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No more truth tripping over the glucose and cancer relationship

By Paddy Sullivan on August 2, 2016

If I had my top 10 books piled on my bedside table, chances are Tripping Over the Truth would be found resting there.

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This book, by science writer Travis Christofferson, illuminates a hugely interesting viewpoint on cancer treatment. Part of this perspective is based on starving cancer cells of their primary fuel – namely glucose. I am sharing my appreciation of this book’s messaging as it is a nice segue from my last blog with its focus on the ketogenic diet. As discussed, a ketogenic diet is heavily restrictive on sugar intake.

Christofferson’s book is the best thing I have read in a long time. Here is someone who has had a thorough look at the causes of cancer – a topic which is still hugely researched and debated. There are essentially two schools of thought around this. One has attached importance to genetics, the other school of thought attaches itself to metabolic matters. Christofferson is a champion of the latter. He challenges everything we thought we knew about cancer, suggesting the reason for the failed war against this disease actually stems from a flawed paradigm that categorises cancer as an exclusively genetic disease.

Tripping Over the Truth explores the non-toxic therapies born from the metabolic theory of cancer. Metabolic therapies highlight one striking feature in particular, I find – the potential to treat all types of cancer because they exploit the one weakness common to every cancer cell: dysfunctional metabolism.

My take on this is as follows. Diet plays a key role in cancer treatment and prevention. If glucose is recognised as a primary fuel for cancer, then it makes good sense to look at a keto diet, in which glucose has no place. This is a low-carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet. Shift your metabolism from relying mostly on glucose for fuel, to relying mostly on fat-based sources of fuel. You will push your body’s metabolism into ketosis, which is a good thing. When you adapt your diet accordingly, your body gets better at burning and utilising fats as a primary energy source. Fat is an important source of essential fatty acids and nutrients, and fat with protein helps moderate the insulin response. This is a hugely desirable outcome, as cancer cells thrive so much on glucose.

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Dr Gary Fettke – orthopaedic surgeon and senior university lecturer – is another promoter of the metabolic model of cancer. Having battled cancer himself, Fettke came to realize the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs). He speaks of 16 clinical human trials that are currently under way to research calorie restriction and ketosis diet management with cancer patients. Is it possible that chromosomal damage is simply a marker for cancer and not the actual cause of the disease? Fettke believes there is compelling evidence that suggests this is the case.

Scientists over time have studied how cancer cells grow, divide and what their energy sources are. In a nutshell, they have observed that cancer cells operate in a different way to healthy cells in that they really love glucose.

Those who expound the metabolic theory tell us that once a cancer cell has formed, altered genes are the result. It isn’t the genes causing the cancer, they argue. The genes’ maladaptation is the result of the metabolic change that goes on in the cancer cells.

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Where does that leave us? Documented cases show the advantages of putting people into a ketogenic state, plus reducing calories quite aggressively. What was noticed was a reduction in the activity and size of tumours. Essentially, if you starve cancer cells from their favourite food – ie glucose – this can literally cause the cancer cell to die. There are additions to this equation. There are drugs now used to help that process – a process quite different to chemo or radiation. What is now gaining increasing interest is the process of putting the cancer patient through diet changes to produce ketosis, adding the aforementioned drugs, and even using hyperbaric (oxygen) therapy … results being seen include quite remarkable improvements in cancer patients.

I believe this approach is a credible cancer preventative and cancer attacker (in what Christofferson would describe as a gentle rehabilitative way rather than the all-out combat of chemotherapy or radiation.) What adds to the excitement around this is that the benefits of kestosis are so far-reaching. This doesn’t just benefit one part of the body – for example muscles, gut, brain – the benefits are widely spread, which is the way things happen in nature. Drugs usually target one area, without a cross-over effect.

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Consider closely what you feed your body’s cells. The root causes of all diseases are very similar within the cells of the body, so a keto diet plays a part in being a life saver on many fronts. It is most certainly a hopeful and exciting perspective.

At All About Health and Wellness we are well versed on the advantages a keto diet can have on your health, well-being and sporting performance. Come and talk to us about how your performance will be better on this recommended type of fuel source. Paddy can discuss the keto diet and offer expert advice on how to make this adaptation easier and incredibly effective – all backed by the latest science.

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