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'A vegan diet won't help cure cancer': Doctors warn against 'bogus' medical claims

It comes after glowing praise for a Dublin GP’s book about “starving” the disease of animal proteins.
Dec 22nd 2014, 7:41 PM 37,881 238

A VEGAN DIET won’t help during chemotherapy treatment for cancer – and could even do more damage to patients’ fragile health, doctors have warned.

A group of Irish nutrition and cancer organisations hit back at what they claim have been a “number of inaccurate articles and commentary” recently about diet and its role in beating the disease.

It said it was “deeply concerned” that patients undergoing chemotherapy would follow restrictive diets that could harm their recoveries like cutting all animal products out from their food.

Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute chairman Dr Declan Byrne said there was no truth to the claim that a vegan diet helped people getting the cancer treatment.

“In fact, a vegan eating plan which removes dairy and animal protein from the diet is highly likely to lead to insufficient oral intake of protein and will further exacerbate muscle loss, as well as exposing patients to inadequate levels of many vitamins and minerals vital for health,” he said.

This type of eating pattern is not recommended for cancer patients and could actually damage their health, wellbeing and chances of survival.”

The book: Stop Feeding Your Cancer

The response comes a few weeks after a review from the Independent’s books editor, John Spain, described Dublin GP Dr John Kelly’s Stop Feeding Your Cancer - which advocates “starving” cancer of animal protein – as “probably the most important book to be published here this year”.

Kelly’s book in turn relies heavily on Dr T. Colin Campbell’s better-known 2005 work The China Study, which claims that a whole-food, plant-based diet will reduce – or reverse – the effects of various diseases including cancer and heart disease.

But the Irish Society of Medical Oncologists (ISMO) said there was no “magic diet” to help patients beat cancer – and this meant following their doctor’s advice and following a high protein, high calorie diet.

READ: Lung cancer is killing 34% more Irish women than the EU average >

READ: Being fat is leading to more cancer – particularly for women >

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Peter Bodkin

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