I call it the Fasting-Feasting Cycle. And, it works!
Fasting for 14+ hours can change your metabolism from sugar burning to fat burning, improve brain function, balance blood sugar, and detoxify cells. (NEJM, Dec 2019) Fasting can also help immune cells become supercharged, offering the body more protection with lower levels of inflammation. (Cell, Aug 2019) Studies have shown that people who eat before going to bed at night gain weight, develop more pre-diabetes and have higher IGF-1 levels which contributes to breast cancer recurrence. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomark Prev, Nov 2002)
Fasting can support you during treatment too. Calorie restriction may decrease the metastatic burden in triple-negative breast cancer. (Cell Cycle, Mar 2016) A plant-based meal of about 200 calories a day, followed three days before and one day after each chemotherapy cycle, stopped tumors from growing and protected normal cells from chemotherapy damage. (Nature Communications, Jun 2020) Another study found that fasting for a few days, followed by a regular diet before treatment, may reduce side effects from therapy without causing chronic weight loss or interfering with treatment. (PLoS ONE, 2012) Combining fasting with chemotherapy was more effective than chemotherapy alone in all cancers studied. (Science Translational Medicine, 2012)
If you would like to explore intermittent fasting during treatment, seek out trained healthcare professionals’ advice. You will need to take special precautions as a cancer patient. Calorie and protein requirements are increased during cancer treatment, so ask to be evaluated to make sure you are on track. Of course, if you are not eating very much for long periods of time or are losing weight during treatment because you are too sick to eat, please get evaluated by a nutrition expert for supplemental nutrition support.
If you would like to try intermittent fasting for general prevention or outside of treatment, there are many books available to give you guidance. In our quest to provide the best resources for my clients, we have reviewed several intermittent fasting books and Gin Stephens’ Fast. Feast. Repeat. is by far the best for several reasons: It’s a quick read (she adds humor and there’s a lightness to her writing style), it’s an easy read (she breaks down the science so you really understand how this really works in the body) and it’s no-nonsense (you’ll be able to begin your fasting-feasting cycles within hours with confidence!
Disclaimer: This post many contain affiliate links. As an amazon associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. When you click on the link and order from this post, at no additional cost to you, you will be supporting our online programming for cancer patients. Thank you.