The Budwig diet, also known as the Budwig protocol, was designed by Dr. Johanna Budwig in the 1950s with the belief that a diet plan high in polyunsaturated fatty acids would prevent the spread of cancer. While there is no concrete proof that the diet alone may be effective, several well-known research institutes recommend the Budwig Diet as a complementary treatment to aid the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Flaxseed oil, cottage cheese, and fruit juice are a staple in the Budwig Diet.
Let’s explore everything that you need to know about the Budwig Diet:
Budwig Diet and Cancer
As mentioned earlier, the Budwig diet plan was primarily designed for those battling cancer. Dr. Budwig hypothesized(1) that the reduced uptake of oxygen by the body’s cell membranes in the absence of O3FAs (Omega-3 fatty acids) results in the formation of cancerous tumors. Thus, she believed that the consumption of foods that are loaded with O3FAs could help curb cancer.
Components of the diet appear to show positive results in the preliminary research. For example, research brings to light the possibility that flaxseeds may possess anti-cancer properties(2). Further, it has also shown to decrease proinflammatory cytokines(3), Interleukin-1 beta, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha. Budwig also assumed that consuming flaxseed oil with cottage cheese will enhance the availability of the O3FAs through the plasma membrane.
Other Benefits of the Budwig Diet
Apart from aiding cancer treatment and preventing its growth, the diet also purportedly the healing of:
- Immune diseases
- Stomach ulcers
- Heart attack
- Prostate problems
However, there is not enough evidence-based information to support these claims.
How to Follow the Budwig Diet
Foods to Eat
The foods that you can eat while on the Budwig diet include:
- Fresh fruits and raw pressed fresh fruit juices
- Uncooked vegetables
- Healthy fats like olive oil
- Almonds and walnuts
- Raw cow’s milk or goat’s milk
- Foods rich in fiber
Additionally, following the above Budwig diet plan must also be paired with 20-minute outdoor activities to increase sun exposure to boost vitamin D, maintain healthy blood pressure, and to balance pH and cholesterol levels in the body.
Foods to Avoid
The Budwig diet aims to eliminate food items that prevent the healthy functioning of the body. Hence, those following the Budwig Diet are mainly advised to stay off processed foods. Other foods to avoid are as follows:
- Processed meats
- Meats containing artificial hormones or antibiotics
- Processed cheese
- Soy products
- Trans fats and hydrogenated fats, including margarine
- Animal fats
- White sugar
- Refined grains
- Foods with artificial preservatives
- Dairy products, including butter
- Caffeinated drinks
[Read: Dubrow Diet for Weight Loss]
The Budwig Mixture is the central focus of the Budwig diet. It is prepared from flaxseed oil mixed with cottage cheese, quark, or any bland cheese that is not highly processed.
The Budwig diet mixture recipe requires –
- 250mL of flaxseed oil
- 450g of low-fat cottage cheese or quark
- 4 tbsp of raw, organic honey
You may replace cottage cheese with yogurt, if necessary.
Combine the ingredients until the oil is no longer visible. Have a portion of it several times a day.
Budwig Diet Plan
For the diet to take full effect, you must follow all the Budwig diet recipes and meal plans for at least 5 years.
Here’s what a day on the Budwig diet would typically look like:
One Hour Before Breakfast (7 AM)
- A glass of sauerkraut juice (can be mixed with a little fresh fruit juice)
Breakfast (8 AM)
- Plain green tea with no additives
- Linseed Muesli: Ground flaxseed, quark cheese, flaxseed oil, fresh seasonal fruits, berries, and chopped nuts topped with raw, organic honey
[Read: Okinawa Diet]
Mid-Morning Meal (10 to 11 AM)
- A glass of freshly pressed juice prepared with carrots, celery sticks, apple, and beet with a squeeze of lemon
Lunch (12 PM)
- Fresh salad: raw lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sauerkraut, cucumbers, bamboo shoots, apple, beets – all dressed in the Budwig mixture
- Steamed vegetables with a side of brown rice and lentils
- Fresh fruits as dessert
- A cup of green tea or herbal tea
Mid-Afternoon Meal (3 to 4 AM)
- A glass of fresh fruit juice, pineapple, grape, blueberry, papaya, or cherry, with two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.
Dinner (6 PM)
- Buckwheat millet or quinoa rice with a side of cooked vegetables.
- Linseed muesli
While the Budwig diet does promote healthy eating, it can have certain side effects:
- Consuming flaxseed in high quantities could cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and gas
- The diet may not be suitable for everyone suffering from cancer as they may be on a restrictive diet
- Those who are lactose or dairy intolerant may find it difficult to follow the diet
- The excessive consumption of flaxseed could also lead to bowel obstruction. Hence, those on the Budwig diet must consume copious amounts of water.
- Consuming flax seeds during pregnancy could put your child at risk of developing breast cancer
- Flaxseed can interact with certain drugs and pain relievers and worsen bleeding disorders
- Exposure to the sun can put you at risk of skin damage or skin cancer.
- Since the diet is highly restrictive, it can cause vitamin B deficiency.
- The diet may also result in calorie restriction, which could cause undesirable weight loss.
Furthermore, while the Budwig diet is safe for most individuals, people suffering from the following conditions should not follow the Budwig diet:
- Hormonal disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Bleeding disorders
Doctors believe that diet alone cannot treat cancer. However, they are open to supplementing cancer treatment with alternative medicines. Anybody can benefit from cutting down unhealthy refined food items from the diet.
While there is very little research(4) on the effectiveness of the Budwig diet, several studies indicate that flaxseed may possess cancer-fighting properties(5). If you plan on following the Budwig diet, consult your physician first before opting for this diet.
[Also Read: Apple Diet To Fight Cancer ]
1. What Foods Can You Eat on the Budwig Diet?
The Budwig diet primarily focuses on fruits, vegetables, and foods that are high in fiber. Additionally, it is also recommended that you spend 20 minutes outdoors to soak up the sun and boost your Vitamin D levels, maintain your blood pressure, and manage the pH and cholesterol levels in your body, along with consumption of these foods
2. How Does the Budwig Diet Work? Is the Budwig Diet Effective?
While the diet is not supported extensively by a long list of research and studies, a case study on a woman with breast cancer discovered how her cancer went into remission following the Budwig diet. However, there is no evidence that the diet was responsible.
3. Who Should Avoid the Budwig Diet?
Pregnant women, as well as those who are lactose intolerant, suffering from hormonal issues, diabetes, hyperglycemia, IBD, gastrointestinal problems, and bleeding disorders, should all avoid the Budwig diet. Moreover, if you show any signs of allergy or sensitivity to flaxseeds, you should avoid the diet.