The Sugar Connection to Cancer

October 31, 2020

Melanie, a cancer survivor and dietitian shares how her cancer diagnosis changed her nutritional and lifestyle habits in order to  live a cancer-free life. With cancer being the 2nd leading cause of death in the U.S. this episode is critical for listeners to understand how to enlist some preventive measures.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition this morning brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley and I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And today's show is very, very important to me because I am also a cancer survivor. Let me tell you: having cancer was a wake-up call for me. So I made the changes to my nutritional habits and lifestyle habits that are necessary for me to optimize my odds of living a cancer-free life. This morning, Carolyn Hudson, a very experienced dietitian, and I, will share our insights about “The Sugar Connection to Cancer”. Good morning Carolyn.

CAROLYN: Good morning.

MELANIE: I just mentioned that after experiencing the diagnosis of cancer, I'm now living my life with nutritional habits and lifestyle habits that support my long-term health, so the cancer does not return. That's what we're always looking for.

CAROLYN: Exactly.

MELANIE: As dietitians, Carolyn and I both help people make fundamental changes to take them away from some destructive lifestyle and nutritional habits. And this is an important topic. So I hope our listeners will stop doing any dishes, maybe turn up the volume, and sit down and listen. Those chores can wait. You and your health really matter so we really want to get this message across. The reason is: cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., so I want people to understand how to enlist some preventative measures. Carolyn, now, it's time to turn on your mic and share some of your wisdom.

Bad Habits and Processed Foods

CAROLYN: Well, good morning again, Mel, and to all of our listeners. First of all, many people really need to make some changes in their daily habits. Maybe it's to make some changes to their habit of not getting enough sleep. I'm saying this on a morning that we had to get up at… I don’t know what time you got up, Mel, but I always struggle on this day when I have to come into the studio.

MELANIE: Yeah, I don't sleep well.

CAROLYN: I don't sleep well. But we need to make sleep a priority, or maybe it's some changes from the habit of maybe snacking on M&M’s. And now that we're home… oh my goodness. So many of my clients are saying, “I know I have this in my cupboard. And then I just go and get it and I can't stop.” You know?


CAROLYN: And so that may be a real problem for some people. Or maybe you need to make some changes about the habit of stopping for that high sugar coffee drink, you know, the mochas or whatever it happens to be. The lines at the coffee shops are horrible these days every time I drive by one of them.

MELANIE: You know, I, this is random, but I have noticed there's one chicken place near me. And on Friday nights, the line is literally, I would say a quarter to a half mile long of cars waiting to get in there. And I think, “There must be something really, really drawing these people.”



CAROLYN: I know. I have one right near me too. And I, I always look at it and try to see if the cars are, they go out of the parking lot and down the street. It's that long. It's just crazy. So, some of my clients tell me that they really do want to change. But what happens? They really, really struggle. And somehow they just can't make those changes. I think Dr. Kyra Bobinet said it so well in her book, The Well-Designed Life. She said, “Why can't people change when they say they want to?” I think that's a very interesting question. Dr. Bobinet went on to say, “I believe that unhappiness and suffering stems from not being able to change ourselves or our lives for the better.” She also said, “We may feel stuck in a dead-end career, or we may have gotten injured or disabled and struggled to adjust, or we may be a compulsive eater and are out of control. Or we may have not achieved the peak performance we know is within us.”

MELANIE: And with that comes so much shame, regret, you know, kind of those emotions that then drive us to find comfort in food I think. So, maybe because of the coronavirus you've lost your job or your business, or you are lonely because you haven't been able to spend time with your family and friends. We were just, we were just talking about that. Or perhaps you've been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease such as cancer. So you feel stressed out and stuck. I have clients that just really feel… like they beat themselves up because they come to me and say “With the diagnosis, you would think I would start eating better.” But they reach for the self-comfort foods. And then they feel really guilty about that. Well, Dr. Bobinet wisely went on to say in her book that “many real changes in your life requires repeating something over and over”.

CAROLYN: Yeah. I tell my clients all the time.

MELANIE: We've got to just over and over…

CAROLYN: Keep doing it. Just keep doing it; keep trying.

