So confused about what to eat during chemotherapy

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Comments

  • SF73
    SF73 Member Posts: 316 Member
    edited December 2017 #22
    It seems no one knows for

    It seems no one knows for sure what diet is ideal during and after cancer treatment. I read a paper titled 'Dietary Recommendations During and After Cancer Treatment: Consistently Inconsistent?' that compared the nutrition advice from the top cancer centers in the country and showed how inconsistent the information is. I personally find the theory of ketogenic diet and how it can help with low grade inflammation, blood glucose and insulin levels elegant. Just because a theory sounds good (cancer cells love glucose, normal cells can adapt to use ketone as their primary source of energy while cancer cells cannot adapt. so by eliminating carbs from your diet maybe you can starve cancer cells) does not mean it works. Scientists were able to show tumors do shrink through calorie restriction and ketogenic diets in mice. But of course not all findings in mice translate to humans. There are very few and very small studies where actual cancer patients were asked to be on a ketogenic diet. This paper does a good job summarizing the history and potential mechanism. 

    Obsessing over my blood glucose and ketone levels has been helpful in my case. These are actionable numbers! If I eat right, drink lots of water, and exercise more the numbers move in the right direction. That gives me a sense of control. Everything else about cancer is hard/infrequent to measure.  So evolo, you are absolutely right. It does boil down to how the diet makes me feel. And this diet makes me feel in control.

    Pinky, when I was first diagnosed, I also wondered if I lived wrong somehow. I have no history of cancer in my family, am 44 years old, have a child, had my first period when I was 15 - not early -so I should be low risk. Yes, my BMI was 27 which puts me in the overweight category, yes I have a stressful job and did not get enough sleep. But there are many people who make the same and even bigger mistakes and do not end up having cancer. We simply don't know enough about this disease. I really suspect that there is some connection between diabetes / insulin resistance and uterine cancer. So glad to hear you are on metformin. I am too! I hope you will never experience another recurrence. 

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    edited December 2017 #23
    Diet

    Let me put my 2 cents in. Let me preface this by telling you I am a dietitian and worked for more than 30 years, lastly for a pharma company specializing in diabetes. I even met with a dietitian specializing in cancer after my frontline treatment and with the integrative oncologist when I was at MD Anderson. I too did not have a wreckless lifestyle and no risk factors for this wretched disease. It just happened. The experts gave me very little advice outside what I was already trying to do. Focus on Mediterranean diet, eliminate red meat, eat mostly organic, plant based, avoid nitrates, limit alcohol.  My personal philosophy is if I’m going to die sooner, I’m not going to eat a diet that isolates me from my family, which I can’t go out once in a while and is tasteless and eliminates my favorite foods. A big part of living is eating and I’m not willing to do drastic things (ketogenic, totally vegetarian,  etc) without much evidence that it‘s going to make a hell of a difference in my demise. Also I don‘t often have the energy these days to do heroic things in the kitchen. So that’s my philosophy. Do whatever you want. Doubtful it’s going to make any real difference unless you‘re really off the tracks with your diet. 

  • Amatullah
    Amatullah Member Posts: 36
    My dr. told me to eat what

    My dr. told me to eat what appealed to me, but to make sure I got plenty of protein, because it takes a lot of protein to heal the body after radiation and chemo.  I take the supplements that help with inflammation and neuropathy mostly.  I've lost close to 50 pounds, but not on purpose and I needed to.  I just stopped liking sweets and I used to drink over a thousand calories a day in Dr. Pepper, but it doesn't taste good anymore.  Most food just doesn't appeal to me, but I force myself to eat anyway.  I'm not sure what we eat matters as much as what we end up not eating because we've filled up on empty calories.  I pay attention to what I crave because I think our bodies give us hints.  I've been craving fruit and nuts, cottage cheese, cheese and eggs and a few other things.  Proteins that I'm sure I need.  We can figure out how to balance things if we use common sense.  It doesn't have to be as hard as we make it.

  • SF73
    SF73 Member Posts: 316 Member
    edited December 2017 #25

    Diet

    Let me put my 2 cents in. Let me preface this by telling you I am a dietitian and worked for more than 30 years, lastly for a pharma company specializing in diabetes. I even met with a dietitian specializing in cancer after my frontline treatment and with the integrative oncologist when I was at MD Anderson. I too did not have a wreckless lifestyle and no risk factors for this wretched disease. It just happened. The experts gave me very little advice outside what I was already trying to do. Focus on Mediterranean diet, eliminate red meat, eat mostly organic, plant based, avoid nitrates, limit alcohol.  My personal philosophy is if I’m going to die sooner, I’m not going to eat a diet that isolates me from my family, which I can’t go out once in a while and is tasteless and eliminates my favorite foods. A big part of living is eating and I’m not willing to do drastic things (ketogenic, totally vegetarian,  etc) without much evidence that it‘s going to make a hell of a difference in my demise. Also I don‘t often have the energy these days to do heroic things in the kitchen. So that’s my philosophy. Do whatever you want. Doubtful it’s going to make any real difference unless you‘re really off the tracks with your diet. 

