What is the Budwig cancer diet?
Is the Budwig diet the anti-cancer diet that could cure all cancer? Or is it all quackery and pseudoscience?
The Big C frightens everyone and our attempts to cure it come with risks, – and a great price. Charitable organizations raise millions of dollars, clinical trials run non-stop.
Skeptics of pharmaceuticals will devise diets and treatments generally based on good intentions. People remain divided in their belief about which route to a cancer cure is true.
One such woman with a passion for finding a cure for cancer was Johanna Budwig. Born in 1908 in Germany, she worked as a biochemist. She held doctorates in chemistry and physics. Being a well-qualified scientist, the German Federal Health Office decided to employ her as a researcher.
During her observations of the cancer drugs under evaluation, she made a groundbreaking discovery. Budwig noticed these drugs contained sulphydryl compounds. She believed these compounds were crucial for cellular respiration and metabolism. Her theory was that the absence of these compounds caused cancer cells to multiply, due to the low oxygen in the environment.
Budwig, therefore, became one of the first scientists to make a connection between cancer and fat consumption. She set about creating a diet that would complement her scientific discoveries. Her intention was to create an anti-cancer diet, as a preventative method, and a cure. She wrote several books and papers but claimed publication of these became thwarted by the government.
Proponents of the diet claim that her government employers believed her discoveries were in conflict with their ulterior goals.
Apparently, part of Budwig’s job description was to create fats used in margarine. The distribution of these kinds of margarine would have increased cancers developing. Her supporters claim that litigation with these employers silenced her miraculous discoveries.
No clinical trials occurred
Unfortunately, she ran no clinical trials of the Budwig diet, at the time. This has been a bone of contention for many. When someone claims they have found a cure for a deadly disease, they must take the correct steps to prove it. Without the recognized processes, your trustworthiness becomes questionable.
When scientists find a cure to a disease, they will create a clinical trial. This means that they wish to observe the therapeutic value of their cure in a group of volunteers. They will usually split the group into two, one group being the control group, the other being the test group. They will distribute placebos to half the group, and the cure to the other.
Once they have accumulated the results over a generous period of they write a manuscript. The researchers submit the manuscript to reputable medical journals to be peer reviewed. A peer review is an evaluation by other scientists in the same field. Once the other scientists concur with the results, the Journal publishes the research. Doctors, specialists, and hospitals will then administer the cure to the relevant patients.
There are many pitfalls in the way clinical trials work
Which is why alternative medicine still sways many consumers. Doing certain clinical trials can raise ethical problems, so some cures remain un-researched. There is the inescapable reality of heterogeneity. There is no “one size fits all” with humans. Every person’s body is unique and diverse. Some cures will work for some, and for others not, based on their individual biology.
As we can see, clinical trials are not perfect, but they are the standard protocol in our modern times. However, to gain recognition and acceptance, you must have peer-reviewed research. This becomes a guarantee to the public that they can trust a cure.
Not everyone has a scientific mind, so many may not understand the complexity of why or how the cure works. If a cure is peer-reviewed, this saves them from needing to personally understand.
Unfortunately, history has produced many “snake oil salesmen” that will con desperate people for profit. People demand a guarantee that a cure has evidence that it is legitimate. This is even more so when their life is on the line.
On the flip side, many people become concerned that pharmaceutical companies are the modern day “snake oil salesmen“. Proponents of natural remedies claim that no profit results from cures that are too easy to obtain. This theoretically causes pharmaceutical companies to silence any competition.
Who can you trust?
Especially when your life is on the line with a disease like cancer. Numerous anecdotal testimonies exist which praise the Budwig diet as a successful cancer cure. But anecdotes are subject to embellishment and fraud.
There are organizations and centers around the world which promote her diet. At the Budwig Center in Spain, you can pay to live there for a few months under their dietary guidelines. Many people who have lost hope with western medicine will turn to places such as these. The Budwig Center claims to have a medical doctor on staff to keep a balance.
There are no research papers that proves the Budwig diet guarantees you a cure for cancer. However, the medical literature that does exist about it mostly praises its health benefits. Some doctors believe that it is not a problem to use it in conjunction with conventional treatments.
Budwig claimed that patients who consumed this witnessed malignant tumors disappear.
The central feature of her diet is the emulsified mixture of organic flaxseed oil and cottage cheese. She tested it in the lab, and on real patients who were near death. She claims this brought them back a quality of life. Budwig also claims some were cured.
Flaxseeds contain anti-inflammatory compounds. They contain alpha-linolenic acid which the body can convert into long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are normally found in fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel. Such compounds can prevent cancers from forming in the first place. However, there is no peer-reviewed research to say that this will cure existing cancer. Maybe it can? It is simply not known.
Some doctors believe that there is no harm in incorporating this diet as a complement to established cancer treatments
So, what is the Budwig diet? The diet guidelines recommend the consumption of fresh organic vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and wine. Such foods are what doctors generally recommend as part of everyone’s regular diet.
The diet has raised some concerns nutritionally. An irony associated with the health benefits of flaxseed are in fact some deadly risks. A study released in 2007, available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, is concerning. Consuming flaxseed during pregnancy increased the risk of breast cancer developing in the offspring of rats.
Other health professionals raised concerns about the potential for B12 vitamin deficiency. Budwig was a lactovegetarian, and her diet reflected her beliefs. B12 deficiencies lead to nervous system damage and anemia, which can be deadly. The recommended dietary intake of B12 is 10 micrograms. A supplement is usually sufficient to acquire this.
Budwig also recommends sun exposure as part of her regime.
Doctors find this concerning as melanoma and skin cancers can result from excessive time spent in the sun. Flaxseed also can be the cause of gastrointestinal discomfort. When consumed in large quantities, it will cause bloating, stomach ache, constipation. It could even increase bowel movements.
Nonetheless, when a person has failed to find a cure, even after pursuing all avenues, do we have the right to argue with their choices? If they wish to pursue the diet, this is surely their human right. We have therefore included the primary foods consumed in the Budwig Diet.
The central component of the Budwig diet is the FOCC Cream
This is the flax oil and cottage cheese mixture which is supposedly the key anti-cancer component. Some doctors recommend using ground up flax seeds in place of flax oil. This is due to flax oil’s susceptibility to becoming rancid. Blended are 50g of cold pressed organic flaxseed and 100g of cottage cheese. The FOCC can include a little honey for sweetening.
Budwig recommends a glass of sauerkraut juice once a day. This is not the brine, but sauerkraut leaves processed through a juicer. The idea is to obtain the beneficial raw enzymes. The sauerkraut should be organic.
Coconut Oil is crucial to the Budwig diet
It contains medium-chain saturated fatty acids with antimicrobial properties. Budwig recommended blending it with flaxseed and using it as a dressing over fresh organic salad vegetables. The coconut oil must be raw, virgin and cold-pressed.
There are foods you must strictly avoid when on the Budwig diet. These include:
- ALL animal fats, even from seafood
- hydrogenated oils
- processed meat
- All oils, except for flaxseed and coconut
- junk food
- sugar, except for a little honey or stevia
- processed grains
- cakes and pastries
- white bread
Also, it is crucial to avoid unnatural household cleaners, cosmetics, and pesticides.