- The significant correlations between diabetes and cancer.
- How treating the causes of cancer support the reversal of diabetes and vice versa.
- The top 7 foods to reverse chronic inflammation and restore natural insulin uptake.
Hey it’s Nathan Crane, Director of the Health and Healing Club and Host of the Conquering Cancer Summit and today I am honored and excited to welcome you to a very special interview. Today we are talking with Cyrus Khambatta who is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes about everything you need to know about Diabetes and Cancer. I know that it’s a big promise, we’re going to try and cover as much as we possibly can about Diabetes and Cancer. Cyrus is definitely qualified to be speaking on this subject. Specifically, as a Co-Founder of masteringdiabetes.org, he has been working with thousands of people with diabetes and helping them understand how to prevent and reverse this disease, and there are so many correlations between diabetes and cancer. There are some important things you need to understand, whether you have diabetes or you have cancer, or you have both, one or the other or both, those are a lot of the things we’re going to talk about in this interview.
Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro are the team behind masteringdiabetes.org, which is an online coaching platform for people living with all forms of diabetes that focus on low fat, plant-based, whole food nutrition. Cyrus has a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, as well as a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from UC Berkeley, and he’s personally been living with Type I diabetes since 2002, so not only does he understand the research, the science and get to work with thousands of people hands-on who have diabetes, but he’s been living with this himself, so he is his best advocate for helping people with diabetes. Cyrus, thanks so much for being here, brother.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Thanks, a ton. That was a, that was a great intro, and I was like, you know what? I’ll just see you guys later. It looks like he said everything.
Yeah, and I, you know, about cancer, yes. You know, last eight years in dedicated researching and understanding cancer, what causes it, how we prevent it, how we reverse it. You know, I’ve done hundreds of interviews with world-leading experts. I better understand something about cancer.
Diabetes, I am like, you know, I’m still in third grade, like I’m learning from you guys and what you’re doing, but I know that there are some commonalities in terms of causation, as well as, you know, what, what we can do diet-wise and lifestyle-wise, and that’s what I think, you know, you guys bring a ton of value to the space, bringing, just bringing forth a ton of education, practical steps for people, so I just want to dive right in. Why are diabetes and cancer so closely linked, and you know, what do people need to be concerned about if they have one or both of these diseases?
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Yeah, that’s a great question. So when I was doing my graduate degree at UC Berkeley and I was studying towards a PhD for five years, it’s a, it’s a great opportunity to be able to, like, really deep dive into, you know, some aspects of human biology that interests you. So, I was given the task while I was there to understand what causes diabetes and how do you reverse diabetes? When I say diabetes, I’m saying in this context, I’m saying pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes. So how can you create it and how can you reverse it using not pharmaceutical medications, using natural strategies, right? And then in addition to that, I’m living with Type I diabetes, like you said.
I got to learn a lot about what causes Type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune reaction, which is different than Type II. But in that process in discovering, you know, all the things that create the diabetic situation and the things that can either help you manage or reverse diabetes, you cannot study diabetes without cancer, without understanding cancer. The two of them are so inexplicably linked together with each other that you, it’s hard to talk about one without talking about the other, right? And once I learned that it really started to create, like, a more holistic understanding of human biology as a whole, because I think a lot of people think of diseases as being very, you know, isolated.
It’s like cancer is different than diabetes and diabetes is different than osteoporosis and osteoporosis is different than heart disease, which is different than Alzheimer’s disease, but if you really take a step backwards and take a look at human disease and inflammation in general, what you’ll find is that a chronic inflammatory state is actually the root cause of many chronic diseases that we live with today, whether it’s heart disease, cancer, diabetes, you name it, right? So the way that I like to think about cancer and, and, you know, sorry, the way I like to think about chronic disease in general is that chronic disease starts with a chronic inflammatory state. Period, end of story.
So if you develop a chronic inflammatory state, then your risk for all chronic diseases, including cancer, including diabetes, including heart disease go up dramatically. So the question really becomes, well, what causes a chronic inflammatory state, right? What is it that you do? What is it that you eat? What is it that you, that you’re exposing yourself to on a daily basis that can create a chronic inflammatory state? So, as I delve deeper into the subject, what I began to learn is that diabetes itself, it’s very tightly connected to cancer, but diabetes is actually caused by something else, and the something else that diabetes is caused by is this thing called insulin resistance, okay? So I’m sure you’ve probably heard the term insulin resistance before, correct?
Yep. So in the world of, you know, in the blogosphere and on social media and all over the internet, you know, the term insulin resistance is widely described, but the actual understanding of what it truly is is highly, highly conflicted, okay? And in today’s world, unfortunately, there’s sort of like two sides of the equation. You have the plant-based world saying one message, and then you have the animal-based world or the low carbohydrate, ketogenic world saying a completely opposite story, and it’s confusing because people caught in the middle, they’re like, wait, what am I supposed to do? Do I believe you, do I believe you?