Making Changes to Long-standing Lifestyle Habits

MELANIE: And then taking those small steps of change that grow into major healthy lifestyle habits. As a dietitian, I believe we can make the appropriate changes by taking charge of our habits and consistently being aware of our behavior. The habits are really a powerful force. And we have to tell ourselves, “I am in charge of the food. The food is not in charge of me.” I'm sure some of you are thinking, “What does the behavior change have to do with our topic today?” Well, it is all about the role of sugar and inflammation and sugar and excess insulin, sugar and excess weight, and sugar and cancer. So it would appear that sugar is the, is really our problem child here.

CAROLYN: Absolutely.

MELANIE: When I received my diagnosis, I had asked myself, “Is sugar a problem for me?” And guess what? It truly, truly was. My children used to call me a “frosting tramp”. I would take the frosting off of their cupcakes that they didn't want and eat it with a spoon. So I understand those sugar cravings. And the answer is definitely “yes”. Maybe the answer is definitely “yes” for you as well for our listeners. Can you relate to that craving? Lifestyle habits and nutritional habits are at the core of our long-term health. So we need to know more so we can do better.

CAROLYN: Absolutely. As a long time dietitian, I believe to change habits, we really need to understand the “whys”. It's really an intellectual process. As dietitians and nutritionists, we often say, you know, “Use your brain to control your behavior.” The second criteria to changing habits is to get weekly support, you know?

MELANIE: It takes a team.

CAROLYN: Yeah, absolutely. Getting off the sugar or developing good sleep routines is really hard work. I know we were talking about this on our nutritionist call the other day, right?


CAROLYN: Health is work.

MELANIE: Health is work.

CAROLYN: We can't just assume we are going to be healthy.

MELANIE: No. It takes work.

CAROLYN: You have to work at it. You know? So it takes calling in all of your willpower and standing strong to your commitment. You know, and calling in all of your willpower and standing strong to your commitment is absolutely essential if you want your immune system to support your body; and of course your brain to handle that stress. You know, the stress of this pandemic. Or you want to avoid a chronic disease like cancer. Many times, people just keep putting off these changes, you know, and putting off changing those unhealthy habits because they know that making those changes is hard work. And you know, but the payoff is huge. Isn’t it Mel?

MELANIE: It’s huge. And I, you know, I want to, I want to say to our listeners that when we are struggling, when you're struggling with those habits, that's why you need a team; someone to help you negotiate those habits; someone to tell you it's about the chemistry of your brain; getting that, that brain fueled properly. So it's not just about white-knuckling it through cravings. It's about changing the chemistry. And that's what we try to do as a team member. So if you check the internet for your nutritional advice, which I don’t recommend.

CAROLYN: Please don't do that.

MELANIE: It'll terrify you. But we all do it. Everybody does it at some time or another in our life. And you will find a lot of confusing and misleading information about the relationship between sugar and cancer. So I like to look at research studies or books written by experts in the field of nutrition; get some solid research under your belt. I think a book that would help you develop an understanding about the sugar connection to cancer would be Sugar Crush by Dr. Richard Jacoby. That's such a fantastic book.

CAROLYN: Yeah, it really is. And Mel, it's just about time for our first break. So, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. For those of you who just tuned in, I'm Carolyn Hudson, and I'm in the studio with Melanie Beasley. We are both registered and licensed dietitians and we have over 30 plus years of experience helping people achieve better health through eating real food. Today we are making that connection between sugar and cancer, and we'll be right back.

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Cooking, Sleeping and Movement: Big Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. During this pandemic, I like to check in with my family and my friends to learn, you know, what they're experiencing during these stressful times. It's a way we get our, our social fix as well. A friend of mine, who is a physical therapist, surprised me with his answers when I asked him, “What three major health issues do you see people experiencing today?” And I thought he might say, “corona, heart disease…” But, I thought that's what he would say.


MELANIE: But really it was heart disease and cancer. But what he actually said the first health issue is that he felt was people don't cook. Either they don't know how or cooking meals at home never became a lifestyle style habit. The second health problem I see is people don't sleep. They don't sleep enough. And many of my patients don't heal because they only sleep four to five hours a night. Thank goodness this is not our usual when we both said that we had a poor night's sleep last night. In order to heal, people… I truly believe this, Carolyn, that people need eight to nine hours of good restful sleep. That’s research-supported.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Yeah. And I know in the past, when I have struggled with sleep issues, before I came to Nutritional Weight and Wellness, that was a huge issue for me. You know, it just, I gained weight. I tended to, you know, catch the viruses; the flu or whatever. I wasn't anywhere near as healthy as I am now.

