Cancer and nutrition: the alkaline body knows no disease?

Glasses with various juices are placed on a table and vegetables lie next to them as decoration. (Symbol image)

Sugar makes tumors grow and an alkaline diet cures cancer. Myths about this topic and nutrition are common and dangerous.

Heidelberg – There is no such thing as cancer. Each type of cancer is as diverse as our bodies themselves. And cancer, i.e. the malignant formation of new tissue, is far from being completely researched. Just as little there is a panacea against it. In 2019, a total of 231 people died.000 people with cancer. It is only understandable that people long for simple solutions, which unfortunately gives rise to many nutritional myths on the subject of cancer. Anyone who is ill but blindly trusts in such promises is risking their life in the worst case scenario.

Cancer and nutrition: The alkaline body knows no disease?

For example, a common myth is that sugar spurs tumor growth. "In fact, there are observations that indicate that cancer cells have a different energy metabolism than normal cells. But it is also clear that this is by no means true for all cells, by no means for every type of cancer and every disease situation," says Dr. Weg-Remers, Director of the German Cancer Research Center. It is therefore not necessary to completely avoid sugar. According to Weg-Remers, the benefits of a diet that completely avoids sugar and possibly all other carbohydrates have not yet been proven.

Too much sugar is nevertheless considered a risk factor for cancer. A high-sugar diet, for example with lots of soft drinks and fast food, increases the likelihood of developing diabetes and obesity. Both increase cancer risk. A healthy lifestyle is therefore essential in cancer prevention. You can lower your risk by reducing silent inflammation.*

Cancer and nutritional myths: It can be "starved" out

That one can "starve out" cancer with a diet without carbohydrates is humbug. "Cancer cannot be starved out by doing without sugar," says Dr. Tilman Kuhn of Apotheken Umschau. The guidelines on "Clinical Nutrition in Oncology" state: "To date, there are no clinical studies that demonstrate the antitumor efficacy of a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet."

People who cut carbohydrates from their diet overnight may actually be harming themselves. Because carbohydrates are important suppliers of energy and nutrients. Those who spurn them over a long period of time risk underweight and malnutrition.

Cancer and nutrition myths: From bad coffee

Coffee has taken a lot of hits: it is said to increase the risk of heart attacks and cause cancer. The studies that proclaimed the link between heart attack risk and coffee have long since been disproven. And that coffee causes cancer, there are no representative studies for it so far. On the contrary, it even contains a considerable amount of polyphenols that can prevent cancer.

Cancer and nutrition myths: An alkaline body knows no cancer

Spectacular articles and apparent studies keep circulating on the Internet and social media, proving that alkaline nutrition can cure cancer. In principle, a diet with many foods that are alkaline metabolized is not wrong. On the contrary, it can be very healthy. Finally, an alkaline diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Metabolized alkaline, for example:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Eggplants
  • Leafy salads
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

The steep theses "An alkaline body knows no cancer" and "Alkaline nutrition can cure cancer" sound great, but lack any scientific basis. Proponents of these theories see acidic foods as a cause of cancer. If you avoid foods that produce an acidic environment, including refined sugar and dairy products, you deprive cancer of its basis of life, they claim. The catch to the thesis, which is now considered outdated: studies have shown that cancer cells create the acidic environment themselves.

"Many hypotheses behind this idea are no longer tenable from today’s point of view. Theories that are often centuries old have long since fallen out of sync with what we know today about human metabolism and the course of diseases like cancer. I fear that such offers, which cancer patients come across on the Internet, for example, are often about profiteering.", says Weg-Remers.

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This article contains only general information on the health topic in question and is thus not intended for self-diagnosis, self-treatment or self-medication. It in no way replaces a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about diseases.

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