by Kathleen Cole ND
Cancer cells derive their energy in a different way from normal cells, by relying on anaerobic glycolysis. This is an inefficient process in contrast to normal cells that produce energy in the mitochondria of the cell where carbohydrates are burned in the presence of oxygen.
Otto Warburg, in 1931 was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells increase glucose uptake and rely on glycolysis for ATP energy production, despite available oxygen. In other words cancer cells have a bit of a sweet tooth.
Having a healthy mitochondrial system of energy production and reducing over activation of insulin growth factors is a way to slow down tumour growth, as well as reduce risk of other chronic disease such as Cardiovascular, diabetes etc.
A low glycemic, low calorie, alkaline and anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle can assist with prevention of disease through reducing acidity, controlling abnormal cellular growth, reducing inflammation and increasing healthy energy production. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2008, concluded that a low Glycemic Index and /or low Glycemic Load diet is independently associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease and that a higher postprandial glycemia ( high blood sugar following a meal) is a universal mechanism for disease progression.
What is the Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index is a measure of carbohydrate quality or how much effect the carbohydrate will have on glucose levels. Foods that contain simple carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have high GI values and will increase blood glucose values rapidly. Examples are sugars such as glucose, sucrose and honey, glutinous rice or refined cereals.
Foods containing complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and release glucose gradually into the bloodstream have low GI values. Examples are olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, most vegetables and proteins both vegetable and animal.
What influences GI values is the rate of digestion. Foods less gelatinized (process of turning starch into jelly form by boiling) have a slower rate of digestion and a lower GI. Foods high in Amylopectin such as wheat, corn and most rice except basmati, long grain brown rice and wild rice, are broken down rapidly and so have a high GI rating. Foods high in Amylase such as rye, barley, oats and quinoa have a slower rate of release and are considered low-medium GI. To lower the glycemic response you can increase fibre which slows down the digestive process, add acidity such as lemon juice or vinegar and/or add healthy oils and protein to the meal.
Basic Rules For Maintaining a Balance Glycemic Control
- Avoid concentrated fruit juices, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates, adding sugar
- Avoid any trans fats found in processed bakery goods, margarines and vegetable cooking oils
- beware of low fat foods that are often loaded with sugar
- eat moderate protein at every meal
- don't overeat and cut back calories by 500
- do not skip meals, unless periodic fasting. Skipping meals will lower your metabolic rate, induce fat storage and loss of muscle mass.
- eat at least 6-8 servings of vegetables and 2-3 low glycemic fruits per day
- eat at least 1-2 servings of cruciferous vegetables including broccali, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale
- eat at least one serving of garlic and onion per day
- try eliminating wheat/gluten from diet and reduce dairy that is processed and not fermented.
Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics -
To get the nutrients into the cells you need to digest the food and transport it into the cells. There is a strong link between digestive enzyme deficiency , insulin resistance and weight gain. Insulin resistance is when your cells no longer respond to insulin, which is produced by the pancreas in response to glucose intake.
- eat unprocessed biologically active foods that contain natural enzymes like raw fresh fruits, vegetables and sprouts
- eat organically whenever possible to avoid pesticides, herbicides and irradiation all that destroy the active enzymes in the foods. Low enzymes in your food put stress on the pancreas which produces insulin and digestive enzymes. This can increase insulin resistance
- avoid cooking foods at high temperatures as this destroys the enzymes
- stress can adversely affect your enzyme production so it is important to eat in a relaxed environment and chew thoroughly and slowly
- processed and devitalized food, antibiotics, chlorinated water can all reduce the healthy micro-organisms in your gut which can be repopulated with unhealthy bacteria, fungi and yeasts. These increase your cravings for sugar, while decreasing your ability to digest and assimilate nutrients. Healthy gut bacteria is necessary for manufacturing certain nutrients .
- sauerkraut is an inexpensive way to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria
"If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation." Lao Tzu
Am Jclin.nutr 2008 Mar;87 (3) 627-37 Pub Med