MELANIE: We’re nice. I mean, now we're nicer.

CAROLYN: Yes. Our loved ones like that don’t they?

MELANIE: They like us more. “The third issue that I see is people don't move their bodies.” The only movement, especially now, the only movement that people get is from their computer desk to their TV chair. Although a lot of people are starting to walk now to get out. I thought about the answers that he shared and what I do in most of my nutritional counseling appointments. And I do my best to teach, motivate, and encourage my clients to make those simple, real food meals, as simple as they can, if they don't love to cook. I like to keep my recipes simple with organic food, whenever it's possible, financially feasible. And when it comes to sleep, I would say at least 75% of my clients need help getting enough sleep to heal their bodies and their brains, especially now because it's kind of a frightful time. And then I thought about the third health issue that he shared, of course, as a physical therapist, he would see lack of movement as a real health problem. And I would agree with that.

CAROLYN: Oh, I totally agree. And now that it's getting cold, like, I didn't want to go for my regular walk all last week. Even this morning, that wind is whipping, you know, so I'm not even sure I'm going to get out there today. So I'm going to have to figure something out, because I'm not going to the gym yet. You know, I just don't feel comfortable doing that. So now that winter is coming…

MELANIE: Maybe some Zumba on television on YouTube?

CAROLYN: Actually, I've got a couple yoga and a couple Tai Chi things I've been doing.

MELANIE: How do you like that?

CAROLYN: I really like it. You know that, and basically, you know, it's for, I really have been struggling with my balance since I had my hip replacement. And so I'm finding the Tai Chi is really helping me.

MELANIE: That is great!

CAROLYN: It's really fun. Any way… So, now we look at why physical movement is more than just a way to burn calories. Look at movement and its relationship to cancer prevention. There is strong evidence that physical activity is linked to lowering the risk of several types of cancer. Just to name a few here: bladder, breast, colon, esophageal, kidney, and stomach cancer. That's a lot of cancers that we can impact here. So just moving your body consistently for 30 minutes a day helps, you know, and I have a perfect example of how physical movement is such an important health habit. As many of our listeners know, my mother has always enjoyed physical activity. She loves hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing, and moving her body has always been part of her life. This year, she turns 94 actually right in November. And she still lives independently in her own home. You know, my mom, she eats real food. She sleeps a good, I would say at least nine hours every, every night.

MELANIE: I kind of want to be her.

CAROLYN: Oh yeah. I want to be her for sure. And I, you know, she just, actually, we were just up at the cabin together and we actually hiked through the woods on a trail next to the lake. And it was just a trail, you know. There were roots and twigs and stuff. So a couple of times I had to take her arm, but she did that.

MELANIE: I love it.

CAROLYN: It was just fabulous.

MELANIE: I think that's how we're designed.


MELANIE: To move. Our bodies are designed to move and your mother has been such a wonderful example of how it benefits us.

CAROLYN: Definitely.

MELANIE: And when I'm working with clients daily, I see the health benefits too. They're definitely, you know, receiving health benefits. The three simple habits that I like to encourage: cooking and eating real food, sleeping seven and a half to nine hours most nights, and like we were talking about, moving your body. As dietitians and nutritionists here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we truly understand that long-term health is so much more than that number on the scale. I just want everyone to throw those darn scales away sometimes because it is about supporting your body with the nutrients from real food, getting consistent restful sleep and simply moving your body. It’s never too late to incorporate these habits into your life. Practicing these habits is especially important during these really uncertain and stressful times.

Sugar, Low Vitamin C and Cancer

CAROLYN: Yeah. So Mel, before we went to break, you were talking about the book, Sugar Crush. So Dr. Jacoby, who is the author of that book, he talks about the connection, the sugar connection to lowering levels of vitamin C, and how lower levels of vitamin C can lead to cancer. So way back in the seventies, Dr. Linus Pauling, I was reading his books back then, linked low vitamin C levels to cancer, and also to heart disease. You know, another researcher, Dr. John Eley, he found that glucose or sugar, and vitamin C, compete against each other for the insulin that they need. So guess what? Sugar or glucose wins, you know, every time over that vitamin C. That's kind of scary. So the bottom line is the more sugar or glucose circulating in your blood, the less vitamin C will enter your cells. And what exactly does that mean? Okay.

