19 November 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: Eating well, Being well – and the new edition of “You Can Conquer Cancer” is released.

What a delight to speak at the Gawler Foundation’s conference this last weekend, presenting dietary guidelines and some of the exciting research linking nutritional changes with increased survival.

Great chance to catch up with old friends like Petrea King and Dr Craig Hassed and to have the honour of sharing the stage with them. Then there was the opportunity to meet up again with people who came to groups in days gone by. People like the lady who had secondary breast cancer 7 years ago and looks radiantly well. When asked what had helped her most, she thought for a moment, then shared the fact of learning to love herself enough to really care about what she ate, how often she meditated and so on. A real confirmation of Jess' guest blog from last week. Her new husband chimed in with how much he admires her capacity to make those choices and stick by them; how diligent she is.

Lots of new people to meet as well and my new edition of “You Can Conquer Cancer” arrived mid morning on the Saturday, hot of the press as they say! That’s synchronicity for you.

I had the opportunity to speak on the therapeutic potential of food – a vast topic!

A key point. Anyone who might be silly enough these days to say there is no evidence that changing your diet can improve cancer outcomes is just not keeping up with the research.

At the conference I shared 17 recent studies that come from the last few years and typify the exciting times we live in as research is making clear the powerful the between what you eat and cancer recovery. For over 30 years my clinical experience has been that food can be used therapeutically in cancer medicine, now we are getting some good confirmation via the research.

In the new edition of “You Can Conquer Cancer”, there are several fully rewritten chapters on cancer and food and nutrition, providing the detail of how to put all this into action; how to convert the theory into a meal.

The new book is just that, virtually a new book given the rewrite has been so thorough. So for anyone dealing with cancer, for anyone keen on not getting cancer, for anyone interested in a comprehensive, healthy lifestyle, the new book is recommended.

As promised here are the research articles linking cancer and nutrition, reproduced via “Out on a Limb”, and the dietary guidelines in summary. Again, the details are in the new book.

1. NUTRITION & LIFESTYLE prevents 40% of breast cancers by
i) Being lean
ii) Exercising 30 mins/day
iii) One alcoholic drink/day - max
iv) Women breastfeeding exclusively for 6mths
                                     Based on 954 studies: AICR & WCRF 2009

A major review of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer concluded:
i) Observational studies suggest a low-fat, high-fibre diet might be protective against cancer recurrence and progression.
ii) There is more support for physical activity, with a dose response for better outcomes.
                                     Davies, N J, Br J Cancer, 2011
      More detail:Blog:  Let food be your medicine – 18 & 25/6/2012

i) Healthy weight decreases secondaries by 40 – 50% c.w. being obese.
ii) Seven or more alcoholic drinks per week almost doubles the risk of cancer in the opposite breast.
iii) Smoking & drinking:  increases the risk of cancer in the opposite breast by 7.2 times.

Meta-inflammation is low-level, systemic inflammation:
   - A major factor in most chronic degenerative diseases including cancer
   - Modern nutrition is a significant “inducer”
          Egger,G ACNEM Journal, Mar 2012, Vol 31 No 1 P12-14
 Inflammation potentiates active cancers.
 Improve the diet, reduce inflammation, assist recovery.

High intake of meat, fat, refined grains & sugary desserts is associated with a
3x increase in colon cancer recurrence and death
                 Meyerhardt, JA et al, JAMA 2007;298:754-764

High carbohydrate intake and high glycaemic load is associated with a
2x increase in colon cancer recurrence and death.
But only in the overweight and obese.
             Meyerhardt JA et al, J Natl Cancer Inst Nov 2012

7. Differential Stress Resistance
For normal cells – increases protection
For cancer cells – increases vulnerability
Fasting around chemotherapy leads to:  
i) Better outcomes
ii) Less side-effects
                             Lee C, Volgo et al, Sci Trans Med 2012

Cancer’s “camouflage” seems to rely on the protein CD47.
Animal trials show anti-bodies to CD47 remove the camouflage, allowing the body’s immune system to recognise and destroy cancer.
                          Wellingham SB et al, Proc Nat Academy Sci, 2012
                          More detail: Blog - 2 April 2012

9. Multivitamins Reduce the Risk of Developing (or Dying) of Cancer
A very large randomized trial over 11 years concluded multivitamins produced:
1. No effect on prostate cancer
2. 12% risk reduction in total for developing all other cancers
3. Also, a 12% reduction in the risk of dying from cancer (not statistically significant)
                                   Gaziano, MJ et al, JAMA Oct 2012

10. Multi-vitamins & Breast Cancer
Another big study concluded:
1. Multivitamins are not harmful
2. Improved outcomes with radiation, or radiation and chemotherapy
3. Consistent multivitamins use before and after diagnosis, eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as being more physically active is associated with better overall survival.

