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Intermittent Fasting- The Power to Help Prevent Cancer?

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We all know someone who has experienced hearing the words, “You have cancer.” According to the CDC, for every 100,000 people, there are 436 new cancer cases and 156 died due to cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. One of every four deaths in the US is due to cancer. What is one of the potential solutions to this growing disease? Let’s discuss – Intermittent Fasting.

Can intermittent fasting be a new way to help prevent this disease? Most of us already know that a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the first step to help prevent cancer.  Activities include frequent exercise, nutritious food choices, keeping a healthy weight, alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco. New research suggests that what has been a religious practice, and a very restrictive dieting program, can potentially help prevent and treat this deadly disease.

Continuous research is being done supporting the role of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention. Calorie restriction is able to reduce and delay cancer incidence, and inhibits tumor progression and metastasis. Fasting can kill cancer cells, boost the immune system, and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

What is Fasting?

It is voluntarily going without food  for varying lengths of time. Specifically, intermittent fasting is a complete avoidance of calorie intake for 16-18 hours daily or alternating a fasting day with a normal energy intake day. The theory is that it will slow your metabolism.

Pro's of Intermittent Fasting

Con's of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves biometric markers
  • Can aid in the growth of new nerve cells
  • Slow aging
  • High dropout rate
  • Overeating typically occurs following fasting days
  • Expensive meal plans
  • Limited research to support
  • Promotes a restrictive mentality

Intermittent Fasting... and Cancer?

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting means not eating for lengths of time, right? When there is more food available in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. So, you are probably thinking “what does that mean?” Insulin resistance means that cells do not respond to insulin signals, leading to more glucose in the blood and a higher fat storage. When our body is fasting, it tries to conserve as much energy as possible so the cells become more sensitive to insulin, can remove glucose from blood and there is less fat stored. Simple answer: when there is more sensitivity to insulin, cancer cells have a harder time developing or growing.

Reverses Effects of Chronic Conditions

Certain conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for cancer. When affected by these conditions, the risk for multiple times of cancers is higher, and there is a lower chance of survival. Fasting has been proven to increase weight loss. This reduces obesity rates and diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Can Improve Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

Fasting improves people’s responses to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration; protects blood against harmful effects of chemotherapy; reduces side effects from chemotherapy. Patients who were fasting during chemotherapy also reported higher energy levels and a higher tolerance.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on nutrient density by selecting wholesome foods that provide you energy, nutrients and fill your belly. Mix up your veggie choices to get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s not forget about the importance of protein! Foods with protein will keep you full, which is important for the days where you are fasting. Pay close attention to low calorie foods that create high volume- on both your plate and in your belly!

More Information

Do you want more information on this type of diet or an example of what a fasting meal plan looks like? We provide counseling and you may qualify for free sessions.  Email B.Komplete at admin@bkomplete.com for more information and to see if you quality for our free in-network counseling. 

Resources:

  1. I Tried Intermittent Fasting. Here’s What Happened
  2. Fasting- What You Should Know
  3. What To Eat On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
  4. Intermittent Fasting
  5. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

Researched and written by Alexa Clark, Dietetic Intern

Nutrition and Food

Interview- The Power of Positivity

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The American Cancer Society signifies June 5th as National Cancer Survivors Day.  In honor of the many individuals who have battled cancer, we feel honored to share a special story about a two-time cancer survivor.  This individual has touched the heart of many of us at B.Komplete.  We think that many of you will be able to relate to her story, and to gain inspiration.   

What inspired you to want to make healthy changes in your life?

After three years of various medical issues and limited physical activity, I was ready to start making changes for the better. I was already doing some things like eating healthy and knew I needed to increase my physical activity. I wanted to learn what else I could do to help me become as healthy as possible.

Did you have any goals you wanted to accomplish prior to starting the process of change? If so, could you elaborate on that?

I wanted to become more active. Due to limitations with physical activity, I knew I could walk so that was a focus for me. My goal was to get between 8,000-10,000 steps a day. Some days it’s easier to get my steps in, but I always aim to get somewhere between that number of steps each day.  Also, I wanted to optimize my eating habits by making little changes to help improve what I was already doing to eat healthy.

When you first began this process, what was the first thing you did to change?

After meeting with my B.Komplete Registered Dietitian, we came up with ideas on how I could achieve my goals. I started by keeping track of my steps for each day of the work week. Initially, my goal was 8,000 steps each day and eventually work my way up to 10,000 steps. My B.Komplete Registered Dietitian helped to reassure me that my eating habits were good beforehand and together we came up with ways I can improve in small ways to gain even more health benefit.

How do you manage to stay healthy at work?

At work, I started to stand up more when I need a break. I started “walking deliveries” of things that I needed to give to co-workers and I started taking walks around the office. I try to move as much as possible when I can fit it into my day. Also, I started to do the office yoga that I learned from B.Komplete. Food wise, I bring my meals and snacks. I also keep snacks at my desk.

How do you keep such a positive outlook on change after everything you have been through?

I guess I’m just really lucky. I have a great support system. My close friends and family are always there for me. Besides that, I have always been a positive person. My personal mantra is “don’t give up.” I’ve been through a lot in my life and I feel that what you do with what you are given can make you or break you. With everything I went through, I’ve become a positive, strong person.

Could you share something that helps to keep you positive and focused on changes to better your overall health?

I don’t deprive myself of things. For instance, I know I can cheat a little with what I eat every once and awhile. It helps me to think through what I should and shouldn’t have to eat. Also, I don’t think of my food choices as a “diet.”

How has B.Komplete helped you keep on track to achieve your goals and motivate you?

My B.Komplete Registered Dietitian is supportive, motivating, and gives great advice. She helped me see what I was doing right and helped me to see what I can do to improve my eating and physical activity level. Together, we came up with a plan that helped me make the changes to live a healthier life. The plan has been working for me thus far, and each time we meet, she helps me make like tweaks to keep improving. It’s obvious she practices what she preaches and I like that about B.Komplete. You know you are getting good information and advice.

Are there any resources that have helped you along the way? If so, what were they?

I have done food tracking in the past, and that helped me.  I’m not tracking what I eat at the moment because now its easy for me to know how I’m doing “diet” wise by how I feel. If you eat right and are active, you feel better. On week days I track my steps with a pedometer. A pedometer works best for me because it’s small, convenient and simple.

What are you most proud of thus far?

I’m proud that I have been able to keep the 20 lbs off since I lost it (going on 1 year). It’s not easy to keep weight off once you lose it, but I stuck with my eating habits and walking.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out?

“Keep your mind open.”  You need to be open to new things and open to advice. Give yourself an objective and you’ll get there. Pay attention to little tweaks you can make along the way to reaching your objective. Any little tweak can make a big difference. Remember to stay positive. It helped me to think about what I was already doing right and what I can do to make that better. Drop all negative thoughts and you will get there.

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete