Carbohydrate Reduction for Breast Cancer?

506868.fig .002 300x155 Carbohydrate Reduction for Breast Cancer?

Image rights: from Champ et. al. International Journal of Breast Cancer, all rights reserved

Caveman Doctor was recently published in the International Journal of Breast Cancer regarding the current dietary guidelines for breast cancer patients and whether these recommendations are actually based on solid data, as well as the links between high blood glucose (and insulin) and worse outcomes for cancer patients. He also takes a look at the robust data on low-carbohydrate trials in non-cancer patients, makes a plea to apply the same studies for our cancer patients, and comments on some possible dietary options for breast cancer patients that may benefit treatment outcome.
Click here for the full article. It is open access and can be viewed by all.
SIGNATURE2 Carbohydrate Reduction for Breast Cancer?
1. Champ CE, Volek JS, Siglin J, et al: Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer Recurrence: Are Dietary Recommendations Supported by the Data? International Journal of Breast Cancer 2012:9, 2012,
© Caveman Doctor 2012. All Rights Reserved.

19 Responses to “Carbohydrate Reduction for Breast Cancer?”
  1. jake3_14 says:

    Congrats on your first publication, Dr. Champ. I look forward to a career filled with many contributions to the low-carb cause from you. Are you interested in doing a research project for NuSi?

  2. Shareef says:

    Just got back from reading the linked paper. TERRIFIC! You should be proud!

  3. Greg says:

    I just finished the paper and I enjoyed it. I’m now going to start plowing through all the references too. I had two questions
    1) I was wondering what your thoughts were on Thomas Seyfried’s book “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease”, his hypothesis about mitochondrial involvement and his suggestion that a reduced ketogenic diet might have positive influences on Cancer.
    2) I noticed that you mentioned the glucose needs of tumours but never mentioned the Warburg effect, was that a conscious decision?

    Thanks for all you are currently doing, yours is one of 3 podcasts I never miss (I’ll listen to the new one tonight)

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks Greg,

      I like Dr. Seyfried’s work very much and he is a great guy. He has helped me immensely and I haven’t gotten around to reading his book yet, but have read all of his studies.

      I did in fact leave Warburg out of the equation on purpose. It wasn’t the best venue and I figured the reviewers would have had issue. I think much of what I said ran parallel to Otto’s work. My (eventual) GBM paper does refer to him, but it is all ketogenic discussion.

      Thanks and take care,

  4. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the link to a great article, Dr Champ. I will be passing that along to friends and colleagues! As a former breast cancer patient who gratefully stumbled on to paleo and ketogenic eating, I’m wondering what you think about the rampant evidence (even in the ‘alternative’ community) that red meat consumption is positively associated with cancer. There seems to be some good evidence for this, but I’ve never analysed it. Yet it seems that high fat, moderate protein, low (or very low) carb is ideal. Do you think the protein should come mostly from fish? Thanks again, Lauren

    • jake3_14 says:

      Why not analyze the evidence yourself?

      • Lauren says:

        I suppose I was hoping for Dr Champ’s take on things. The evidence that I can see is mixed. Even within paleo communities, for example, different conclusions are drawn. If you read Cordain, he would certainly suggest reducing red meat consumption, concentrating on less fatty cuts, and eating things like chicken (along with reducing eggs, etc). If you read Gedgaudes, she would suggest lots of fat and also moderate levels (not high) of meat. If you read Phinney and Volk, there is another version of high fat, moderate protein. Some of the anti-cancer doctors also recommend reductions in red meat consumption. I cannot review the data per se, only the published work about the data. And, within that, there appear to be multiple confounding variables that I do not have the expertise to sort out. I have also read Stig Bengmark’s 2012 article on gut microbiota and immune function and he also suggests that the findings indicate a reduction in saturated fat boosts immunity. This is what led me to ask if fish/seafood were perhaps a better source of protein, given that they are ful of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and we do not produce DHA endogenously. If you have an analysis of the evidence, Jake 3_14, I’d be grateful to hear it.

        • cavemandoctor says:

          Hi Lauren,

          I think Cordain has changed his tune on fat as of lately. Excess iron and burnt meat may increase risk of cancer, but in terms of red meat the data is less than rampant. Phinney and Volek are referring to maintaining in ketosis. They have also performed randomized trials and instructed thousands of patients and have seen metabolic changes firsthand.

          The other issue is what are high amounts of meat or high fat? According to recommendations by our leaders, most paleo are high fat and most low-carbers are very high fat. I think the theme is eating the most nutrient dense foods overall, which often does point to red meat and animal fat. Also, the definition of red meat seems to change depending on the authors and their goal. When hot dogs are considered red meat in some studies, it remains hard to compare. Grass-fed beef has more omega-3s than farm-raised fish. Lumping all red meat as the same skews any data from the start.

          Bengmark discusses how fats are digested in the small intestine do don’t provide food for the bacteria in the large intestine. Many think this points to fats as a preferred food as our small intestine digests them all and makes up 50% of our bowel and this differentiates us from the apes who let ruffage sit in their large colon. Our small intestine also signals to our brain that we are full.

          The anticancer benefits of fat in red meat, like CLA, are often ignored by most.

          This data is all over the place, so one has to combine the data, ignore the static, add the nature aspect to it, along with some common sense (or what I think is common sense, though this is likely vastly different for others haha). While controversial for sure, this leaves fat and grass-fed red meat as a healthy part of my diet.

          I hope this makes sense (typing fast as running out).

          Take care!

          • Lauren says:

            Yes, that absolutely makes sense and it was exactly the insight I was hoping for. Thank you for taking the time to write that all out. I definitely eat only grassfed meats. I think once you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, you become quite hypersensitive to suggestions that your choices are poor (at least I do) and good information from someone I trust (you!) is incredibly helpful. With thanks, Lauren

            • cavemandoctor says:

              You’re welcome. The recommendations drive people (and me) nuts. They are all over the place, but I guess that is merely paralleling the data, which is all over the place… Good luck with everything!

            • lisa says:

              lauren- do you mind sharing the pathology of your breast cancer type? My oncologist encouraged me to look at this in deciding how much the ketogenic diet would be right for me. Did you do the paleo diet or ketogenic diet while fighting breast cancer? I am encouraged to go low carb diet but am wanting to make sure the ketogenic diet is right for me since it is so strict and really requires supervision of a professional.

              Thank you, lisa

              • Lauren says:

                Hi Lisa,

                I had very early stage with no lymphatic involvement at all – and didn’t go paleo until afterwards (in my search to understand my health better). If I had to undergo chemo (I didn’t) I would definitely consider keto and/or IF and even if I didn’t go keto, I’d definitely employ regular use of IF as the evidence seems clear that it’s helpful. If you’d not needing to do chemo, then perhaps just cyclically ketogenic could be enough. I definitely think there’s a strong therapeutic role for keto in cancer treatment and I, personally, don’t find it that hard to do once you get over the first week or so of missing carbs. If you find it too difficult, something like Perfect Health Diet would still be great I think. All the best. I don’t think there is one right answer and I believe our stress levels and gut feelings must count for something, too!


                • lisa says:

                  Lauren! thank you so much for your reply and encouragement. Was your cancer contained (DCIS)? grade level?
                  You have spent a lot of time researching a vast amount of materiial on diets…I know there are a few books out there on the keto diet. One that you prefer? If not, no need to comment. Just thought I’d ask.
                  Sorry for so many questions!

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