I don’t really know what to think, right? So, insulin resistance is generally considered to be the cause of pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes. In other words, you cannot develop pre-diabetes or Type II diabetes without first becoming insulin resistant. So it’s a necessary prerequisite, okay? So the question is, well fine, Cyrus, what causes insulin resistance, okay? So if you delve into the research and you really go deep and you try and figure out, well, what causes insulin resistance, the answer in the medical literature just comes out at you pretty quickly. That’s not hard to find. The first time I got insight into this is when my advisor in graduate school, his name was Mark Hellerstein, he said, Cyrus, I’m going to give you this project where you’re gonna induce insulin resistance in laboratory animals, and then you’re going to reverse. you’re going to rescue their insulin resistance using either dietary strategies or exercise, and I was like, okay, great, sounds good. So I’m thinking to myself, right, I’m gonna go create insulin resistance inside of these animals, and what am I going to do?
The first thing I thought of was I’m gonna feed them sugar. I’m gonna feed them fructose. I’m gonna create some type of, like, sugar sweetened beverage, and I’m gonna feed it to them, and then they’re going to become fat, and as a result of that, they’re gonna develop diabetes, right? I started looking in the research to try and find out what, how do other researchers create insulin resistance in laboratory animals? And one paper after another, after another, after another, they weren’t talking about sugar. They were not talking about sugar. They were talking about saturated fat, okay? We developed insulin resistance in, you know, were called C57 black six mice by feeding them a diet high in saturated fat for eight weeks.
We developed insulin resistance and diabetes in laboratory rats by feeding them a diet high in saturated fat for 12 weeks. And I kept on seeing this over and over and over again, and I was like, wait a minute, you’re creating diabetes by feeding animals saturated fat? That doesn’t make any sense. But then when I delved deeper and deeper and deeper, it began to actually make a lot of sense, okay? So the question you asked is like, what’s the connection between diabetes and cancer, and what I’m gonna do is explain insulin resistance first and then we’re going to go into why that relates to cancer, okay? So when you eat food that is rich in saturated fat, okay, foods that are rich in saturated fat include, generally speaking, animal-based foods: meat, red meat, white meat, chicken, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, dairy products, okay? When you consume these foods that are rich in saturated fat, what ends up happening is that the fat goes inside of your mouth, it travels down your esophagus and it gets inside of your stomach, okay? Inside of your stomach, you have stomach enzymes.
There are gastric enzymes that are there to try and like, just try to sort of start to sort of unfold a lot of the protein that’s present in the food and start to partially digest the food that you’re eating. The food is then transferred from your stomach, and it goes into your small intestine. Once inside of your small intestine, think of your small intestine is basically being like a, it’s like an enzymatic reactor, it’s a bio-reactor, and inside of there, I mean, there are just a whole collection of digestive enzymes, which are just put on the food that you’re eating, otherwise known as chyme, which is partially digested food, and the purpose of those enzymes is to try and break down or digest that food.
So your liver, your pancreas and your small intestine manufacturer carbohydrases, otherwise known as carbohydrate breakdown of proteins, proteinases, which are protein breakdown enzymes, and then also lipases, which are fat breakdown enzymes, okay? So you have all these digestive enzymes, which are working on the food to try and unfold it and just trying to start to cut it up, and in the process, the fatty acids are actually absorbed through the walls of your small intestine, and they’re put into these particles known as chylomicrons. So these chylomicrons are basically, they circulate through your blood and their purpose is to go deliver these fatty acids to tissues that require them. So here’s where the story gets actually pretty interesting.
If the fatty acids from these chylomicroparticles went into your adipose tissue or your fat tissue, and they went only there, then there really wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Diabetes wouldn’t really be that big of an issue. Insulin resistance wouldn’t be that big of an issue, and cancer would be a little bit less problematic than it is in the world today, okay? So the problem is that these fatty acids, sure, they go into your adipose tissue, which is your fat tissue, it’s in your butt, in your thighs, in your abdomen, in your armpits, in your neck, it’s all over the place.
But in addition to that, these fatty acid molecules, they also get inside of your liver and they also get inside of your muscle. So you can think of it as like a spillover, okay? Most of them go to your adipose tissue, then the spillover goes to your liver and your muscle. Okay, fine. Is that a problem? The answer is yes, it’s a problem, because your liver and your muscle are specifically designed to be able to uptake and either store or uptake and burn small amounts, small amounts of fatty acids, but when you’re eating a diet that’s relatively high in fat, especially saturated fat, then your liver and muscle become overwhelmed relatively quickly, and in a short period of time, they end up accumulating an excess quantity of these fatty acid molecules.
So they end up developing what’s known as intrahepatic triglyceride, IHTG, okay? And in addition to that, your muscle ends up creating a state of intramyocellular lipid, IMCL. Don’t worry about those words. In other words, fatty acids are stored in excess inside of your liver and muscle. Now, the very next thing that happens in this long sequence of events is that you consume fat rich foods, you end up with fatty acid spillover in your liver and muscle. Then, the next time you try and eat something carbohydrate rich, okay, whether it’s a cookie, cracker, chips, soda, you know, packaged food, or whether it’s a banana or a plate of beans or some quinoa that comes from whole sources.
