Cancer patients are being scammed by unscrupulous marketers who overwhelm valid nutritional science with white-noise.
I’m Grace Gawler. As one of Australia’s most experienced oncology naturopaths (42yrs) , I am concerned about the damage caused to cancer patients by this trend.
In 2017, when most of my patients (even stage 4) are achieving great outcomes from Precision Medicine; this nutritional nonsense is a step back into the dark ages. By it’s generic nature it is a one size fits all approach – not personalised.
Our patients benefit from the best of medical science – see disrupting-outdated-cancer-medicine-models and precision medicine
So it’s a sad state of affairs (almost medieval) when many patients consulting with me have made poor nutrition choices based on marketing hype.
Their choices can slow cancer recovery or create irreparable harm – e.g. new research shows patients metabolic pathways can be damaged, sometimes permanently from excessive supplementation.
Integrity ‘trumps’ Income: Like Dr Beckett, (extract below) I too could make a fortune dishing out trendy supplements to unsuspecting cancer patients. However in the interests of integrity and my patients I choose not to…
Sometimes I think about the money that can be made, and I wish I had a few less scruples. But then I think of the harm that nutrition myths can do, and I’m very happy forgoing fortune for science. Dr Emma Beckett – School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle – click here for full article
The trend has become so widespread I’ve created a new term to help my patients – I call it nutritional myth-information – Grace Gawler
Superfood is mostly a marketing term used to sell products and has no scientific basis.
You don’t see apples, oranges, bananas advertised as super-foods although they are as nutrient dense.
Scroll this page for many more revealing articles about how the market forces have duped the unsuspecting public – with super superfoods foods like kale, coconut oil, chia seeds, blueberries, acai, beetroot, broccoli, garlic, green tea… (the list goes on)
How did we arrive at a place where avocados outsell oranges, where coconut oil, a once-cheap saturated fat, is reborn as a super-ingredient with miraculous, health-giving properties? (Paltrow’s website Goop also proposes using it as a mouthwash and sexual lubricant, prompting Warner to joke, “Separately, I hope.”) click for full article from the Angry Chef
Despite millions of websites claims, there is no super-food – just super-hype creating super ideologies.
Among our patients, this causes SUPER PROBLEMS!
The coconut oil myth – brilliant marketing:
Just how did slick American marketers foist coconut oil on the unsuspecting public?
Impressive given that it contains 82% saturated fat, compared to butter at 63%, beef fat at 50% and pork lard at 39%?
It also increases LDL increasing risks of heart attacks.
Countries that use coconut oil as the predominant fat don’t stand out as pillars of heart health.
On the surface the Sri Lankan diet may look pretty good, just 25% of energy from fat, yet heart disease rates are much higher than would be expected.
Not much support for coconut oil from this quarter.
View PDF – The Truth about Coconut Oil
Does this mean cancer patients should not use botanical supplements at all?
Absolutely not. They have their place but they must be scientifically targeted.
Otherwise at best you will waste your money at worst you will do your recovery or yourself some harm.
In recent years the Acai berry has been elevated to superfood status with many fake promotions.
How can you tell you might be on a fake Acai site?
- The site displays the logo of a legitimate major television network, newspaper, or magazine, followed by a “reporter’s” first-hand experience using the product.
- The reporter claims a dramatic weight loss — like 25 lbs over several weeks — with little or no change in diet or exercise routine.
- Throughout the site, you see links to other websites where you can buy the “weight loss” products or sign up for a “free” trial.
- You see testimonials or comments from supposedly satisfied customers on the site
Adopting a more intelligent approach to cancer nutrition:
Beyond the hype and marketing about foods and supplements, lives the authentic world of botanical science.
This includes the new Pharmaco-genomic tests where we are learning volumes about how patients metabolise foods, supplements and medicines.
This is why cancer patients need to adopt the more intelligent approach to cancer nutrition.
Every person is genetically unique – the way that person metabolises foods and medicines is also unique.
Rather than adopting a one size fits all method promoted by marketeers, a more scientific approach will yield better outcomes.
You can learn more about targeted botanicals to support your cancer treatments by clicking the following link…
When the quest for self-help becomes self-harm:
We write this page because many of our patients, despite good intention and enthusiasm, have turned their efforts for self-help into self-harm.
There are hundreds of nutritional myths – too many to expose here – but we’ll start with some of the more common myths.
The Food Fad Marketing Machine – Winners & Losers:
Ever wondered how food fads are created?
How does the public suddenly become aware of food trends like cronuts and cupcakes, and more recently, a formerly unknown cruciferous vegetable (KALE) which now occupies an ubiquitous presence in restaurant menus and has, likewise, been converted into crisps, popcorn, smoothies and cocktails?
The answer is super marketing – they want to sell you stuff to make money for them. It’s a con!
