I won’t sugar coat it. The diet can be hard to start. The first two weeks can be terrible. You give up a lot of comfort foods. Plus, you will need new cookbooks. So, switching to a ketogenic diet isn’t the first thing that pops into your head when you hear cancer. But the diet works. I steadily lost weight without substantial hunger or changes to my limited exercise program. My overall health improved, I slept better, felt better and hopefully look better.


Senior moments. They joke about, “Oh you’re just getting older so you’re going to get dementia, you’re going to get Alzheimer’s, that’s just normal of getting older.” No! No it’s not. They’re taking these very drugs that are robbing the body of exactly what it needs to stay mentally sharp. I’m in my early forties now, I’m hoping twenty, thirty years from now … having all that butter I eat, and healthy fats is going to keep this noggin sharp. I think it will and I’ll be danged if I ever take anything that will take away the very key element that’s making my brain sharp.

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.

It was late 1985 when the media broke the story about the next cancer miracle. I was sitting in my apartment overlooking beautiful Tampa Bay, when I read the initial front-page newspaper reports. Dr. Steven Rosenberg, already well-known as Ronald Reagan’s surgeon (the President had a malignant polyp), and a highly regarded basic science researcher running a section at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, had just revealed to the world – at a press conference, as I remember – his preliminary pilot study results with a new immune modulator, interleukin-2, that would provoke an extraordinary media frenzy.


As far back as the 5th century, Hippocrates noted that fasting reduced seizures, and in the 1920s a diet was developed to mimic changes brought on by fasting that could be maintained long-term, specifically to treat seizures, and thus the ketogenic diet was born.1 This original ketogenic diet was very low in carbohydrates and protein and supplied 80-90% of the calories as fat.2 3 While the original ketogenic diet was successful in treating intractable childhood epilepsy, it fell out of favor when the modern antiepileptic drugs became available. In the 1990s the diet began to see a resurgence as people once again turned to it for difficult-to-treat cases of childhood epilepsy, such as those that do not respond to medication, and as a weight loss tool. The most recent research on the benefits of the ketogenic diet and ketones, in particular, have expanded to examine its possible therapeutic effects on other neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer.
Typically known as the “bad cholesterol” to its healthy counterpart HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). [14] Some studies show a strong correlation between LDL cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in both men and women. [15] Evidence also suggests that decreasing blood levels of LDL-C reduces the risk of CVD. [16]
The research on how extended intermittent fasts affect cancer patients backs up our biochemical understanding as well. In initial case studies, cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy voluntarily fasted for anywhere between 48 to 140 hours (much longer than the intermittent fasts that keto dieters typically do). Each person reported fewer side effects and an improved quality of life regardless of how long they fasted.
By the way, the relative heaviness of stored glycogen is why many people report fast weight loss on a ketogenic or low-carb diet: their body has dumped a little extra weight in the form of glycogen and water (which tags along with glycogen in a 3 parts water to 1 part glycogen ratio). Unfortunately, this water and glycogen comes right back once we start eating normally again.
This week we’re introducing a slight fast. We’re going to get full on fats in the morning and fast all the way until dinner time. Not only are there a myriad of health benefits to this, it’s also easier on our eating schedule (and cooking schedule). I suggest eating (rather, drinking) your breakfast at 7am and then eating dinner at 7pm. Keeping 12 hours between your 2 meals. This will help put your body into a fasted state.

During a seizure, networks of neurons fire when they are not supposed to. This can happen because the brain cells are more excitable and are releasing lots of excitatory neurotransmitters, like glutamate. Or it could be that neighboring brain cells aren’t able to suppress the spread of excitability like they normally would using inhibitory neurotransmitters like gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA.
In contrast to the safe application of KDs reported in various cancer models, our research group recently reported that mice bearing renal cell carcinoma xenografts and with signs of Stauffer’s syndrome experienced dramatic weight loss and liver dysfunction when treated with a KD [4]. Another study investigating the effect of long-term KD treatment on kidney cancer described a pro-tumor effect of the KD in a rat model of tuberous sclerosis complex [5]. Most concerning is the observation that, in a mouse model of BRAF V600E-positive melanoma, tumor growth was significantly increased under the KD [6]. Moreover, the study also demonstrated that the ketone body acetoacetate stimulated the oncogenic signaling of the BRAF pathway. In contrast, the KD had no effect on the progression of NRAS Q61K-positive or wild-type melanoma xenografts [6]. Notwithstanding these observations, in a feasibility trial involving a limited number of patients with advanced malignancies, a patient with BRAF V600E-positive/BRAF-inhibitor resistant melanoma seemed to benefit from the KD [7].

People suffering from diabetes and taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents suffer severe hypoglycemia if the medications are not appropriately adjusted before initiating this diet. The ketogenic diet is contraindicated in patients with pancreatitis, liver failure, disorders of fat metabolism, primary carnitine deficiency, carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency, carnitine translocase deficiency, porphyrias, or pyruvate kinase deficiency. People on a ketogenic diet rarely can have a false positive breath alcohol test. Due to ketonemia, acetone in the body can sometimes be reduced to isopropanol by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase which can give a false positive alcohol breath test result. 

Right now as long as all of these other preponderant of everything is doing well … triglycerides low, HDL high, small LDL, lower … those are the key markers that you really want to be looking at. For some people cholesterol will go up. I would say, “Who cares?” What you want to pay attention to … blood sugar, you want to pay attention to triglycerides going under 70, you want to see if you can get HDL above 70, because all of these markers are really what matters more. Then again that HSCRP so you know where you’re standing in your inflammation. If your inflammation keeps going higher while you’re doing this, there’s something about what you’re doing that’s causing that inflammation.

Notably, there is a relationship between metabolic and epigenetic modifications. Shimazu et al. (2013) observed that βOHB inhibits class I histone deacetylases. During the KD, the elevation of βOHB causes changes in large-scale gene transcription but particularly those linked to oxidative-stress resistance factors. This result emphasizes that the KD has a potential role as a disease-modifying treatment in epilepsy.
No single food can cure cancer, but some research has shown a link between the keto diet and slowed growth of some types of tumors in mice. A few studies in humans with certain types of brain tumors have also shown promise. On the contrary, a very low-fat diet has been found to reduce risk of recurrence for certain types of breast cancer. Some researchers are conducting more clinical trials with cancer patients, looking at how diet affects patients, along with chemotherapy and radiation. We hope that this research, as well as future research, will help us better understand the role that the keto plays in cancer.

Although studies have shown that the keto diet can reduce seizures for children with epilepsy, there is no evidence indicating that keto helps with other brain disorders or improves mental cognition, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Some studies show that keto may lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes, but there is not enough long-term research to determine whether it’s safe and effective for diabetics.
A popular alternative that helps many is called the Modified Atkins Diet. This diet is far less restrictive, as calories, fluids, and protein are not measured. The diet begins with 10 grams of carbohydrate per day for the first month, and then slowly moving to 15 or 20 grams. It is similar to a very strict induction phase of Atkins. There has been at least one study, though, where some achieved better seizure control when they switched from the Atkins diet to the KDE.

While a growing fetus can utilize ketones to an extent, it still requires a steady glucose supply to support normal growth, including crucial brain development. Reduced glucose availability caused by a maternal ketogenic diet may have long-term adverse effects on infant health, including abnormal growth patterns and alterations in brain structure. (40) If you are pregnant and struggling with blood sugar issues, a low-carbohydrate diet that includes moderate amounts of nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as fruit and starchy tubers, is a safer choice than a ketogenic diet.


If you are on, or considering going on, a ketogenic diet, you are probably already aware that it is a hugely powerful way to cut body fat quickly, easily and safely. You may also have read about its other health benefits, including its ability to stabilize blood glucose levels, making you feel energetic all day long and cutting out sugar cravings, as well as helping prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. What you may not have heard about yet, is evidence from a recent study that suggests that a ketogenic diet can prevent cancer, and can slow the growth of existing tumors.