Regardless of the type of carbohydrate you consume, the glucose from those carbohydrate molecules tries to get inside of your muscle and tries to get inside of your liver, exactly where it’s designed to go. In order to get there, insulin goes, knock, knock, hey, liver, there’s some glucose in the blood. You want to take it up? Knock, knock, hey, muscle, there’s some glucose in the blood. Do you want to take it up? Under normal circumstances, both your liver and muscle would say, sure, great, I’ll take it, but what happens in the insulin resistant state is that your liver and muscle say sorry, I’m not open for business right now. I got too much stuff inside of me. I can’t handle this right now, go away.
So, insulin becomes less effective, insulin signaling goes down. and as a result of that, now glucose and insulin are trapped inside of your blood, okay? So this creates what’s known as a hyperinsulinemic state, meaning excess insulin in your blood, and a hyperglycemic state, which means excess glucose in your blood, simultaneously. Both of those happen because insulin can’t do its job and glucose gets trapped, and as a result of that, you end up with hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia at the same time.
So people with diabetes, they go, okay, great. I’ve been eating this low carbohydrate thing. I ate, you know, some saturated fat from chicken, or maybe I had an avocado and I tried to lower my carbohydrate intake, and then two hours later, they’re trying to eat a banana and their glucose goes through the roof. That happens every single time. So here’s the problem, okay? The conclusion to my story here is that hyperinsulinemia, excess insulin in your blood, creates a chronic inflammatory state that accelerates the development of many types of cancers, okay? So chronic hyperinsulinemia and the development of tumors or the development of cancer in multiple tissues go hand in hand with each other, so when you develop hyperinsulinemia because of insulin resistance, then your risk for developing cancer in multiple tissues goes up, and that’s why the two of these chronic diseases cannot be split apart from each other, okay? The two of them go hand in hand with each other, and it’s the, it’s not insulin that causes the problem, it’s excess insulin.
It’s the need for your pancreas to have to make more and more and more insulin over the course of time, because your liver and muscles are insulin resistant, because you over-consume saturated fat. That is what accelerates the chances of developing, of creating a tumor and have that tumor metastasizing over the course of time, developing a, you know, a cancerous state that can eventually become problematic and even fatal. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it makes perfect sense. I mean, one of the things that is very clear in the literature is just, as you said, you know, chronic inflammatory states within the body are one of the direct causes of cancer, and so the more chronically inflamed you are, and the longer that you have that chronic inflammation, the more likely you are to have a cancer diagnosis, so that makes a lot of sense with saturated fat. Now, I have a question in regards to the diabetic state. So if you’re, if that’s the case and you’re saying this is causation of Type II diabetes, not necessarily Type I.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Correct, that’s exactly right.
Okay, so for Type II, if that’s the case, you remove saturated fats out of your diet, you clean up your diet. In theory, diabetes should just go away. Is that right?
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
That’s a great question, that’s a great question. So the answer is yes in most situations, okay? So it would, I would love to be able to say, all right, Nathan, give me 100 people living with Type II diabetes or 100 people living with pre-diabetes and stick them into a room, and I’m going to go feed them a diet that is not devoid of saturated fat, ’cause that’s not even possible, but a diet that just tends to be much lower in saturated fat, and also, in addition to that, extremely high in plant material that has whole carbohydrate energy, okay? It’s not enough to just reduce saturated fat. I’m talking about reducing saturated fat and substituting the foods that are high in saturated fat with whole plant foods, okay? When you do that, what I refer to as the simul switch, lowering fat and increasing carbohydrate intake at the same time from whole foods, of those 100 people that we have in a room, statistically speaking, we can reverse diabetes, Type II diabetes, in 80 to 90% of all of them. So there’s going to be.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
That’s huge, yeah. I mean, 80 to 90% is massive, yeah.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
It’s massive, right? So, this is not a one size fits all prescription by any means. What about those other 10 to 20%, right? What happens to them? Why can you not reverse diabetes in them? And the answer is, over the course of time, they have developed a such a chronic state of hyperinsulinemia that the beta cells in their pancreas have been manufacturing excess insulin over the course of time, over years, five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, so you’re asking the beta cells in your pancreas to make excess insulin, every single meal every single day, over the course of many years, and as a result of that, the beta cells undergo a irreversible death, okay? It’s this process called apoptosis or programmed cell death, and when that happens, the beta cell population, which is not very large to begin with inside of your pancreas.
I mean, we’re talking 1% of your pancreas. It’s very small. When this 1% of the cells inside of your pancreas gets to .5%, .3%, and it gets very small, then all of a sudden your ability to manufacture insulin just goes way down, right? So for those individuals, what they will benefit from is yes, doing the simul switch, lowering saturated fat, increasing plant material, and also injecting insulin. But for the other 80 to 90% of all people, doing the simul switch will enable them to get completely free of diabetes and erase it from their medical record, right? But again, we’re talking about cancer, okay? We’re not necessarily talking about diabetes. So, why does that happen?