MELANIE: Yeah, tell us why we want that vitamin C.

CAROLYN: So I know here we go on our little dietitian and nutritionist stuff, but it's really important. It means that sugar, you know, like that high-sugar coffee drink, or that stack of pancakes with fake maple syrup or a 20-ounce bottle of pop or soda that contain over 16 teaspoons of sugar, that cancels out that vitamin C you took with your morning vitamins, or maybe with your morning orange or piece of fruit. Vitamin C is really very, very important to our immune system, whether it is to prevent cancer or to protect us from the coronavirus.

MELANIE: So here's my little homework for our listeners is when you get off of listening to the radio, go to your cupboard, pull out your maple syrup, turn it over and look at the back and see what the ingredients are. Does it say maple syrup or does it say corn syrup? Because that real maple syrup is really a little bit is what we're looking for and not a bunch of that either. But, now let's discuss another connection between sugar and cancer. The American Institute of Cancer Research has tracked this connection for years. They found that if you have diabetes, your risk of cancer of the liver, pancreas, endometriosis is at least twice as high for people with type-two diabetes.

CAROLYN: So we are heading into break two here, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And, the National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 40% of people in the U.S. will get some form of cancer in their lifetime. And we'll be right back.

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Vitamins in Real Foods That Prevent Cancer

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to point out some various nutrients found in real food. To maintain a strong immune system, it's important to have a source of vitamin A; not carotene; true vitamin A. And true vitamin A is found only in animal foods, such as cod liver oil, butter, eggs, fish, and of course, meat. And I want to say grass-fed butter. We encourage our clients to eat four ounces of protein. That's the cooked protein three times a day.

We also suggest eating grass-fed and organic meat whenever it's possible. Another critical preventive nutrient is B12, which is found only in animal sources. Of course, vitamin D is strong in protecting against breast and colon cancer. We get vitamin D from some animal foods, such as lard, butter, cod liver oil, organ meats, and egg yolks, especially from those chickens running around in the sun: free-range chickens. But our main source of vitamin D is from the sun or from a good quality supplement. So, when we left to go to break, you know, we were talking about another connection between sugar and cancer.

The American Institute of Cancer Research has tracked this connection for years. They have found that if you have diabetes, your risk of cancer of the liver, pancreas and endometrium is at least twice as high for people with type-two diabetes. Your risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer is about one and a half times higher for people with type-two diabetes. Not only are you at a much higher risk to get cancer if you have type-two diabetes, but you have a 35% greater risk of dying from cancer.

CAROLYN: Wow; 35% greater risk of dying from cancer. That's something else. That's high.

MELANIE: It's disheartening for people. Not only do they have the diagnosis of type-two, but to know that they have that risk.

CAROLYN: Yeah, exactly. So here's a little more biochemistry about the connection between sugar and cancer.

MELANIE: I love how you always bring it back to the science, Carolyn.

How Sugar Feeds Cancer

CAROLYN: We're all about the science; that's for sure. Just like normal cells, cancer cells have receptors on them for something called insulin-like growth factors. And the research actually shows that cancer cells grow rapidly in a rather uncontrolled way, and to grow, they need lots of, guess what; glucose or sugar. And our Weight and Wellness eating plan is based on balancing your blood sugar. Because when your blood sugar is high, you have a lot of insulin circulating in your body, and you are basically feeding those cancer cells to grow, and also to spread.


CAROLYN: So that's really, really important.

MELANIE: And I tell my clients, every time you have sugar, think of living in a farm, and every time you just are feeding those chickens sugar, or, you know, like when you feed them corn, they come out and then they eat, eat that sugar. And then they go back, they lay eggs and then they produce more chicks. So if you think of it that way, it kind of helps you avoid the sugar because we don't want to be feeding cancer cells.

CAROLYN: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Here's another interesting connection. The incidence of cancer in the U.S. is at a staggering all time rate. It is the second leading cause of death. What I find interesting is that along with the-increase in the rate of cancer coincides with an increase in obesity and type-two diabetes.

CAROLYN: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely; definitely there's a connection there, isn't there? So there are certainly other theories about the relationship of sugar and cancer. Many cancer experts believe there is not a direct relationship. They prefer to point out that it's obesity that is the actual connection. That's really interesting because there are millions of people who are not obese or even overweight who have cancer.

