Plant-Based Diet Better Than Keto For Cancer Prevention, Research Shows

A whole, plant-based diet beats a keto diet when it comes to reducing cancer risk and helping people live healthier lives after cancer treatment, according to a recent exam published in a medical journal JAMA Oncology. In the review, researchers compared the two popular diets to see which had the most evidence supporting its potential to reduce cancer risk and improve the health of cancer survivors.

The two experts who conducted the review were hematological oncologist Urvi Shah, MD, and medical oncologist Neil Iyengar, MD, of Memorial Sloan Cancer Center in New York, who both conduct research aimed at understanding the link between nutrition and cancer.

For the study, the researchers defined a whole, plant-based diet as one that focuses on nutrient-dense plant foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and beans; and keto has been defined as high in animal protein with some starchy vegetables. Using the clinical trial data available to the researchers, they determined that a plant-based diet can better negate several cancer risk factors, including excess fat, inflammation, resistance to insulin and high levels of insulin-like growth factor (a protein known to promote the development of cancer). Additionally, since plant-based foods are also rich in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, they offer antioxidants and cancer-fighting anti-inflammatory effects.

“There is growing evidence that weight loss is helpful in reducing cancer risk, especially for obese and older people, including the post-menopausal age group,” Iyengar said. in a press release. “Both keto and plant-based diets have been shown to be effective for weight loss. However, there is less data available to determine whether the benefits of these diets extend to cancer. Most of the available data supports a whole plant-based diet rather than a ketogenic diet to reduce cancer risk. After a cancer diagnosis, a plant-based diet always seems superior.

A plant-based diet reduces the risk of cancer

The authors point out that their conclusion on a plant-based diet is particularly evident when they looked at larger populations, including three large studies conducted in the US, UK and France. These three studies found that people who ate more plants and less animal protein had less cancer overall, which is consistent with other studies and included in guidelines from the American Institute of Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society, all of which recommend diets that emphasize plant-based foods.

“There are many biological processes in the body that are impacted by diet and overall energy balance. Many of these processes are involved in cancer growth, such as obesity and inflammation, hormones , insulin, microbiome, etc,” Iyengar said. “We look at many of these processes in our review. plant-based rather than a keto diet.

The authors’ review showed that broad diets that people stick to, such as a plant-based diet, are generally better in the long run than very specific fad diets such as keto. The authors also point out that studies have shown that a plant-based diet can help alleviate specific problems during cancer treatments, such as gastrointestinal toxicity from chemotherapy as well as joint pain from hormone treatments for cancer. breast cancer.

“We know that a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of these metabolic disorders, which is why I generally recommend this diet to my patients,” Iyengar said. “We don’t just want to cure one person’s cancer; we also want to improve health in general.

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Keto diet associated with poor long-term health

The researchers note that for some cancers, the higher fat intake required for a keto diet has been associated with poorer long-term outcomes. A separate review published last year in a scientific journal Nutrition Frontiers found that people who follow a keto diet have a significantly increased risk of developing heart disease, LDL cholesterol buildup, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The authors of this study suggested that the negative side effects of a keto diet are attributed to the nutritional quality of the foods consumed. Specifically, the diet promotes a high intake of red meat, processed meat, and saturated fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as colon cancer and heart disease. At the same time, the keto diet restricts healthy plant-based foods such as fruits, legumes, whole grains, and high-carb vegetables.

“The foods that are emphasized on a keto diet are the very products that cause colon cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease,” said study co-author Neal Barnard, MD, chairman. of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine.

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