The ketogenic diet may have a role in treating disorders of cellular proliferation, especially cancer. Just as chemotherapy selectively targets tumors based on differences in the way they divide compared with normal cells, investigators have proposed targeting tumors on the basis of differences in their metabolism. Normal tissue can adapt readily to using ketones (instead of glucose) as a substrate, but malignant cells probably do not have the same degree of metabolic flexibility [23]. One case report in 1995 [24, Class III] described the use of the ketogenic diet in two girls with advanced astrocytomas, based on the idea that brain tumors are less able than healthy brain tissue to use ketones as an energy source. In this report, PET studies demonstrated a 20% reduction in glucose uptake by the tumors following the initiation of the ketogenic diet. One of the patients actually showed improvement during the course of the study and has continued to be well, without evidence of tumor progression (T. Seyfried, personal communication, 2008).
In short, a well-formulated ketogenic diet will likely increase your cholesterol. The reason for this is that keto emphasizes a large amount of saturated fat in the diet, and high levels of saturated fat will increase cholesterol. Now, because of Ancel Keys, we’ve be taught that high cholesterol is a problem. However, putting it bluntly, Ancel Keys was wrong. In this meta-analysis of 21 well-formulated studies the conclusion was that there is absolutely no relationship between high levels of cholesterol and heart disease or cardiovascular disease.
In both patients, levels of blood glucose decreased to low/normal levels and ketones increased by 20 to 30 times within seven days of starting the ketogenic diet.  Results from scans indicated that there was a 21.8% decrease in glucose uptake at the tumor sites in both subjects. Lower glucose uptake is a strong indicator that a tumor is shrinking in size.
The most convincing piece of evidence can be found in a 2003 meta-analysis. In this meta-analysis, researchers compiled the data from sixty trials that quantified the effect that feeding different types of fats to humans had on the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio [25]. But before we look through the results, we must first understand what this ratio is.
One study reported upon the effect of ketogenic diets on quality of life, cognition and behaviour. No difference was found in the quality of life of those following a ketogenic diet and the group receiving care as usual, but participants following the ketogenic diet were found to be more active, more productive and less anxious. More research is needed in these areas.
Like any trendy diet worth its balanced portion of salt, the keto diet is said to hold transformative powers. Proponents say it can help people lose weight, improve mood and experience fewer epileptic seizures. For the most part, the science seems to back these claims up — though, to be sure, it's not completely understood how exactly the keto diet affects mood (particularly depression), despite anecdotal evidence the diet might lead to clearer thinking and fewer symptoms of depression.
When a person first starts onto a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, it takes the body several days to a few weeks to shift from relying on glucose to instead rely on fat. During this transition, people may experience what is sometimes referred to as the “keto-flu”—muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and sugar and carbohydrate cravings.49 There may also be increased urination which can result in a loss of minerals, such as sodium and potassium. To counter these effects one should strive to get more minerals and in particular, more sodium and potassium, drink plenty of water, get some exercise and ensure adequate caloric intake. Once the body becomes keto-adapted, these symptoms largely resolve, and many people report increased energy, decreased cravings and weight loss.
When our blood ketone levels reach a certain point, our body is said to enter a state of ketosis, typically three to four days after eliminating carbs or minimizing their consumption. Ketosis has been shown to help people lose weight and excess body fat rapidly – along with making many significant health gains – even while consuming lots of healthy fats and sufficient calories for their needs.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to following the ketogenic diet is that some people are afraid to try this way of eating simply because they think it can increase their cholesterol and clog their arteries. From the solid scientific studies we will talk about below, a low-carb ketogenic diet is shown to improve your cholesterol levels and can be an incredibly healthy choice.
Leanne: Yeah, that believed in coconut from the very beginning and they didn’t go on this campaign of ridding it from the earth. I’m totally pro coconut oil and saturated fat. It’s been so great chatting with you about this cholesterol piece. I hope that a lot of our listeners, watchers, readers are going to benefit from the information that you’ve shared. If they want to know more about you Cholesterol Clarity is awesome. Keto Clarity is great. Your podcast, just download every single podcast Jimmy’s ever made. It will keep you busy for the next two years.
HealingStrong Connect Groups meet monthly in various areas of the U.S. and South Australia to link others interested in natural strategies, holistic protocols, and local resources. Their groups focus on mind, body and emotional healing based on Biblical promises, as they believe the God of the Bible is our healer.  For more information on how to start a group, or become involved in one, please go to: http://www.healingstrong.org/groups, and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/healingstrong.
Ketogenic diets often fall into the same processed-food trap as Atkins. Today you’ll find keto bread, cookies, and pasta. You’ll find exogenous ketone supplements that promise you can get into ketosis in 30 minutes. Don’t fall for the hype: Eating a whole foods diet high in quality fats but also nutrient-dense plant foods creates the best avenue to get you into ketosis and promote health.
I have been on keto for past 7 months. Triglycerides improved from 117 to 86 and HDL from 53 to 55, VLDL from 23 to 17 compared to last year. My problem is, LDL has been increasing by an average of 20 points every year for past 5 years, it was 130 in 2014, My metabolic panel is normal. Below is my lipid panel done a couple of days ago. Could you please advise me on how to improve my LDL level?

