Stanford Dietitian Discusses Nutrition and Cancer Myths and Legends

Stanford Dietitian Discusses Nutrition and Cancer Myths and Legends



my name is Erica and I'm one of the dietitians at the Stanford Cancer Center I do definitely want to explain just a little bit about our cancer supportive care program in case you know that's just a new new terms for everybody and it's it's just nice to know about free resources that we have in the community because that word free doesn't come around very often but this cancer supportive care program is basically it's for anybody who's been diagnosed with cancer so honestly if you even you have a history of it you can utilize our program it's for patients and caregivers and we have everything from nutrition consult which are consultations and follow-ups are free I'd be happy to look at your insurance card but that's all I do and we also have a number of other programs with or you know as far as classes within our program everything from yoga to writing with cancer some writing classes that people really really benefit from so it's just a really it's it's just a fantastic program that has grown through the years we even have massage so when people actually come to their clinic appointments you can sign up for a massage while you're waiting or after your appointment or all that kind of thing so it is definitely something that I you know suggest that people utilize if you've never done yoga this is a good time to try because you can walk in walk out there's no money out of your pocket you can decide I liked it or I didn't so it's really just a fantastic program that's constantly growing just to get an idea how many is anybody in here undergoing cancer treatment right now and if you don't want to raise your hand that's fine as far as caregivers and what about like cancer survivors okay a lot of them good good okay so there's definitely a lot out there with regard to nutrition and cancer that can absolutely be very very very confusing what I've done tonight and all there's a list of all the things I'm gonna cover but I'm going to basically give you the black and white of it there there's a little there's always gray areas because there's always more studies that we need we're constantly learning in my opinion not really learning fast enough but we're doing our best and so you know basically I'm going to tell you what we know now about a lot of different things so as I basically mentioned it you know it can be very challenges as far as a lot of things that you read or a lot of things that people will tell you that's one thing that we get a lot from patients as far as people coming and said so and so that you know for family members and friends come out and say oh you shouldn't eat this oh drink this oh eat this oh don't do that and so not only is your head spinning from being slapped with the diagnosis and your treatment course but you know then all these do's and don'ts and oh my goodness so and there is a lot of misunderstanding the internet can be our friend or our foe so you really have to be careful with what sites you go to and who is authoring the sites because there's a lot of theories out there and all that it is estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of cancer patients use some sort of complementary treatment therapy during during cancer treatment which basically means like it can be something like massage it could be something like yoga is actually considered complementary or it could be something as far as like supplements which is again where we come in if somebody comes to me and says you know here's my bag of pills and powders and that I take first of all my question is always is your doctor whether they agree or not is your doctor aware that you're taking these things because everybody has to be on board as far as the team effort the second thing is I will look through everything and I won't take anything away unless I know it's going to hurt you or the treatment course so that's the other thing as far as people having this is where nutrition is still where people feel like I have some control I know I can I can decide what I'm going to put in my mouth rather than you know to a certain degree rather than you know a doctor nurse saying here take this take that this is your medication schedule this is when your this is your chemotherapy schedule and that kind of thing so you know we all want to have some sense of control with our treatment plan or just with our life so that's that's it so that's basically work when it comes to supplements that's where we come into play when people think I get a lot of people come oh yeah I'm gonna go through the dietician she's probably gonna take all my things away and that's not the case so we we like to look at the big picture however there are a lot of you know myths about things meaning a lot of things that people will read that you know say oh this is going to cure the cancer or this is really going to help you and this and that and sometimes that's not really the case again it may not harm you through treatment but if you know there's not really it's not necessarily going to guarantee you a clean bill of health at the end and let me tell you I have seen pretty much everything so you know but anyway we'll go over so sugar big one and I know the question everybody's going to ask alcohol we're gonna cover dairy we're gonna cover meat coffee and caffeine antioxidants specifically we're going to kind of carve out a little bit of vitamin C soy isoflavones and and I'm thrown and cleanses that they'll as a last one because that's just something that we get a lot we'll go over it so I'm gonna watch the clock because this is actually a lot to cover in an hour so but I didn't want to leave anything out because these are kind of big ticket items so anyway we'll just get started how's that for sugar so kind the most common question is does sugar feed cancer and will sugar cause my cancer to grow some important things to remember first you have to think of just and if you don't you know you know nothing about nutrition nothing like that we have to start at square one knowing that all cells including healthy cells including cancer cells they all use glucose sugar as an energy source they our bodies will make it it will find it if we don't give it to it so if we aren't eating some sort of a carbohydrate or anything like that we will make glucose out of proteins and fats so that's just one thing to remember the there are now the other thing too that you know like to kind of explain is I don't want people to get too confused when we talk about the word sugar versus carbohydrates – carbohydrates yes they break down to sugar and blah blah blah but and I'll explain a little bit more about what we mean professionally as you know with the word sugar because sugars occur naturally in as you know fruit vegetables beans nuts I mean really the whole thing obviously grains so it's you know there's a lot to think about when you you know when somebody comes up with this whole sugar concept I've seen some very scary scary things I had one lady a couple now I guess it's a couple ago um where the nurse came to get me and said you really need to talk to this lady because I'm really concerned about her not only was she losing weight really rapidly partly because of some of the side effects but also because she was anxious because again so many people show so many things she had read so many things people heads the head told her and so she really took the sugar concept all the way to the extreme