Can changes in diet alone cure diseases? According to one fascinating study, it can! Dr. David Suskind of Seattle Children’s Hospital set out to find a drug-free treatment regimen for kids with Chrohn’s and ulcerative colitis. What he discovered could change the way we look at food entirely! Read on to learn more about his study. Then, we’ll talk about some other ways diet can positively impact disease outcomes.
Changes In Diet Alone Can Cure Diseases
First, let me just say that none of this is meant to be taken as medical advice or replace your doctor’s care. If you are on medications for these conditions (or any condition), please do not just stop taking them without thoroughly discussing it with your doctor. Also, understand that neither I nor the study are implying that diet alone can cure all diseases. Now that we’ve cleared all of that up, let’s learn more about this fascinating and incredible study.
I am a huge believer in natural medicine and nutrition. After years of research and learning about nutrition, I am able to make better choices for me and my family. I believe it is the most important thing we can do for our health and the future of our kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that modern medicine definitely has its place in treating diseases. Without modern medicine, we’d still be biting down on a stick during surgical procedures! None of us wants to go back to that, right? However, I strongly believe that natural medicine can be just as powerful. In fact, in some cases, even more powerful. Think of it this way: modern medicine is just that, modern. Most advances are only a few decades old! Natural medicine and nutrition-based remedies, have been around for thousands of years, dating all the way back to ancient times.
“Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine.”
Hippocrates, the Greek physician made his bold claim in the fourth century BCE, proclaiming that diseases were caused naturally, and that environment, diet, and living habits all impacted health.
Since then, modern science has uncovered many secrets of nutrition. But we’re still just scratching the surface of the many complex ways that food interacts with the myriad of system within the body. We are still trying to figure out what specific changes in diet alone can cure diseases.
As Mat Edelson wrote for Hopkins Medicine, corporate interests had an huge influence on medicine.
“Big pharma was scarce with cash, because they can’t patent a food’s natural properties. And from a practical viewpoint, studying food with its thousands of chemicals and nutrients is incredibly complex. By comparison, targeting and studying a single drug for efficacy in a double-blind model was far more straightforward and lucrative to both researchers and industry.”
Of course, as I said above, some pharmaceutical products have improved quality of life for many, but the singular focus on pills and drugs has led to many ignoring the potential of food as medicine. Dr. David Suskind, a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s, is changing that, and has the first clinical evidence that food can indeed be medicine.
About the study
Throughout the small study, ten patients were put on a special diet called the “specific carbohydrate diet (SCD)” for 12 weeks. The diet was the only intervention to treat their Crohn’s or UC. In other words, they didn’t take any medications during that time.
SCD is a nutritionally balanced diet that eliminates all grains, dairy products, and processed foods. It also removes all sugars, except honey. Instead, the diet promotes only natural and nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, veggies, nuts and meat.
According to Suskind, at the end of the trial, eight out of the 10 patients who finished the study showed “significant improvement and achieved remission from the dietary treatment alone.”
“This changes the paradigm for how we may choose to treat children with inflammatory bowel disease,” Suskind added.
More confirmation studies are needed, but this is a big first step for researchers willing to step outside the pharmaceutical model. The research is also promising for applications beyond Crohn’s and colitis.
Each person’s disease is unique, just as each person is unique. SCD is another tool in our tool belt to help treat these patients. It may not be the best treatment option for everyone, but it is an effective treatment for those who wish to try a dietary therapy.
Suskind’s report highlights the story of Adelynne Kittelson, now eleven, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age eight. Suskind prescribed an SCD diet, and Kittleson’s now been in remission more than two years.
While there was certainly an adjustment period, the natural, nutrient-rich SCD food lifestyle is now second nature for the Kittlesons.
“For decades or longer, medicine has said diet doesn’t matter, that it doesn’t impact disease,” Dr. Suskind said. “Now we know that diet does have an impact, a strong impact. It works, and now there’s evidence.”
Remission vs. cured
While many would argue that complete remission is not the same thing as cured, keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to go into remission for the rest of your life. “Cured” means that the disease is totally gone and has zero chance of staging a comeback. “Complete remission” means that all signs of the disease are gone, but the possibility of a return engagement remains. In other words, it could back. Or it could not. Like I said, some people live in remission for their entire lives.
Another thing to keep in mind, just because we say a disease in “incurable” doesn’t mean it actual is. Modern medicine is barely more than a toddler in humanity’s timeline. “Incurable” simply means “we haven’t discovered a way to fix it yet.”
Can diet alone cure other diseases?
If diet alone can send Crohn’s and UC into complete remission, what else can it do? Let’s look at a few conditions that we know can be significantly improved- if not totally sent into remission- by diet. Each one of these examples is backed by at least one scientific study.
- A ketogenic diet can cut seizure activity in half for kids with epilepsy, and even completely eliminate them in some case.
- Changes in lifestyle and diet can stop- and in some cases reverse- prostrate cancer progression.
- A compound in the Mediterranean diet makes cancer cells “mortal,” according to an Ohio State University study.
- Compounds found in carrots and green tea reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease, according to a recent study (March, 2019)
- Intermittent fasting may actually reverse diabetes, according to a University of Southern California study. Okay, so in that case, not eating is the key, but it’s still diet-related.
- In 2011, researchers at Mount Sinai found that a high-fat, low-carb diet could reverse kidney disease in people with diabetes. Score another one for keto.
These are just a few examples, and I only skimmed the first page of the ScienceDaily (which rounds up the latest research and studies) search results for “diet cures diseases.” I ask again, if diet alone can significantly improve these conditions, could it cure the “incurable”?
Could diet even cure cancer?
About 8 years ago, I stumbled across a study showing that high doses of intravenous vitamin C could kill cancer cells. I’m sorry, I don’t recall the exact study, but I know it was performed in Europe. When researchers in the US “repeated” the study, they dropped the dosage and only used oral vitamins. Of course, it didn’t work. Fortunately, in 2017 the University of Iowa repeated the study the “right” way and discovered that, yes, high doses of IV vitamin C does in fact kill cancer cells.
Can you imagine curing many of our worst diseases just by changing the way we eat? No more side effects from medications that barely work, or reminders to take handfuls of pills multiple times a day. No more taking one pill to counteract the negative effects of another. Just good, clean, healthy eating.
It’s entirely possible! I don’t even need a study proving changes in diet alone can cure diseases. I know it from personal experience. If you want to learn more about it, please read MY STORY. This is the reason why I started this blog. I want to inspire more people to cook at home using fresh ingredients.
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