Vancouver, Canada—A new small-animal study indicates that a low-carb, high-protein diet may impede tumor growth.

During this study, Gerald Krystal of British Columbia Cancer Research Centre and his team implanted human and mice tumor cells in mice and gave them one of two diets: a Western diet consisting of 55% carbohydrates, 23% protein and 22% fat or a South Beach-like diet of 15% carbohydrates, 58% protein and 26% fat. Researchers found that tumor cells grew at a slower rate with the latter dietary regimen.

Furthermore, mice that were predisposed to breast cancer and placed on these diets, along with close to half of the mice on the Western diet, saw an increase in breast cancer during their first year of age, whereas mice on the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet saw no incidences of cancer.

Krystal and his team completed an additional test, to see the outcome of an mTOR inhibitor and a COX-2 inhibitor and discovered that both had an effect in the rodents which were given the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. According to Krystal, “This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk. Restricting carbohydrate intake can significantly limit blood glucose and insulin, a hormone that has been shown in many independent studies to promote tumor growth in both humans and mice.”

It should be noted that although evidence suggests that the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet has been proven effective in rodents, this diet has not been conclusively proven effective for humans. Study findings were published in a recent edition of Cancer Research.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2011