the past four decades. We must attack this disease at its roots and stop so much unnecessary suffering and death.
I’m not sure you can say it any better than that.
Continue Reading...

Anti-Cancer: Broccoli and Soy

The Cancer Blog passes on a report exploring the anti-cancer effects of broccoli and soy. Check it out:
The researchers are convinced that there is a biological mechanism behind the protective effect. It is explained in the article that a compound resulting from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isofavone in soy, reduce the two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancer to spread…

… The study found that when cancer cells were treated with high levels of compounds found in broccoli and soy, the drawing mechanism to the organs was reduced by 80 percent compared to untreated cells.
Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables for a long time. Here’s a post about it. From "A Symphony of Phytonutrients" from Cruciferous Vegetables:
Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
What makes these studies even more fascinating is the discovery of the gene/diet interaction, which has shown that high intake of greens and cruciferous vegetables provides the food factors necessary to interact with--and prevent--genetic defects from creating disease. This gene/diet interaction activates a battery of many genes, initiating DNA repair and other protection mechanisms.
Makes me feel good about my baby spinach addiction.
Continue Reading...

HealthDay News: Veggies Good, Cured Meats Bad

Here are a couple of great reports from HealthDay News. First up, Jeffrey Perkel explains that cured meats have been linked to the development of lung cancer:
Using data compiled as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study authors found a statistical association between people who ate 14 or more servings monthly of cured meats and the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This held true even after the researchers factored in such variables as age, smoking, and the amount of fruits and vegetables in the subjects' diets.


"People who eat 14 or more servings of cured meat per month have about an 80 percent increased odds of COPD versus people who don't eat cured meat at all," Dr. Rui Jiang, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City said.

And, the more cured meats a person eats a month, on average, the higher the risk of COPD, the study said.
Not exactly new news for DiseaseProof, in a previous post Dr. Fuhrman calls pickled, smoked, and barbecued meats one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity:

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Now, in related news, Serena Gordon of HealthDay News reports that fruits and vegetables help fight off cancer. Read on:
A trio of new studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on Sunday found that vegetables and fruits help lower your chances of getting head and neck, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.


One of the studies even found that just one additional serving of vegetables or fruits could help lower the risk of head and neck cancer. Still, the more fruits and vegetables you can consume, the better.

"Those who ate six servings of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories had a 29 percent decreased risk relative to those who had 1.5 servings," said Neal Freedman, a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute and author of one of the studies.
Again, this is not exactly earth-shattering research for DiseaseProof. In this next post Dr. Fuhrman explains that cancer is a disease resulting from fruit and vegetable deficiency. Here’s more:
Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease.
In the end, it’s still cool when the media echoes what Dr. Fuhrman has been saying for years.

Why We Are Losing the War on Cancer: New Approach Needed

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Clearly, the time is ripe to direct our attention to the causes of disease. Both cancer and heart disease can be effectively prevented. If we take a careful look at the scientific evidence, there is no doubt that the most powerful weapon we have to defeat the current epidemic of deaths in the modern world is nutritional excellence. We must redirect our efforts away from detection and treatment (which most often is futile) and toward prevention.

If the billions of dollars spent on cancer drug research were redirected into campaigns of public awareness and education about the nutritional and environmental causes of cancer, we could have a nation with a bright new health future. I look forward to the day when scientists, physicians, governments, businesses, and educators work together to educate the public that they do not have to die needlessly.

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Why We Are Losing the War on Cancer: Cancer Rates to Soar

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Cancer rates are set to increase at an alarming rate globally, according to the World Cancer Report. This comprehensive global examination of cancer presented by the World Health Organization predicts rates to increase 50 percent by 2020. This may be good news for drug companies that will profit from the increased sale of cancer therapies as a result of the worldwide spread of cancer-promoting diet, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking. But it is bad news for the rest of us. Right now the chance of getting cancer in a developed country with a high consumption of meat, dairy, and processed food is over twice as high as developing nations. However, with increasing wealth and the exportation of America’s toxic diet, the gap is rapidly narrowing.

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Why We Are Losing the War on Cancer: Failure of Treatment

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Excluding the high rate of lung cancer in smokers, the two most prevalent cancers in modern societies are breast and colon cancer in women, and prostate and colon cancer in men. Both the incidence of, and the death rate from, these common cancers have shown no significant decrease between 1930 and today. In other words, modern cancer detection and treatment methods have not changed the percentage of people dying from these common cancers.1 For example, in spite of the dramatic rise in the use of mammograms and interventions to treat breast cancer, the same number of women develop and die from breast cancer, at the same general age, as they did thirty years ago. We have lost the war on cancer.

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Why We Are Losing the War on Cancer: The Diet/Disease Link

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Data collected in the last forty years has generally led to the same conclusion: a high-calorie, high-fat, low-fiber, and low-nutrient diet increases heart attacks, strokes, and cancer risk at all ages. An increasing number of scientific organizations in the United States—including the National Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society, and the Department of Health and Human Services—support this conclusion and have issued (somewhat tepid) dietary guidelines for the general public aimed at reducing the risk of cancer as well as other chronic diseases.

The chief response of modern society to the growth of these diseases of dietary foolishness has been to invest billions of dollars into the development and testing of a seeming never-ending stream of drugs to treat cancer patients and high-tech surgical techniques to treat heart patients. But after pouring these billions into charities and other institutions that support this drug and surgery approach, the sad fact is that the death rate continues unabated. This ill-advised search for “cures” for easily-preventable diseases is not unlike the search for the fountain of youth in the fourteenth century.

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