she cut out all her grains she stopped eating fruit she's not so one of the things to remember is glucose is the number one fuel source for the brain so by the time I started to talk to her she was slow to respond just with her comments back to me everything and we ended up coming up with you know as far as I spent quite a bit of time with her just explaining some things and we came up with you know kind of a plan for her to add in some whole grains some whole fruits back to her diet slowly gradually and sure enough she did that and she actually ended up feeling a lot better we ended up stabilizing her weight she was responding to treatment so it was all it was all good but what we did do is focused on you know hidden sugars and you know talked about you know are you really gonna go have a mocha and a Danish or you know those types of things no no no I mean that wasn't even part of it but we what we did is we added back some of the necessary healthy carbohydrates to her diet and that was definitely important so here are some things with regards to the American Cancer Society and it's a long statement but basically they're saying that sugar what sugar does sugar and they're talking about sugar like table sugar anything front well and I'm going to go through a list of the different kinds of sugar too but as far as sugar increases your calorie intake which essentially increases your insulin use which essentially increases a lot of times weight and all the the things between insulin and weight have such an incredible impact on cancer risk that that is actually more of the issue as you're adding all those extra calories by having the extra sugar in your coffee or tea or cereal or mochas or you know that type of thing so that's what we want to focus on is limiting baked goods high sugar beverages and that type of thing focusing on those first and then we can look at other hidden sugars which again I'll go over the American Heart Association has this recommendation of no more than six teaspoons which is a hundred calories or 20 grams of added sugar for women and then nine teaspoons or 150 calories or equates to thirty seven and a half grams of added sugar for men so and I'll explain that so it really makes sense in just a second here are some comparisons which are really interesting too as far as between white table sugar honey good old stevia agave high fructose corn syrup so as you'll see there's you know I mean they're roughly summer sixty calories you know as far as per tablespoon some are 45 some are 53 they're all relatively the same amount of carbohydrates so between 12 17 14 there a couple couple grams off of each other but one of these things to remember is I actually even if you're using stevia or a sugar substitute I want you to look at all of these as the same just because it's a sugar substitute I don't want you loading five tables you know five two spoons of of it in your coffee or tea thinking well it's not sugar because again what you're doing is you're actually sending the wrong message to this you can actually train yourself to crave sugar you can which one of these are better I'm not going to say any of them they all have a little different properties why everybody knows table sugars table sugar the other ways that these breakdown between honey agave even maple syrup which actually I should have probably put on here but like honey you'll get at least you'll get sugar which your body will look at these with the exception of stevia but look at these other sugar components the same way if process is the same the difference is is like with honey you'll get actually some antioxidants as you wouldn't get with table sugar things like agave nectar you'll get a little bit of calcium a little bit of magnesium a little bit of potassium maple syrup it the same way a little bit of manganese a little bit of zinc and then but again not with high fructose corn syrup no nutrients whatsoever so that's where people will say oh well I use agave or I use maple okay great but when it comes down to it when we're looking at added sugar we always want to look at how much are we using and I see this a lot in even our cafe when people go to get coffee or tea whatever and they go to the condiment area and they automatically pick up like let's just say three packets of sugar rip the tops open pour it in their coffee out the door they may or may not stir it if that sounds familiar my challenge to you is when was the last time you tasted it first of all with nothing which I know some people go oh well when I can't drink it but then maybe try one teaspoon or maybe a little bit stir it taste it when was the last time you checked in with yourself to see do I need three packets this probably does because again you've created this sort of craving so that's I think anywhere that we can reduce the amount of added sugar that's what we want to do I want your bodies to work at the energy it has to get I want it to work through the fiber and the nutrients from whole grains and fruit and things like that that rather than just give it a straight energy source okay does that make sense here's a little bit about what I mean but as far as what it means with this added sugar about you know women should do no more than 20 men should do no more than thirty seven and a half grams so here's some sneaky sources of sugar 6 ounces of playing fat free the Shibani Greek yogurt has 100 calories 7 grams of carbohydrates from naturally occurring milk sugar so that's one thing to remember is when you're looking at a plain yogurt and it says sugars and you go oh that's lactose that's the natural naturally occurring sugar in that yogurt then I want you to pick up the same brand in a flavour which here 6 ounces of blueberry fat-free same brand the Shibani Greek yogurt 140 calories 20 grams of carbohydrates 20 versus 7 so that difference is that extra sugar that they've added in there now the thing is is then you have to look at the ingredients say are there really blueberries in here or is it blueberry concentrate or fruit syrup or that type of thing in the perfect world I would want people to eat plain yogurt with real fruit that would be ideal now again some people go I don't like plain yogurt it's so turn so anyway but that's an example of what we mean by these hidden sugars and and a way to compare the two so again some takeaways with the sugar is as far as just aim for fresh Whole Foods I also suggest people look at how much fruit a fruit juice they drink and I would actually welcome in more of the whole fruit you get less calories and you get the fiber you're gonna feel full more so than you would with the juice and again it's a calorie thing unless you're looking for extra calories then that's okay but trying to limit just processed foods altogether the sugary drinks and again that's where anything that's really flavored a lot of times read the label it's the only way you're gonna know and then the the concept of adapting your palate to less sweetened foods is that whole concept of checking in with yourself you can train this to not want so much sugar I know a lot of people who drink a lot of Crystal Light all day long and that's actually one of the things if they don't drink Crystal Light they're like I need something sweet after lunch maybe some M&Ms because it's constantly going in so that's where adapting kind of your palate to less wheat I'm try adding fresh fruit here you know again you can drizzle some honey on plain yogurt and stuff like that instead of commercially sweetened or fruited or using fruited