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Learn how to starve a crop

17 Nov. 2021 – The old advice to ‘feed a cold, starve’ feverHas a limited evidence base, but new research highlights how nutrition fat and sugar to a crop can stimulate its growth.

Pancreatic tumors in mice grow more slowly when the animals eat a calorie-restricted diet, findings show. The results, published in Nature, does not mean that anyone with cancer should start a special diet, especially since humans are not mice. But more research in this area could identify combinations of specific diets and drug therapies that improve cancer treatments.

Scientists have long known that cancer cells are tearing and consume a lot of glucose as they grow. The question is whether starving them of glucose will slow this growth without harming the rest of the body. To get an answer, the researchers worked with mice carrying pancreatic tumors. They fed a low-calorie diet to one group, a normal diet to one group, and a high-calorie diet.protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrates ketogenic diet to a third group.

Only tumors in animals that ate the low-calorie diet showed slower growth, implying that the tumors needed more than glucose to continue growing. Glucose levels were lower with both calorie restriction and the keto diet, but lipids were also lower with calorie restriction.

All cells, including cancer cells, use lipids to build their protective outer membranes. The increased lipid levels in the keto diet may have given tumors all the lipids they needed to build new cell membranes.

The results suggest that the key to slowing cancer in these mice was to starve tumors of both glucose and lipids, as only the calorie-restricted diet did. The healthy tissues of the body still need these nutrients, one reason why patients with cancer should not change their diet without clinical guidance. But the findings suggest that using diet or drugs to limit the intake of some lipids or their use cells may be a way to starve a tumor without starving the person.

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