           Kwan ML et al, Breast Ca Res Treat. 2011 Nov;130(1):195-205

11. SOY is Safe for Breast Cancer
This is the conclusion drawn from this extensive review of the available literature
              Messina MJ and Wood CE; Nutrition Journal 2008

12. MILK increases the risk of Prostate Cancer
Higher levels of cow’s milk consumption in boy’s is strongly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in men
                              Torfadottir et al; Am J Epidemiol, 2012

13. TELOMERES are protective, DNA—protein complexes at the end of chromosomes.
Telomere shortness is emerging as a powerful indicator of disease risk, progression, and premature mortality in many illnesses, including cancer.

Telomere shortening is counteracted by the cellular enzyme telomerase.

Increased telomerase activity is associated with
      1. Reduced disease risk generally
      2. Increased cancer survival    
      3. A longer, healthier life

There is a statistically significant inverse relationship between telomere length and both cancer incidence and mortality
                     Willeit P et al, JAMA 2010;304 (1): 69–75

          After 3 mths, 10% increase
                            Ornish, D et al, 2008,The Lancet Oncology

            HARMFUL EFFECTS  . Smoking
                                                      . Processed meats
                                                      . High BMI – overweight, obese
            HELPFUL EFFECTS    . Vitamins C,D & E, + Folate
                                                       . Omega 3 Fatty Acids
                            Lin j, Epel E, Blackburn E, 2011, Mutation Research

3.  MEDITATION - The Shamatha Project
       After 3 mth intensive retreat, 30% increase
                                            Jacobs TL, Wallace A, Blackburn E et al,
                                                    2010, Psychoneuroimmunology Jnl

4.  SPECIFIC HERBS   –  Product B – a combination of telomerase activating herbs. For details go to iangawler.isagenix.com

15. TUMERIC & PEPPER target breast cancer stem cells
Turmeric (curcumin) and black pepper (piperine) separately, and in combination, inhibit breast cancer stem cell self-renewal
      Kakarala, M et al, 2010, Br Ca Research & Treatment, Vol 122, No 3, 777-785

16. CURCUMIN (turmeric)
Reduces the side-effects and increases the benefits of radiotherapy
                              Jagetia G C; Adv Exp Med Biol, 2007

17. POMEGRANATE JUICE targets Prostate Cancer
8 ozs each day increases PSA doubling time - by almost 4 times : from 15 – 54 mths
                              Pantuck et al. 2006 Clin Ca Research
                              Pantuck et al. Abstract of follow-up Am Soc Clin Onc 2008


1. READ the summary of The Wellness Diet

2. STUDY and APPLY the detail in the new edition of “You Can Conquer Cancer”

3. LISTEN to the 2 food CDs

4. ENJOY the recipes in “Eat Well, Be Well”

5. SEEK personal help if needed

6. DELIGHT in the fact, and the tastes of eating well


When you need a doctor trained in nutritional medicine, refer to

i) The Australian College of Nutritional Medicine (ACNEM)

ii) The Australasian Integrative Medical Association (AIMA)

2. You Can Conquer Cancer – buy the new edition online (or over the phone) via the Foundation’s bookshop and support the Foundation – NOTE: check to make sure you order the new edition, not the old one!

3. CDS 
i) Eating Well, Being Well – Outines the Gawler Wellness Diet – the key to good health for everyone.

ii) Eating for Recovery – Outlines the Gawler Healing Diet specifically developed for people dealing with cancer. Please Note: This CD builds upon the information on "Eating Well, Being Well”. For those dealing with cancer, you need both CDs for completeness.


DNA and the dangly bits

Food 101 – what fuel goes into your tank?

Eating for recovery


  1. Hi Ian
    I was at the conference over the weekend and I must say it was most enjoyable. However I need some clarification about coconut oil. Jess Ainscough advises that coconut oil is an alternative to be used when baking vegies because it does not go rancid. On Saturday Avni Sali advised the audience that coconut was the most stable and ok to use. In your handout sheet from your session you advise NOT to use coconut oil at all. I know the best oil is cold pressed olive oil and you recommend to put it on after cooking but what can you use in cooking?Are you able to clarify the conflicting information please?..regards Diane Agius.

    1. Hi Diane, coconut oil may be a medium chain fatty acid and so somewhat better than the usual saturated fats, but it is still a saturated fat. We are better off avoiding saturated fats for many reasons. While it is true coconut oil is more resistant to heating than many other fats or oils, it is still far wiser not to cook with oil at all - in my opinion. I have recommended not to use coconut oil for many years and continue to do so. The best oil is flaxseed, and some olive oil also. In my new edition of You Can Conquer Cancer, there is a thorough explanation of all this, as well as practical advise re what to do.
      Happy eating, Ian

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