War Against Cancer, Serve Beef?

Sounds pretty silly—right? Especially since the consumption of red meat is directly linked to the development of cancer. Now I don’t take my word for it. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman points to this study (one of many studies referenced in the book) that illustrates the red meat-cancer connection. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms. Int. J. Cancer 86:425-428, 2000
Apparently the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation didn’t get the memo, because they seem to associate themselves with some very beefy fundraisers. Ray Kellosalmi of Globe and Mail Update reports:
In the past couple of years, a number of rodeos across Canada, most notably the Calgary Stampede, have taken part in a fundraising campaign for the CBCF called Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Supported by the Wrangler clothing company, the campaign raises money through the sale of pink Wrangler shirts and other pink-themed merchandise, a percentage of which goes to the CBCF.


Everyone seems to benefit. Wrangler's brand is promoted and the CBCF gets money for cancer research. And the rodeo can associate itself with a worthy cause — quite handy to blunt criticism over its controversial treatment of animals (although one anti-rodeo activist recently told a Calgary newspaper that it was like putting pink icing on a cow pat).

But, while the CBCF joins the cowboys, cattle producers and meat companies at rodeo barbecues across the country, shouldn't it consider the health implications of the product it is indirectly helping to promote? In 2007 alone, several pieces of research have made connections between meat consumption and breast cancer.

(via The Cancer Blog)
I don’t find this all that surprising because after all, can’t you just hear the low-carbers saying, “No! But, uh, beef taste good. Me chew beef. Duh!" Oh! Check this out. If you're a guy, beef is especially worrisome: Beef Bad for the Boys.
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Sunlight, Strong Medicine

Even though I burn like an Irishman, I still try my best to get plenty of sun. Be it fishing or a long walk through Central Park, I get out there. And it’s a good thing, because according to Dr. Fuhrman getting adequate sun is potent cancer fighter. In Vitamin D and Cancer he explains why:
Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.
Now, I grew up in the Super Mario era. So as a kid I spent plenty of time in doors, but, my parents did do a good job of getting my butt outside. And I’m glad they did, because a new study links childhood sunlight exposure to a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
"Evidence is building up that something in relation to sunlight and/or vitamin D exposure during childhood may play a protective role," said study co-author Dr. Thomas M. Mack, of the department of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. "It's now been suggested by several different studies that this is the case, and if it's true, it would be important."


The study is published in the July 24 issue of Neurology.

The findings echo those of a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, released in December and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That study found that among 140 white men and women, those with the highest levels of sunlight-derived vitamin D were 62 percent less likely to have developed MS than those with the lowest levels. The finding was not replicated in a smaller patient pool of either blacks or Hispanics, however.
Makes me want to move to Key West stat!

Low Cholesterol and Cancer, Linked?

Admittedly, I don’t know much about this. But apparently some scientists believe if cholesterol is too low, there’s an increased risk of cancer. Take this study for example. New research provides evidence for a link between low LDL levels and cancer risk. More from EurekAlert:
The authors of the study, published in the July 31, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), set out to understand how and why statins cause side effects, particularly damage to the liver and muscle cells. The study findings support taking multiple medications rather than high-dose statins to minimize those side effects. The researchers did not expect to find the increased cancer risk (one additional incident per 1,000 patients) from low LDL levels, and additional studies have already begun to investigate this potential risk further. A key component in future studies will be to confirm the risk and to identify whether the risk may be a side effect of statins or just low LDL.


“This analysis doesn’t implicate the statin in increasing the risk of cancer,” said lead author Richard H. Karas, M.D., F.A.C.C., professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. “The demonstrated benefits of statins in lowering the risk of heart disease remain clear; however, certain aspects of lowering LDL with statins remain controversial and merit further research.”

The researchers found one additional incident of cancer per 1,000 patients with low LDL levels when compared to patients with higher LDL levels. In their evaluation of randomized controlled statin trials published before November 2005, the researchers looked at 13 treatment arms consisting of 41,173 patients.
(via The Diabetes Blog)
Now, as an Eat to Liver I know my vegetable-based diet is working to reduce my cholesterol to disease-proofing range. So naturally, this research doesn’t make much sense to me. In order to clear this up—and basically shoot down this study—I dug up this post: Can Cholesterol Be Too Low? Here’s an excerpt:
There was some controversy years ago about striving for lower, protective cholesterol levels after some studies in the eighties noted that depression, suicide, hemorrhagic stroke, cancer, and death from other causes, were higher in some groups with very low cholesterol groups. Larger, recent investigations studying larger populations did not confirm these questionable findings.


