Dear readers, today I am writing about a topic that is close to my heart: nutrition and cancer, or rather, nutrition myths and cancer.

My clinical experience encompassed 12 years of oncological nutrition in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Good diet can help prevent some types of cancer, and it is not surprising that the same diet also helps prevent other diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

You’ve heard it before and read in this column: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Eat more plant-based foods.

Conversely, there is a lot of misinformation about nutrition, especially when it comes to cancer.

Cancer patients are sometimes frightened and vulnerable, which can make them prone to dietary fluctuations. Remember, we live in a buyer-wise society, and there is nothing in the First Amendment that requires freedom of expression to take in the truth.

These are just a few myths surrounding diet and cancer:

• Sugar feeds cancer. This statement is misleading. The real question is, “Does sugar make your cancer worse?” The answer is no.

• A ketogenic diet does not contain glucose (sugar) and so starves the cancerous tumor. There is no scientific research to support the previous statement. The truth is that our bodies must have glucose in order to survive. When we don’t ingest it with our food, our bodies will make glucose from fat or protein in a process known as gluconeogenesis.

• An alkaline diet (with a high pH value) cures cancer. It is said that alkaline foods (including baking soda) and alkaline water neutralize a cancer-friendly acidic environment. The truth is that the pH of our blood is always slightly alkaline. It doesn’t matter what the pH of your food or drinking water is; Your body will always maintain a pH around 7.2.

• Vitamin D prevents cancer. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, an internationally renowned facility in New York, “Dietary intake of vitamin D can protect against breast or colon cancer or affect markers for prostate cancer. However, vitamin D alone does not prevent or treat cancer. Other large studies show that high levels of vitamin D may not reduce the risk of many other cancers and may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer or aggressive prostate cancer. “

• A purely plant-based diet cures cancer. While there is some evidence that the nutrients found in vegetables can help prevent certain types of cancer, there is no scientific research to show that eating vegetables helps with any healing.

While diet is an important aspect of cancer treatment, there is no nutritional cure for cancer. It is important to stay well fed to maximize cancer treatment results. Wherever you are receiving cancer treatment, registered dietitians are available to help you maintain a healthy diet. My goal is to help you make informed decisions about nutrition.

With best regards,

Dear dietician

LEANNE McCRATE, RDN, LD, CNSC, is an award-winning nutritionist based in Missouri. Their mission is to educate consumers about healthy, science-based nutrition. Do you have a nutritional question? Email them at [email protected]. Dear Dietitian does not endorse any product, health program, or diet plan.