The Metabolic Model of Cancer: How Nutrition and Diet Influences Cancer


29th July 2016

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Is it possible that chromosomal damage is simply a marker for cancer and not the actual cause of the disease? Compelling evidence suggests this is the case, and in the featured lecture, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Fettke reviews some of this evidence.

Having battled cancer himself, Fettke came to realize the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs). Fettke is not the only one promoting the metabolic model of cancer.

Earlier this year I interviewed Travis Christofferson, author of a phenomenal book on this topic, called “Tripping Over the Truth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path to a Cure“.

The Metabolic Model of Cancer

The Cancer Genome Atlas project that began in 2006 set out to sequence the genomes of cancer cells. It was the largest government project ever conceived, involving 10,000 times the amount of genetic sequencing done by the Human Genome Project. Alas, the results didn’t conform to their original expectations.

The evidence clearly showed that something other than mere gene mutation was at play. The mutations found in cancer cells were simply too random. Some cancers didn’t even have any genetic mutations driving them. So what then could the driving factor be?

In a nutshell, the nuclear genetic defects typically thought to be responsible for cancer actually occur further downstream. Mitochondrial damage happens first, which then triggers nuclear genetic mutations that may lead to cancer.

Moreover, scientists are now finding that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually ALL diseases, placing mitochondrial function at the very center of just about any wellness or disease prevention program.

As Fettke notes, one of the primary considerations is glucose metabolism within your mitochondria — a theory initially brought forth by Dr. Otto Warburg in the 1920s.

In 1931, Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. As it turns out, cancer cells do not have the same metabolic flexibility as healthy ones.

Cancer Cells Are Metabolically Limited to Feed on Sugar

A cell can produce energy either aerobically, in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm. Anaerobic metabolism generates excessive levels of lactic acid, which can be toxic.

Warburg discovered that in the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, and this became known as the Warburg Effect. So what does this tell us about the nutritional origins of cancer? In a nutshell, Warburg’s findings tell us that sugar “feeds” cancer while fats “starve” it.

Read more at (source): The Metabolic Model of Cancer: How Nutrition and Diet Influences Cancer

9 thoughts on “The Metabolic Model of Cancer: How Nutrition and Diet Influences Cancer

      • Interesting question, berlioz. Recently I have read up on Warburg’s work. He believed that cancer cells were part of the body’s protective response to high lactic levels. Normal cells usually die in the presence of lactic acid (produced by heavy exercise). This ability to metabolize lactic acid in the absence of oxygen (and survive) prevents cell death when we exercise heavily. In most instances, cancer cells revert to normal cells when sufficient oxygen is supplied in the blood. However for some reason a diet that’s excessively high in sugar causes them to survive.

        So in a sense I guess the sugar does start the cancer process – in that it prevents cancer cells from reverting back to normal.


    • My sense, Gerard, is that eating habits are ingrained in early childhood. Some evidence suggests that the effect is biologically determined. That exposure to certain foods in the womb and in early childhood causes genes to favor the manufacture specific proteins over others. After birth, diet has a very clear influence on which bacteria come to live in our guts – and then they cause us to crave these foods.


      • My mother was an eater with bad habits, preferring sugar and cakes from early childhood.

        You say, “After birth, diet has a very clear influence on which bacteria come to live in our guts – and then they cause us to crave these foods.”

        Naturally, I grew up with her cake baking ability and I like cake and all things sweet (but not so much in drinks).

        My mother died aged eighty-seven and from cancer.

        It is said, that marathon runners don’t die of cancer, but this is not true. I know of several cases were marathon runners have in fact died of cancer.


    • Thanks Shelby, It makes me really angry the way Big Pharma and Cancer Inc have buried this vital information for their own profit motives. I think it’s part of the modern evolution/revolution happening right now that people are learning ways to manage their own health instead of being dependent on the medical establishment.

      Liked by 1 person

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