A cancer diagnosis can be very scary. While chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are the most commonly used treatment methods, several alternative treatments can be utilized to complement traditional cancer therapy.
The Budwig diet is one such method. It was created in the 1950s by a biochemist named Johanna Budwig and consists of the prohibition of certain foods thought to aid in the growth of cancer, such as processed foods and sugar.
While the Budwig diet has not been proven as an effective treatment and alone is not thought to eradicate cancer, it is often used as a complementary method to other cancer treatments.
What the Budwig Diet Is Used For
As stated, the Budwig diet was created by Dr. Johanna Budwig under the premises that foods high in polyunsaturated fat can help limit or even prevent cancer from reproducing and spreading to other areas of the body.
Dr. Budwig theorized these polyunsaturated fats aid in the reproduction of cellular membranes. Cancer prevents these membranes from reproducing, leading to cellular dysfunction and the cessation of cellular division and reproduction.
Dr. Budwig believed eating foods high in linoleic acid and linolenic acid (essential polyunsaturated fatty acids) would aid in increased cell membrane reproduction in individuals struggling with cancer.
Foods to Eat on The Diet
Individuals following the Budwig diet as a complementary cancer treatment method have to eat foods high in polyunsaturated fats.
More specifically, the diet requires the consumption of many servings of flaxseed oil mixed with cottage cheese on a daily basis. Yogurt or milk can also sometimes be substituted for cottage cheese, if necessary.
In addition, individuals on the Budwig diet must also consume multiple daily servings of various fruits, vegetables, and food loaded with fiber, such as lentils, chia seeds, split peas, black beans, oats.
And certain nuts, including almonds, pistachios, and sunflower kernels. Individuals are also allowed to eat minimal portions of wild caught fish.
Foods to Avoid on The Diet
Individuals on the Budwig diet should be mindful of certain foods. They are required to avoid foods that prohibit the production of linoleic acid and linolenic acid and specifically, individuals on the Budwig diet are not allowed to have foods containing sugar, butter, margarine, meat.
And processed foods, such as fast food, boxed macaroni and cheese, and potato chips. Seafood such as lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, and crab are to be avoided as well, as they are typically high in toxins.
Hydrogenated oils and refined grains, as well as corn, soy milk, soy products drinks containing carbonation, fruit juices made from concentrate and ice cream, are also not allowed.
Side Effects of The Diet
While generally a very healthy way of eating, there are a few side effects of the Budwig diet. Many individuals engaged in the diet sometimes report digestive issues including diarrhea, excessive gas, nausea and vomiting, and upset stomach.
Research indicates these side effects are primarily due to the high consumption of flaxseed oil and flaxseed. Individuals who are lactose intolerant may also experience these symptoms due to the consumption of cottage cheese and other specific dairy products.
Individuals with a milk allergy should avoid the Budwig diet due to the required consumption of foods containing milk. Certain over-the-counter medications can be utilized to minimize some of the side effects associated with the Budwig diet.
Final Assessment of The Budwig Diet
While it is not currently considered a cure or treatment for cancer on its own, the Budwig diet is a healthy eating option to complement more conventional methods of cancer treatment.
There are generally few complications in utilizing the diet and it can not only aid in attacking cancer but help cancer patients feel physically better as they go through treatment.
As mentioned, individuals who are lactose intolerant should be advised that side effects such as diarrhea and gas may occur should they follow this diet.
Individuals interested in engaging in the Budwig diet should speak with their physician or nutritionist before making dietary changes.