Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

Fat phobia


Saturated fat, found in fatty animal foods like meats and dairy products, raises blood levels of cholesterol and is not healthy, but olive oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health and body weight. Olive oil, like canola, avocado and nut oils, is monounsaturated, and while it has as many calories as meat and dairy fat, it does not raise blood cholesterol or cause fat-clogging deposits in blood vessels. Human bodies do require intake of some fat. Not only does fat provide energy, it aids in nutrient absorption, provides essential fatty acids needed for various structures and molecules throughout the body, and contributes to satisfaction and fullness with food.

Healthy Oils

Low or Fat free
Food manufacturers have long produced reduced-fat and fat-free versions of many foods that were traditionally high in fat. Now it is simple to purchase items like cheeses, baked goods, crackers, ice creams, and salad dressings, among others, with less fat than the original product contains. Here is the catch: food manufacturers know that their reduced- and fat-free foods must still taste good in order to make sales. This often results in the addition of other ingredients in excess of what would normally be included, such as sugar or salt.

Low fat foods

Fat intake is linked to blood cholesterol. Eating unsaturated fats can decrease levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, and possibly help to increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Eating saturated and trans fats will increase LDL cholesterol, high LDL levels are often harmful. Trans fats, which are used in some commercial bakery products and fried foods, are unhealthy and should be avoided.

So, which foods should be eaten in their full-fat forms?

  • Yogurt: Plain yogurt or one without a lot of added sugar is best.


  • Frozen yogurt and ice cream: Lower fat, frozen desserts are likely higher in sugar, and may not be as satisfying as the full-fat version.

Yoghurt Berry Popsicle

  • Granola: Much of the fat in granola comes from healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Always check the label to be sure, and watch out for large amounts of added sugar.


  • Salad dressing: Full-fat salad dressing helps the body absorb several of the vitamins in the salad. Plus, lower fat salad dressings often include more sugar and starches as thickeners. Salad dressings made with olive or canola oil are the most heart-healthy.


  • Butter: Butter is a saturated fat, but it may be a healthier choice than many margarines, or coconut oil. Use it in moderation, and wherever possible, substitute olive oil.
  • Peanut or other nut butter: Most of the fats in nut butters are unsaturated fats, and have been shown to have health benefits. Check the label to make sure there is no hydrogenated fat added, and no to minimal added sugar.

Peanut Butter

  • Avocados and olives: The fat in both of these foods is largely monounsaturated, and should be included as part of a healthy diet. Caution: both are high in calories, so eat them in moderation.



Special Diets during Holidays

People with allergies like nuts and gluten.

When you set out to meet family and friends for Thanksgiving, you can take nut-free chocolate, gluten-free banana bread and containers of stuffing – a nut-free and or a gluten-free version.

This can be a challenge but you can coordinate with your hosts and take some foods that you are certain are allergen free so you or your children can enjoy and be a part of this family celebration.

One in six parents has a teenager who has tried either a vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan or paleo diet within the last two years.

Among those parents whose children followed restricted diets, over half said they thought the diets had a positive impact on their child’s health, while 41 percent believed it had no health impact, and 7 percent thought it was bad for the child’s health.

The poll found that the vegetarian diet was the most popular: 9 percent of teenagers nearly one in 10 had tried it. Six percent had tried a gluten-free diet, 4 percent a vegan diet and 2 percent a paleo diet.

But while 11 percent of parents forbade their child to embark on a special diet, only 17 percent had asked a nutrition expert for advice. Please consult a professional before embarking on a new diet, not only to make sure the child will get all the nutrients needed, but also to discuss the child’s motivations and help screen anyone with an underlying eating disorder whose real motivation is losing weight.

The survey found that teenagers’ reasons for starting restrictive diets varied.

Each diet presents its own set of potential nutritional pitfalls. Vegans need to make sure they get enough protein as well as vitamin B12, iron, calcium and vitamin D, while those following a paleo diet, and may need vitamin D and fiber. And everyone needs to get sufficient calories.

Special diets can be a source of tension during the holidays, the survey found, and over half of parents whose teenagers follow special diets said the diets caused conflict at family gatherings. The teenagers don’t like to be belittled for something that, for them, is a serious choice, and the parents feel judged based on what their kids do.

Developing a strategy in advance may help teenagers feel their choices are respected, and minimize disruption. Teenagers who adopt a special diet are often exploring their identity and declaring their independence, and parents can take advantage of family get-togethers to demonstrate their support for their child’s choices, and carry the food with them that is acceptable to their child.

Most people respect if you are allergic to something but do not feel compelled to accommodate optional choices like being a vegan or a vegetarian.

But keep in mind that rejecting someone’s signature dish may appear insensitive or downright rude. Tensions may be eased if family members are informed of the child’s dietary preference in advance or if a child is willing to compromise and taste a small portion.