The reason it happens is because, again, let’s go back to the insulin resistance story. Insulin resistance is caused by the excess accumulation of saturated fat, right? So, the saturated fat that used to be in the chicken, the burgers, the turkey, the olive oil and the dairy products that you were consuming, and now is present in much smaller quantities, is now being replaced by plant material that’s low in saturated fat. So, the saturated fat that used to be accumulating in excess inside of your liver and muscle goes from being a large amount and problematic to a very small amount and physiologically normal. That’s exactly what your liver and muscles are supposed to do. In that situation, insulin can do its job.
So you go eat something carbohydrate rich, a plate of black beans, a bowl of quinoa, some brown rice, and all of a sudden the glucose from those foods can now easily get inside of your liver and muscle exactly where it belongs, because every time that insulin goes, hey, knock, knock, do you want this glucose. Hi, kitty. Every time that that insulin says, knock, knock, hey, do you want this glucose, your liver and muscle respond by saying, sure, sounds good, give it to me, and they open their doors and they allow the glucose to come in, exactly the way that your sort of biological systems are designed to operate, right?
So the trick is reduce insulin resistance, reverse insulin resistance, which lowers your risk for pre-diabetes and Type II, and as an ancillary benefit, you reduce the amount of insulin present inside of your blood, okay? Reducing the amount of insulin presence of your blood from a chronic hyperinsulinemic state to a normal physiological state is necessary and required, because in that situation, excess insulin, what it’s doing is it’s a potent growth signal. It’s the single most powerful anabolic hormone in your body, period, end of story. There is no other hormone in your body, testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1, you name it.
These are all potent, potent growth factors, but insulin is the most powerful of all of them, and what that means is that when insulin is present inside of your blood, insulin stimulates more fuel uptake and more growth and storage of fuel than any other hormone in your body, okay? So if you have the most powerful anabolic hormone present in your blood in excess quantities, what ends up happening is that it puts tissues all around your body into a chronic overstimulation of growth, right? And that’s not a good thing, because when tissues replicate at a slightly faster rate than they’re designed to replicate at, that’s when the chances of developing a tumor inside of those tissues goes up, okay? So, a simple way to think about this whole process is that cells have a turnover rate, okay? Cells in different tissues have a different lifespan, okay?
Cells inside of your brain are designed to be present in your brain and have a very long life span of years. Cells inside of the lining of your stomach have a lifespan of days. Cells in the lining of your small intestine have a life span of about 24 days. Cells inside of your liver have a lifespan of four months. Cells inside of your muscle have a lifespan of eight to nine months, okay? So depending on where the cell is located, that’s one of the indicators of how long it’s supposed to live for, okay? So, suppose you take your liver, which, you know, average turnover about four months per cell, and you expose that liver to a high insulin environment, what ends up happening is that instead of it, those cells being alive for four months, what ends up happening is that they actually replicate themselves just a little bit faster than they’re supposed to, okay?
So, before that four month cutoff happens, they replicate themselves at three and a half months, right, because they’re exposed to growth signals and they’re like, oh, okay, cool, I’m supposed to grow. I’m supposed to grow. Why is there so much insulin in the blood? That’s telling me that I’m supposed to replicate myself and create a new daughter cell, right? So that’s what they do is they start replicating too soon, and as a result of that, in the replication process, there are DNA errors that happen, there’s DNA errors, it’s just part of the normal physiological, biological process, and if those DNA errors are propagating at a faster rate than they’re supposed to, then it overwhelms the DNA repair machinery inside of those cells.
So normally, they’re supposed to, you know, replicate with small amounts of errors and those errors can get fixed, but if you’re replicating at a faster rate, it’s harder and harder and harder to fix those DNA replication errors, which eventually can lead to a collection of cells that have so many errors in them that they become what are called oncogenes, oncogenic, and as a result of that, they ended up developing tumors because they stopped paying attention to the outside environment, and then they almost have a mind of their own, they metastasize inside of tumors, and then it becomes, you know, a cancer diagnosis, right? The whole process starts with hyperinsulinemia. Not always, but hyperinsulinemia is definitely going to accelerate the rate at which this DNA replication machinery is active, and as a result of that, it dramatically increases the rate at which tissues are multiplying, which increases the risk for developing tumors. Is this making sense?
You know, I love what you said, you know, a few minutes ago, which was a lot of people think of all these chronic diseases as different diseases with different causes, and the reality is, and you mentioned this, is that most chronic diseases have very similar causes, if not the exact same causes, right, and they’re all directly associated with chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation literally can be a cause for cancer. It’s not the only cause, but many things cause chronic inflammation, right, like saturated fat, too much saturated fat in your diet, like too much exposure to toxins, like too much stress and anxiety in the body, like too much exposure to, you know, wifi.
