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A ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are more likely to damage cancer

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Is it possible to influence cancer by diet or certain diets and improve your chances of recovery? Oncologist Jutta Hübner on Cancer Diabetes and the New Results of the Cancer Vitamin C Test

Jutta Hübner holds a University Professor of Integrative Oncology from the German Cancer Aid at Jena University Hospital. Since 2010, she has been the president of the Association for the Prevention and Integrative Oncology of the German Cancer Society, since 2013 an associate member of the Medicines Commission of the German Medical Association. In an interview he talks about Cancer Nutrition: Are there any diets that help against cancer and can dietary supplements help?

Many cancer patients are worried about how to improve their chances of recovery. The Internet is full of alleged anti-cancer diets. It just seems that the ketogenic diet is where you should significantly reduce your carbohydrates and instead consume protein, especially high fat diets. What do you think?

Nothing. There is no information to suggest that the ketogenic diet is in any way suitable for helping patients – either in terms of survival, efficiency, or tolerability of tumor therapy. On the contrary, we have clear evidence that such a diet is harmful. It often leads to weight loss and a lack of nutrients. In general, such a one-sided, high-fat diet – especially if it is of animal origin – is unhealthy and increases mortality from various diseases, including the cardiovascular system. In addition, we know from laboratory experiments that a ketogenic diet can cause tumor cell mutation and develop resistance to cancer therapies.

What theory are advocates based on?

The so-called Warburg effect says that tumor cells are particularly eager to metabolize sugar molecules. This is the case with almost all cells, because this way they can get wonderful energy. Tumor cells are very inefficient, they need a lot of sugar to generate a certain amount of energy. Hence the idea that cells can be starved from cancer by taking sugar from them. It doesn't work. Because even through healthy carbohydrates, cells take glucose. Even if the tumor cells do not get more sugar at all, they can just as well utilize the fatty acids, amino acids and even ketone bodies formed in this diet to get energy.

The respectful effect is lost.

And it was like that.

Also read Ulrike Kämmerer's response: The Ketogenic Cancer Diet: No reason to warn it

Interstate posting in cancer is not prohibited

Fasting, especially interval fasting, is often attributed to its positive effect on cancer. Also wrong?

Fasting is an ancient history of salvation and here is an idea behind which to starve cancer cells – which I think is a bad idea. For patients with cancer, fasting, ie not eating food for a certain period of time, is not prohibited. But they have to be very careful to get enough nutrients. They are usually more likely to eat a few small meals a day, as most do not make large portions and do not tolerate much food. Interstitial fasting can quickly become dangerous as it can lead to weight loss.

Intervall post – Post and Pro interval post

They prefer to say, keep your fingers away …


There is also the thesis that intermittent fasting can improve the tolerability of chemotherapy.

The best way to avoid side effects is not fasting, but talking to your doctor about the side effects and taking effective medication.

Can accessories bring something? The market is huge.

Thanks to a balanced diet, cancer patients also get almost all the micronutrients they need, i.e. vitamins, trace elements and phytochemicals. There are, however, two exceptions: vitamin D and selenium. Vitamin D can only be taken in the nutritional stages, it must be activated in the skin. This requires sunlight. For cancer patients, however, it is more important than other people to protect themselves from UV radiation, as their skin is usually more sensitive to therapies. Therefore, they need to be especially concerned with vitamin D. Deficiency There are indications in many great studies that good vitamin D levels can positively affect the success of treatment, so it makes sense to determine it in the blood. But it must be acknowledged that vitamin D levels alone do not affect the success of treatment, but are merely a marker of outdoor activity – and in fact the movement has a positive effect. Currently, studies are being conducted in the US. There is another aspect that makes it difficult to evaluate scientific results: Vitamin D is taken up by receptors that appear to be differently active in humans. There may not be any valid guidelines. You don't know much about it to this day.

And what effect does selenium have?

Selenium is a trace element that is incorporated into enzymes that are important for the breakdown of toxins. This property can give selenium a positive effect in both cancer prevention and treatment.

High dose of vitamin C in cancer in test

The effect of high-dose vitamin C on tumors is also currently being investigated. How is the state of the research?

The effect is not yet clear. Basically, this is an exciting idea: Tumor cells have been observed in cell experiments to die when high dose vitamin C is thrown into a test tube, but healthy cells survive. But we do not yet know if it works in the human body.

What is the amount of Vitamin C in these experiments?

A high dose of Vitamin C does not correspond to what is called a high dose in Germany. Today it is clear that up to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight does not have a positive effect. There is only one product available in Germany that receives 7.5 grams of Vitamin C. This would mean that you will need to pour a light weight of 50 kilograms already with ten bottles of it to reach a daily dose of 75 grams, which will still not be enough. Americans are currently testing higher doses. However, it should be remembered that vitamin C is ascorbic acid and that there is a risk of kidney damage in such quantities. In contrast, the available amounts in Germany act as an antioxidant – and this is even counterproductive if given during chemotherapy or other cancer therapy. Because antioxidants protect tumor cells.

Nutrition in Cancer: Extra antioxidants can be harmful

In other words, should you generally abstain from antioxidants during cancer therapy?

Through diet, the body seems to be getting as many antioxidants as it needs. But additional drugs cause the opposite in cancer. A recent study has shown poorer long-term survival of breast cancer patients taking antioxidants during radiotherapy. Such drugs should not be taken during cancer therapy, even if they are recommended at the pharmacy.

Cancer has something to do with the fact that the body does not break down cells. It could be concluded that it is good to push the immune system …

Although preparations such as Umckaloabo and Echinacin or mistletoe therapy activate immune cells, they are not tumor-directed. Only new immunotherapies can target these very complex processes.

As a cancer patient, is there any positive impact on the course of the disease and the chances of recovery?

Yes, it works. The secret is quite simple and consists of a combination of a balanced diet and exercise.

What exactly do you mean by a balanced diet?

Here is a recommendation from the German Nutrition Society: mainly carbohydrates, of course not permanent chocolate, but whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy proteins. For what pretty much includes animal protein. In particular, cancer patients need them for muscle growth. For fats, vegetable fats are better.

Understanding Cancer: This is how tumors in the body develop

Reduce your cancer risk through eating

As for meat, many people are not sure about cancer. The World Health Organization has classified meat and sausages as potentially carcinogenic.

I'm talking about a reasonable consumption of meat, poultry, beef. There is no study showing that red meat is harmful in itself. They are not good sausage products with high fat and acid nitration salts – or if something is grilled. This applies not only to sausages, but also to peppers.

Is it possible to reduce your risk of cancer by using the described diet?

Yes, but it is debatable how pronounced the effect is. Some studies assume a reduction of 20 to 30 percent, others of two to three percent. I think the key message is a healthy lifestyle. These include exercise, as well as limiting alcohol consumption and abstaining from smoking.

What do you think of the supposed super food that should prevent cancer?

Science is also susceptible to fashion. Exoticism attracts more and more can be sold better. Phytochemicals inhibit cancer, but are interchangeable and are found, for example, in German parsley as well as in the African plant.

Interview: Pamela Dörhöfer

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Food supplement and naturopathy – which helps with cancer

On "Nutrition Supplement and Naturopathy – What Cancer Aid", Jutta Hübner will give a 25th lecture at the University Hospital Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, House 14, moderated by Bianca Senf, Head of Psycho-Oncology at the University Center for tumor diseases, Zagreb. Participation is free, registration by phone 069 / 6301-83787 or by email at