What food for women with breast cancer?

breast cancer

Why it matters

Breast cancer patients often experience fatigue, loss of muscle mass and insulin resistance, both from the disease and from treatments. Food can help support treatment, although little is known to patients and doctors. In recent years, diets high in fat and low in carbohydrates, including the ketogenic diet, have been studied in this disease.

According to Professor Ulrike Kämmerer, author of this study and of the book The Ketogenic Diet Against Cancer, “ the ketogenic diet can support the recovery process of an organism affected by cancer, often characterized by inflammation and strong resistance to insulin. By providing the body with a lot of fat and few carbohydrates, it can strengthen it without “nourishing” the cancer. One of the great benefits for patients is that it helps prevent loss of body mass, especially muscle wasting.

The study

In this study published in BMC Nutrition, the researchers followed 117 women for 20 weeks. Among them, 20 followed a standard diet, 72 followed a low carb diet and the other 25 followed a ketogenic diet.

To determine the benefits of each of the three regimens, the researchers focused on quality of life, body composition, physical performance and the biochemistry of serum during the rehabilitation phase.

Results: none of the regimens had any side effects. The ketogenic diet is the diet that has most improved the quality of life for patients by limiting fatigue and insomnia. It was the patients who followed a ketogenic diet who recorded the best physical performance, the best muscle / fat ratio, the best triglyceride / HDL cholesterol ratio and the best HOMA index for insulin resistance.
The low carb diet has improved metabolic parameters. And finally, the standard diet helped maintain low cholesterol without improving the triglyceride / HDL ratio and insulin resistance.

Custom Keto Diet

In practice

In an interview with LaNutrition, Professor Ulrike Kämmerer notes that “ There are good reasons to take the ketogenic diet seriously as an accompaniment to cancer therapies. In cases where a 100% ketogenic diet is not imaginable for the patient (because he does not want, for example, to deprive himself of an occasional glass of beer or fruit), it is recommended to have less use, either of a diet low in carbohydrates and rich in Atkins-type fat, or of the GI diet: they will in any case be more beneficial for the patient than the so-called “healthy” diet advocated by official bodies, which limits most fats.

Patients opt for a ketogenic diet, supervised by a doctor, because this diet may be difficult to set up. Indeed, to follow a long-term ketogenic diet, the patient must be motivated; it is also preferable that it be advised by a dietitian familiar with this diet, especially for the practical side.


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