Can Dietary Changes Fight Growing Tumors?

If tests reveal a tumor growing inside your body, it can be a frightening and overwhelming experience.

It’s natural to feel helpless in the face of such a diagnosis. You may believe that all there is to do is wait and hope that chemotherapy, radiation, or other prescribed treatments can shrink the tumor.

But there are a few things you can do to help fight the growth of the tumor.

Diet and Cancerous Tumors

Clinical studies have consistently demonstrated a clear connection between diet and cancerous tumors.

Some foods are known to contribute to the development of cancerous cells, such as processed foods, red meat, alcohol, sugary drinks, and fried foods.

On the other hand, there are many foods that have been shown to slow or prevent the growth of cancerous tumors. These include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and other plant-based foods that are high in antioxidants, fiber, and other anti-tumor compounds.

It is estimated that 30-40% of all cancers can be prevented with healthy eating and other similar lifestyle changes.

But what about after a tumor is already present in the body? Can your diet still have an effect on the growing tumor?

Low Protein Diets Can Restrict Tumor Growth

Inside your body, there is a type of signaling molecule called mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1). These molecules play an important role in regulating the replication, survival and growth of the cells and tissues throughout your body.

In cases of cancer, there appears to be a high over-activation of these mTORC1 molecules. This may be one of the primary reasons why tumor cells grow and multiply so aggressively.

There are a few medications that can block the signaling pathways of mTORC1 and stop tumor growth. But multiple recent studies have found that there may be a safer way to do so—a low-protein diet.

Since mTORC1 signaling is stimulated by amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), reducing the amount of protein you consume may restrict the activity of these molecules and help to slow down or stop tumor growth.

Most of the testing so far in this area has been done on animal studies and with cell cultures. But some clinical trials suggest that this may be a safe and effective complement to conventional cancer treatments.

There is also some evidence that the type of protein you eat may matter. Getting your proteins from plant-based foods such as legumes, nuts, whole grains, and soy may be much more beneficial than meats and other animal proteins.

Collaborate With Your Doctors

When you are living with cancer (or any other health condition), it is always best to consult with your doctors before making any major changes to your diet.

You should not attempt to replace or neglect your prescribed treatments just because you read somewhere that a certain diet or alternative treatment can cure cancer.

A low-protein diet is not a substitute for conventional treatments, but it may be something to consider as part of an overall strategy to fight cancer and tumor growth.

Your doctors can help you to create a personalized nutrition plan that fits within the parameters of your current treatments and medications. By working together, you can develop an optimal strategy to support your body’s natural defenses and create the best possible outcome for your health.