Guest Post: The Effects of Nutrition on Cancer: Eating Well Saves Lives

It’s almost a truism that we take our health for granted.  And that’s the one thing we should never do.  Fact is, the one and only thing we have is our health.  That goes – and it’s downhill from there.

The thing is…

Our health is the best defense we have against all the trials and tribulations that life throws at us.

A strong, healthy body will help us through a lot of crap…

And it can help us through some of the worst scenerios life can throw at us.

Like cancer.

The following is a great post that Jillian McKee wrote for SmartWeightGain.  I am both honored and humbled that Ms. McKee took the time to share her thoughts with me, and important, you.  I hope you have no one in your family or circle of friends that is fighting cancer.  But if you do, Ms. McKee offers great thoughts and insights that can help.


The Effects of Nutrition on Cancer:  Eating Well Saves Lives

By Jillian McKee
Guest Blogger

Although a healthy diet is important for everyone, good nutrition during cancer treatment can mean the difference between life and death.  According to experts in the growing field of nutrition therapy, a nutritious diet that takes into consideration the unique needs of cancer patients can improve treatment outcomes and enhance quality of life.

Loss of appetite (anorexia) accompanies many forms of cancer. A lack of interest in eating, early satiety, and pain when eating, swallowing or digesting food can contribute to the often-extreme weight loss that occurs during cancer.  The muscle wasting, cachexia, can lead to debilitation, weakness and even death.  For these reasons, nutritious means are essential for those coping with cancer.

A study reported by the National Institutes for Health notes that up to one-quarter of all cancer patients experience some form of appetite loss, caused by the cancer itself, side effects of treatment, or the stress associated with a diagnosis of cancer.  Malnutrition stemming from anorexia and subsequent cachexia is a cause of death in nearly 40 percent of cancer patients.  For these reasons, a healthy diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetable, and nutrient rich, low-fat protein sources supports treatment protocols and helps to stave off the wasting associated with cancers, improving energy and comfort for those with all kinds of cancers, even those with a poor leukemia of mesothelioma prognosis.

Nutritionists specializing in oncology pont out that a healthy diet that improves a patient’s weight and stamina before beginning treatment can contribute to better treatment outcomes.  Keeping a patient’s weight up and appetite simulated before starting a regimen of chemotherapy or radiation can mitigate the side effects of treatment.  Patients who are able to eat well lose less weight during treatment and are able to regain weight lost, which helps to prevent the potentially deadly outcomes of malnutrition.

A nutritious diet that supports the immune system and provides the energy needed for healing can also improve outcomes of surgical treatments.  Lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables provide the needed vitamins, minerals and energy to rebuild tissue and muscle mass.

Although the components of a typical healthy diet also form the foundation for a nutritious eating plan during cancer treatment, some considerations apply.  Diet plans must take into consideration cancer-related problems such as difficulty chewing and swallowing, or the digestive difficulties associated with gastrointestinal cancers or systemic treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Some studies recommend that cancer patients avoid raw fruits and vegetables for better digestion and to avoid potential contaminants.  And in some cases, diets higher in fat can stimulate the growth of certain tumors.  Likewise, experts urge caution in the use of vitamin supplements, which provide high amounts of antioxidant vitamins A and C, because they may actually stimulate tumor growth in some situations.

For these reasons, cancer specialists stress the importance of working with a nutritionist familiar with cancer-related issues to find the healthiest diet plan for each individual’s circumstances.  Good nutrition that supports a healthy weight, stimulates appetite and boosts the immune system can also improve a patient’s mood, increase energy levels and contribute to a better quality of life overall.

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the  organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at  the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her  time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of  complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional  cancer treatment.

Stay Connected with Jillian McKee



Whey Protein Lowers Blood Pressure – Wow, Really?

This is an amazing study to come out of Washington State University.  But first, let me point out first what this article pointed out lastsupplement companies and a dairy commission contributed and help fund this report.  Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.  But still…results are results.

Whey protein is good for building muscle.  That it can help someone like me (with my high blood pressure) in lowering my bp a few points would be an amazing side benefits.  And as the article points out, there is no real downside to consuming whey protein.

Having said that, you need to do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking whey for anything other than what it is – a food supplement (read my article on whether you actually need a protein supplement).  High blood pressure is serious business and any steps taken to lower much absolutely done in concert with your doctor – nuff said!