    So wonderful to hear we have

    So wonderful to hear we have a dietitian among us!  Your post reminded me of this article I recently read in the New Yorker. I added the link and a little excerpt at the bottom. Even though the author talks about an autoimmune disease, I thought her experiences, especially the part about wanting to capture biosignals in the "fanatical pursuit of wellness" is similar to what I am going through right now. I don't know if this is a lifestyle I can sustain. But the diagnosis is very new and cancer is still all consuming. I am not living with cancer. At the moment, I have paused living to deal with cancer. After chemo is completed I am sure I will re-assess. 

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/08/26/whats-wrong-with-me

    "You can’t muscle your way through the enervation and malaise of autoimmunity—if you could, I would have. The real coming to terms with autoimmune disease is recognizing that you are sick, that the sickness will come and go, and that it is often not the kind of sick you can conquer. But, once you’re feeling O.K.-ish, trying to be the Best Patient in the World can become an isolating preoccupation, even another form of debility. I thought about my aunts, and the matter-of-fact way that they lived with their illnesses—as something to deal with, but not something to fuss over. In order to become well, I would have to temper my own fanatical pursuit of wellness. On the model of D. W. Winnicott’s good-enough mother, the trick was to be the good-enough patient, and no more."

     

  • SF73
    SF73 Member Posts: 316 Member
    Amatullah said:

    My dr. told me to eat what

    My dr. told me to eat what appealed to me, but to make sure I got plenty of protein, because it takes a lot of protein to heal the body after radiation and chemo.  I take the supplements that help with inflammation and neuropathy mostly.  I've lost close to 50 pounds, but not on purpose and I needed to.  I just stopped liking sweets and I used to drink over a thousand calories a day in Dr. Pepper, but it doesn't taste good anymore.  Most food just doesn't appeal to me, but I force myself to eat anyway.  I'm not sure what we eat matters as much as what we end up not eating because we've filled up on empty calories.  I pay attention to what I crave because I think our bodies give us hints.  I've been craving fruit and nuts, cottage cheese, cheese and eggs and a few other things.  Proteins that I'm sure I need.  We can figure out how to balance things if we use common sense.  It doesn't have to be as hard as we make it.

    Great to hear about your

    Great to hear about your weight loss, Amatullah. Also great to hear that your body started craving the right kind of food. My weight loss was not intentional either though I am happy that it happened because I want to eliminate any source of estrogen. I still don't understand whether fat cells store estrogen previously produced by ovaries or have the ability to produce new estogen and whether or not while losing the weight if there is any release of estrogen to the body but I feel eventually having a normal weight and body fat percentage might help me. 

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,060 Member
    edited December 2017 #27

    Diet

    Let me put my 2 cents in. Let me preface this by telling you I am a dietitian and worked for more than 30 years, lastly for a pharma company specializing in diabetes. I even met with a dietitian specializing in cancer after my frontline treatment and with the integrative oncologist when I was at MD Anderson. I too did not have a wreckless lifestyle and no risk factors for this wretched disease. It just happened. The experts gave me very little advice outside what I was already trying to do. Focus on Mediterranean diet, eliminate red meat, eat mostly organic, plant based, avoid nitrates, limit alcohol.  My personal philosophy is if I’m going to die sooner, I’m not going to eat a diet that isolates me from my family, which I can’t go out once in a while and is tasteless and eliminates my favorite foods. A big part of living is eating and I’m not willing to do drastic things (ketogenic, totally vegetarian,  etc) without much evidence that it‘s going to make a hell of a difference in my demise. Also I don‘t often have the energy these days to do heroic things in the kitchen. So that’s my philosophy. Do whatever you want. Doubtful it’s going to make any real difference unless you‘re really off the tracks with your diet. 

    AMEN, CQ!  

    AMEN, CQ!  

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,811 Member

    Diet

    Let me put my 2 cents in. Let me preface this by telling you I am a dietitian and worked for more than 30 years, lastly for a pharma company specializing in diabetes. I even met with a dietitian specializing in cancer after my frontline treatment and with the integrative oncologist when I was at MD Anderson. I too did not have a wreckless lifestyle and no risk factors for this wretched disease. It just happened. The experts gave me very little advice outside what I was already trying to do. Focus on Mediterranean diet, eliminate red meat, eat mostly organic, plant based, avoid nitrates, limit alcohol.  My personal philosophy is if I’m going to die sooner, I’m not going to eat a diet that isolates me from my family, which I can’t go out once in a while and is tasteless and eliminates my favorite foods. A big part of living is eating and I’m not willing to do drastic things (ketogenic, totally vegetarian,  etc) without much evidence that it‘s going to make a hell of a difference in my demise. Also I don‘t often have the energy these days to do heroic things in the kitchen. So that’s my philosophy. Do whatever you want. Doubtful it’s going to make any real difference unless you‘re really off the tracks with your diet. 

    That pretty much sums it up

    That pretty much sums it up for me too Cheese! I eat healthy stuff but also enjoy my sweets (too many sometimes!). I have maintained a very healthy weight and stay active. My doctors don't believe that eating "bad stuff" is the cause of cancer. They do, however believe exercise and weight are important.

    Sorry to hear that your strength isn't where it needs to be. I have lost track of what/when you start treatment again. I think of you often.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi