What are your thoughts on the basic idea that, since rapidly-growing cancers require dietary sugar to thrive, simply removing the dietary sugar
could help fight the spread of cancer throughout the body?
This might explain why cancer has exploded in prevalence in the last few decades, simultaneously with increased consumption of highly-refined (i.e. rapidly-digested, simple) carbohydrates. It might also explain why hunter-gatherer societies have much fewer occurrences of cancer, even after factoring for life expectancy (e.g.
for female reproductive cancers). And when hunter gatherers are introduced to the western diet, they more frequently develop any of a variety of common western diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc.).
I have three thoughts I'd like to share on the matter.
The first pertains to people who are simply dismissing low-carb diets as a fad. Even 10 years ago low-carb diets were viewed as fads; just look at the "food pyramid!" Diets like Atkins were viewed as unsustainable and potentially dangerous, and indeed diets high in trans and to a lesser extent saturated fats do seem to be very bad for one's health. However, research seems to be showing more and more that carbohydrate restriction can have very significant health benefits. The book Good Calories, Bad Calories
by Gary Taubes is an excellent, if one-sided, look at how diets high in carbohydrates have significant associated health risks and how foods high in fat may not be as dangerous as once supposed.
My second thought regards what "low-carb" diet means. A few posts are suggesting that "low-carb" means "low-sugar." While this is true, it doesn't take the whole picture into account. "Low-carb" diets do emphasize that simple sugars are bad, but everybody knows sugar is no good! The thing that sets low-carb diets apart is that they stress reducing starchy foods, particularly potatoes, wheat, and rice. This is because the goal of many low-carb diets is to keep insulin and blood glucose under control rather than restrict calories. To somebody on a low carb diet, bread and potatoes are actually worse than sucrose, because they have a higher glycemic index, meaning they cause a higher spike in blood sugar and therefore trigger a greater release of insulin.
My final thought is very specific to the original post. If you are asking about our thoughts regarding low-carb diets and cancer because you know of somebody who has cancer, I recommend talking to somebody within your health care team who knows about nutrition and cancer if at all possible. Just because new research is showing that low-carb diets have many benefits doesn't mean these diets may not also have drawbacks or uncertainties. Every person is different and it takes training and specialized knowledge to sort out what works best for a specific person.
I don't follow a low-carb diet myself... I just love sweets way too much. Personally, I'm interested in how recent findings regarding the endocrinology of adipose tissue are related to carbohydrate restriction.