Whey beverages decrease blood pressure in prehypertensive and hypertensive young men and women

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer, 12/8/2010

Elevated Levels Drop

PULLMAN – Beverages supplemented by whey-based protein can significantly reduce elevated blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease, a WSU study has found.
Research led by nutritional biochemist Susan Fluegel and published in the International Dairy Journal found that daily doses of commonly available whey brought a more than six-point reduction in the average blood pressure of men and women with elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures. While the study was confined to 71 student subjects between the ages of 18 and 26, Fluegel says older people with blood pressure issues would likely get similar results.
“One of the things I like about this is it is low-cost,” says Fluegel. “Not only that, whey protein has not been shown to be harmful in any way.” She is a nutritional biochemistry instructor on faculty in the WSU Spokane Program in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology who is interested in treating disease through changes in nutrition and exercise.
Terry Shultz, co-author and an emeritus professor in the former Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said the findings have practical implications for personal health as well as the dairy industry.
“These are very intriguing findings, very interesting,” he said. “To my knowledge, this hasn’t been shown before.”
The study, which Fluegel did for her doctorate in nutritional biochemistry, notes that researchers in a 2007 study found no blood-pressure changes in people who took a whey-supplemented drink. At first, she saw no consistent improvement either. But then she thought to break out her subjects into different groups and found significant improvements in those with different types of elevated blood pressure. Improvements began in the first week of the study and lasted through its six-week course.
The supplements, delivered in fruit-flavored drinks developed at the WSU Creamery, did not lower the blood pressure of subjects who did not have elevated pressure to begin with. That’s good, said Fluegel, as low blood pressure can also be a problem.
Other studies have found that blood-pressure reductions like those seen by Fluegel can reduce cardiovascular disease and bring a 35 to 40 percent reduction in fatal strokes.
Health benefits aside, researchers are excited about the prospect of improving the market for whey, a cheese byproduct that often has to be disposed of at some expense. Its potential economic impact is unclear, says Shannon Neibergs, a WSU extension economist, “but any positive use of that product is going to be beneficial.”
Several supplement makers contributed product to the study, which was funded in part by the Washington Dairy Products Commission.
None of the contributors had a role in analyzing the data or writing the report.
Susan M. Fluegel, Terry D. Shultz, Joseph R. Powers, Stephanie Clark, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Bruce R. Wright, Timothy S. Freson, Heidi A. Fluegel, Jonathan D. Minch, Lance K. Schwarzkopf. Whey beverages decrease blood pressure in prehypertensive and hypertensive young men and women. International Dairy Journal, 2010; 20 (11): 753 DOI: 10.1016/j.idairyj.2010.06.005

Make A Healthy Body your Number One Priority

By Isabel De Los Rios

If you are like every other yo-yo dieter out there, chances are you have started and stopped several diet plans with no success. The first week is easy. You’re full of excitement. You tell yourself “this time will be different.” The second week is ok, a little harder than the first but you’re still sticking to it. And then what happens? You bend the rules a bit and start falling back into your old habits.

Why does this happen? Why do we go through this vicious cycle? I’ll tell you why. We are focusing on the wrong goal. For whatever reason, we must not perceive our weight loss as being “important enough” to achieve.

So what would be “important enough” to stick to our new healthy eating habits? Your HEALTH! Nothing in this world is more important than the state of your health. Think about it, your health affects everything else in your life. Once our health is compromised we automatically change our lifestyle habits.

Just look at President Clinton. Not until he had the ultimate health scare did he really change his eating and exercise habits. Let’s not wait until our bodies completely have a break down before we decide to take care of ourselves. If you feel lousy, everything you do that day is lousy. Likewise, if you feel great, everything you do that day is great. So this year, let’s not focus on just losing a few pounds, let’s focus on Health, the #1 thing in our lives.

Ask yourself, “How important is my health to me? How do I want to live the rest of my life? Sick and feeling horrible or healthy and feeling vibrant? Do I want to play golf and tennis in my retirement or do I want to spend it in the hospital?” The answer to these questions will ultimately dictate your weight and your health for the future. Any lifestyle habit that affects your health in a positive way will automatically cause you to lose weight or maintain a good healthy weight.

Follow this checklist towards health and you will see weight come off automatically.

1. Make the time to focus on health.

The number one reason people do not eat healthy or exercise is because they “don’t have the time”. But why is it that once we get sick, have a heart attack, are diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or cancer, we all of a sudden have the time? This doesn’t make any sense. We wait until our bodies have become so ill to finally take measures towards taking care of it. This is the equivalent to never getting an oil change or servicing your car and letting it completely break down before doing anything about it.

Prioritize your day. What could possibly be more important than your health? Your children, yes, I agree. But guess what? If something happens to you, who will be there for your children? I know that sounds terrible but it’s true. How many times have we heard stories of young children losing parents to heart attacks and strokes? Choose health not only for yourself but for your children as well. Prioritize your day so that making healthy meal choices and exercising are right at the top.

