Myths and beliefs about food and nutrition during cancer treatment

After a cancer diagnosis, it is common to search for information on what foods can help fight the disease. Products, cooking methods, utensils, diets… that could be harmful or that could have a miraculous effect on the body. All this information from websites, books, magazines and even advice from friends or relatives who have heard or read about the subject, can generate a feeling of information overload and with it a feeling of anxiety, not knowing what is true and what is not. In some cases, people end up eliminating from their diet foods that are essential for dealing with the disease or, on the contrary, adding foods, herbs or supplements that may be harmful or that simply increase the cost of the diet without any real evidence of their effectiveness.

This section collects and analyses some of the most common myths and legends related to food and cancer treatment, explaining whether they are well-founded or have no firm scientific basis to support them. For the elaboration of this section a bibliographic review of scientific studies published in recent years, the declarations of existing official food safety bodies, both national and international, such as the ACSA (Catalan Food Safety Agency), the AECOSAN (Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition of the Spanish Ministry of Health); the EFSA (European Food Safety Agency); the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), and the WHO (World Health Organisation) have been taken into account. The recommendations of different institutes, societies and associations specialised in research and dissemination of information on cancer prevention and treatment have also been considered for this section.

Is it necessary to include dietary supplements in the diet?
Can I eat red meat?
Should I cut dairy products out of my diet?
Does the consumption of sugar promote the growth of tumour cells?
Does chocolate have a negative effect on people undergoing cancer treatment?
Can I eat artificial sweeteners?
Is harmful to drink tap water during treatment?
Can I eat oily fish?
Are all containers to store and conserve food safe?
Do I need special pots and pans?
Is it safe to use the microwave?
Is eating grilled food during cancer treatment harmful?
Should I follow an exclusively organic diet?
Does garlic have anti-cancer properties?
Does eating berries have a healing effect?
Can drinking green tea help cure cancer?
Can eating flaxseeds cure cancer?
Does turmeric have beneficial effects during treatment?
Are alternative diets advisable and/or safe?
Are genetically modified foods linked to tumour processes?
Is drinking coffee during treatment beneficial?
Are food additives harmful during cancer treatment?