Cancer and heart disease were once virtually unknown to the Eskimo (Inuit) peoples while they were still eating their traditional diet – a diet very high in animal fat (seals, whale blubber, caribou and fish) and almost entirely absent of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and sweeteners, which didn’t grow and were not generally available north of the Arctic Circle. All that changed once “modern” western food became readily available. Now, cancer and heart disease are becoming as prevalent among the Inuits as in the rest of North America.
When doctors test for cancer, a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is often used. Radioactive glucose is injected and the PET scan lights up any tumors because cancer cells need much more glucose for metabolism than normal cells. Glucose and fructose, you may recall, are the two halves of the molecule we call table sugar. Once ingested, this molecule rapidly splits into its simpler components: glucose and fructose. Starches, aka carbohydrates, also rapidly break down into their component glucose molecules. This scan for cancer works because the tumor cells require excess glucose consumption relative to healthy surrounding cells and allows the doctor can see the extent of the cancer.
Normal cells can use either fat or sugar for energy. Like a Prius, normal cells can run on two kinds of fuels. Cancer cells, on the other hand, have lost this ability and require sugar (glucose) for fueling its growth.
Question: If you wanted to “starve” cancer cells or slow their growth, you would eat very little ___________.
This theory of cancer was first postulated by Dr. Otto Warburg, who won a Nobel Prize in Medicine way back in 1931. He was also later nominated for two more Nobel Prizes in different areas, but has otherwise generally been ignored by the medical community for the last 80 years. Dr. Warburg: “…for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation. From the standpoint of the physics and chemistry of life this difference between normal and cancer cells is so great that one can scarcely picture a greater difference. Oxygen gas, the donor of energy in plants and animals is dethroned in the cancer cells and replaced by an energy yielding reaction of the lowest living forms, namely, a fermentation of glucose.”
However, now, a few researchers have gotten bored waiting for any significant improvement in cancer statistics from the “War on Cancer” – now in its 5th decade. One researcher, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a biochemist at Boston College, has investigated the connection of sugar to cancer and has found cancer-reversing benefit in a diet high in (good) fat, low in sugar, and low in overall calories.
Such a diet uses ketones as fuel. Our bodies make ketones from ingested fat and from bodily fat.
But don’t we need sugar for energy? No, actually we don’t. In 2014, Sami Inkinen and Meredith Loring, husband and wife, rowed a boat from California to Hawaii on a diet that was 70% fat, 21% protein and only 9% carbohydrates and consisted of lard, nuts, coconut butter, and dehydrated salmon, beef, and some fruits and vegetables. They rowed 12 to 14 hours a day for 45 days to reach Hawaii – the fastest time ever for a man/woman pair.
Dr. Seyfield concludes that cancer is a metabolic disease of mitochondria – the energy producing organelles inside every cell in our bodies. He suggests that by eating wisely, we can exploit the glucose dependency of cancer cells.
We don’t have to wait for a cancer diagnosis to utilize this difference. We each produce about a million cancer cells a day and our immune system, when healthy, kills an equal number.
There are, of course, other theories about cancer, but that cancer cells metabolize sugar differently than normal cells is undisputed. So, while we wait for the final scientific conclusion, why feed that which is in opposition to our life?