Fact Check: NO 'Reliable Evidence' Budwig Diet Can Cure Or Treat Cancer With Flaxseed Oil And Cottage Cheese

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: NO 'Reliable Evidence' Budwig Diet Can Cure Or Treat Cancer With Flaxseed Oil And Cottage Cheese Unvalidated

Is the "Budwig Diet" -- a diet rich in low-fat cottage cheese and organic flaxseed oil -- a scientifically proven treatment or preventative for cancer? No, that's not true: Oncological experts agree that there is "no reliable evidence to show that the Budwig diet can treat or prevent cancer" in humans, writes Cancer Research UK. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center further confirms that although Dr. Johanna Budwig, the proponent for the diet, provided "anecdotal evidence and biochemical mechanisms of the diet, clinical trials have not been published in any peer-reviewed medical journal."

A version of the claim originated in a video shared to Facebook on February 19, 2024, with a caption that read:

The basic Budwig diet formula was one of our most viewed videos of 2023!The formula is a two to one ratio of cottage cheese to flaxseed oil mixed for about a minute with an immersion blender. The optimal daily intake is 6 tablespoons of cottage cheese and 3 tablespoons of flax oil with a tablespoon of freshly ground up flax seeds stirred in. We have found it to be super kid friendly and enjoy it with fresh berries on top 😊A few more technical notes to keep in mind...It's usually recommended in the Budwig Diet that the cottage cheese be low-fat (either 1% or 2%) because it mixes slightly better with the oil, but if whole milk is all that's available that's certainly fine as well. #healing #healingjourney #healingfood #healingwithfood #naturalhealing

Here is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

image (17).png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken Mon April 15 12:56:00 UTC 2024)

There is no scientifically valid, non-anecdotal evidence that the Budwig Diet can cure, treat or prevent cancer.

Among other things, the person in the above video claims that Budwig determined "that cancer was the result not necessarily of too much cell growth but defective cell growth." The poster goes on to describe Ryder, a child who "ate [the] Budwig [diet] nearly every single day for over a year after he was diagnosed with stage four cancer," which led to his recovery. The poster added:

[Budwig] began looking for the richest source of pi electrons and found it to be flaxseed oil, which is abundant in linoleic and linoleic acids. She knew that combining the oil with sulfur-rich proteins would make it water-soluble, allowing the fats, oxygen and electrons to be distributed to all the cells in the body.

Budwig began testing this logic on cancer patients and it was almost immediately confirmed... and most importantly, tumors began to shrink...

In an email to Lead Stories received on April 16, 2024, Alice Wison, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK (archived here), referred our newsroom to its webpage (archived here) describing the Budwig Diet. The website clearly states:

The Budwig diet involves eating flaxseed (linseed) oil, mixed with cottage cheese and low-fat milk. There is no reliable evidence to show that the Budwig diet can treat or prevent cancer.

Evidence is lacking to support the efficacy of the Budwig Diet

The Budwig Diet is an unproven anticancer treatment proposed (archived here) by German biochemist Dr. Johanna Budwig in the 1950s. Budwig claimed that consuming large amounts of flaxseed oil with cottage cheese could treat cancer.

"Clinical evidence is currently lacking to support the use of the Budwig diet and the associated lifestyle for treating or preventing cancer. Patients should not pursue it during or after cancer treatments, and they should especially not delay or avoid mainstream care," writes the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) (archived here). The oncological organization goes on to describe the diet as being:

... based on the hypothesis that cancer develops as a result of decreased oxygen uptake by cell membranes in the absence of omega-3 fatty acids. Although metabolic changes such as increased aerobic glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis occur in cancerous cells, the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the pathogenesis and treatment of cancer is not known.

Johanna Budwig believed that combining cottage cheese and flaxseed oil (which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids) permitted better availability of essential fatty acids through the plasma membrane, allowing for improved aerobic cellular respiration. Processed fats, saturated fats, animal fats, processed foods, and sugar are prohibited, as they are thought to interfere with oxygen uptake and cellular respiration.

Restricted diets can have 'serious consequences' for health

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center further confirms (archived here) that the "Budwig Diet has not been proven to treat or prevent cancer," adding that "clinical studies have not been conducted to determine the effects of the Budwig diet." The cancer research institution adds that the Budwig Diet can have harmful effects on certain people, writing that "restricted diets such as the Budwig Diet can cause severe nutritional deficiencies." Furthermore, delaying or avoiding standard medical treatments can have "serious consequences."

Video poster sells 'supplements,' 'healing gear' on 'personal blog'

The video was posted by The Stern Method, a self-described personal blog dedicated to the "practical application of integrative healing and non-toxic living." A link on the Facebook page redirects users to a website (archived here) that sells a variety of products, including supplements (archived here) and "healing gear" (archived here) like castor oil packets and light therapy kits.

Lead Stories has investigated other claims related to supposed cancer cures, including that castor oil compresses are a proven effective treatment for tumors and breast cancer, that hyperbaric oxygen therapy cures cancer and that a mixture of carrots, onions and garlic in lime juice can cure "any form of cancer" between stages one and three.

Other health-related debunks can be read here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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