In some ways, it’s similar to the Atkins diet, which similarly boosts the body’s fat-burning abilities through eating only low-carb foods, along with getting rid of foods high in carbs and sugar. Removing glucose from carbohydrate foods will cause the body to burn fat for energy instead. The major differences between the classic keto and the Atkins diet is the former emphasizes healthier keto fats, less overall protein and no processed meat (such as bacon) while having more research to back up its efficacy.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders after stroke,[7] and affects around 50 million people worldwide.[8] It is diagnosed in a person having recurrent, unprovoked seizures. These occur when cortical neurons fire excessively, hypersynchronously, or both, leading to temporary disruption of normal brain function. This might affect, for example, the muscles, the senses, consciousness, or a combination. A seizure can be focal (confined to one part of the brain) or generalised (spread widely throughout the brain and leading to a loss of consciousness). Epilepsy can occur for a variety of reasons; some forms have been classified into epileptic syndromes, most of which begin in childhood. Epilepsy is considered refractory (not yielding to treatment) when two or three anticonvulsant drugs have failed to control it. About 60% of patients achieve control of their epilepsy with the first drug they use, whereas around 30% do not achieve control with drugs. When drugs fail, other options include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, and the ketogenic diet.[7]

The ketogenic diet is a great thing for your health and biomarkers, as shown by research. However, there are many ways you can do it wrong and thus damage yourself. New research is showing that our understanding of cholesterol may be disrupted slightly but it doesn’t mean that too much cholesterol can’t damage your health. It’s still involved in the process of atherosclerosis.
This essential, fully referenced book is a practical guide for physicians, patients and caregivers, and provides step-by-step instructions for customizing the diet and clear explanations of the cutting-edge research on ketogenic therapies being done by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s team at the University of South Florida and Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s team at Boston College. The ketogenic diet for cancer is based on the consumption of whole, fresh foods and it can be used in addition to standard care or as a stand-alone treatment in wait-and-see situations.
In retrospect, it makes sense that in the Arctic the Eskimos, in order to survive, would have adjusted to their high fat, moderate protein, no carb diet. With its brief summer and lacking soils suitable for crops, the region provides insufficient plant foods suitable for human consumption but does offer an abundance of fatty animal food both on land and in the sea. If the Eskimos hadn’t adapted to such food, living as they did in such a difficult, extreme part of the world, they simply would have died off.
Of the many benefits of a keto diet, weight loss is often considered No. 1., as it can often be substantial and happen quickly (especially for those who start out very overweight or obese). The 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those following a keto diet “achieved better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor management when compared with individuals assigned to a conventional low-fat diet (i.e. a restricted-energy diet with less than 30 percent of energy from fat).” (2)
A very recent review on nutritional approaches toward preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was conducted in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Canterbury University. The results were submitted to the journal Nutrition. It’s title: "The ketogenic diet as a potential treatment and prevention strategy for Alzheimer's disease." After analyzing 33 studies researching AD and other neurological disorders handled with a ketogenic diet and supplementing coconut oil, the University of Canterbury review analysis concluded: "In this review, we hypothesize that the ketogenic diet could be an effective treatment and prevention for Alzheimer's disease, but both ketone production and carbohydrate restriction may be needed to achieve this."

Ketone production is the body’s natural response to very low or no carbohydrate availability. The ketogenic diet was developed to mimic the effects of fasting while still supplying adequate nutrition to maintain health. The classic ketogenic diet, developed in the early 1900s for children with epilepsy, consisted of a 3 or 4:1 ratio of fats to protein and carbohydrates combined, supplying up to 90% of the daily calories from fats.44 More recently, modified versions have emerged with similar rates of efficacy, and the wider variety of food and flexibility make the diet less arduous. Two such possible modifications are: a 1:1 and 2:1 ratios of fats to combined protein and carbohydrates and/or the addition of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil supplements. The medium chain fats that makeup MCTs more readily produce ketones than the long chain fats commonly found in the diet, allowing for a lower amount of total fat intake, and therefore increasing the amount of carbohydrate and protein that can be included in the diet.45
Ive been strict keto for over 3 months and have lost 20lbs. I got my test results back yesterday and was shocked to see how my levels had changed: total cholesterol went from 230 to 308!! All the bad went up and all the good went down. But I’ve also heard that it can take a bit longer for cholesterol levels to even out and start going down. Is this true? I don’t want to quit keto because I have another 20lbs to lose, but I don’t want to have a stroke either.
Typically known as the “bad cholesterol” to its healthy counterpart HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). [14] Some studies show a strong correlation between LDL cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in both men and women. [15] Evidence also suggests that decreasing blood levels of LDL-C reduces the risk of CVD. [16]
First, I want to thank you for all of your dedication and work in providing this site. The difficulty of maintaining a healthy weight is a big problem for so many people. My personal question & issue in staying on Keto is my craving for fresh fruit. This a.m I had a large fresh peach along with my “Bullet Proof” coffee. Have I now sabotaged today’s Keto eating?
The core of the diet is the ratio. The ratio of fats to carbohydrates and protein is based on the age, size, weight, and activity level of the patient. Infants, children younger than 2 years of age and adolescents often receive a 3:1 diet to provide additional protein for growth and increased carbohydrates to improve compliance. Children aged 2–12 years will typically be started on a 4:1 diet. Some studies suggest that a 4:1 ratio diet may be better during the first few months.

