Protein during Cancer Treatment

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: I am being treated for bile duct cancer. I have been eating Cliff Protein bars to keep weight on during my treatments and I just started eating all natural veggie burgers, both with contain soy-type products. Are they safe? Can you provide a list of foods that would be acceptable for me to eat that are high in protein and will help me to keep my weight and energy levels up?

Pegeen, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts 

A: During treatment, it can be hard to eat the optimal amount of protein and calories that will help you keep weight on since your needs have increased and you may be feeling ill. Soy products can be a good source of lean protein, and processed soy is mainly a concern for estrogen related cancers as the soy isoflavones mimic estrogen You can read more about that in a previous post, Soy Lecithin and Breast Cancer.

We do suggest looking for non-GMO soy when possible. Some other great lean sources of protein to try are white fish, egg whites, seitan, beans and quinoa.

To increase your protein and calories, you could also make smoothies with non-fat Greek yogurt, fruit and some nut butter. There are several recipes in the Health Library. We also offer some great tips in our post, Best Diet after Whipple Procedure.

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