When investigators looked more carefully at the individual characteristics of the studied populations they were able to explain the earlier findings. This issue is complicated because these studies evaluated individuals who were eating the modern American diet, rich in saturated fat and other components of animal products that raise cholesterol, and low in plant derived anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids that improve cholesterol ratios. Those who demonstrated very low (ideal) cholesterol levels, while following the traditional, modern, cholesterol-promoting diet, may actually have a compromised health status or undetected chronic disease.

For instance, we know cancer causes less cholesterol production in the liver. Low cholesterol may be associated with cancer, but does not cause it. Researchers showed that cholesterol starts to fall up to 8 years prior to a person dying of cancer, and that those with the greatest drop in cholesterol in a 4 year period without dietary improvements to lower cholesterol were those most likely to develop cancer.1 The low cholesterol did not cause the cancer; the cancer caused the low cholesterol. Those who work to lower cholesterol by avoiding saturated fats, eating a high nutrient diet with lots of raw vegetables, cooked green vegetables, and beans do not have a pathological condition causing their low cholesterol. They earned it.

This is why in rural China where the diets are nearly vegetarian, the average cholesterol levels are low and you see lower cancer rates, not higher. Those with the lowest cholesterol in the China study actually had the lowest cancer rates as well. Obviously, there is a difference between one who has a low cholesterol because his dietary style earns it, and one whose cholesterol seems unjustifiably low on a modern heart-disease-promoting diet that almost everyone in the west eats.
Now in my humble— and very layman—opinion, the above study is just the kind of junk science that misinforms people and leads them down the path of disease and premature death. Consider this: Increased Risk of Cancer Associated with The Atkins Diet.
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Green Salad Is Less than 100 Calories per Pound

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Did you notice that 100 calories of broccoli is about ten ounces of food, and 100 calories of ground sirloin is less than one ounce of food? With green vegetables you can get filled up, even stuffed, yet you will not be consuming excess calories. Animal products, on the other hand, are calorie-dense and relatively low in nutrients, especially the crucial anti-cancer nutrients.

What would happen if you attempted to eat like a mountain gorilla, which eats about 80 percent of its diet from green leaves and about 15 percent from fruit? Assuming you are a female, who needs about 1,500 calories a day, if you attempted to get 1,200 of those calories from greens, you would need to eat over fifteen pounds of greens. That is quite a big salad! Since your stomach can only hold about one liter of food (or a little over a quart), you would have a problem fitting it all in.

You would surely get lots of protein from this gorilla diet. In fact, with just five pounds of greens you would exceed the RDA for protein and would get loads of other important nutrients. The problem with this gorilla diet is that you would develop a calorie deficiency. You would become too thin. Believe it or not, I do not expect you to eat exactly like a gorilla. However, the message to take home is that the more of these healthy green vegetables (both raw and cooked) you eat, the healthier you will be and the thinner you will become.

Now let’s contrast this silly and extreme gorilla example to another silly and extreme way of eating, the American diet.

If you attempt to follow the perverted diet that most Americans eat, or even if you follow the precise recommendations of the USDA’s pyramid—six to eleven servings of bread, rice, and pasta (consumed as 98 percent refined grains by Americans) with four to six servings of dairy, meat, poultry, or fish—you would be eating a diet rich in calories but extremely low in nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins. You would be overfed and malnourished, the precise nutritional profile that causes heart disease and cancer.

Coffee and Disease

Healthy Eating is blogging about coffee, cancer, arteriosclerosis, and dehydration. Check it out:
A new study published in the June 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined whether high coffee consumption (>2 cups a day) contributed to arteriosclerosis - the thickening and stiffening of the blood vessels that transport oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Following 228 healthy subjects over the course of a year, researchers found that those who drank the most coffee experienced greater hardening of the arteries - and particularly the aorta (the major artery that feeds blood to the rest of the arteries) - than their non-coffee drinking peers.


This is bad news for java junkies as arteriosclerosis can increase blood pressure as well as the risk of heart attack and stroke. Combine this with coffee's effect on homocysteine - raising levels of an amino acid associated with cardiovascular disease - and you've got a brewing health threat, particularly for those with a family history of heart disease.

Finally, as reported in a previous issue of the DNN, men who drink four or more cups of coffee a day dramatically increase their risk of bladder cancer. A Dutch oncologist who examined the link predicted that up to a third of bladder cancers could be prevented by the elimination of coffee consumption.

Red 2G Axed in England and Ireland

Last week we learned Red 2G—used to make processed meats look red—causes cancer. Well the Brits and Irish don’t muck around. They’ve banded it! The Cancer Blog passes on the news:
When consumed, the Red 2G breaks down to analine in the intestines and is thought to cause cancer. The dye has been banned in many other countries for some time. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently reached the conclusion that even a small amount of the coloring was toxic enough to cause concern, thus the ban of the Red 2g.
Yet another reason why the only meat I eat is fish.

