As more and more research and clinical trials take place into low-carb, high-protein diets we are discovering that there are many health advantages other than losing weight.
A new study using mice has found that low-carb diets could reduce the risk of getting cancer as well as slow the growth of tumors in cancer sufferers.
The British Columbia Cancer Research Center has been running clinical trials using mice that were fed a diet similar to the South Beach or other Low-GI diets. The mice that ate a diet that consisted of 15% carbs, 58% protein and 26% fat, were found to have slower tumor cell growth than laboratory mice that were fed a more typical American diet of 55% carbs, 23% protein and 22% fat.
The research team put mice that were predisposed to developing breast cancer into two teams, one team were fed the high-carb traditional Western diet, the other the low-carb, high-protein diet. During the first year, almost half of the mice on the high-carb diet actually developed the cancer, but none of the mice fed on the low-carb diet developed breast cancer.
During the 2 year trial only one of the mice on the high-carb diet lived his full life expectancy, and of all the mice on the western diet—70% died of cancer. In the team fed on the low-carb diet, only 30% developed cancer, and more than 50% of the mice reached their life expectancy or exceeded it.
Gerald Krystal, a scientist at the research center, said: “This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk” The researcher also added “On the Western diet, half of the mice had tumors by middle age. On the low-carb diet, none of the mice had the tumors”.
The study had proved that tumor cells are fed by glucose. By simply decreasing the amount of carbohydrates eaten the glucose in the body is greater reduced, so tumors cannot use it as fuel to grow. Whilst the study was based on mice, the principals should also be strong enough to be applied to our own eating habits.
In addition to this, reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed also limits the amount of insulin the body produces. Insulin has been found in past studies to actively speed the growth of tumors in both humans and mice.
The emphasis on choosing both good carbs and good fats however, is paramount to overall health.