7

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What are your thoughts on the paleo diet's benefits towards preventing cancer?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 09, 2011 at 5:39 AM

We all know how paleo eating is great for preventing diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, etc. and there are many articles/blog posts explaining exactly how it prevents such diseases. But what about cancer? Is cancer included in the great list of diseases of civilization? If the paleo lifestyle does help prevent cancer (which I believe it does), what do you think are the mechanics in which it does so? Reduction in systematic inflammation? Greater amounts of vitamins and minerals in the body to help repair damaged and pre-cancerous cells?

Conventional wisdom seems to say that the cause of cancer is undetermined, with genetics being a big risk factor. I've seen many websites saying diet probably doesn't have much of an effect in the development of cancer. Advice for prevention (if any) is usually "Don't smoke. Don't have bad genes." But is there a paleo view of cancer prevention, just as there is a paleo view that completely reverses the conventional wisdom of diabetes and heart disease prevention?

Would love to hear your thoughts. Any links to articles would be great too!

Edit: Great answers guys and gals! One thing I constantly hear about lately when it comes to preventing/treating cancer is the importance of keeping an "alkaline environment". Popular quotes such as "cancer thrives in an acid environment" lead to many sites promoting diets based on alkaline forming vegetable juices and wheatgrass juice (blech), and claiming that avoiding the huge acid forming foods like MEAT is essential when cancer is present. Any thoughts on this whole acid/alkaline thing?

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on January 16, 2011
at 06:02 PM

I've looked at Shari Lieberman's site before, and the health advice she offered is anything but an anti-inflammation diet. Along with articles on why low-fat is healthy, she recommended lentils, corn, buckwheat, beans etc.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 11, 2011
at 07:36 AM

yeah but aside from the paleo analogy hasn't it been thoroughly proven that chronic stress i not healthy for people, at all? i don't think it's neither good for us or for our ancestors.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on January 11, 2011
at 05:19 AM

You always read articles talking about stress in modern life, but why do we assume there no chronic stress in Paleo times? What if you are living through a drought that goes on for months on end and you have no idea if you are any of the members of your family will survive because all the animals are dying. Sounds stressful to me.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 09, 2011
at 06:53 PM

You guys should really take a look at the docu 'Stress: Portrait of a killer' Acute, 'run for your life' stress is good. Chronic stress is really destructive. In paleo times there was no chronic stress. In modern times there is. One could apply the same logic as with grains here. I think stress plays a huge role on hormonal release and thus on health/longevity.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:59 PM

Ketosis also induces autophagy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 09, 2011
at 02:50 PM

How many people have followed such a diet for their entire lives? And there is unfortunately growing evidence that what you parents and grandparents ate affects you epigenetically as well.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:22 PM

"Cancer can be caused can be from food, indoor air, lack of sleep, cleaning supplies, stress, genetics etc. Some times I find it overwhelming to try to protect my family." The causes listed above are according to CW mind you (they don't have a clue). Sounds awful stressful worrying about all that. I agree, diet is key to quality and quantity of life.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:17 PM

I agree, normal stresses can't be much of a factor but chronic stresses yes, However, I'm going to say a horrible diet full of sugars and man made food is the main cause of cancer. These are the two things we didn't have a million years ago.

3c04e97f68c270d7a03861e2daf75f68

(40)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:46 PM

I think it's important to differentiate between acute and temporary stress and long-term chronic stress in this example. In this regard, chronic stress is definitely a no-no.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:05 PM

Not saying that stress doesn't come into it, but people had tons of stress when they were in danger of starving or being eaten by a wild beast. We've always had stress, but cancer has gone up from nothing or next to nothing to the very high rate it is today. Stress can't be much of a factor, in my opinion.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on January 09, 2011
at 08:31 AM

Those two people thought they would live a healthy life: Shari Lieberman and Robert Crayhon http://jonnybowdenblog.com/health-guru-dies-cancer/

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8 Answers

5
3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

on January 09, 2011
at 02:50 PM

Here is a very interesting inverview done by Jimmy Moore with Dr. Thomas Seyfried on the use of ketogenic diets in people with brain tumors. It is well worth a listen. One of the most fascinating things he says in the interview is that if everyone did a water fast for a week every year, we would be cancer-free. When Jimmy asks him why we don't do that, the doctor says because people won't, which is probably true. It is similar to the response I get when I say it is important to give up gluten and people respond that they could never do that! I believe there are links to Dr. Seyfried's research on the site: http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/1172/dr-thomas-seyfried-on-killer-carbs-ketosis-as-a-cancer-cure-episode-302/

4
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:03 PM

Cancer can be caused can be from food, indoor air, lack of sleep, cleaning supplies, stress, genetics etc. Some times I find it overwhelming to try to protect my family. but then I remember that I can control some things and not others and I do my best at the things that I can. I research food like crazy, I use all homemade or natural personal products and cleaning supplies, do my best to exercise smartly, spiritual health etc. I do think that Paleo is the best way to eat to fights some of the things that I can't control.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:22 PM

"Cancer can be caused can be from food, indoor air, lack of sleep, cleaning supplies, stress, genetics etc. Some times I find it overwhelming to try to protect my family." The causes listed above are according to CW mind you (they don't have a clue). Sounds awful stressful worrying about all that. I agree, diet is key to quality and quantity of life.