Junk Science: Fruits and Veggies Not Good For Cancer

Yup, can you hear it in the distance? The dangerously food-addicted are rejoicing. Because according to new junk science—oops, I mean “research”—eating lots of fruits and veggies doesn’t protect against breast cancer—yawn. So, if you like a good laugh. Reuters reports:
The study tracked 3,088 U.S. women. Half followed a diet with the widely recommended five daily servings of vegetables and fruit. The other half ate a diet doubling that intake.


Those who consumed twice the vegetables and fruit in a diet also high in fiber and low in fat were no less likely to avoid a recurrence of breast cancer or death than the women who followed the five-a-day diet.

The women, all of whom had been treated successfully for early-stage breast cancer, participated in the study from 1995 to 2000 at seven places in California, Texas, Arizona and Oregon. They were followed for between six and 11 years…

…The researchers emphasized nutrient-dense vegetables like dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots, and did not count vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and white potatoes.

The researchers said the study did not look at whether eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in fat earlier in life would reduce the risk of ever getting breast cancer.
Oops! Sorry, I almost nodded off. Reports like this are boring—but typical! One day fruit is good, next day it’s bad. Then veggies are up, and then their down. It’s like a rollercoaster of junk science and all it does is confuse people—want the truth? Dr. Fuhrman offers it up in 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.
I’m with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. Plant foods are nutritional heavy weights—take green vegetables for example. But, since this report is buzzing around the newswires and thumping the bloglines, I figured I’d ask Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts. And here’s what he had to say:
This reminds me of something that happens with some of my new patients.


The patient comes back to see me after six weeks of supposedly following the diet I prescribed and not only hadn't they lost weight, but they had gained.

I said are you sure you are eating the exact diet I told you to follow? And the following ensues:
Patient: "Of course, I ate all that stuff!"


Me: "And nothing else?"

Patient: "You mean I was not supposed to eat my old diet too?"
These people actually gained weight and ate more fat as the study progressed. And the people who have actually read my materials know three critical facts:
1. A high cruciferous diet, with lots of raw greens is the only effective nutritional intervention for women who already have breast cancer.


2. The natural history of breast cancer which is caused by early life standard American diet cannot be changed by moderate changes, later in life.

3. A healthy diet has a high nutrient-per-calorie density, which means that empty calories and extra body weight has a significant negative impact on your health, even if you consume healthy foods along with it.
But hey! Maybe you need more convincing? Now, I’m no doctor, but here’s my professional advice. Get yourself some nice ripe pieces of fruit or some crisp veggies—right now I’m munching on some cantaloupe—kick back, and check out these posts for more information on how plant foods help protect us from all diseases, not just cancer. Enjoy:
Now don’t be shy. This is only a quick list of posts. Be sure to check out DiseaseProof’s categories. There you’ll find a lot more content—I know, I wrote most of them—the Cancer, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease categories are particularly good. Oh, and if you want to know just how much fruits and veggies you should be eating, take a look at this:



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Cancer and Red Food Coloring

Well, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if it was. According to a new study food coloring Red 2G—which is often added to meat products—may cause cancer. Reuters reports:
Tests using animals indicated that aniline, a substance into which Red 2G is converted in the body, might cause cancer in animals and humans, possibly hitting the genetic material of cells, the EU main food safety body said in a statement.


“It is therefore not possible to determine a level of intake for aniline which may be regarded as safe for humans,” EFSA said.

(via Vegetarian Organic Life Blog)
Coincidently, just last week I blogged about Dr. Fuhrman’s suggestion for all those craving the red of red meat; Cravings: Red Color = Red Meat.

NY Times on Caffeine

Anna Jane Grossman of The New York Times examines the plight of caffeine in the United States; past, present, and, its newfound topical applications? I’m serious. Take a look:
Now drugstore shelves, which once had few things caffeine-related, save perhaps the odd mug cozy or cappuccino-scented candle, are offering an array of skin care products containing the beloved stimulant.


The 20th century was a confusing time for caffeine. The Food and Drug Administration vacillated on whether it was good or bad for you. Sanka was created, but so was the frappuccino. The new millennium, however, is shaping up to be a good one for it…

… In 2002, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study led by Dr. Conney that used caffeine to kill off skin cancer sells on radiated mice. The results were promising, especially if you’re a mouse living in a coffee urn.

