Transcript: Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?
This dramatic strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise; they were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Although Pritikin started out reversing chronic disease through diet alone, later—to his credit—he added an exercise component as well. That’s great for his patients, but scientifically it makes it hard to tease out which is doing what. Maybe the only reason their blood started becoming so effective at suppressing cancer growth was because of the exercise; maybe the diet component had nothing to do with it. So, they put it to the test.
They set up an experiment with three groups. The first group did nothing—the control group; the second did diet and exercise; and the third group was just exercise. The diet and exercise group had been put on a plant-based diet for 14 years, along with moderate exercise—just like walking every day. The second group was just exercise, but they were hardcore. Not just exercise, but 14 years of daily, strenuous, hour-long exercise, like calisthenics. But, they ate the Standard American Diet. In fact, they were actually overweight. They’d been killing themselves in the gym every day for 14 years, and still, their BMI averaged 26.5; whereas those on a plant-strong diet were at ideal body weight.
But let’s see who’s better at fighting cancer. The researchers wanted to know, if you exercise hard enough, long enough, can you rival some strolling vegans? They took petri dishes brimming full of human cancer cells, and dripped blood from each of the three groups on different dishes to see whose blood was better at suppressing cancer growth. What do you think they found?
Whose blood was better at killing cancer cells? This is a graph measuring cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death; cancer cells programmed to commit suicide. It’s one way our body gets rid of cancer cells. Basically, our immune system taps them on the shoulder, and says, “Look, you know there’s only one way this is going to end, don’t you? Why don’t you take the honorable way out? It will be quicker, easier. If they start the chemo and everything—it’s going to get messy. Take the easy way out, and just kill yourself,” which our immune system is sometimes capable of convincing cancer cells to do.
Here’s the blood of the control group. Not very persuasive. Cancer’s like, “Take your programmed cell death and shove it.”
And as we saw before, here’s the effect of the blood of those in the Pritikin group. After 14 years on a plant-based diet, you can bet their bloodstream was clearing cancer cells left and right.
What about the hardcore exercise group in the middle? Did they clear cancer just as good as the Pritkin group? If that’s the case, then it wasn’t diet at all, right? The exercise was the critical component. Were they somewhere in the middle, showing that exercise helped, but not as good as the plant-based diet group? Or, were they down there with the control group? Maybe exercise helped with other things, but just not at killing cancer?
What they found was this: exercise helped, no question. But, literally 5,000 hours in the gym was no match for a plant-based diet. Here’s an actual photomicrograph of the cells in the control petri dish, stained so that they release light when they die.
As you can see, in the control group, there were a few cancer cells dying. Even if you are a couch potato, eating fried potatoes, your body’s not totally defenseless.
But here’s the hardcore, strenuous exercise group. Cancer cells dying left and right.
But nothing appears to kick cancer butt more than a plant-based diet.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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