One study assessed the effect of dietary interventions on quality of life, cognition and behavioural functioning, reporting participants in the KD group to be more active, more productive and less anxious after four months, compared to the control group. However, no significant difference was found in quality‐adjusted life years (QALYs) between the KD group and control group at four or 16 months (GRADE rating very low). 

Ketone bodies, especially β-hydroxybutyrate, can be measured easily, so much work has centered on determining how these molecules may have anticonvulsant effects. Inconsistencies in studies attempting to correlate seizure protection with levels of ketone bodies suggest that another mechanism may be involved in the diet’s beneficial effects on seizures [2–5, Class III]. Several mechanisms have been proposed, including changes in ATP production making neurons more resilient in the face of metabolic demands during seizures; altered brain pH affecting neuronal excitability; direct inhibitory effects of ketone bodies or fatty acids on ion channels; and shifts in amino acid metabolism to favor the synthesis of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA [6,7].
In relation to overall caloric intake, carbohydrates comprise around 55% of the typical American diet, ranging from 200 to 350 g/day. The vast potential of refined carbohydrates to cause harmful effects were relatively neglected until recently. A greater intake of sugar-laden food is associated with a 44% increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome and obesity and a 26% increase in the risk of developing diabetes mellitus. In a 2012 study of all cardiometabolic deaths (heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes) in the United States, an estimated 45.4% were associated with suboptimal intakes of 10 dietary factors. The largest estimated mortality was associated with high sodium intake (9.5%), followed by low intake of nuts and seeds (8.5%), high intake of processed meats (8.2%), low intake of omega-3 fats (7.8%), low intake of vegetables 7.6%), low intake of fruits (7.5%), and high intake of artificially sweetened beverages (7.4%). The lowest estimated mortality was associated with low polyunsaturated fats (2.3%) and unprocessed red meats (0.4%). In addition to this direct harm, excess consumption of low-quality carbohydrates may displace and leave no room in the diet for healthier foods like nuts, unprocessed grains,  fruits, and vegetables.
The classic ketogenic diet used as far back as the 1920s is a four to one ratio (in grams) of fat to carbohydrates plus protein. That’s about 90 percent of calories coming from fat. We typically teach our patients a modified Atkins diet, which limits the net carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day without any limitations on the amount of protein and fat they eat. Typically, about 60 to 70 percent of their daily calorie intake comes from fat. (That’s more than double what the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend.)
Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)!
At the core of the classic keto diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb intake, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood (using urine strips, for example).
Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)!
If you’ve decided to move forward in trying the keto diet, you will want to stick to the parameters of the eating plan. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of your calories will come from fats. That means you’ll eat meats, fats, and oils, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says. (This is different from a traditional low-carb diet, as even fewer carbs are allowed on the keto diet.)

In 1920 a New York physician, Dr. Galen, reported at the American Medical Association convention that he had had significant success in treating epilepsy by initiating a program of fasting. At that time the only pharmaceutical interventions that were available included phenobarbital and bromides. Interestingly, the patient he treated was actually a young cousin who had aggressive seizures. On the second day of fasting the child’s epilepsy abated and did not return over the next two years of follow-up. Further studies appearing in 1923, 1926, 1928, all confirmed the effectiveness of fasting as an effective treatment for seizures.
In another parallel experiment the mice used did not have cancer at the start, but were bred to have a genetic predisposition toward breast cancer. Almost half of these mice, when fed on the Western diet, showed cancer within the first year (the average life span of these mice is two years). Only one of the mice in this group reached its normal life expectancy, and 70% ultimately died of cancer. Of the group on the ketogenic diet, only 30% ever developed cancer, and over half reached their normal life expectancy or exceeded it.
This diet is not without its side effects, so it is very important to become well informed when considering ketogenic diet therapy. Do not attempt the ketogenic diet without medical supervision from a properly trained ketogenic diet team, especially if you are taking anti-seizure medications. This ketogenic diet team includes a neurologist, a registered dietitian and nurse and sometimes a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, social worker and other specialists.