yogurts again you're going to get a little bit of antioxidants from the honey as opposed to whatever they put in there in that yogurt so it's always a balancing act it's a very very tricky concept but it's also a concept that's been a lot been around for I think it was 1930 is when the there was a doctor who came up or who actually a medical doctor who went over you know how the body processes sugar and somebody actually kind of misconstrued that and then it took off to sugar feeds cancer and so we've been in kind of a battle of all of that for quite a long time but um anyway so that's kind of the the gist of the sugar so basically it's you know it's use your common sense look for hidden sugars obviously you know avoiding or limiting the cookies and the cakes you know I mean I've seen people you know say oh no it's my birthday and I can't have birthday cake I'm the one who usually says the birthday cake it's once a year you know enjoy yourself and move on but because I really want people look at the bit they'll hope the big picture okay moving on to alcohol and the interesting thing is that obviously many cancers are linked to alcohol including head and neck esophageal breast colorectal and then they throw and possibly liver again that just goes to show that some studies say yes some study says no the interesting thing about alcohol is even with the recommendations for cancer prevention there is a one of the statements on there that limit alcohol consumption women get one drink men get to drink two drinks per day and a lot of people ask why is that even on there the reason is is that the recommendations for cancer prevention that came out in 2007 was an international piece of work and there and also the the wreaths so you know you think of the people in France and Italy and they're like oh don't get rid of my alcohol but also that the reason is is that not all studies are pointing towards all cancers the American Heart Association as we all know set keeps telling us how good red wine is for us as well as now you know as far as all the great qualities of beer from a heart perspective so from a cancer perspective unfortunately it's not looking so good you know but there there are the benefits of red wine as you know here with antioxidants there is free our all you know those have you know definitely been studied some some studies come out impressive in fact there was you know as far as a study with regard to the breast cancer and that's one that definitely keeps flip-flopping back and forth one study I think that was done in France showed actually a reduction in risk and everybody's like woohoo okay but really what it comes down to is more and more studies are showing that actually every drink increases your risk of breast cancer so that group specifically now I have to say that there's no safe level of alcohol intake because with especially the group as far as the head and necks esophageal colorectal everything that basically it travels through there is more and more of a connection so rather than drinking red wine now we get to say how about grape juice because it doesn't have you still get the benefits from the antioxidants but alcohol is not in there not as much fun but that is basically again one of those things that I told you before here's the black and the white this is what we know now it's alcohol is not linked to all cancers but these ones that are listed here it is and it it's not I doubt that's going to change as far as sway us in the other direction as far as preventing any of these so you know some pee we'll say oh I'm gonna just stop drinking okay fine I'm not gonna not gonna talk you into keep going but it's again like sugar where are your drinks coming from actually to be honest a lot of our doctors even I wouldn't say that they're gonna push you to stop one reason being is because in fact a lot of my patients will say well I had this conversation with my doctor and he didn't really seem to push either way and I'll tell you really one reason why is because first if you're going through treatment most of the time you'll pull the glass up here and it won't go any further because it either smells terrible or if you take that first step because of the side effect of any meds that you're taking even if you're finished with treatment and you're months down the line those taste buds still aren't they haven't come back yet I'm gonna take it and then you'll you'll take that sip and again it's oh okay forget it but on the other note if you do take that sip usually what comes along with sipping something is that that body language of you're actually relaxing so I've actually been in clinic rooms a lot of times with doctors saying just have that little drink relax you know do something but I usually will say to people I guarantee you won't even get through the whole thing because it's just ends up being a lot different yeah question his doctor says it's safe to drink up to eight ounces of whiskey a day and here you said there's no safe level of alcohol known you provide right this has to do everything with cancer I'm sure it's not gonna affect his it may not affect his diabetes because actually alcohol is processed a little differently the most important thing from for a diabetic that they that he has to remember is when you drink alcohol you need to actually eat a little something or it will bring her blood Sugar's plummeting for cancer there is we we we don't have a safe level of alcohol intake we wouldn't recommend anything specific yeah yeah specifically and specifically for these the the cancer diagnosis listed above especially if somebody has like breast cancer things like that studies are just not supporting us you know as far as to say oh yeah you can have you know a few drinks you know again I just say you know choose wisely you're gonna be in social situations so just pick and choose wisely you know is a drink gonna send you over the edge probably not but you know again it's that whole picture we got to look at okay moving on dairy oh goodness um so there there is a lot of even websites devoted to dairy as a whole what I wanted to do here though is really be fair to kind of everything out there there there's a lot of a lot of very interesting studies a lot of studies that actually have no connections actually most of them but there are some groups that actually there there is a little bit of a little bit or you know sometimes more and more connection and so I did pluck out the ovarian group and then you'll see on the next slide the prostate the interesting thing so like I don't hopefully everybody can read what's on there some studies are suggesting that there's an increased risk of ovarian cancer only from high fat whole whole fat milk as far as our dairy women this interest there this is a very very interesting study this next one is they actually found and this study I think was done in Sweden or something anyway they're a lot of these have been done in Europe there is actually a study showing that if women have a inadequate enzyme to break down galactose which is in dairy their their risk is higher there you can actually get that test it's a blood test and so and that's very interesting and that group particularly they actually ended up testing these women who had these lower enzyme levels and so they actually had a harder time digesting which usually when you have a hard time digesting thinks it's just a little stressor on your body which creates you know again since those cancer cells in the action and I thought I thought that that that was very