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Book Review of: The Anti-Cancer Diet
Reduce Cancer Risk Through the Foods You Eat
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The Anti-Cancer Diet, by Dr. David Khayat, M.D. (Hardcover, 2015)|
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For the typical American on the typical "let's get sick" diet, this book is a "must read." But it's not, despite the author's best intentions, 100% correct. With a few adjustments, however, it becomes an ideal reference.
Dr. Khayat's writing style is highly accessible, and he makes every effort to be clear. His honesty and integrity are also important to him, and this shows in his writing.
Dr. Khayat brings a mix of sound nutritional advice and poor nutritional advice, in this book. For example, he is adamant about drinking a particular fruit juice. Ask an endocrinologist about that; these experts on what happens when you rapidly ingest sugar in liquid form won't even debate any alleged health benefits from fruit juice. They say don't touch the stuff, no matter what it might hold in health benefits because those will cost you in other, serious health deficits.
I'm not a doctor of any sort, but I haven't been sick since 1971 despite having an immune disorder from birth (cured in my 50s, after my own research and blood tests confirm this). The difference is that at a very early age I took "you are what you eat" very seriously. That has really paid off.
He also advocates drinking cow's milk (except for men over 50). He is apparently unaware that the factory farmed cows who produce this milk all have mastitis. They are given antibiotics for this, which you drink in the milk along with the pus their infected mammaries pass into the milk. There are many reasons to not drink milk (other than organic milk). In his defense, things are done differently in France where his nutritionist resides.
Among his sound nutritional advice Dr. Khayat is very big on turmeric, which does to cancer cells what Obama does to the economy. He even mentioned combining it with pepper, something that multiplies (not merely adds) the cancer-killing effects of both spices. He did not mention that not only can you add ground turmeric to foods (which I do), but you can also consume turmeric capsules (which I do). He did mention to add it to "everything," which is good advice because if you're eating six meals a day you can intake turmeric six times (if you're eating only three meals a day, you need to assess your eating habits).
Generally where he's right is in his advocacy of eating many different fruits and vegetables and taking care how you prepare your foods. Generally where he's wrong is his misunderstanding of the frankengrains and their pernicious effects on health in general. If you combine this book with an authoritative book (or documentary) on the poisons we call "wheat" (it's not really wheat) and "corn" today, plus avoid fruit juices, you'll greatly reduce your cancer risk. Far, far more than he claims is possible.
And that brings me to another point. He gives great advice, except as noted. But he goes on, late in the book, to minimize the cancer-fighting effects of a sensible diet. He says a 50% reduction in cancer risk from food choices alone is absurd. He's wrong about that.
Here's why. About the only thing within your control is what you put into your mouth. You can not only reduce your self-inflicted risks to zero by eliminating toxic "food" from your diet, you can use real food to reduce risks that come from other sources.
If you look at the threshold a given cocktails of risks must add up to for the total risk to become serious, it's well above zero. We can all agree on that. The exact number varies by individual.
It depends upon your genetics, what's in your air and water, how you handle stress, what you wash your clothes in, and many other variables. It's the risk above this threshold that matters. If your threshold is 80% and diet accounts for 30% of risk, guess what? You can reduce your cancer risk to zero. It will remain zero until your threshold changes or some other risk factor increases so much your diet accounts for less than 20% (or some combination of the two).
For example, if Tyson Foods buried chicken poop in a ditch behind the elementary school where your kid goes (this actually happened), all kids going to that school will have a huge increase in one particular risk factor (arsenic from chicken poop) and this risk factor will put many of them over their threshold no matter what they do. That's why cancers among kids going to that school were orders of magnitude more frequent than in a normal population.
We know there's a threshold, because in a given population in a given location most risk factors are identical. Some people get cancer, some don't. Only genetics and personal choices (in food, household cleaners, fabrics worn, etc.) can account for the difference. The people who don't get cancer might all have superior genetics to those who don't, but that is truly stretching things to say that's the reason. Personal choices must be at play, and common sense tells us that food is the most important of these choices (you are made of the food you eat).
Also, go to the grocery store and try this experiment. First, understand that how a body looks on the outside tells you a great deal about how well it's working on the inside. We gage this all the time; the ability to gage this is wired into our genes.
Dr. Khayat is highly credentialed. After having been suitably impressed by his Preface, I had higher hopes for this book. I think he needs to revise it, after carefully re-reading his own statement in the Introduction: "The truth is that our eating habits, in the broadest sense, are in fact responsible for many of the cancers we get!"
Exactly. And he should have hammered this point repeatedly instead of telling us at the end it hardly matters. Perhaps he "dialed down" expectations in response to the idiots and psychopaths who peddle hope with crazy diets, worthless (or even harmful) supplements (there are good supplements, too), and "treatments" that have no effect or that amount to slow torture.
He's correct that eating sensibly does not provide iron-clad protection; something can always enter the picture to change the normal equation such that your food can't balance it anymore. But to say that eating sensibly is going to give you only a little protection is grossly mistaken.
In a sense, his conclusion is correct because of the fact that (as he pointed out) cancers take a long time to grow from one single defective cell into a dangerous tumor. So if you have been eating from the snack and soda aisle for twenty years and then suddenly decide to eat sensibly you aren't going to be at 100% risk reduction in terms of getting a tumor. You've done the "cancer cell growing" thing for many years. It will take many more years before the results of that fade into nothing. But that is no reason not to start today. In fact, it makes starting today even more urgent.
Here is my suggestion for what to do with this book. First, buy and read the book. But remember that fruit juice is out, along with wheat products. Next, go through your pantry and refrigerator and toss out anything that's processed. Don't give it away to the poor; it's poison, so toss it. Chips, soda, beer, pizza, any "instant" foods, anything that's processed. If you have nothing left after this, that means you've been growing cancer cells and ingesting toxins that affect you in other ways than cancer risk.
Next, go to the grocery store and shop only in the produce aisle. After you get what you want, pick up whole grain rice and some dry beans (for the protein you'll need). Also buy several dozen eggs (Dr. Khayat recommends eggs, and he is quite right to do so). Buy any spices you want, making sure to buy plenty of turmeric. Eat only these foods for several months; for beverages, only green tea, coffee, or water. After you've given your body a few months of this, then re-read this book and see what foods you want to add into your diet. Given what's available on this "strict" regimen, you might not want to add anything. But this book is a great guide if you do (just no fruit juices or frankengrains).
The bottom line is you need to control and reduce as many risk factors as you can. It is possible to make "all good" food choices; I know, because I have been doing that for decades. It's not hard at all.
Making good food choices will just about eliminate your chances of getting any disease, including cancer. Doing that also has a very positive effect on your appearance. And there is also something to be said for enjoying the thousands of fantastic flavors in real food rather than limiting yourself to the two dominant flavors in the typical American diet: processed grain (sugars) and rancid fats.
The text runs 193 pages. There's a useful appendix that lists foods with their anti-cancer benefits or risks, followed by a glossary and a list of abbreviations. This book is well-researched; in addition to the subject matter experts who contributed, it has 29 pages of notes. These are followed by an extensive index. The index is followed by a 21-page resource called "Your Anti-Cancer Checklist."