“Although caffeine has a sunscreen effect, it also has a biological effect of causing apoptosis — programmed cell death — in UVB-damaged skin cells and in tumors but not in normal skin or in areas adjacent to tumors in tumor-bearing mice,” Dr. Conney said in an e-mail message. “To the best of my knowledge, caffeine and caffeine sodium benzoate are the first examples of substances that have both a sunscreen effect and enhance cell death in a DNA-damaged tissue.”
Okay, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine consumption from Eat to Live and Disease-Proof Your Child:
Eat to Live
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2


Disease-Proof Your Child
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
And now, Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine and cancer from Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Coffee Enemas:
Caffeinated beverages delivered rectally are not health-supporting and cannot detoxify your body any more effectively than rinsing your mouth with them and then spitting them out. At least two deaths have been linked to coffee enemas, attributed to hyponatremia and dehydration. There is also a risk of contamination from unsanitary equipment used to administer enemas. For example, one outbreak of Campylobacter sepsis occurred among clients at a border clinic in Mexico that offered coffee enemas, and an outbreak of amebiasis was also linked to fecal contamination of an enema-delivery system.
Alight, that’s reason enough for me not to believe the hype—what about you?
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Don't Bash the Tomato!

As an Italian—I admit—I overreact when people bash the tomato, figuratively and especially literally! But this kind of “research” really peeves me. Apparently studies have determined that lypocene does not prevent cancer. Here’s the scoop from the AFP:
The FDA's review, which appears in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, refutes numerous studies which have pointed to a link between ingesting lycopene and cutting cancer risk.


The "analysis found no credible evidence that lycopene, either in food or in a dietary supplement, was associated with reduced risk of any of the cancers evaluated," according to chief researcher Claudine Kavanaugh.

The review "found no evidence that tomatoes reduced the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, cervical or endometrial cancer."
And in case you’re like me—and learn better with pictures—check out this ABC News video report:


Oh what the heck, what’s one more report? Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times presents Lycopene Does Not Fight Off Prostate Cancer, Study Shows:
The study included 28,243 men, 55 to 74 years old, who were recruited as part of a larger cancer screening. The researchers measured blood concentrations of lycopene, beta carotene, lutein and other carotenoids in 692 randomly selected men in the sample who later developed prostate cancer, and 844 men who did not.


After controlling for other variables, the scientists found no link between prostate cancer and blood concentrations of lycopene or other carotenoids, except that men with the highest blood levels of beta carotene were somewhat more likely to suffer from aggressive disease than those with the lowest concentrations.
Articles like this are rampant; claiming that one particular vitamin or mineral doesn’t do what we thought it does, in this case protect against cancer, but as Dr. Fuhrman will tell you. This is a dumb way of looking at it; one vitamin won’t save the day. You must consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes—bio-diversity! After all, Monkeys Don’t Sit Under Banana Trees Eating Bananas All Day:
All primates, including humans, are driven to consume food from a variety of categories. Contrary to popular belief, a monkey does not sit under a banana tree eating bananas all day. He eats bananas and then may travel half a mile away to find a different type of food. He has an innate drive to consume variety; just satisfying the caloric drive is not enough. Likewise, children [or humans] will not be satisfied with eating only one or two foods; they will want to eat a portion of one food and want another type of food. As a higher-order animal with a bigger brain, we search for a variety of nutrient sources, and this variety assures that we get the broad assortment of nutrients that increases our immune function and longevity potential.
In the interest of preserving the good name of the tomato, here are a few posts singing its praises:
And just to spite all the tomato bashers out there—I’M PUTTING EXTRA TOMATO ON MY SALAD TONIGHT!

Increasing the Survival of Cancer Patients

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

It would be difficult for anyone to disagree that superior nutrition has a protective effect against cancer. The question that remains is: Can optimal nutrition or nutritional intervention be an effective therapeutic approach for patients who already have cancer? Can the diet you eat make a difference if you have cancer? Scientific data indicates that the answer is yes.

Researchers looking for answers to these questions studied women with cancer and found that saturated fat in the diet promoted a more rapid spread of the cancer.1 Other researchers found similar results. For a women who already has cancer, her risk of dying increased 40 percent for every 1,000 grams of fat consumed monthly.2 Studies also indicate that high fruit and vegetable intake improved survival, and fat on the body increases the risk of a premature death.3

Similar findings are found in the scientific literature regarding prostate cancer and diet, indicating that diet has a powerful effect on survival for those with prostate cancer.4 For humans, too much animal food is toxic.

When it is consumed in significant volume, animal protein, not only animal fat, is earning a reputation as a toxic nutrient to humans. More books are touting the benefits of high-protein diets for weight-loss and are getting much publicity. Many Americans desire to protect their addiction to a high-fat, nutrient-inadequate animal foods. These consumers form a huge market for such topsy-turvy scientific sounding quackery.

Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.5 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.6
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