Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may benefit from a fast-like diet, according to a new study. The researchers assessed the effects of an extremely low-calorie diet on patients receiving chemotherapy and found that this special diet not only improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy, but also helped protect the patient’s body from cell damage caused by the treatment.
Past studies have assessed the effects of the simulated fasting diet (FMD) on mice with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. The results of these studies are promising, paving the way for a new study called DIRECT.
Researchers at Leiden University divided 131 patients in the study into two groups, one giving them a normal diet and the other on a simulated fasting diet three days before chemotherapy and on the day of chemotherapy. In evaluating the results of both groups, the researchers found that patients who adopted the FMD diet were more effective.
Cancer tumors in the FMD group were more likely to shrink, and although both groups experienced the same level of chemotherapy toxicity, cell damage in the FMD group was found to be reduced. The researchers found a “significant” reduction in DNA damage in white blood cells in the FMD group.
This is the first time scientists have studied the effects of a fasting-like diet as an additional treatment while cancer patients receive chemotherapy. It is important to note that eating off does not cure cancer and that patients are still undergoing chemotherapy, and the researchers note that more research is needed to determine the overall outcome of cancer patients. Anyone with cancer should consult a doctor before trying a similar diet.