interesting it's not a common test it's not a common test your doctors not going to say hey let's check let's check that Gault let's check that Gault enzyme but you can certainly have that conversation with them yeah yeah well that wasn't part of the study so I mean if that would help that that would help with specifically the lactose part I don't know what it would have done if it would have you know made a difference interested that's an interesting concept to think about you know as far as if we have if we have a little bit of a help like an enzyme supplement if that you know helps us know unfortunately we don't that's that's another thing let's do a study and then again there's a 32% and increased risk of ovarian cancer even from one or more low-fat or skim skim dairy intake serving sizes for the Nurses Health Study which was a big big study what to be honest that now this the ovarian group is very that's what a lot of these studies have come out as far as that where that connection is breast cancer to be honest not so much there they're not finding a lot of links in fact there even with the ovarian they're really they're still not sure what it is more and more studies have linked the fat content and the amount so I remember about five or so years ago I read through the study that was done in Europe and these women had a very high increased risk but they were drinking seven servings of high-fat dairy or you know eating drinking seven service that's not even recommended the recommendation is two to three so that already kind of set us like okay wait that's too much and then we wouldn't recommend high fat anyway so again we're still learning and the other thing that had nothing to do with this is what this as conventional dairy was it organic would that have made it made a difference so a lot of really you know we don't we don't have a lot of answers but in this group prostate same thing very interesting as far as increased risk with regard to dairy intake but also looking at their again kind of teasing out what cut what part what component of the dairy is it that gets us in trouble there you know is that the fat is it the calcium because again calcium is good for our bones but again we don't want to go crazy with it especially with men so and the other thing too is if you have a high calcium intake that tends to affect your vitamin D and vitamin D is you know it's not in this talk because it's the latest and greatest but vitamin D is we have sufficient levels we have really good blood levels we're finding that that actually protects us and reduces our risk for well a lotta a lot of different cancers and specifically actually even prostate so you know we're finding out these studies and so again dairies getting hit with regard to ovarian and prostate and so you know with these two groups we would recommend you know how how much dairy do you take in and we would just take a look at that and then possibly even you know bring that down a little bit depending on how much but again we as dietitians would look at not only the serving size is that you're having the fat content that you're having but also how many milligrams of calcium you're getting so here's a good list too as far as knowing your calcium intake and as far as and again very very interesting you know as far as dairy typically is is the big one but even orange juice with calcium now you can you know is almost equivalent to a glass of milk and then also just other supplements obviously sardines with bones and then even figs 135 milligrams so you know again it's a big picture and trying to kind of stay middle-of-the-road obviously women or you know trying to get 12 you know 100 to 1500 milligrams this recommendation I should have put on that's specifically for men so that's you know again one of those things too is you know take a look at you know how much stuff am I getting one of the things that I will usually suggest is yes we want to look at food but especially if you're taking a supplement even if it's like your Centrum silver know that there's 200 milligrams of calcium in there and if you're taking any other supplements read the label first and add up everything and then what we also will look look at food so again the big picture but overall you know I'm not cutting dairy out of everybody's diet it's those groups specifically but then other than that it is recommended to to only two to three servings of dairy whether it's milk or yogurt and I actually push more towards yogurt because of the great benefits that you get from the probiotics and you know as far as from you know bone building the protein it can be a fantastic snack you know as far as yogurt just done deal a great protein calorie mix so you know but that's it's not dairy is not known to cause cancer so that's what I'm saying to to be careful for only it's showing up in these two groups it's not coming out otherwise we would be on it and we'd be telling everybody you know stop don't drink it but you know again it's just being smart about your choices so again all the you know the benefits of the calcium the vitamin D probiotics protein the protein looking at the calcium intake also is a big one with colon cancer more and more and more and more studies are coming out showing that calcium plays a really important piece so then the men come to me and say well I'm worried about colon cancer and I heard about prostate cancer or what do I do what I would suggest is again middle-of-the-road I would go back as far as and not you know how old are you and not go above and beyond the thousand to twelve hundred milligrams and because I again most importantly is we're learning with everything we have learned and we continue to learn that more is not better it's it's really getting us in trouble that again is fine most people are on vitamin D supplements not know not necessarily mm-hmm what we would do is again you I'd want to look at how much calcium you're getting first and if you would even need to increase that so you know it also depends some people they're vitamin D sometimes it's a straight vitamin D sometimes it's a calcium and vitamin D sometimes people are taking other things as well so it's lining up all the bottles and trying really trying to figure out where all those things fall okay process to me and red meat um red meat is beef pork pork is not the other white meat and lamb processed meats do include the deli meats your bacon your ham your hot dogs basically processed meats or anything that's preserved with whether it's smoked whether it's salted whether it's used with any other preservatives that's considered a process meat here is what we have from the American Institute for cancer research and the World Cancer Research Foundation that eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week increases colorectal cancer risk and again your with meats red meats and processing meat specifically that you're going to hear colorectal cancer all the time because that is definitely something that's linked again very spotty connections with other cancer diagnosis specifically so that's why again I had to be fair and I just want to make sure I'm educating them in the right way is let you know what's out there and that is one thing that when you hear about the red meats it is absolutely linked with the colorectal cancer so an eating three and a half ounces of red meat every day increases colorectal cancer risk by 17 percent compared to somebody who doesn't eat red meat at all when it comes to red meat I will say quality makes a difference and