The biggest shifts in your daily habits will be how you food shop and how you cook, and recipes that are ketogenic need to be followed rather than just low-carb. You will require the healthy fats in order to get into ketosis and have enough energy without the carbs. And you will be considerably more energetic and healthier when cooking your own keto-friendly food rather than buying supposedly keto foods off the shelf.

Ketosis: What is ketosis? Ketosis is a metabolic process, and it involves the body burning stored fat instead of glucose. Some people try to induce this with a low-carb diet, which can be healthy. However, ketosis also produces acid, and high levels of this can cause severe complications, especially for people with diabetes. Learn more here. Read now

To obtain the optimum engagement of the family and the patients, providing information and training is essential because the diet is difficult to maintain. Counselors should talk with the family about their expectations and make clear the efficacy rate and adverse events (AE), to reduce the abandonment of the diet. Websites, videos and publications, especially from support groups, can be very helpful and should be encouraged. It is also important to review the medications and change from oral solutions (carbohydrate content) to tablets (Armeno et al., 2014). The KD counseling, evaluation and follow-up should be done by a multidisciplinary team. A pediatric neurologist or neurologist and a nutritionist are the minimum team requirements.


Interventions with keto diet have proven their effects on plasma lipoproteins both in short-time and long-term studies and among adults with various characteristics, such as age, body mass, gender, type of disease. Moreover, ketogenic diets result in weight loss and fight obesity, one of the main risks of high cholesterol. Therefore, keto diet could eventually decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Yancy WS Jr, Westman EC, McDuffie JR, Grambow SC, Jeffreys AS, Bolton J, Chalecki A, Oddone EZ, “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet vs orlistat plus a lowfat diet for weight loss,” Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):136-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2.
A great deal of exciting research is emerging regarding the application of a ketogenic diet in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (17) Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by brain insulin resistance, a condition that starves neurons of the glucose they normally need to function correctly. Scientists have found that ketones are an excellent alternative fuel for the insulin-resistant brain. In addition, ketones reduce brain oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, two significant factors in the neurodegenerative disease process.
Jimmy Moore: My mamma would kill me if she know I did that. I had four root canals and then I also had some mercury amalgams that were put in way back, twenty years ago when I was in my early twenties. Anyway, I determined I bet that’s a big reason why my cholesterol has always been high since I’ve been adult. I got that taken care of the year that I wrote Cholesterol Clarity in 2013, and I got it tested my total cholesterol was over 400. Got it tested again in October, total cholesterol had dropped over 100 points.
My son has been fighting brain cancer for 18yrs. Started st 15, now 33. He’s otherwise healthy. Never looks sick at all. In the beginning he had 6mos chemo industrial strength. He never got sick, ate 3 meals a day and gained weight. Followed by radiation, that he didn’t feel good, but he still did pretty well. PNET morphed into Ependymoma. What info can you send me specifically for brain cancer. Will the fasting, Keto diet, stop sugar intake work on brain cancer due to the Blood Brain Barrier? He is having his 8th surgery Mar 18. Previous surgery was just 6mos ago. He also was in 2 clinical trials in the last 2yrs (Car T cell therapy directly into the tumor bed area.) We have run out of options and will try anything. Please help.
Tapping into consumers’ desire to glean the benefits of ketosis right this minute—or in the next 30 minutes—manufacturers have created powders and other supplements that promise you can enjoy your favorite foods and still get into ketosis. These supplements—called exogenous ketones—aren’t necessarily bad, but neither are they a free pass to indulge and then effortlessly shift into ketosis.
There is a lot I could respond to here, I’m a little surprised that you would include a study that feeds pregnant and lactating mice a diet (Teklad diet no. TD.96355) consisting of almost entirely hydrogenated vegetable shortening (Crisco), and also casein and corn oil, and calls it a “ketogenic diet.” On top of the fact that it’s a mice study. There is no evidence to show that there is any danger in pregnant and lactating women eating a (real) ketogenic diet. The only issue is that if a lactating woman switches from SAD to keto, “keto flu” may reduce her milk supply.
With this rationale, VanItallie et al. [39, Class III] performed a feasibility study with PD patients and the ketogenic diet. They explored whether PD patients would be able to prepare the ketogenic diet in their homes and remain on it for at least 1 month. Of seven patients enrolled, five completed the study. They were monitored for ketone levels and weekly Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores. All the patients lost weight. Interestingly, the mean decrease in UPDRS scores was 43.4%. A placebo effect is not ruled out, but this result at least suggests that the ketogenic diet was not harmful and certainly invites further study into its role in preserving neuron function in PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. The possibility that the diet may have altered levodopa absorption (and that this factor, rather than an effect of the diet on neuronal function, was responsible for the change) has not been studied rigorously [40].
Epilepsy Ontario is the voice of epilepsy in the province. Since 1956, we have been serving the province as a registered health charity incorporated under the statutes of Ontario as a non-profit and non-governmental organization. We aim to raise public awareness and improve education through publications, conferences, outreach initiatives and our website.