There’s a lot of it. Too much VOC is coming from the carpet, destroying the DNA inside your body, causing the cells to mutate and turn cancerous, so on and so forth. There are a lot of causes, right, but they all lead to chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation, if you’re not doing things that are anti, naturally anti-inflammatory in the body, well, you are going to end up with something unfortunate like cancer, but along the road, you’ll often see heart disease, obesity, like you’re talking about diabetes, other chronic diseases that are stemming off of those same causes, right? So it’s all correlated. What’s beautiful about all this is that the same or similar lifestyle choices and dietary recommendations that you’re talking about are the same solutions, natural solutions for most cancers, right?
One of the things I talked, I interviewed Dr. Thomas Lodi, who’s an integrative medical doctor. I highly encourage everyone to go listen to that interview after this one. He talks in a lot of depth around this, but one of the things he says, it’s a really controversial statement, but it makes perfect sense, and you know, he has decades in the field working with thousands of cancer patients, and he says, you know, people think this kind of cancer is different from this kind of cancer. You know, my, I have blood cancer, I have leukemia, I have a tumor, I have this, I have that.
He says cancer is cancer is cancer. They’re all the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s the rarest cancer in the world, if it’s, you know, they have the same causes and they treat, when he treats patients, they’re treating them the same way. They’re looking at lifestyle factors and diet and nutrition and, you know, mindset and, you know, supplementation and chronic inflammation and all these different factors that can lead to a cancer diagnosis, or they can help somebody potentially reverse cancer, or at least live with cancer with very few symptoms for a long time, which is also a great goal. You know, if you have cancer, it’s not guaranteed you’re going to reverse it, but if you have a good set of principles that you’re following, and I want you to share more about, you know, Mastering Diabetes and the Mastering Diabetes method, because what you guys recommend people and help people in reversing their diabetes are very, pretty much the same thing that are recommended with people with cancer.
I want to mention, and then I’ll bring it back to you. I noticed that Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who’s a medical doctor, endorsed your guys’s book, “Mastering Diabetes,” and he’s also part of the symposium, and he is the, you know, 15 years in the field of natural health, studying, myself, studying, researching and experimenting with diet, nutrition, lifestyle, meditation, you know, healing disease, you name it, and he is the man I go to every time when I want to learn about nutrition and diet, because he knows this stuff, you know, better than most people I’ve ever met out there, and the fact that he’s endorsing your guys’s book is massive, and he, we go into a lot of depth about the best anti-cancer diet in that interview, so go listen to that after this as well. But, you know, I just wanted to mention that, that somebody like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who’s a medical doctor who works with thousands of patients, helping them change their diet and lifestyle, reverse all kinds of chronic diseases, is endorsing your guys’s book and the methods that you’re recommending, and there’s a lot of similarities there, which is beautiful. You change, you know, some things about your life and diet and what you’re putting in your body and on your body and how you’re showing up in the world, and not only one disease, but multiple diseases have a higher chance of going away.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
So true, you’re absolutely true, and I appreciate you saying all that. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is actually a very good friend of ours, and, you know, we’ve, when we first met him, I sort of was like explaining to him how we teach people how to migrate towards a plant-based diet, and he was telling me ins and outs of the Nutritarian Diet, which I was already well versed on because I had read “Eat to Live” myself, and I was like, wow, if you create a venn diagram of like everything that Joel Ferman knows and believes and everything that, you know, “Mastering Diabetes” knows and believes, the crossover is like 90%, right? There’s a couple of small differences in the way that we do things, but who cares about that stuff?
The most important thing here is that we’re talking about eating a whole food, plant-based diet. That is what we recommend: between 10 and 15% total fat, and then the rest is going to be 70 to 80% carbohydrate from whole foods, and when you do it that way, just like you’re saying, you can kiss many chronic diseases, chronic pain, neuropathy, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease risk gets cut dramatically, heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, all of these, all of these things are improved dramatically or, and/or disappear when you eat a plant-based diet. So this is the book that you’re referring to, it’s “Mastering Diabetes,” and we wrote this book and it came out in February of this year and it became a New York Times bestseller very quickly.
We were very excited about that. Not because we care about the ego boost. I don’t care about that at all. All I care about is that people get their hands on this book and start to implement this in their life. And the foods, if you, if you’re on this, in this book, we spend about half of the book explaining what insulin resistance is and why it’s problematic. We spend the other half of the book explaining how to get rid of it. How do you say goodbye to insulin resistance? What are the lifestyle factors that you can put into play that are going to have a profound effect, okay? Whole-food plant-based nutrition, low in fat, daily movement, intermittent fasting and documentation. As far as diabetes is concerned, documenting things in a very systematic fashion makes a huge difference.
You put those four things into play, kiss it goodbye. It’s gone, okay? On page 153, we have this chart right here that explains the foods that are what we call green light, yellow light, red light, okay? We tried to make it as simple as possible. So the foods that are known, and that is not my opinion, but that have been documented in the medical literature to be the most anti-inflammatory and the foods that are most likely to reverse chronic inflammation and restore your liver, brain, thyroid gland, kidney, heart to a normal, healthy operation include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, okay? If you can base the bulk of your calories around fruits. When I say vegetables, I mean non-starchy and starchy, okay?