as you can see as far as cooking at high temperatures also produces the cancer-causing compounds so the quality of the meat and the cooking method our big-ticket items there the colorectal is all bunched into one but yeah if you have colon cancer you're in that group rectal cancer you're in that group yeah and then eating any amount of processed meat Elza is linked to an increased risk of Carle rectal cancer so again consuming three and a half ounces now three and a half ounces every day is twenty four and a half ounces per week so with the red meat there at least trying to pull us down to 18 now when I'm in my office with somebody and I throw out the 18 they go wow that's a lot yeah for here in California a lot of times it is a lot but I know people who live in the Midwest that's not a lot the average American an average from coast-to-coast be fair eats thirty five ounces of red meat a week is your risk go down yes and it also goes down if you eat more vegetables as far as process yes isn't that funny yeah so there we have it there's the red meat thing and they process meat so again we're not a hundred percent sure about what component of the meat gets us in trouble is it the fat because it is a saturated fat is it the carcinogens that are created when it's cooked at high temperature barbecuing yeah all that stuff so you know again we're learning more not fast enough but we're doing it the American Institute for cancer research has estimated that 45% of colorectal case cancer cases could be prevented also a lot if we ate more fiber rich food plant-based foods less meat drink less alcohol moved more and stayed Li isn't that what everybody's grandma used to tell them I mean it's honestly it comes down like full circle we kind of know what we should be doing but the 45 percent is about sixty four thousand cases in the u.s. so again it's not that I'm up here saying toss this toss that get rid of the red meat again what I want you to do is the same challenge as I'm going to throw out that I did with the sugar go home and figure out what your typical consumption is how many ounces cooked of red meat beef pork and lamb do you eat in a week roughly what's your what about your processed meat and yes people say oh gosh she's gonna get rid of my turkey sandwich again there's there's options to that again not they're not sure is that the the fat is it the preservatives we're kind of you know we pretty much know that nitrites nitrates and nitrites aren't good for us it's something that we used a long time ago that helped us reduce food borne illnesses and now we don't really need them we did we know that but again that preservation that extra salt what exactly is the problem we're trying to get a grasp on so taking a look at the overall thing is you know how much are we eating and how are we preparing it yeah thank you yes so um a couple things on grilling because again we get that question a lot throw stuff fruits and vegetables on there I know don't roll your eyes at me but really it's one of those things that also can increase your intake of fruits and vegetables adds a great flavor to whatever else you're grilling and does not create that carcinogen that the meats do marinating the meat even for 30 minutes before you put it on the grill what it does is it it's protecting it they again are trying to figure out if it's if there's an acid in there if it's like vinegar or something like that is it is it creating some sort of a barrier you know obviously other things like you know trimming visible fat which we know if it drips into the fire the fire you know flares up partially pre-cooking again people roll their eyes at me but you can partially you can pre cook it a little bit in the oven and finish it off on the grill which is actually one of the most common recommendations with regard to that and then as far as low and slow so usually people throw stuff on the barbecue the flames go up you char it a little bit you get you want those lines on there and and and that's actually not we don't actually want it necessarily right over the flame because again once that flank once that charred but that charring happens that's when where those carcinogens are so all those types of things going low and slow is going to be better that's okay it doesn't create the same thing yeah yeah I know you'd say it's still black to me but you know but no it's those carcinogens are not created with fruits and vegetables it has a lot more to do with the protein and the fat in the meat so and it is it's not only red meat it's chicken and fish so be careful as far as grilling those too so okay good moving on sorry I apologize if I'm going fast but we still have kind of what and I wanted to make sure I covered all the important things um coffee and caffeine here's a funny thing and it is actually kind of funny they keep picking on coffee they keep trying to study coffee trying to find something wrong with it and then every time they study it now it helps prevent Alzheimer's it helps prevent Parkinson's as far as just looking at you know the the antioxidants in it it used to be risk with a possible you know pancreatic kidney cancer not anymore as far as that's not you know it's really unlikely that that's that's the problem one of the things though as far as coffee and I'll throw T's in there too they have you know just a lot of antioxidant kind of phytochemical positive properties to them I think one of the things that's interesting that again we need to keep in mind is what the coffees and teas are tied with and that's caffeine caffeine is one of those things like table sugar or alcohol our bodies do not need it this needs it more than anything else I think but our systems can function perfectly fine without caffeine so again more and more say there's actually several studies going on right now having to do with caffeine specifically and cancer but the interesting thing as far as specifically with coffee is they're actually thinking that it may even lower the risk of you know certain cancers liver colorectal there you go again it's like why does coffee get a positive note and alcohol doesn't but you know again looking at these components pancreatic bladder you know a lot of these very interesting another study came out having to do with prostate and look at this the study for those who consumed more than 6 cups of coffee a day and that was decaf or caffeinated had a 50% lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer that I I was like I want to read through that study because that again very like you're kidding me again even with breast cancer they looked at 66 thousand women showing a fifty fifty seven percent reduction with five cups of coffee so there are you know again some health benefits to coffee but I am going to also put in and and and having to do with as far as some of these things may even reduce the risk of stage two type type 2 diabetes it can also increase your transit time as far as your GI tract one thing that I see a lot is when people are diagnosed with cancer they again people are telling them they're reading that and then they come to me and say well I ice and I stop drinking coffee and did it uh and then we talk a little bit more and then the trouble comes out of they're constipated and that's usually where I chime in and say can we add the coffee back and at what I said just one cup let's just try it and boom fixed and it's just one cup look at these studies so again I'm not I still I'm not comfortable with saying join the five cup coffee club I'm will still a little weary