Low Carb Diet and Cancer Prevention

A new research unveils that a low carbohydrate diet can be a big help in preventing the rapid growth of tumors – at least in mice. In this recently published Canadian study, 70% of the mice who went under a high carbohydrate diet developed tumors. Meanwhile, only 30% of the mice who were under a low carbohydrate diet acquired tumors.

The specifics of the diet forced into the subjects were detailed as follows- the high-carb mice consumed 55% carbs, 22% fat and 23% protein through their diet. The low-carb mice, however, were limited to only 15% carbohydrates and consumed 25% fat and 60% protein.

Even though the study has been conducted with the aid of animals, experts believe that the findings are still credible enough and can be attributed to the human body. Gerald Krystal, one of the coauthors of the study, says that in theory diet does affect tumors. According to him, normal cells can function using the energy stored in fats and sugar but cancer cells depend largely on glycolysis, the process the breaks down only sugar for energy.

In layman’s term, a person’s blood sugar level rises after eating a high carbohydrate mean. When this happens, cancer cells are able to multiple much faster. This has been proven when a group of scientists isolated human cancer cells in a lab. Experts believe that withholding carbohydrates from the body forces it to use fat as an energy source and kills off budding cancer cells.

The million dollar question though is if the carbohydrate – cancer connection also applies to humans. Eugene Fine, M.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, reviewed the paper and pointed out some interesting arguments. For one, he says that a mouse’s blood sugar can drop as much as half under a low carbohydrate diet. On the other hand, humans who go under a low carbohydrate diet also experience a drop in their blood sugar level but not as much as those with mice. He says though that his argument does not invalidate the findings since most cancer research studies often use mice as subjects. The findings, according to him and other researchers who peered review the study, are promising.

Studies based on actual human respondents prove to be limited. In 1995, Case Western Reserve University reported that they observed two children afflicted with brain cancer. They found out that eight weeks of high-fat and low-carb diet resulted in 22% less tumor growth. The tumor from these children as they observed stopped growing. Unfortunately, this study only involved two people so it can’t be conclusive.

Frankly, researchers acknowledge that consuming a low carb diet is not really a treatment for cancer. They, however, think that it has a potential especially if used only for preventive actions.

Check out our very own carb management app that can help you keep track of the carbohydrates in your meals.