Johanna Budwig, Ph.D. (1908 – 2003) was a well-known German biochemist who devised her cottage cheese and flaxseed oil diet in 1951. She claimed that multiple daily helpings of this mixture (three tablespoons of flaxseed oil blended with six tablespoons of low fat (2%) cottage cheese and two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds) could both prevent and cure cancer. The Budwig diet eliminates animal fats, salad oils of any kind, meats, shellfish, processed foods, soy, most dairy products, butter, margarine, and sugar. Dr. Budwig also recommended daily sunbathing to “energize” the fatty acids in the flaxseed oil.
She believed that the blood of seriously ill cancer patients is deficient in two types of fat, lipoproteins and phosphatides (or phospholipids) and that these deficiencies allow cancer cells to grow and multiply. She reported that when she looked at blood samples from cancer patients, she saw a strange greenish-yellow substance. She interpreted this finding as the cause of the weakness and anemia that often accompany cancer. She then claimed that when patients ate her mixture of flax and cottage cheese, this substance disappeared along with the malignant tumors. Other scientists could not see any of this.
No large-scale clinical trials of the diet have been performed, and we have no scientific evidence at all to support Dr. Budwig’s claim that it can prevent or cure cancer.
Apart from the nutritional deficiencies that could develop on the Budwig diet, evidence from animal studies indicates that flaxseed oil can increase bleeding time in people with bleeding disorders and that a diet high in flaxseed during pregnancy can increase the risk of breast cancer in offspring.
In addition, consuming large amounts of flaxseed and flaxseed oil can cause constipation, bloating, and gas.
I often recommend freshly ground flaxseeds as part of an anti-inflammatory eating plan, and I see no harm in mixing ground seeds – as opposed to oil – with cottage cheese. Flaxseeds provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body can convert to the essential, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Flaxseeds also provide fiber and are one of the richest dietary sources of lignans, a class of plant estrogens thought to help protect against breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Try adding a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseeds daily to cereals, soups, salads, or rice.
I do not recommend flaxseed oil, because it goes rancid quickly and is devoid of beneficial fiber and lignans. And I certainly would not rely on a combination of flaxseed oil and cottage cheese to treat any form of cancer.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Budwig Center Natural Therapies, budwigcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Johanna-Budwig-Center-Guide-Diet-health.pdf