about that but one to two cups a day the studies have also shown is actually where you reap the benefits of the antioxidants in the coffee if if you're sensitive to caffeine if you you know the whole caffeine thing go decaf go regular whatever with the process now of decaffeinated they've actually it's really superb meaning that they've fine-tuned it so that they take the caffeine out but they retain the nutrients the antioxidant whereas before we used to lose all that stuff with decaffeination um so again one to two cups a day perfectly fine we'll see about the five cup thing but obviously some negative side effects you know again it and and there are some negative side effects heart studies have shown obviously if you're drinking ten cups a day a lot of caffeine for the little pumper it obviously anxiety insomnia headaches all that kind of stuff nervousness if we haven't done it to ourselves I'm sure we know somebody who you know drinks a lot of it of caffeine in general so again anywhere from two to four cups even most people tolerate well here's a very interesting thing as far as the caffeine content that's also a little tricky even with drip coffee because it totally depends on exactly you know the process it can be from you know 100 to 200 milligrams but I usually like to keep people around that 300 milligram which you know again even that's where the two cup kind of comes into play here but everything even from now Mountain Dew usually is very interesting to people because they're like oh I only get 55 milligrams with that so yeah and a lot of sugar so again take a step back and think where's my caffeine coming from yes please include your dark chocolate or chocolate in general because whether it's 10 or 30 milligrams it counts so keep adding it up yeah Oh green tea there those studies are coming out a little bit well kind of like the coffee the latest coffee one is some green teas studies are coming out as you can drink the six cups a day but again be careful green tea is naturally caffeinated so that's when people but really so when you're going and you're shopping for green tea depending again look at how often you drink it if you're drinking it all throughout the day okay I'm not gonna I'm not you know at a point where I can pull people back our recommendation right now isn't you know up to four cups but again the caffeine if you're drinking it after noon and you're wondering why you're only sleeping so many hours go for decaf you're still going to get the benefits but nothing absolutely absolutely a lot great antioxidants fantastic nutrients in it yeah absolutely yes yes definitely yeah all decaf teas and coffees have a little bit and again it's hard to know exactly how much but sometimes it can be anywhere it's kind of like chocolate it can range anywhere from as low as 10 milligrams to sometimes thirty in a decaf yeah they can't take it all out but but they're there get they get close for antioxidants again here's a here's an interesting one we all you know as far as protecting us with the use of antioxidants it is very controversial a lot of different studies sometimes swaying us in one direction and sometimes not this is again where we will look at the big picture you know I've had people who come in with 20 different things and I'll keep a lot of them but to say no no no and no and this is why specifically the radiation gets us as far as a little tricky because basically the antioxidants are working against the radiation what we mean by using antioxidants during radiation and actually chemotherapy is we don't want people mega dosing so if you're going a little bit higher like say with vitamin C if you're taking 500 milligrams I'm not going to touch that for taking 2,000 I am going to touch that and I'm going to highly suggest that you don't do that yeah as far as what it does is it you know kind of goes antioxidants work in the ways it goes in and it takes kind of what we all sure have read as far as free radicals you know kind of the garbage it cleans up garbage and that's where some things have gotten into us into trouble as far as then people thinking oh well the antioxidants are going to go and notice the cancer cells and go swipe those and leave the healthy cells and everything's going to be fine what a lot of these studies though have shown is it may give the cancer cells especially in these high doses it may give them more power it may be protecting them as well as the healthy cells so it's a protector it's a protector for for cells it's kind of a cleaner so to speak and as far as you know again been touted to help our immune systems and and things like that so that essentially is basically what antioxidants do but again that's why with regard even with chemotherapy here are some agents that actually as far as the work you know high doses are interfering with a lot of these meds so like be sulfa NBC and you carboplatin cytoxan cisplatin I mean these are really these are popular these are popular chemotherapy drugs so again it's be cautious be cautious for sure because studies have definitely been showing us otherwise antioxidants particularly big one big one with beta-carotene increasing lung cancer is specifically with smokers well if I if if you're smart enough to tell me that you're a smoker I will my one of my first questions will be are you taking bit of carotene because I don't want to see it it's that was a very interesting study as well as vitamin E again some studies show a protective effect of chemo related side effects while others show a tumor protective effect review concludes that antioxidant supplement should not be used during cancer treatment and there that's where our controversy is is it helping side effects is it helping the tumor and sometimes these studies come out and that's where I don't want to play I am NOT going to be playing that game if any study has come out with you know any supplement as far as being a possible tumor protector and you come to me with anything like that I'm going to say let's move on I say yes it has antioxidant properties yeah because it's a berry not necessarily if you're taking an extract my question is is what does that extract what's the power of it how many you know what is how is it a double strength triple you know like the extracts get a little fuzzy because the other thing about because the other thing about supplements is they're not regulated so I'm going to cross my fingers that you're getting what it says you're getting not necessarily and that's the thing too is if you're drinking you know these juices if you're eating blueberries don't don't worry about that it's when we're talking about antioxidants and supplementing and we're talking about popping pills and and extracts and powders and things like that not not food-related vitamin C's another one everybody knows good ol Linus Pauling and he's actually you know done studies years ago with regard to you know 10 grams a day from an IV Mayo Clinic went ahead and basically shot that down I have actually had people who have gone to local clinics and have that had that IV therapy unfortunately the three people who I know have done that didn't make it so that is one thing that kind of histone me well that didn't really cure them they tried and again that was one of the things that their doctors knew they were on board the doc said okay I said well yeah I mean it is what it is you're gonna do it or you're not whether we tell you to and so both the doc and I were on board and so basically you know the doctor said you do you know if