1. West, R., Beeri, M. S., Schmeidler, J., Hannigan, C. M., Angelo, G., Grossman, H. T., … Silverman, J. M. (2008). Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry : Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(9), 781–5. PMID: 18757771
For most people, the keto diet will result in weight loss, but this might not be the healthiest way to do it. When your body burns fat because it is starved of carbs, it makes ketones. Ketones are a type of acid made by your liver and then sent into your bloodstream. Too many ketones can led to dehydration and alter the chemical balance of your blood.
The bottom line here is that the ketogenic diet is a powerful metabolic tool for treating a wide range of illnesses. It is not a fad diet, and if it is implemented correctly, it corrects metabolic function at the cellular level.  This website discusses in detail the mechanisms of a ketogenic diet, including side effects, benefits and other information.
Now intrigued, I asked why he would want to change jobs, since our practice was by design slower paced, whereas Bob ran a very busy clinic and active IV unit which would seem perfectly suited for this nurse’s expertise. He then explained, with obvious disappointment, that none of the hundreds of cancer patients they had treated or had been treating had responded to any significant degree, with the exception of those he had referred to me.
Tumors have hypoxic zones and normoxic (aerobic) zones, with a symbiotic relationship between the two. Hypoxic cancer cells derive energy from fermentation of glucose, and secrete lactate. Normoxic cancer cells prefer and attract lactate as fuel for the TCA cycle, sparing glucose for the hypoxic cells. [NCBI, “Tumor cell metabolism: an integral view”]
Cholesterol is most commonly transported in the blood by molecules composed of fat and protein called lipoproteins. From least dense to most dense, they come in five forms: chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Because VLDL, LDL, and HDL cholesterol are frequently used as clinical indicators, we are going to focus on them.
Dr. Campos, it is unfortunate that you retain the medical community’s negative stance on the ketogenic diet, probably picked up in medical school when you studied ketoacidosis, in the midst of an obesity and type II diabetes epidemic that is growing every year, especially among populations who will never see the Harvard Health Letter. The medical community has failed in reversing this trend, especially among children, and the public is picking up the tab, in the form of higher health insurance premiums to treat chronic metabolic diseases which doctors cannot cure. The ketogenic diet does not bid its adherents to eat unhealthy processed meats, and the green leafy vegetables that it emphasizes are important in a number of nutritional deficiencies. People lose weight on the ketogenic diet, they lose their craving for sugar, they feel more satiety, they may become less depressed, their insulin receptors sensitivity is improved, and these are all the good outcomes you fail to mention. There is a growing body of research which demonstrates the neuroprotective effects of the ketogenic diet to slow cancer progression, as well as diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for which there are no effective medical treatments. Please respect your patients by providing them with evidence-based medical outcomes, not opinions.
2. The Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT) diet has been used since the 1970s. It uses MCT oil to replace the long-chain fatty acids of the traditional ketogenic diet . As MCT oil is highly ketogenic, this allows for more carbohydrates. In a randomized controlled prospective study from London in 2008, the investigators compared the MCT diet to the traditional ketogenic diet. They found that although the traditional ketogenic diet led to higher serum ketone levels, fatigue, and mineral deficiencies, there was no difference in growth, efficacy and overall tolerability .
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
In terms of seizure recurrence among children, the risk of seizures returning in those who are seizure free and stop the diet is 15 to 20%, according to Kossoff. In children who experience less frequent seizures, but are not seizure free, about one-third will have some worsening of seizures when the diet is stopped, though this is sometimes transient. 

Dr. Gonzalez and his colleague Dr. Linda Isaacs MD have had remarkable success treating cancer patients with a non-toxic nutritional protocol that incorporates some of the principles of the late Dr. Max Gerson MD along with the late Dr. William Donald Kelley’s protocol which includes high doses of pancreatic enzymes and individualized diets depending on body type and cancer type. I have huge respect for them, not because of their theories, but because they are getting RESULTS, including reversing “incurable” stage four cancers. Two volumes documenting 112 of their successful case studies can be found here.
A number of patients previously refractory to multiple anticonvulsant medications become seizure-free or maintain a significant reduction in seizure frequency even after the ketogenic diet has been discontinued, suggesting the diet may have disease-modifying effects in some people with epilepsy [19,20•, Class III]. No clinical factors have been identified that predict which patients will benefit most in this regard.

In adults, the type of ketogenic diet typically used is the modified Atkins diet. Carbohydrates are limited to 20 grams per day and the intake of foods containing fat is required to get into the state of ketosis. For example, foods such as heavy cream, oils, avocado, eggs, butter and meats are encouraged; whereas conventional breads, pastas, cereals and cakes are restricted.


When a person first starts onto a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, it takes the body several days to a few weeks to shift from relying on glucose to instead rely on fat. During this transition, people may experience what is sometimes referred to as the “keto-flu”—muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and sugar and carbohydrate cravings.49 There may also be increased urination which can result in a loss of minerals, such as sodium and potassium. To counter these effects one should strive to get more minerals and in particular, more sodium and potassium, drink plenty of water, get some exercise and ensure adequate caloric intake. Once the body becomes keto-adapted, these symptoms largely resolve, and many people report increased energy, decreased cravings and weight loss.
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