So fruits, all vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and then in addition to that, mushrooms, herbs and spices and dark green, leafy vegetables. You put those, if that’s the bulk of your calorie intake, you’re gonna be just fine, you’re gonna be just fine, okay? In the yellow light category, we have things that are, tend to be a little bit higher in fat: avocados, nuts, seeds, olive, coconuts, okay? We also put other foods that are a little bit more refined, like pasta alternatives, breads, we put those in the yellow light category because they tend to be just a little bit more processed, but they’re not terrible for you. You can have small amounts of them in your diet. The red light foods are really the ones to pay attention to. Those are the ones that we recommend minimizing or completely eliminate from your diet. Those include white meat, red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products of all shapes and sizes, and then also things like processed, baked foods, pastries, croissants, muffins, cookies, waffles, things like that, okay? And then of course, all the white, you know, the white sugars and the white flours, just be done with those things, get those things out of your diet. Those things are not helping you in any way, shape or form. Okay?
So if you eat according to this yellow light, green light, yellow light, sorry, green light, yellow light, red light philosophy, what we’ve seen over the course of five years is that we’ve helped over 10,000 people directly reverse insulin resistance inside of their own body, and, you know, the impact is actually spread out much farther than that as well, but reversing insulin resistance also leads to weight loss and improved energy and improved kidney function and improved liver function and reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol values, and you know what, just being happier, period, end of story, having more joy in life. We’ve seen this over and over again, and the research also backs it up, right? So, it’s a simple system. It doesn’t have to be a terribly complex, and this exact same green light, yellow light, red light philosophy is exactly what also dramatically reduces your risk for many cancers, okay? So, talking about Joel Fuhrman here, he was actually the first person to educate me about the fact, about the power of cruciferous vegetables. I had no idea how powerful cruciferous vegetables were until I started learning from him, okay? So we’re talking about broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, okay? The more of these cruciferous vegetables that you can put into your body, at least one serving, if not two servings per day, these things have such a powerful anti-cancer effect on cancers all throughout your body in multiple tissues that they cannot be understated.
In addition to that, green tea also has a very powerful effect at reversing some of the cancer biological mechanisms, the cancer causing biological mechanisms, so the two of those, I would recommend sticking into your diet on a daily basis, because they have a profound effect, and you know what? It doesn’t take that much, okay? It takes very, very small amounts of those. But cruciferous vegetables have a whole collection of micronutrient compounds in them that are extremely powerful in very small quantities, but the thing is you’ve got to eat them as whole foods. If you were to somehow isolate these anti-cancer compounds from these cruciferous vegetables, and then just consume it as a supplement, it wouldn’t have the same effect, okay? So that’s why we always put a huge focus on eating the whole food rather than isolating it, turning it into refined food, and then consuming the refined food.
You know, speaking on that subject, I’m doing heavy research for my next book right now about healing cancer, and, you know, I’ve been researching the microbiome and, you know, inulin fiber and how much fiber we actually need and all the functions, you know, and one of the reasons why we have to, and I’ve researched this for over 10 years, but it’s like, I’m going deeper than ever before, as you know, writing a book, it’s like, you go deeper and deeper and deeper in the research.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Yeah, but what I found what’s interesting about fiber, you know, that we’ve known for a long time is the reason why you have to eat the fruits and vegetables, why you have to eat the beans, why you have to eat the whole foods, aside from all of these micronutrients that are there to, that we haven’t even figured out yet. Scientists haven’t even determined all the different micronutrients that are in all these different food yet.
The vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients and amino acids, these things that we know so far is just a tiny percentage of what’s actually all in the food, but if you try to extract all that out, as you were just saying, you’re missing one of the most important things, one of many important things in the food, which is that inulin fiber, which is a prebiotic for the micro flora in your intestines, and that micro floor performs so many functions in the body, including upregulating your immune system, including generating these enzymes that you’re talking about that help to break down the food and send it where it needs to go. They have so many functions, and if you’re not feeding your micro flora the fiber from the foods, and you can take supplemental fiber and it still doesn’t have the same effect as if you eat the whole foods themselves.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Then these micro flora are going to die off, they’re not going to function properly and you’re going to end up with, you know, some kind of, potentially some kind of chronic disease. So, you know, the question always like, okay, so how much fiber do we need? What I found out that I didn’t know was the average American eats half the amount of just the daily recommended fiber, half the amount, and the daily recommended usually is always a bit low, right, and this is from the.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Right, it’s like, what is it, 30 grams for men, 40 grams for women?
