The Cancer Nutrition Handbook

Nutrition and Cancer - Guidelines

It is estimated by the National Cancer Institute that at least 35% of all cancers are nutritionally linked. For women, this is as high as ONE HALF of all cancers (breast being particularly related to a high fat, low fiber diet). Obesity (especially if the fat is around the mid section) is also associated with an increase in breast, prostate, endometrial, kidney and pancreatic cancers. Nutrition is vital for a healthy immune system which protects us from and provides resistance to cancer.


Nutrition and Immunity

Here is a summary of the American Cancer Society's nutritional guidelines:

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish and some nuts, seeds and vegetables. In addition, recently a new process using algae to produce omega-3's is allowing for foods such as dairy products to be fortified with omega-3 oils such as DHA. We eat fewer of these essential fatty acids in a typical modern diet and recent studies indicate that we would benefit with supplementation. Evening primrose, flaxseed and borage are good sources of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) which is also important in regulating hormones and prostaglandins (short acting local hormones).

  • Choose oily fish, nuts and seeds often.
  • Watch your intake of full fat butter, cheese and butter.
  • Use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings.
Calories Total Fat (grams) Saturated Fat (grams) Linoleic Acid (grams) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
1600 >53 18 9 >13.25
2000 >65 20 12 >16.25
2500 >80 25 16 >20.25
2800 >93 31 18 >23.25
Source: NIH Consensus Panel, May, 2000


The following chart shows the fat content of various foods:


HIGH FAT (50-100% calories derived from fat)
100% Butter, margarine, vegetable oils (olive, canola etc.), mayonnaise
95% Whipping cream, olives, pecans
90% Cream cheese, Italian dressing, avocado
85% Hot dog, pork sausage, sour cream,walnuts
80% Bacon, spare ribs, half & half
75% Cashews, cheddar cheese, lamb chops, peanut butter, salami sunflower seeds, T-bone steak (untrimmed)
70% Ham, pork chops (including edge), Swiss cheese
65% Eggs (whole), ice cream, potato salad
60% Chicken McNuggets, chocolate (sweet German)
55% Granola, Big Mac, T-bone steak (trimmed)
MEDIUM FAT (between 30 and 50% of calories from fat)
45% Milk (regular, 3.5%), Donuts, custard, french fries, oil-packed tuna, "granola" cereals, tofu, chocolate chip cookies, Snickers, peanut M & M's
40% Creamed cottage cheese, skinless poultry, commercial taco shells, pork chop (trimmed), salmon
35% Low fat (2%) milk, Swiss and American cheese slices, flank steak, lamb (trimmed), cheese pizza (thin crust)
30% Beef bouillon, ice milk, cornbread, low fat muffins
LOW FAT (Below 30% of calories from fat)
25% Raw oysters, saltine crackers, low fat chocolate milk, medium fat yogurt (2-5g fat per serving), low fat (1%) milk
20% Graham crackers and most low fat crackers, low fat (2%) cottage cheese, low fat yogurt
15% Corn and flour tortillas, most bread, water-packed tuna, fresh white fish
10% Fruit and vegetables, cereals, low fat yogurt, low calorie salad dressings, Non-fat (skim) milk, shrimp, crab, lobster, chocolate syrup
  Sherbet, rice, most pastas, hard candy, egg white, most fruits and vegetables