Cancer nutrition is perhaps the most confusing aspect of cancer treatment for patients. Each patient wants to make sure that he or she is eating the right foods, while also avoiding foods which are potentially harmful. A quick search on the internet reveals an overwhelming amount of ideas and theories regarding what cancer patients should be eating. Many of these recommendations are ineffective, and at times, harmful.
Through a great deal of research, The Stegall Protocol was developed specifically to address cancer cells and their survival mechanisms. Cancer is primarily a metabolic disease, and by simultaneously depriving cancer of its primary growth fuel while improving the body’s environment, cancer will have a much more difficult time growing and thriving.
Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells obtain energy from a process known as fermentation. This is a much less efficient way to generate energy, but it is the preferred option for cancer cells because they are growing and dividing at such a high rate. Because of this fermentation process, cancer cells require glucose – and thrive on it. This is the basis for PET scans to identify cancerous tumors in the body. PET scans use radiolabeled glucose, because cancer cells preferentially take up the sugar as their energy source.
The sugar cancer utilizes can take on many forms. White sugar, commonly used in baking and in processed foods, is one form of sugar. However, biochemically speaking, virtually any carbohydrate can be thought of as sugar. Dr. Stegall’s philosophy is based on limiting most sugars, with the exception of those naturally occurring in vegetables, some fruits, and some grains.
The bulk of The Stegall Protocol centers around healthy, organic whole foods – the bulk of these coming from plant-based sources. Organic fruits and vegetables are strongly encouraged. Herbs and spices are allowed, for seasoning as well as their many health benefits. Animal protein can generally be included in moderation, provided that it contains healthier sources such as wild caught fish, organic free range chicken, and grass fed beef. Healthy grains such as oats, quinoa, and even sprouted grain bread are allowed, but heavily processed grains should be avoided. In addition, fats are included in the diet – both the saturated and unsaturated varieties – due to their many health benefits. Despite what some “experts” have said, fat is quite good for the body and should be included.
Dr. Stegall feels strongly that good nutrition should be at the core of every cancer treatment protocol. This is in contrast to the many conventional oncologists who tell patients that it does not matter what they eat. Science tells us that what we put in our bodies – including the foods we eat – can have a significant effect on health outcomes. This is especially true with regard to cancer. Recognizing the importance of proper nutrition, and implementing it, is a major difference between the 21st century cancer treatment Dr. Stegall offers and the stone age cancer treatment many other doctors are still practicing.
With that said, it is important to note that nutrition – though essential – should not be considered a stand-alone treatment. Rather, it should be part of a comprehensive treatment approach which targets cancer cells in many different ways.