2. Take a long hard look at what you are putting into your body.

For one week, read every ingredient of every food you eat. This could potentially be a scary experience. Some ingredient labels on packaged foods sound more like a college chemistry class than anything we should be eating. As a golden rule, if you can’t pronounce it, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it. The majority of the foods you should be eating shouldn’t even have an ingredients label. They should be vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, meat.

If you make 90% of your diet, fresh food, I guarantee you will significantly change your weight and your health. No time to make fresh food? (please refer back to #1). Cook more than one portion at a time when you do cook so that there are always healthy leftovers in the fridge. You can always have for lunch leftovers from the night before. Cook several portions of one meal and freeze some. A good example of this is healthy soup or turkey chili. Put a portion of chili in a small Tupperware and freeze. You can grab this when in a hurry for lunch or dinner.

3. How much are you eating?

In the United States, our perception of one portion is extremely distorted. Restaurant portions are about 3 times more than what we should be eating in one sitting. If we become accustomed to seeing this much food on our plate at a restaurant we tend to do the same when we are at home and serve ourselves. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women are eating 300 more calories a day and men 168 more calories than 20 years ago. All it takes is 100 extra calories a day to gain 10 pounds a year.

For one week, reduce your portions at lunch and dinner by half. There is no need to “clean your plate”. Most times what’s on your plate is double what you should be eating anyway. If you feel some hunger in the afternoon, add one small apple with a handful of raw nuts as a snack. Your body will quickly become accustomed to the smaller portions and you will eventually not be able to eat as much in one sitting as you did before. Remember, you have access to an abundance of food every day. You don’t need to eat it all at once.

4. Drink WATER!

Dehydration has directly been linked to several forms of diseases including colon cancer, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Many people also mistake thirst for hunger. So it may not be that you’re hungry all day, you may just be thirsty and dehydrated. In due time, dehydration will cause a gradual gain in weight from overeating as a direct result of confusion of thirst and hunger sensations.

Take a look at what you are drinking each day.

  • Coffee or Soda (Diet Coke included)? The caffeine in both will dehydrate you even more and will cause you to feel hungrier during the day.
  • Diet drinks and sodas? The artificial sweetener actually enhances your appetite and increases food intake.
  • Orange Juice and other Fruit Juices? The sugar and calories can add up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per drink, which can be anywhere from 150-200 calories. Not to mention the fact that sugar eventually makes you crave more sugar.

Every person should be drinking half of their body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water each day. If you drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage during the day, the ounces of water needed increases.

5. How much do you move each day?

Your body was designed to move! Your heart is a muscle and must be worked just like every other muscle in your body. You don’t have to join a gym to move, you just have to challenge your body and your muscles each and every day. The two best time saving exercise options I always suggest to clients are:

  1. Go for a walk. You can go for a walk anywhere and anytime. No time you say? Please refer back to rule #1.
  2. Set up your home with some free weights and an exercise ball. You will be amazed at the number of exercises you can do with just your body, some free weights and a stability ball. If you don’t know how, hire a trainer to show you or get a good book. Get into the routine of scheduling your exercise time each and every day. No ifs, ands or buts. Make your exercise time more important than phone calls, laundry, errands or lunch dates.

Make a promise to yourself that this time will be about health, not about short term weight loss. Really evaluate how you are treating your body on an everyday basis. Is that the same way you would treat a highly valuable, expensive piece of equipment? Because that’s what your body is. There is no amount of money in the world that will buy you another one, so you might as well take really good care of the one you got!

Isabel De Los Rios is a certified nutritionist and exercise specialist who has already helped over 25,000 people all over the world lose incredible amounts of weight, regain their health and permanently change their lives. She is the author of The Diet Solution Program and the Owner of New Body – Center for Fitness and Nutrition in New Jersey. She has become the #1 “go to girl” when it comes to Fat Burning Nutrition by several of the most popular fitness professionals around the globe. Isabel’s cutting edge and completely different approach to nutrition is what sets her apart from all the rest. This approach has created results for so many once frustrated dieters. Her strategies work, hands down, as long as her simple principles are followed.

Food Basics 101: Your Diet Makeover

By Karen Lisa Borders, Guest Blogger

While working out and transforming your body, a commonly overlooked factor is diet. Sure, working out hard will allow for some change in your physique, but the true task is to feed your body the necessities it requires for gaining lean muscle mass, decreasing body fat and keeping up the energy level for these extra activites.