It’s about 30 grams on average. It’s 25 to 30 for women and up to about 38 for men, and, you know, if you create kind of a meal plan around that, it’s like, okay, it’s about a cup of cooked beans. It’s a salad with, as you said, some cruciferous vegetables, maybe some kale, maybe some carrots, tomatoes in there. You know, maybe you have some quinoa for your grains and you have, you know, some fruits, you have an apple and a banana and a cup of raspberries, you’re already about at that 30 grams. The problem is in really most people’s diets, they’re not even getting half of that because they’re going to the fast foods restaurant, and they’re getting a hamburger with fries, which has one gram of fiber, maybe in the piece of lettuce and tomato that’s on there, right? And the problem with that is not only all the, you know, all the excess saturated fat that you’re seeing, but the lacking the fiber that’s really needed to support this trillion cell organism community, microorganism community. Your stomach is so important for your health.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
It’s fascinating. The microbiome, one of the things that I learned not too long ago is that the scientists used to think of fiber as basically just being a chimney sweep. It’s like, fiber goes in your mouth, it goes through your digestive tract, and then you just poop it out, right?
That’s what I originally learned, like, 15 years ago. It was like, oh, it’s just to sweep the colon out. That’s its main job, right?
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Exactly right. It’s just there to just kinda like get the stuff off of the walls and pull it into the toilet and get it out of your intestine. That’s literally what they would teach you in, you know, even in like a college level biology class.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
But that’s just because the understanding of what fiber is was so elementary at the time, because it wasn’t like an interesting nutrient for anybody to really delve into in great detail, but once scientists started to recognize that fiber has, even though fiber cannot be digested by you because you are human and you do not make the cellulase enzyme designed to break down the cellulose, that’s okay, because fiber is not a food for you. Fiber is a food for the trillions of bacteria that Nathan was talking about in your large intestine, and those guys, when they are exposed to many different types of fiber coming from many different plant materials, what they ended up doing is they take the cellulose structure.
They have this, they manufacturer that cellulase enzyme, they break it down, they cut it up using their enzymatic scissors. They then take the glucose molecules, ’cause that’s what fiber is is just a string of glucose molecules stitched together in a very specific way. They take those glucose molecules, they use it for energy, they use it to replicate, they use it to live and create ATP, and they manufacture these things called short chain fatty acids. Then these short chain fatty acids like butyrate and propionate, they are just like metabolic gold.
So when you are a short chain fatty acid producing machine, and you allow fiber to feed your microbiome and your microbiome to make these short chain fatty acids, short chain fatty acids, they go on to regulate so many different biological processes in the body. They improve the function of your thyroid gland. They improve your vision. They improve the function of your brain, your nervous system. They improve the function of your cardiovascular system. They regulate insulin secretion, right? So all of these things are accomplishable by short chain fatty acids. But if, just like Nathan’s saying, if you’re eating 12 grams of fiber a day, 15 grams of fiber a day, you’re not making a sufficient amount of short chain fatty acids, and now you have a problem where tissues are actually deprived of the very, one of the molecules that’s actually very helpful in reversing chronic inflammatory states.
Yeah, thank you for even making it, you know, I’m always learning something new from you every time we talk, so thank you.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
And I know we’re kind of wrapping up here. We have a few minutes left, but I wanted to first, you know, encourage everyone go over to masteringdiabetes.org, pick up a copy of their book. You’re going to love it. You know, if you’re either wanting to reduce diabetes risk, reduce cancer risk, and/or even reverse, potentially reverse Type II diabetes, or at the very least educate yourself or someone you love, pick up a copy of their book. You can also join their newsletter. They have a quiz on their website, and they have coaching to actually help you implement the Mastering Diabetes protocols. So, go to masteringdiabetes.org and check out all the amazing resources there. And lastly, I wanted to just, you know, have you briefly touch on, oh my gosh, we’ve got to do another interview. I have like 10 more things I want you to touch on, so let me pick one.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Yeah, go for it, go for it.
In regards to, I’m just gonna say this really quick, because you mentioned ketogenic diet, you know, and all the misinformation there, we went into depth about that with Dr. Joel Fuhrman in specifically relationship to cancer, so go listen to that, because everything he says there is directly correlated to what you teach about, you know, high fat and ketogenic diet in relationship to diabetes, and in that interview, it’s all about cancer, so what you learned there, we spent, I don’t know, 10, 15 minutes on it at least, is going to inform you about, you know, everything that we can learn here as well, and I want to use this time, Cyrus, to have you talk a little bit more about processed sugar, specifically as it affects, you know, diabetes risk. So, and, and the context is all right, I changed my diet, I lower saturated fat to 10% of my diet.
I’m eating, you know, a plant rich diet, I have lots of healthy carbohydrates, lots of fruit and vegetables and beans and all these good things, but I’m still drinking soda every day, and I’m still putting, you know, white sugar in my coffee and I’m still having a donut in the afternoon, and I still have, you know, a cup of ice cream at night with all this added sugar. How does that particularly, we know in cancer, how it feeds cancer cells, but how does that play a role in someone with diabetes?
