According to a study done at The University of Texas at Dallas, the Ketogenic diet, which is very low in sugar, as well as the administration of a diabetes drug that prevents glucose in the blood from being adsorbed by the kidneys, slowed down the growth of squamous cell carcinoma tumors in mice. This specific type of lung cancer is not mesothelioma, but the results could eventually be applied to different cancers including mesothelioma. Certain types of cancer can be heavily reliant on glucose as an energy source, allowing their growth to be restricted based on how much glucose is in the body. When mice had tumors and were strictly given the Keto diet, tumor growth was much slower, and when the diabetes drug was also given alongside the Keto diet, tumor growth was greatly slowed.
The keto diet is able to slow down the growth of certain types of cancer, but should not be followed for mesothelioma. It would not help the body fight the cancer and would do more harm than good. What this study does show is that using the body’s own systems can greatly help people fight cancer, and mesothelioma could eventually be one of them. Diet and exercise are not substitutes for cancer treatment, but can still be very helpful for people and their cancer diagnoses.
Some people say that specific diets can help fight cancer and improve people’s quality of life. The alkaline, Paleolithic, vegan, and macrobiotic diets have been studied to see if this is the case. The alkaline diet’s philosophy is that cancer is caused by having an acidic environment in the body, and eating alkaline foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans could help reduce the strain on acid-detox systems. There is little evidence that acidic environments cause cancer, but the diet itself is very close to the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for the decrease of mortality and recurrence of cancer. The Paleolithic diet, which tries to replicate ancient Stone Age humans’ diets, is very heavy on fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, and eggs. This diet has problems though because people eat too much red meat when following it, which can end up being harmful. The vegan diet is also suggested, which has people avoid all animal products. This diet can be problematic because people can miss certain nutrients and whole foods can be skipped in favor of more processed foods. Finally the macrobiotic diet tries to fix an imbalance in the body that causes cancer. It utilizes whole foods like cereal grains, vegetables, and legumes, and is free from red and processed meats. It is a wholesome diet that is high in fiber and is close to American Cancer Society guidelines, and if it is followed correctly, could be very beneficial.
Instead of following a specific diet, it is better to eat a healthy and varied diet that focuses on whole and nutritious foods. Eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be enough for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while being treated for cancer. Diets can also be very restrictive and can prevent someone from eating the proper nutrients, which defeats the purpose of following the diet in the first place. There are many different clinical trials and advances in cancer research, so it is less important to focus on following a specific diet and instead to be treated by good doctors.
“Biologists’ Preclinical Work Suggests Keto Diet Has Anti-Cancer Effect” The University of Texas at Dallas News Center (August 15, 2019). [Link]
Rene Wisely, “The Best Diets for Cancer Patients and Cancer Survivors” University of Michigan Health (January 9, 2019). [Link]