Exploring the use of alternative diets in people living with cancer
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the use of alternative diets in people living with cancer

Cameron Arbuckle Specialist dietitian, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To be aware of the alternative diets that are commonly used by people living with cancer

  • To understand the evidence base and hypothesised mechanisms of action for various alternative diets

  • To ensure your knowledge of the latest dietary recommendations for people living with cancer is up to date

There is significant use of alternative diets by people living with cancer, with data suggesting this has continued to increase since the 1980s. Commonly used alternative diets include the ketogenic diet, Gerson therapy, alkaline diets and fasting diets. This article explains the latest trends in relation to alternative diets, discusses the reasons why people may want to use these and examines their hypothesised mechanisms of action. The author outlines and critically reviews the evidence underpinning the use of such diets in those living with cancer, and suggests that this remains weak. The article also explores the challenges that nurses may experience when a person living with cancer wishes to adopt an alternative diet, and provides practical advice and recommendations on nutrition.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e11963

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Arbuckle C (2023) Exploring the use of alternative diets in people living with cancer. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e11963

Published online: 30 January 2023

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