The Moerman diet against cancer

The GP Moerman saw the human body as a whole. According to him, cancer can be cured or prevented by following an appropriate diet. A healthy body needs certain nutrients, while harmful substances must be avoided. He researched this extensively and eventually applied it to cancer patients. The basis of this diet was developed in the last century. What does the Moerman diet entail and how is it viewed today?

Who was Doctor Moerman?

The Dutchman Cornelis Moerman lived from January 6, 1893 to August 27, 1988. By experimenting on his pigeons, he developed a method in the 1930s to cure cancer through nutrition. In 1939, this doctor started treating a patient from his own practice for the first time. The patient had a metastatic tumor in his abdomen and was inoperable. A year after Moerman treated the patient, the patient was cured and free of cancer. Afterwards, surgeons doubted whether the patient had actually had cancer. Complicated appendicitis could look like a tumor-like growth from their conclusion.

The theory

The nutrients that Moerman believes are essential for good health are: iodine, citric acid, yeast, iron, sulfur, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. Later, vitamin C was also added to this list. Through his experiments on pigeons, he concluded that the high oxidation capacity protected the birds from developing cancer. Birds need a lot of oxygen to fly, which gives them a high oxidation capacity. He believed that cancer does not start in a specific place within the body, but that it has developed due to a prolonged shortage of certain nutrients.

The formation of cancer

If you are deficient in essential nutrients for a longer period of time, the oxidation capacity decreases and the fermentation process increases. Lactic acid is formed due to the anaerobic (without oxygen) breakdown of glucose and carbohydrates. Lactic acid is a substance released during biological processes. In this way, cancer cells would develop, ultimately creating a tumor. By taking timely action and ensuring that no nutritional deficiencies occur, cancer can be prevented, according to Moerman. He assumed that if an early stage of cancer had developed, it was reversible with proper nutrition.

The diet

The diet was specially developed for cancer patients to cure cancer, but it can also be followed to prevent cancer. According to Moerman, a healthy body needs at least the nutrients mentioned above. The diet consists of two parts. In the first part, all harmful substances are avoided. In the second part, nutritional supplements such as extra vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are tailor-made as extra support.

The nutrition:

  • No meat, poultry or fish
  • Egg yolks are allowed daily, preferably raw or very softly boiled
  • Right-handed yogurt is allowed
  • Low-fat cheese 20+ is allowed
  • All fruit is allowed, especially grapes
  • Use salt moderately
  • No sugar and sweeteners (but honey)
  • Organic whole wheat bread, millet, oats, rye, corn, barley, buckwheat, spelt
  • Pasta and brown rice are allowed
  • Fry in olive oil
  • Brown bread with butter and cheese
  • No potatoes
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, soybeans, legumes, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic
  • Salads of mainly cucumbers and tomatoes
  • Pea soup (made from whole peas) without meat or bacon, but with onions, carrots and vegetables



  • No milk, only in porridge
  • Buttermilk is allowed (half a liter per day)
  • Berry juice, orange juice and lemon juice
  • No coffee and tea
  • No tap water, but mineral water


Diet adjustments

The nutritional rules were developed in the last century. Compared to today, knowledge in the field of nutrition was a lot less developed. There has been a lot of research into nutrients and cancer prevention since then. That is why Moerman’s treatment method has been adapted over the years. Nowadays, certain types of fish are allowed and tap water and coffee can be drunk in moderation. Tea used to be forbidden, but nowadays green tea is recommended. More attention has also been paid to the psychosocial aspects in the treatment of cancer patients. Nowadays, instead of the original Moerman diet, the diet version of Houtsmuller, one of his successors, is more often chosen.

Not scientifically proven

Moerman did his best to have his method investigated in science, but he found no response. Where his theories were investigated, the result was ultimately negative because it was not proven. Moerman developed an aversion to mainstream medicine and science. He later filed a complaint with the Medical Disciplinary Colleague, but that also led to no results. It did not stop him from continuing with his methods. His popularity increased. In 1979, the SIKON (=Foundation for Interdisciplinary Cancer Research) decided to conduct a further analysis. This also did not lead to recognition. There were too many disagreements.

Nutrition and cancer in current science

Moerman has successfully treated patients. It is certain that a healthy lifestyle in which a healthy diet is important contributes to a good condition of the human body. With contemporary insights in medical science, a relationship is established between nutrition and the prevention of cancer. It has not yet been scientifically proven that cancer can actually be cured through nutrition. Many people being treated for cancer use the Moerman diet as a complementary therapy and feel better as a result.

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