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What is the Budwig Diet?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

The Budwig diet was created in the early 1950s by a doctor named Johanna Budwig as a natural cure for cancer. The diet is built on the premise that cancer tumors are caused by a lack of important, electron-rich, fatty acids in the body. These fatty acids are thought to help keep the body’s electrical impulse system operating correctly—Dr. Budwig believed that processed fats didn’t have enough of these acids and caused the cellular regeneration systems to malfunction. The Budwig diet has an emphasis on flaxseed oil and cottage cheese and includes several rules about what a person should and should not eat.

Doctor Budwig developed the diet because of things she learned while studying blood samples of cancer patients. She noticed a shortage of phosphatides and lipoproteins in comparison to the blood of healthy individuals. She felt that this shortage might be leading to a lack of oxygen transport from the blood to the cells, and she thought that an emphasis on unsaturated fats might help alleviate the situation. Doctor Budwig decided to focus on flaxseed oil, which is high in several important fatty acids that can be helpful in removing toxicity of cellular waste.

The Budwig diet emphasizes flaxseed oil.
The Budwig diet emphasizes flaxseed oil.

The other main ingredient of the Budwig diet was originally quark, which is a substance that is very similar to cottage cheese in terms of nutrition and taste. In places like America where quark is very rare, cottage cheese became a replacement in the diet. Over time, cottage cheese has become more closely associated with the diet than quark.

The Budwig diet also has several major restrictions. People aren’t allowed to eat any sugar at all on the diet. They are also required to avoid any kind of animal fat, meat, butter or margarine. Most people on the diet mix flaxseed oil with cottage cheese in a blender and eat the mixture two or three times daily.

There are many claims about cancer being cured on the Budwig diet, but there still isn’t any actual widely accepted medical proof, and many people are skeptical. In 2001, Duke University in the US started a study of the possible effects of flaxseed oil on cancer. Researchers found some evidence that it may be beneficial. Doctor Budwig documented a lot of her own research and was able to show several successful cases of treatment, but she always faced a lot of skepticism from many in the medical community.

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Discussion Comments


As far as I know, there is no scientific evidence that this diet does anything for cancer patients. It's just too good to be true.


My prostate cancer went into remission after I started the Budwig cancer diet. People think that following this diet means only getting alternative treatments and leaving modern medicine.

That's not the case. I continued all my treatments when I started the diet. The way I saw it, I had nothing to lose by adding some flaxseed oil and cottage cheese to my diet. After about six months, my cancer went into remission.

This is not a cure for cancer, but it helps and it's definitely worth a try.


I'm also skeptical about Johanna Budwig's diet because I know that oncologists recommend a balanced diet for cancer patients and would prefer that their patients did not lose weight.

Since the Budwig diet doesn't allow things like sugar, butter and meat, people will probably lose weight on it. Most cancer patients already lose weight due to cancer treatments like chemotherapy and they need to stay strong and fit to get the best results from their treatment.

I know that flaxseed oil is very beneficial and I think cancer patients should supplement with this. But a moderate amount of saturated fats is important too in my opinion.

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    • The Budwig diet emphasizes flaxseed oil.
      By: spline_x
      The Budwig diet emphasizes flaxseed oil.