that's what you want to do we'll just watch you know and go through treatment and we'll just continue to see how how you respond to treatment so he was very very you know just it is what it is you're going to do what you're going to do and and actually pretty supportive with regard to that unfortunately it just didn't work for them so and again currently the IV vitamin C treatment is being continued to be investigated if I knew a quick trick out there I would certainly share it here's one as far as high vitamin C I know we're a fast almost high vitamin C intake from food whoo there we are has been correlated with decreased incidence of cancer of the mouth the throat vocal cords esophagus stomach colorectal and lung there we have it the power of food full circle very interesting as you can see here in some of these other studies 205 milligrams of vitamin C from food it's not a big deal you know it's not a thousand or you know as far as supplement even here this vitamin C supplementation 500 milligrams a day for an average of eight years had no significant effect on total cancer or site-specific cancers seafood is like what's in an orange that's okay that's all right that just led me in there so it can't so here's the thing about vitamin C that I really really like to hit home with when you even take your your 500 milligrams of vitamin C you're not absorbing at all sorry our bodies can actually only absorb anywhere between 100 and 200 they think that 200 is by far our max and after than that it goes through and we end up urinating it out so because it's a water-soluble vitamin one of the best things to do is you can see here from this list like an orange a 70 so is a Kiwi orange juice strawberries cooked broccoli see people and there's another thing about there's a funny thing here cooked cook Brock not raw cooked broccoli has actually I think robbed broccoli is a little less yeah believe it or not no no it's like a couple of milligrams but nonetheless it's at least I think so I'm pretty sure oh one of the things that I thought of right and I should have added it is even guava for those people who like guava a half a cup of guava 188 milligrams boom right there so one of the best ways to get in your vitamin C and if you take 500 okay fine whatever there it's going to be in your multi it's going to be in whatever but it's to eat it all throughout the day which most people do anyway so if you have a fruit in the morning most likely it's going to have some sort of vitamin C in there if you have even red bell pepper as part of your salad or whatever at lunch and then if you have say spaghetti sauce with tomatoes for dinner there's a great vitamin C all those little pit stops that you get that's the greatest way for our bodies to absorb the vitamin C a little bit a little bit a little bit a little bit okay the big thing about supplementing this 2,000 milligrams is our safe upper limit after that it's not uncommon for people to get diarrhea upset stomach that kind of thing to nausea that's really the big one that people end up dealing with soy put it in a nutshell so used to get such a bad rap has for years and years and years and more and more studies are coming out saying yes we can eat soy yes breast cancer patients can eat soy however we want you to eat soy food whole soy food not taking soy protein powder not eating those meatless chicken nuggets not eating tofurkey you know eating some hole considered whole soy foods like things like tofu tempeh miso soy milk soy nuts those are considered the least processed soy milk yes it is processed because you got to get it from the bean to the milk but again those have those don't have these you know huge amount of this natural estrogen these are very basic it's this this estrogen like effect so to speak that the the soy has is to be honest not not even on the radar when you're sticking to foods so that's the big-ticket item if you are a breast cancer survivor like estrogen receptor-positive it's not something i would say oh yeah yeah yeah well hey start you know digging in there no no no I'm not going to say necessarily to add it in if you don't eat it or you don't like it but again if you're out to a Chinese restaurant and somebody gets tofu stir-fry and it comes around on the little dolly that you know the little lazy susan and you want to have some have some and don't worry about it but again stay away from the soy that processed soy foods again they're processed anyway so they shouldn't be on our list I mean highly processed meaning the the fake meat products out there soy milk is considered a whole soy food yeah one of the things and some people say well how do you exactly know the difference the ingredient list when the first ingredient says concentrated soy protein which is exactly what it says on the fake chicken nuggets that's where you want to pass you want to stick to the real food cleanses my okay I'll keep this brief again one of the things is that cleanses can rid my body of toxins and can you know help me you know recover from chemotherapy and get the chemicals out completely unfounded by research again I've seen I've hurt you know people who oh yeah I feel so much better and that kind of thing it all comes down to first of all I I won't recommend it I don't think any of our doctors will recommend it our bodies will naturally remove waste if you are and you feel like you're not most likely you're constipated and so you need to probably eat more fiber fruits and vegetables whole grains and look at your fluid intake I have actually seen some very very serious detriment done by cleanses with people and it's very very scary so some of the things definitely I mean just to look for especially if it's several days or weeks yowsa it's very dehydrating it can actually completely throw off your electrolytes dizziness nausea vomiting diarrhea all of those a couple things also about actually cleanses this has enough it's not like an enema cleanses actually can send up to 60 up to so anywhere not uncommon to have a couple liters of fluid being pushed through you but some extreme cases are up to 60 liters of fluid getting pumped through you cleansing you very debilitating that will completely that could do some serious harm so I mean serious harm it can obviously as you can see here Benny even if they use certain herbs and even with the the amount of fluid that's used in certain cleanses can cause organ damage so be that's my real big one that I like to throw in there because I'm not a fan so look at your diet get those fresh Whole Foods in decrease processed foods look at your fluid intake and here are some great websites for complementary and alternative things legitimate websites I will tell you like ConsumerLab you actually have to be a member and it's 19 dollars a year or something I don't know I forget I just charged it to the card um but a great website though in fact that's one of the things they ConsumerLab pulls things off the shelf and here's an interesting thing about multivitamins is they don't need to be expensive and a lot of the multis the basic that's a key word basic multivitamin that's sold at Costco for the Kirkland brand CVS Walgreens centrum those are all really good products meaning they are not contaminated and they say what they they have what they say they have in them and then a couple other things like office of dietary supplements is free so you can look up in there and they do a really good job of updating things like that – so that's it oh I'm sorry yeah yeah various can help prevent cancer like