New Diet Method May Prevent Breast Cancer: Intermittent Low-Carbohydrate Diet


Home / New Diet Method May Prevent Breast Cancer: Intermittent Low-Carbohydrate Diet

Breast Cancer by Age in the UK 2006-2008

New Diet Method… Continued

WHEL Study Inspires Harvie to Develop Genesis Diet

“The Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study,” a 7-year study of 3,000 women with breast cancer, demonstrated that women who followed a low fat diet were 25 percent less likely to experience a relapse of breast cancer.

The WHEL study had a profound impact on Michelle Harvie, PhD, SRD, of the Genesis Prevention Center at University Hospital in South Manchester, England. Having studied diet and cancer for 10 years, she had already determined that breast cancer risk doubled for women who gained about 40 pounds after menopause. She explains the reasons very simply:

  1. After-menopause, estrogen – a cancer-causing hormone – is not confined to the ovaries, but is produced in fatty tissue, where it can spread.
  2. Leptin, another cancer-causing hormone, is produced in fat cells.
  3. Larger fat cells have decreased ability to produce adiponectin, a beneficial hormone that helps stop the spread of cancer.
  4. Heavy women have higher levels of insulin, another risk factor for breast cancer.

After the WHEL study, Harvey authored a book, The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Diet, (Rodale 2006), which promotes a diet that is low in fat, and rich in fruits and vegetables.

Harvie’s First Ground-breaking Study of the Intermittent Diet

Why did Harvie choose to study such a novel approach as intermittent dieting for weight loss? Decoded Science asked the question, and Harvie responded that, “There are some interesting animal data that it may be superior to daily dieting for reducing breast cancer risk.”

Harvie’s initial study was the first and largest randomized comparison between an intermittent versus a continuous diet in free-living human volunteers. “The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomized trial in young overweight women,” appeared in 2010 in the International Journal of Obesity.

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