3
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 09, 2011
at 03:07 PM

I don't know about paleo per se, but evidence is starting to build that a ketogenic diet is an anti-cancer diet. It induces autophagy, as haig mentioned helps, and there is specific research about brain cancer, as Laurie D. mentioned.

There are plausible mechanisms, because cancer feeds on glucose, and can't eat ketones, and autophagy, which is triggered by both fasting and ketosis (which is metabolically like fasting in many ways), helps prevent transcription errors which can result in cancerous cells.

I suspect diet is much more important than the presence of carcinogens in the environment.

So far, research for a ketogenic diet curing cancer is in early stages, but it looks promising. In so far as paleo tends to be lower carb in general, it probably helps.

3
3020fb359dfbedaf90f1611b036d3432

(1138)

on January 09, 2011
at 08:55 AM

I think Paleo's effects on the insulin pathway does help, yes, but I suspect that inducing autophagy and cellular cleanup is what we most want when we talk about preventing cancer. So far the best way to create an internal environment conducive for optimal autophagy is fasting, so incorporating IF or regular longer fasts would be the ticket.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:59 PM

Ketosis also induces autophagy.

2
Medium avatar

(3024)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:25 PM

I think reducing chemical load is a bigggee.

There are lots of chemicals out there that are known carcinogens, and many that are carcinogens that we don't know about yet. These chemicals are, among other things in all our foods and skin care products... unless we make a concerted effort to avoid them.

If you eat organic vegetables, and you eat meat, poultry and dairy from animals that aren't pumped with hormones and antibiotics, if you stop applying lots of chemicals to your skin every day, your body will be called on less frequently to defend itself from attack.

The other stuff like reduced inflation, autophgy etc. will help dealing with carcinogens that the body comes in contact with... but why come in contact with it in the first place? Eat clean!

1
0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:33 PM

I want to note that stress plays a big factor in this as well.

Is there evidence that longer fasts reduces the forming of cancer cells?

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:17 PM

I agree, normal stresses can't be much of a factor but chronic stresses yes, However, I'm going to say a horrible diet full of sugars and man made food is the main cause of cancer. These are the two things we didn't have a million years ago.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:05 PM

Not saying that stress doesn't come into it, but people had tons of stress when they were in danger of starving or being eaten by a wild beast. We've always had stress, but cancer has gone up from nothing or next to nothing to the very high rate it is today. Stress can't be much of a factor, in my opinion.

3c04e97f68c270d7a03861e2daf75f68

(40)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:46 PM

I think it's important to differentiate between acute and temporary stress and long-term chronic stress in this example. In this regard, chronic stress is definitely a no-no.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 11, 2011
at 07:36 AM

yeah but aside from the paleo analogy hasn't it been thoroughly proven that chronic stress i not healthy for people, at all? i don't think it's neither good for us or for our ancestors.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 09, 2011
at 06:53 PM

You guys should really take a look at the docu 'Stress: Portrait of a killer' Acute, 'run for your life' stress is good. Chronic stress is really destructive. In paleo times there was no chronic stress. In modern times there is. One could apply the same logic as with grains here. I think stress plays a huge role on hormonal release and thus on health/longevity.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on January 11, 2011
at 05:19 AM

You always read articles talking about stress in modern life, but why do we assume there no chronic stress in Paleo times? What if you are living through a drought that goes on for months on end and you have no idea if you are any of the members of your family will survive because all the animals are dying. Sounds stressful to me.

0
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on January 09, 2011
at 08:20 AM

It was really one of the main reasons I went Paleo - The link between insulin resistance and cancer may be related to the compensatory high levels of insulin. So maybe not Paleo but decreasing insulin resistance is the answer - Paleo was the only way I knew to decrease my insulin levels - but I also follow Dr Rosedale - a but of a mix really.

I could place studies - there a lots out there but kids are running a muck - just google pub med and Insulin resistance and cancer ( also Breast cancer and gestational diabetes)

0
Aad9337259693114bd0ebf30f39198d7

on January 09, 2011
at 07:45 AM

Is there someone, anyone, in the world who has followed for the majority of their life an anti-inflammation diet, with plenty of proper nutrition and ratios AND has been diagnosed with such cancer.....? I would LOVE to know that there is NO ONE who fits this description, to to reaffirm my years of casual research!! I can't imagine there is someone... can you?

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on January 09, 2011
at 08:31 AM

Those two people thought they would live a healthy life: Shari Lieberman and Robert Crayhon http://jonnybowdenblog.com/health-guru-dies-cancer/

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 09, 2011
at 02:50 PM

How many people have followed such a diet for their entire lives? And there is unfortunately growing evidence that what you parents and grandparents ate affects you epigenetically as well.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on January 16, 2011
at 06:02 PM

I've looked at Shari Lieberman's site before, and the health advice she offered is anything but an anti-inflammation diet. Along with articles on why low-fat is healthy, she recommended lentils, corn, buckwheat, beans etc.

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