MELANIE: Yeah, I'm raising my hand right now, listeners.

CAROLYN: Exactly. So as a dietitian, I ask the question, “What is the connection between obesity and sugar?” Remember the old, false belief that eating too much fat actually makes people fat?

MELANIE: I used to teach it.

Why the Food Pyramid You Grew Up With Was Wrong

CAROLYN: Yeah. Yeah. So did I. I was a low-fat person for years and years. So, but the truth is that healthy, beneficial fats, such as butter, olive oil, nuts, avocados, is burned for energy as opposed to the fat on your body that is, by and large, made from guess what; sugar, carbs, all those processed foods, and not the fat that you're eating in your diet; unless, of course, you're eating those highly processed oils that are really very bad for your cell health. And they're pretty much kind of toxic. And also those trans-fats. I'm really glad that they're banned, but there still are some trans-fats. So you know, that's a whole other story though, right?

MELANIE: Yes. Yes. Remember the old USDA food pyramid, Carolyn, with all of the carbs at the base? Bread, cereal, pasta: all down there that we were encouraging people that this was the majority of what you need to eat at the base of the food pyramid. Well, that caused a dramatic increase in fat cells and obesity and your blood sugar to rise, which increased your insulin. But fat cells, along with the hormones that they produce, they've been found to be a major cause of inflammation in our bodies. Chronic obesity and chronic inflammation increase the chances that a cell may turn cancerous. So it would seem that whatever way you go, there's a sugar/cancer connection.

CAROLYN: And I just want to go back to what you said about fat cells, along with the hormones they produce. So this is really important, listeners. Your fat cells, actually, the more fat cells you have, the more hormones you have. And that's not necessarily a good thing. Right?


CAROLYN: So the whole sugar/cancer connection has been around for almost a hundred years when a German scientist, Otto Warburg, he noticed tumor cells in a Petri dish tended to consume more glucose or sugar than normal cells. So some experts believe his theory to be wrong, while others still make that sugar/cancer connection. And I still, I hear that. You know, I teach, you know, a number of classes out in the corporate world, and I get challenged on that one. Well, my cancer doctor said it doesn't matter what I eat and I can have as much sugar as I want.

MELANIE: I’ve heard the same thing. And I'm curious, I'm curious about that piece and why that is said. But we know in clinic working with clients that, you know, we do see the connection.

CAROLYN: Definitely.

MELANIE: And when in doubt, we recommend that you drastically limit your sugar intake. Is that going to be harmful to drastically limit your sugar intake? It is not. Wondering how to make that switch from sugar lover to condition of self-love and self-care of your body and brain? It can be a challenge. I've been there.

CAROLYN: Yes, absolutely. You know, and I would say nutrition education, because, that's really what we need to be doing. A lot of nutrition education. The more we know the better we actually can do.

MELANIE: Yes. And our, you know, our listeners and our clients, they're smart. They're, they're much more likely to be up on research. They Google, which is sometimes alarming, but I would recommend getting that good support from an experienced knowledgeable dietitian or nutritionist; someone who cares about your success, sets up a plan for you, believes in your ability to make the changes that you require, someone who doesn't judge you, but supports you in this process because we judge ourselves harshly enough.

The reality is the science part of nutrition is only a part of the picture. The understanding, encouragement, support and caring brings that all home for you. And I believe, you know, weekly, bi-weekly nutrition counseling sessions benefit almost everyone in times of crisis because like I always say, we need that team. And what does it look like? What, you know, what are some things that we're going to be helping them with? Cause I, we know food first really matters.

What to Eat Instead of Added Sugars and Carbohydrates

CAROLYN: Yeah. So, you know, as a preventative measure, we really recommend eating meals made with real food at every meal. You know, you want to include three to four ounces of grass-fed meat. And maybe, you know, for men, it's probably more like six ounces of grass-fed meat whenever possible. Carbs should be from your vegetables; hopefully organic.

MELANIE: I’m pretty tough on clients with vegetables. I say five cups is fine. Nine is divine.

CAROLYN: I love that.

MELANIE: We should eat three cups of cruciferous vegetables every day.


MELANIE: Every day. What's cruciferous? The stinky ones.