Crazy Kale Adoration: Last year in the USA, 262 babies were Christened with the name – Kale. (Groan)
A few hard facts about kale…
1.KALE IS ONE OF THE HARDEST VEGETABLES TO DIGEST
It does to your insides what a cactus does to your skin when you rub up against it.
Eating it in mass quantities and raw, as we are all doing in salads and juices nowadays, makes the problem even worse. By problem I am referring to that abdominal pooch, what I call ‘Alien Baby’: bloating, stomach, and/or gas.
2. BEWARE KIDNEY STONES
As a high oxalate food, it can lead to kidney stones.
As a lover of leafy green vegetables, I am by no means saying not to eat them, but they can lead to build ups which then turn into kidney stones.
3. AND A SLUGGISH METABOLIC SYSTEM
Kale can affect your thyroid, the gland at the base of the neck that regulates metabolic process.
The vegetable contains goitrogens, which can cause the gland to enlarge by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis, generally called hypothyroidism
The Raw food myth:
Cooking is crucial to our diets. It helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy.
It softens food, such as cellulose fiber and raw meat, that our small teeth, weak jaws and digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle.
And while we might hear from raw foodists that cooking kills vitamins and minerals in food (while also denaturing enzymes that aid digestion), it turns out raw vegetables are not always healthier.
Many health-conscious eaters opt for low-fat or non-fat dressings on their salads, but according to a study by Purdue University, eating a salad without fat is actually less healthy. That’s because fat is needed by our bodies to absorb the nutrients in vegetables — but not all fats are alike. Researchers discovered one type of fat in particular is the best choice for salad-eaters who are watching their weight.
Cooking tomatoes in olive oil releases essential nutrients such as lycopenes: “there was an 82% increase in plasma trans-lycopene (P< 0.001) and a 40% in cis-lycopene (P = 0.002) concentrations in the 11 subjects who consumed tomatoes cooked in olive oil. There was no significant change in trans-lycopene (P = 0.684) and a 15% increase in cis-lycopene (P = 0.007) concentrations in 12 subjects consuming tomatoes cooked without olive oil. We conclude that the addition of olive oil to diced tomatoes during cooking greatly increases the absorption of lycopene.”
Cooking tomatoes — such as in spaghetti sauce – makes the fruit heart-healthier and boosts its cancer-fighting ability. All this, despite a loss of vitamin C during the cooking process, say Cornell food scientists. The reason: cooking substantially raises the levels of beneficial compounds called phytochemicals.
“Live food” faddism resonates with a great many people, because, when stripped of its mystical underpinnings, the concept that eating fresh, unprocessed food makes sense to most people. Also, the naturalistic fallacy, which implies that raw “live food” is somehow more “natural” than processed food, remains very appealing to many people who distrust modern society and science. The only things live about live food is the living woo.
“Live food” faddism resonates with a great many people, because, when stripped of its mystical underpinnings, the concept that eating fresh, unprocessed food makes sense to most people. Also, the naturalistic fallacy, which implies that raw “live food” is somehow more “natural” than processed food, remains very appealing to many people who distrust modern society and science.
As mentioned above, there are hundreds of myths regarding cancer nutrition.
Some of these myths which harm cancer patients are discussed on our Cancer Fact Checker Page
- The sugar feeds Cancer myth.
- The alkalinity myth.
- Cancer can’t exist in an oxygen rich environment myth.
- Raw foods fight cancer myth.
- Critique of the slick American video – The Truth about Cancer. Why this is a myth.
The following myths are thoroughly debunked by Cancer Research UK
- Myth 1: Cancer is a man-made, modern disease
- Myth 2: Superfoods prevent cancer
- Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ diets cause cancer
- Myth 4: Cancer has a sweet tooth
- Myth 5: Cancer is a fungus – and sodium bicarbonate is the cure
- Myth 6: There’s a miracle cancer cure…
- Myth 7: …And Big Pharma are suppressing it
- Myth 8: Cancer treatment kills more than it cures
- Myth 9: We’ve made no progress in fighting cancer
- Myth 10: Sharks don’t get cancer
Quinoa, chia seeds and kale: superfoods or supermarketing? Do claims of extra nutritional benefits confuse consumers or help raise overall awareness about a healthy diet?
There is no legal or regulatory definition for superfoods.
Sarah Shearman – Over the past decade, superfoods have become a marketing success story.
Coinciding with the natural foods movement and greater public awareness around healthy eating, 61% of people in the UK have purchased a food because it had been labelled a superfood, according to YouGov research commissioned by Bupa.
There is no legal or regulatory definition for superfoods, and the term is used by marketers and the media to describe foods that claim extra nutritional and health benefits, such as quinoa, chia seeds and kale.
How marketing obscures science when it comes to what we eat