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
For sure, it’s a great question, it’s a great question. So, this happens all the time. You know, people say, oh, okay, Cyrus, I’m, you know, I lowered my fat intake, but then they’re consuming sugar sweetened beverages, they’re eating cookies, crackers, chips, pastas, right? And the answer is, listen, it’s a step in the right direction, so I commend you for, you know, reducing your total saturated fat intake and eating more plant material, but if you really, truly want to reverse insulin resistance and make a sustainable lifestyle out of that over the course of time and truly reduce your chronic disease risk, not only for diabetes, but also for all the complications of diabetes, need to, have to, must control your sugar intake or eliminate it from your diet.
You have to, have to, have to. So, white table sugar, refined fructose, things that are results of a manufacturing process. These foods are devoid, or sorry, these nutrients are devoid of fiber. They are devoid of micronutrients, which are necessary for reversing chronic disease. So a simple way to think about it is suppose I gave you an apple and you ate that apple and the apple contained, just for the sake of argument, you know, 20 grams of glucose and 20 grams of fructose. You might say to me, Cyrus, well, you know, 20 grams of glucose is a lot, 20 grams of fructose is a lot. You know, we know from evidence-based research that fructose is, you know, can impact, negatively impact the function of your liver and it can negatively impact the function of your brain.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be eating fructose and glucose, and my answer to you is, all right, when you consume an apple, you are consuming glucose and fructose. You’re also consuming more other diverse carbohydrates, you’re also consuming protein, you’re also consuming fat, you’re also consuming vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, antioxidants and phytochemicals. You get a whole package, you get a whole package of both macro and micronutrients at the same time, and all of them are going to the digestive system simultaneously, and the digestive cocktail that is manufactured by your small intestine, by your pancreas and by your liver is specifically designed to be able to digest and break down and transport those nutrients simultaneously. That’s part of the biological orchestra that makes human beings so unbelievably brilliant, okay? Contrast that versus white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Now, white table sugar started with a sugar beet and then it was processed and dehydrated and cracked and, you know, ground down and turned into a white sugar, bleached and turned into white sugar, or it started with sugar cane and the same process, and you end up with white table sugar, right? Or you take refined fructose, high fructose corn syrup, right? In either one of those situations, if you were to consume those and stick them into your mouth, they travel into your, down your esophagus, into your stomach and into your small intestine. Those, the high fructose corn syrup, as an example, could have 20 grams of glucose and 20 grams of fructose, exactly the same as that apple, okay, but they function completely differently because the high fructose corn syrup has zero, zero other carbohydrates, zero protein, zero fat, zero fiber, zero vitamins, zero minerals, zero phytochemicals and zero antioxidants, okay?
That’s a problem. That’s a huge problem. It might have the same glucose and fructose content, but without all those other protective micro and macronutrients at the same time, it’s not the same game, it’s not even the same league. We’re not even talking about the same, we’re talking about two completely different foods that have two completely, drastically different metabolic effects. So, as a society, we have to stop talking about glucose and fructose from refined sources and from whole foods as though they’re the same. They’re not the same. They’re not, they’re not even close to being the same. And once we actually make that difference, you start to realize that they’re handled differently, they’re transported differently, they’re digested differently and they have completely different effects. The whole food is going to reduce your chronic disease risk.
The refined foods are going to cause fatty acid deposition inside of your liver, they’re going to make you more insulin resistant, they’re going to increase the amount of insulin that your pancreas is secreting, they’re going to make you more hyperinsulinemic, which is going to raise your overall chronic disease risk, and they’re going to increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease down the road, right? So it’s the refined versions of those carbohydrates that are the problem. The whole versions of those carbohydrates are perfectly safe. Eat them at will, eat them as much as you want, have a good time, and it will lower your chronic disease risk at the same time.
Perfect, you cleared that up, right up.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
It can be really confusing, it really can be.
No, but it’s, you made it super simple, and I love that, I love that about the work you guys do. I love that about, you know, your organization, Mastering Diabetes. You know, you’re taking all this complex scientific jargon, and you’re making it simple and easy for people to understand, and then putting it into a game plan that people can actually implement in their lives and then giving them coaching to actually support people through success. I think that’s huge, what you’re doing. I appreciate you so much, man, you and Robby and the Mastering Diabetes team, everything you guys do. Appreciate you for sharing all this great wisdom, practical advice here on the symposium, and we’ve got to do this again man, sometime. I love it. Just yeah, appreciate you so much.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D.
Entire life to just helping people living with cancer and people who are at risk for cancer to really understand what tools they have at their disposal and how they can implement a lifestyle independent of pharmaceutical medication. That’s really gonna make a huge impact on their life. And you know, if I haven’t said so already, I truly respect what you do, how you communicate and that, just the altruism that you have for people all around the world. I love what you do and I am honored to be here, so thank you for including me, no question.
Awesome, brother. Thank you so much, and thank you all for tuning in to the Global Cancer Symposium. Make sure to share this with your friends, family, anyone who needs to learn this information. Also, visit masteringdiabetes.org, pick up a copy of their book, learn more about their coaching program and make sure to sign up for their newsletter. Also, take a look at healthandhealingclub.com and join the global membership dedicated to helping you get and stay healthy. Again, I’m Nathan Crane, and I wish you all ultimate health and happiness. Take care.