I flipped open another new chart today at work in the skilled nursing facility.  Bladder cancer – status post cystectomy & ileostomy.  Ovarian cancer – status post oophorectomy.  Metastatic to lymph nodes.  History of breast cancer with mastectomy.  All in one patient.  A very nice lady, by the way.

She had TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) in the hospital, but that was removed and now she’s taking food orally.  But has no appetite.  She’s barely over 100 pounds.

The physician’s written plan for this woman with 2 “high” grade cancers that are metastatic to lymph nodes reads:

“High protein, high calorie drinks.  Push at least 6 cans of Boost a day.”

6 cans of Boost a day?  WHAT?!  Are you serious?

The medical community has really lost their way if recommending 6 cans of Boost per day is the best that can be done for unfortunate patients such as this woman riddled with cancer.

As the saying goes… “If I had a dollar” for every time that these hideous protein drinks are recommended in hospitals & nursing homes & assisted living facilities all over the country, then I’d be…well…a big-wig at Nestle (maker of Boost) or Abbott (maker of Ensure.)

Dear Average Doctor in the USA:

Do you know that continually recommending Boost or similar “protein drinks” (like Ensure) will only sicken and kill your patients quicker?

Let’s take a look at the ingredient lists…

Boost (Chocolate Flavor):

Corn Syrup
Milk Protein Concentrate
Vegetable Oil (Canola, High Oleic Sunflower, Corn)
Soy Protein Isolate
Less than 0.5% of:  Soy Lecithin/Carrageenan/Flavors/Cellulose gel/Vitamins/Minerals

Ensure (Chocolate) Nutrition Shake: 

Corn Maltodextrin
Sugar (Sucrose)
Corn Syrup
Milk Protein Concentrate
Cocoa Powder
Soy oil
Soy Protein Isolate
Canola oil
Less than 0.5% of:  Corn oil/Flavors/Colors/Soy Lecithin/Carrageenan/Multivitamin/Minerals

My questions:

Where is the NUTRITION in these drinks?  All I see is a “sugar oil milk multivitamin & mineral” drink.  (No wonder patients don’t do much better choking these things down than they do consuming the standard, devoid-of-nutrition institutional food!)

What about the strong link between milk protein (casein) and cancer promotion?  Who in their right mind would suggest a cancer patient consume ANY dairy products?

What about the effect that sugar has on cancer promotion?

Has anyone considered the effect of GMOs in these low quality drinks?  Canola, Soy, Corn:  GMO crops.  (I don’t see the “Organic” label on Boost or Ensure.)

Can’t we do a whole lot better?  How about recommending REAL food that is actually nutrient dense?  How about recommending simple to make smoothies that are delicious and easy to digest?  Take a separate multivitamin & mineral supplement if you like.

Pick some of these ingredients and blend them together:

Banana, coconut milk, almond butter, flax meal, dark leafy greens, chia seeds, walnuts, avocado, hemp seed, organic soy milk, fresh fruit, silken tofu, wheat germ, coconut based yogurt and more…

Now, that would give cancer patients (and other sick people) a fighting chance.

Recommended reading:

  • Nature’s Cancer Fighting Foods (by Verne Varona)
  • The China Study (by T. Colin Campbell)
  • Eat to Live (by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.)
  • Whitewash (by Joseph Keon)