The Best Diet for Cancer Patients
What diet should oncologists recommend?
Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Allen
Animal foods tend to be acid-forming, whereas plant foods tend to either be neutral or alkaline, base-forming. Dietary acid load is determined by the balance of acid-inducing food, primarily animal proteins (such as meats, eggs, and cheeses), offset by alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables. In a national survey of 12,000 American adults, dietary acid load was associated with kidney damage.
Acid-inducing diets are believed to impact the kidneys via tubular toxicity, when increased ammonia production inflicts damage to the tiny, delicate urine-making tubes in the kidneys. Ammonia is a base, and the kidneys create ammonia to buffer the acid from the food we eat. This is beneficial in the short term to get rid of the acid. However, in the long term, all that extra ammonia in our kidneys can exert toxic effects.
Studies suggest that excessive animal protein consumption poses a risk of kidney stone formation. A reduction in animal protein reduces the production of acids within the body and appears to limit the excretion of urate—uric acid crystals that can act as seeds to form calcium stones or create entire stones themselves. Uric acid stones are the second most common kidney stones after calcium. One study showed a 93% drop in uric acid crystallization risk after switching to a vegetarian diet.
Gout is caused by needle-sharp crystals of uric acid in our joints. Gout sufferers have often been told to avoid mushrooms, peas, beans, lentils, and cauliflower. Ironically, these vegetables have more recently been found to be protective against gout. This may be because foods rich in fiber, folate, and vitamin C appear to protect against uric acid buildup and gout. For example, fiber has been recognized as having a potential role in binding uric acid in the gut for excretion.
To minimize uric acid crystallization, the goal is to raise urine pH to 6.8. How can you tell what your urine pH is? You can order pH paper strips to pee on. A homemade pH test involves boiling purple cabbage, straining out the solids, and pouring the purple liquid into the toilet bowel after you pee. If the toilet bowl turns pink, your urine is very acidic. If it stays purple, your urine is moderately acidic. If it turns blue, your urine is neutral, which is a healthy level. Sky blue means it is alkaline, which is also healthy.
The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
What diet should oncologists recommend?
Can reducing acid-forming foods and boosting alkaline-forming foods replicate the performance-enhancing effects of sodium bicarbonate without the adverse effects?
In this “best-of” compilation of his last four year-in-review presentations, Dr. Greger explains what we can do about the #1 cause of death and disability: our diet.
If the uric acid crystals that trigger gout come from the breakdown of purines, should gout patients avoid even healthy, purine-rich foods, such as beans, mushrooms, and cauliflower?
Dietary Acid Load is determined by the balance of acid-inducing food, such as meats, eggs, and cheeses, offset by base-inducing (“alkaline”) foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Decreasing animal protein and sodium intake appears more effective in treating calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) than restricting calcium or oxalates.
Plant-based diets tend to be alkaline-forming. This may help protect muscle mass, and reduce the risk of gout and kidney stones. The pH of one’s urine can be estimated with natural pigments, using kitchen chemistry.
The decades-old dogma that the acid-forming quality of animal protein leads to bone loss has been called into question.