broccoli bluebirds yeah no it's actually oh sure sorry repeat the question um if the cruciferous vegetables and blueberries actually do have anti-cancer properties yes the in fact they just well not just I guess it was over a year ago did a study on broccolini and that actually broccolini you know the little the little broccoli there it's like a long stem and it has the sprouts are kind of smaller it's like a miniature version of broccoli those actually have there was a study with regard to gastric cancer so stomach cancer specifically and they showed an incredible risk reduction with broccolini specifically my question was what about broccoli but anyway they again a lot of different effects blueberries yes now that's the other thing is what I want people to do is blueberries get a lot of press pomegranate gets a lot of press what I want people to do again is just think colors it's even though blueberries are great it doesn't mean that you need to eat like a pound of them or tenth you know vary your diet keep your diet varied what's happening with some of these other things like the acai berry or a acai acai everybody calls it something different but the acai berry is it's it's it's a berry it's the fruit it's just not from our region and so it's you know it's like some of these other like the mangosteen there are these it's just a fruit with these great properties so you can certainly work them into your diet but you know again I'm not a huge fan of going crazy or buying these expensive juices and things like that think of colors that's the thing to bring home is if you don't like broccoli or if broccoli doesn't like you you don't need to suffer through that either again find you no other cruciferous find other things in that family find other green things keep that varied diet absolutely good question yeah you know that's another good question so that question was what about additives to food like msg and things like that yes again we're learning more and more about those types of things there are some links to some additives it just you know again you know kind of depends on what the you know one of the things again that I like to encourage people is when you're dealing with a whole food you're not going to be getting an ingredient list that's forever long or things that you can't pronounce so that is one way of avoiding those things those additives and things like that but the American Cancer Society their website actually has a really good list of kind of all things like the alcohol the sugar the food additives again their take is you know I mean studies still need to be done on certain things but you know a lot of it is why do we need the food additives and gearing people more towards the whole food right the back part of the barbecue meat it's not good for you right coffee is also charged very much charge and if you take French roast it is very very much is it yes is in connection absolutely yes that is the fact yeah so that so you know the difference between the the blackness and the the roasting of coffee versus the charring of me it absolutely it's the connection that happened with the carcinogens are created when the flame hits the protein the animal protein so is between it the the protein fat it could be both again not exactly sure you know which component of it but that's the main thing yeah it well the vegetables if you char vegetables it doesn't that the carcinogens aren't there I mean I just prefer I don't want to eat charred vegetables but you know but again they're not going to be it's not gonna be the cancer-causing component that you get from the meats yeah yeah okay what did you chop fish same thing you don't want to do it I know so you just you know again being careful with and a lot of it is depending on your grill and if you can vary the flame I know it gets complicated yeah and it a lot of it depends well yeah like oh thank you um as far as if you buy I like commercially packaged or orange juice that you you're not getting in the nutrients a lot of it has to do with when it was packaged and also like the transit time if it ever dropped in temperature that kind of absolutely you can easily lose nutrients with that how old it is that type of thing I mean you can't go fresh is best if you couldn't squeeze your own but you're still going to get great benefits from some you know from the juice that's made again watch the calories yeah thank you thank you

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9 thoughts on “Stanford Dietitian Discusses Nutrition and Cancer Myths and Legends

  1. This it the problem. No one can give cancer patients a straight answer on what to eat and what not to eat. It's all a crap shoot and very annoying and disheartening for us cancer patients. Every medical professional, holistic or not, has a different opinion, no one has the research to prove it imperically. Everyone's body and cancer is different, everyone's environment and mental makeup is different – all of this impacts our health.

    It's pathetic in the millenium that we are still guessing at everything to do to stay healthy. I think we are approaching this the wrong way by seeking advice of mainstream doctors. They should be embarrassed that all their tests lead to nowhere meaningful. We obviously have not come up with any meaningful advice for the cancer patients yet except to eat organic, limit dairy, meat, alcohol and sugar….well there goes an enjoyable life. I say we eat the best we can, exercise, rest, drink good water, positive imagery…and pray for a healthy life.

  2. It’s a shame, in my opinion, that she’s trying to be politically correct and not bash out alcohol and especially dairy completely. Maybe, she’s afraid of the consequences from the dairy industry if she recommends to stay away from it. As it’s been proven, beyond a doubt that dairy switches on the cancer genes. Same goes to sugar – the white poison and the meat !!!

  3. Read The China Study by T Colin Campbell for irrefutable proof that animal protein (and especially dairy) promotes (not causes) cancer.

  4. Your so wrong you body can run on ketone a fat burner not a sugar burner !!!! A Ketoginic diet is amazing for a lot ! I have leukemia and I started back in August 2015 I feel amazing ! My energetic again I sleep like I'm 20 at 56 I'm off two blood pressure pills & thyroid and 1/2 of my leukemia meds !!!our body's only need one tea spoon of sugar a day ! Your not helping people by giving the wrong info

  5. Finally someone stating alcohol can cause or promote cancer growth. In read in Russia it's classified as a carcinogen.
    Ironic because of all the vodka Russians drink. LOL

  6. While it's true that every cell feeds on glucose, any dietitian worth her 'salt' will know that a typical cancer cell has 16-19 times more insulin receptors than a healthy cell. Thus, it can intake that much more glucose. Basic Biochemistry. The PET scan is based on this fact. Dairy is high in IGF-1, one of the most inflammatory molecules and strongest promoters of cancer growth. Not to mention Casein, another major promoter of cancer growth. New studies show clearly that Anti-oxidants (IV Vit C) enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, not the reverse. RD Connor, you need to educate yourself on detox, especially coffee enemas, which were 'standard of care' in the Merck Manual until the 1970's. The public needs to do its own research, as the 'professionals' don't have all the unbiased answers. 'Unbiased' is the key word. 

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