CAROLYN: Yeah, the stinky ones. Some of our clients go, “Oh no, I can't do that.”

MELANIE: I can't bring them to the office.

CAROLYN: I can't bring them to the office. Well, I do, you know, when I do bring them to the office, you know, in our office we have shared space where we are right now. And, I have to be really careful when I bring my brussel sprouts. Nobody likes the smell of those. And even, I have to say, sometimes I get a little bit turned off by the smell if I walk in on it and been outside.

MELANIE: It’s not your food it’s different.

CAROLYN: Right. So your protein from grass-fed and your carbs from vegetables, preferably some of those stinky ones. And what was I just talking about? That beneficial fat.

MELANIE: That makes food delicious.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Like butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, and raw nuts or nut butter. So we're just about time for break three. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to share an email with you that we received earlier this week about the show, The Gluten Connection to Osteoporosis and Autoimmune Disease. The email said, “I wanted to let you know that I really got a lot out of the show last Saturday. Now I know why my body has gone through so much in my life and why it's taking so long to resolve. I believe that I have been gluten intolerant or have had celiac all my life.” So with that, we will be right back.

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CAROLYN: Well, welcome back. You know, before break, I was sharing an email that we received about an earlier show, The Gluten Connection to Osteoporosis and Autoimmune Disease. And the email said that, you know, she wanted to let us know that she got a whole bunch out of show, and she now made the connection that all the things that she's been going through in her life was because she believes she has a gluten intolerance, and, or maybe even has had celiac her entire life. And she didn't make that connection. So she said, went on to say, “I will be listening to the show again and again on the app. She loves our Dishing Up Nutrition podcast app that allows you to listen to it whenever you want and listen to whatever show. I love it too. I kind of scroll through it. I take my finger and go “shoop”. And just go…

MELANIE: I love that.

CAROLYN: Oh, I'll listen to this one today. So you know, she's going to let her family know about it, her friends. So she said, “Thank you for making so many people know about this ever-increasing problem. Your knowledge on this subject and many other subjects is far beyond what I have ever heard before.” You know, that was a direct quote from her. We appreciate the feedback and the comments through our Dishing Up Nutrition show. So we, you know, we've been on a mission for the past 17 years to help people have better health through eating real food; good quality real food. During this really unsettling time, nutrition counseling is so important for almost everyone because of the undue stress in our lives. Earlier this week, the evening news reported that 80% of the U.S. population is feeling stressed.

MELANIE: I would say it's probably even higher.

CAROLYN: I think so. I don't think I have any clients who say, “Oh, no, I don't have any stress on my life.”

MELANIE: Of course not.

CAROLYN: Not right now. But the good news is that many of the health insurance policies are now including this through their telehealth stuff, our nutrition counseling. Cause we're doing everything… I'm doing everything by Zoom. Or I have a couple of clients who still want to use a phone, but most of them it's so nice to do that Zooming, isn't it Mel? I really love it.

MELANIE: See their faces, but you know, the phone consults: I appreciate those too, because sometimes you're just so fed up with technology. The phone works.

CAROLYN: Yeah, exactly. So we encourage you to make an appointment to get the support that you need. You know, we have a bunch of great packages for counseling right now. So call us at (651) 699-3438. And we're really happy to answer all of your questions and we can also set up an appointment for you with one of our nutrition experts.

MELANIE: You know, Carolyn, what I'm finding more and more is I am Zooming my clients on their lunch break and they've gone out to their cars. They're in their cars Zooming me. I just absolutely love it. So they just take that lunch break. They're eating while they're talking to me and we're, we're working together, whatever their issue is, or their successes. And they're in their car. So I kind of love that.

CAROLYN: The other thing that I have found to be actually quite helpful is I have, you know, our clients are working at home, and their loved ones are often sitting in with them. And so they're hearing it, you know. I had one woman this week whose husband was kind of, he, I couldn't see him, but she told me he's, you know, “My husband's right over there.” And I said, “Well, you know, your husband…” She was talking about the nightly ice cream bowl and how her husband would always bring her the ice cream bowl because he was having it. And I said, “Well, he can either sabotage you or he can support you.”

MELANIE: Oh, you said it. She didn't. You went there.

CAROLYN: I went there. And I said, “So maybe we could ask him to not have the bowl of ice cream in front of you, and to certainly not bring it to you.” That, you know, I don't think that's too hard.