Now, I’m not talking about the diet you get out of a can or in a pill, or the one that limits your food choices to one food group (or one food!). I am talking about smart food choices; a lifestyle change that is fairly easy to adjust to and one that anyone can live with.

Have you ever seen a person who works out like crazy, but never look any different? I think every gym has one of these. These people are not doing one of two things: varying their workouts, or are not making wise food choices. It is likely the latter, where they have not been taught the basics…

Here, I will detail the very simple science behind food choices and how to incorporate them by choosing from simple charts of the food option examples for the different nutrients our bodies need. Keeping in mind too, that it is okay to indulge sometimes, but a lifestyle change of healthy eating will not only ensure a maintained physique, but also healthy insides for disease prevention. Use these basic nutrition tips to help you get started and you will be sure to achieve the success you have been looking for.

Note: When starting a new program of any sort (diet or exercise) be sure to consult with your physician first

It has been said that protein is the staple of any diet, especially to serve the dietary needs of an athlete. Next to water, protein is the most abundant material in the human body. It is present in muscle, bone, connective tissue skin and blood. While consuming enough protein is essential for growth and development of the body, eating huge amounts will not build muscle unless you are strength training at a high intensity in order to cause muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). This means you should not fall into the high-protein fad that seems to be the latest trend in North America. The following is a protein recommendation list based on the current Recommendation for Dietary Allowance (RDA):

Sedentary or those who exercise infrequently = 0.4grams/1 pound of body weight

Active exerciser = 0.5-0.6grams/1 pound of body weight

Very active/weightlifter/endurance athlete = 0.7-0.8grams/1 pound of body weight

In general, about 15-20% of your total daily calories should come from protein. Here is a list of some good sources of protein to get you started:

-chicken breast
-orange roughy
-top round/sirloin steak
-lean ground beef
-egg whites
low fat cottage cheese

Check out: Over 30 different choices of Protein Powder

The supermarket shelves are filled with tons of “low carb” items and every new fad diet screams to ‘cut the carbs, pass those potatoes and resist the rice’!! Low carbohydrate diets will ultimately affect your stamina and endurance, so they are in fact necessary since they are the body’s main source of fuel. Carbohydrates fuel the body by providing our muscles with glycogen, while working out, and helps us to optimize our athletic performance. Carbohydrates should be from minimally processed sources like eating true whole wheat bread versus white bread or even enriched bread (read labels carefully – sometimes the brown packaging or the name “health/12- grain” bread can be deceiving).
Carbohydrates should make up about 55-60% of your total caloric intake, depending on your activity level. Here is a list of food sources of carbohydrates to help you:

-baked potatoe
-sweet potatoe
-brown rice
-wild rice
-oatmeal (whole oats)
-whole wheat bread/tortilla

Fats are an important and necessary nutrient for everyone. That is, some fats – you see, there are those that are saturated and are not good for your cholesterol levels, potentially causing clogged arteries. The fats that are considered good for your body are unsaturated fats. These can actually help protect against heart disease by reducing cholesterol and providing the body with extra energy. Basic rule here, if it is a solid at room temperature, it is usually saturated (bad) ; if it is a liquid at room temperature it is unsaturated (good). Of course, here is a list to help you with some of the good fats you should include in your diet:

-safflower oil
-olive oil
-flax seed oil
-sesame oil
-fish body oils (EFAs=essential fatty acids)

Drinking water during exercise is necessary to sustain performance and to avoid injury. What to drink and how often to drink it really depends on the duration and type of workout you are doing. There are some activities like long distance running which may require more than water (sports drinks help to also replenish lost electrolytes). A general hydration rule is to drink one 8oz glass of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise.Now that you are armed with your food basics, you can incorporate this into your existing regimen to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Below are some other quick tips to follow to make this transition more easily:

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day to feed your metabolism and raise it naturally, so you are able to burn calories at a more efficient rate
  • Prepare foods in advance so when you are “starving hungry”, you are less likely to eat junk
  • Season meats/fish the night before so that they are tastier when cooked
  • Don’t deprive yourself; if you crave chocolate chip cookies, have one or you’ll end up eating an entire bag tomorrow!
  • Chew slowly and serve small portions at a time so you stop eating when you are full
  • Do not skip meals – this sets you up for overeating
  • Keep a diet journal so you can stay on top of your new lifestyle change
  • Karen Lisa Borders is a drug-free natural athlete and the 2004 International Fitness Model Champion where she outclassed over 225 competitors to take the most prestigious title in Fitness Modeling.

    Karen Lisa competes with World Natural Sports.  For more information, please visit Train Hard…Train Natural…Love your Body!