MELANIE: I don't think it's hard. It’s really hard to avoid those temptations when they're right there. And when everybody's at home together, one of the things that I always like to ask my clients is, “How does that food get in the house? Who's shopping?” And the second thing is when you have someone else in the room and you know, I have a client and she keeps eating her husband's treats that he brings home. So I say, “Well, I'll bet he would really, really appreciate if you didn't eat his treats. Maybe he could keep them in the trunk of his car.” And the husband said, “That's a brilliant idea.” And she said, “That would be so helpful.” So that's our solution.

CAROLYN: Great! Yeah.

Saturated Fast and Our Immune System

MELANIE: She's less likely to go out to the trunk of the car, but you know, as dietitians, we're always learning. The research… the research that I've read, or sometimes even from my clients, I'm getting some research now.

But at this present time, our nation is dealing with a very serious virus, which has been known to affect the lungs. And as I was researching for this show, I discovered another reason that we need saturated fat found in butter or coconut oil. Saturated fats strengthen our immune system. And here's something I really didn't know before is our lungs cannot function without saturated fats. I knew the brain couldn't, but I wasn't aware that the lungs, that that was also the issue. But again, the more we know the better we can do.

And we have many classes online to teach you how to manage your health. And I suggest you consider taking one or perhaps all of them. You may, you know, many want to take our Stress, Food and You class to learn what foods can help you to avoid stress-related health conditions or Immune-Building Foods and Nutrients learn how to build your resistance to illness through nutrition, or Preventing Osteoporosis with Bone-Building Foods to learn how to build your bones, prevent putting your bones at risk. You can go to our website,, choose a class that you think it'll work for you. It’s not only going to educate you, but it also will motivate you. Be sure to tune in next week as Joann and Kara share some great information about menopause.

CAROLYN: Oh, that'll be a great show.

MELANIE: And you know, I just want to say to all of our, my clients who are listening. I know I have some clients who have cancer who are listening; are survivors that are listening is that we are all survivors and we are all in this together. And having that team that cares about you, that wants to have your outcome be a positive outcome, that wants to support you, I think, is really critical with that cancer piece. So then I think the number one message that I want to convey as cancer survivor is: you need a team.

CAROLYN: Absolutely. You need a team.

MELANIE: Sometimes you feel like you're in a dinghy in the ocean and you are going wherever the medical community is taking you because you're trying to survive, but there's a team of survivors around you that understand what you've gone through. And also the team at Nutritional Weight and Wellness wants to support you in that nutrition piece and that emotional support piece as you go through; because it is… nutrition is key. It's interesting to note that most people that have cancer do not expire from the cancer. They expire from malnutrition.

CAROLYN: Yes. Yeah.

MELANIE: Nourishing your body is really, really key in making sure that your outcome, whether it be through chemo, radiation, or other treatments really important. And removing that sugar is also very key. You know, think of those chickens. You know, we don't want to be feeding the chickens where they go back multiply, and, yeah.

CAROLYN: I want to go back to what you said just a few minutes ago about the saturated fat.

MELANIE: Oh yes.

CAROLYN: Because you know, we have been this fat phobic society for how long? What is it?

MELANIE: Well, since the sixties.

CAROLYN: The sixties, right? And maybe that is, is that maybe part of the reason that so many people are having these lingering problems with coronavirus, you know? The, what do they call them; the extended issues that people are having.

MELANIE: Well, especially that lung involvement.

CAROLYN: The lung involvement. That's a really interesting piece. You know, like a light bulb was just going off in my head when you were saying that. It was going, well, these people, maybe they haven't been eating saturated fat because, what are the doctors telling them?

MELANIE: Avoid the saturated fats.

CAROLYN: Avoid… and what, what is our, our food plate telling us, you know? Avoid those fats still. You know?

MELANIE: And the saturated fats would be again…

CAROLYN: Oh, so that's butter. That's coconut oil. That's coconut, you know, and animal fat. Those are all the saturated fats.

MELANIE: So you're saying we can eat the grass-fed rib eye.

CAROLYN: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Good, my husband and I had one last night.

CAROLYN: That's, that's wonderful. So, saturated fat strengthens your immune system and your lungs cannot function without it. So our goal here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well.


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