I want to be very clear, though, that I don’t believe claims that are made on some websites that the ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for all cancer treatment. There’s simply no research to support that. I don’t know where those websites are getting that idea, and there’s a lot of snake oil when it comes to cancer treatment out there. It’s a really vulnerable population. Someone who’s diagnosed with cancer, particularly a late-stage cancer that might be terminal, understandably we often feel pretty desperate and might not have the capacity at that moment in time to go through the proper vetting process to make sure that some of the more alternative therapies that are suggested are legitimate, and so you see a lot of wacky stuff recommended for cancer treatment.
I think we obsess about numbers because we have been given a range that is supposedly the healthy, right range. Unfortunately there are a lot of mechanisms that we don’t know a lot about right now, that could be going on that makes that happen for some people in the mornings. I’ve just talked to too many of the experts, who say “Don’t worry about that. It’s really not the big deal. Keep an eye on your fasting insulin levels in the morning and even if you want to do a five hour glucose tolerance test, it’s call a 5 hour GTT, could go down to your doctor, please don’t drink that crappy glucose serum, because that will mess you up.” I actually did it one time with my co-author, he actually ran it with me … I wanted to see what would happen to my blood sugar and insulin levels when I had a low carb meal.
In fact, a lot of people suffer from low levels of HDL cholesterol, which prevents their body from clearing out cholesterol from the blood. Most Americans don’t have enough HDL to decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease[ix]. Crazy enough, low cholesterol levels are actually associated with increased mortality from stroke and heart disease[x].
Ketogenic diets represent a far more effective strategy for managing type 2 diabetes than the American Diabetes Association’s high-carb, low-fat dietary guidelines. Unlike the ADA’s guidelines, a ketogenic diet significantly reduces blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c levels, waist circumference, and triglycerides in diabetic individuals. (13) Most importantly, research indicates that the diet is sustainable for diabetic patients and that the beneficial changes can be maintained over the long term. (14)
Other genetic disorders caused by mutations limit the availability of energy substrates but do not necessarily cause seizures. One such disease is phosphofructokinase (PFK) deficiency. PFK is the rate-limiting enzyme in glycolysis for the conversion of fructose-6-phosphate to fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. Patients with mutations in the muscle isoform of PFK demonstrate exercise intolerance with myalgias and stiffness. There also are rare infantile forms, such as a case reported by Swoboda et al. [21, Class III], with myopathy and arthrogryposis. This patient displayed marked gains in muscle strength and improvement in his developmental milestones after being placed on the ketogenic diet.
Animal research indicates that a ketogenic diet reduces levels of brain amyloid-beta, a misfolded protein that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, while also restoring mitochondrial function and improving learning and memory. (18, 19, 20) Although fewer studies on a ketogenic diet have been done in humans with Alzheimer’s disease, a recent trial found a ketogenic diet to be both safe and effective for mild Alzheimer’s disease. (21)
When you restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams daily, you can still fit in plenty of nonstarchy vegetables, maybe some low-glycemic (meaning they don’t bump your blood sugar) blueberries and other berries, and a small amount of non-gluten grains like quinoa (actually a seed and complete protein). But you’ve got very little wiggle room there before you theoretically get knocked out of ketosis.
In this article, I have presented a number of cases, seven to be exact, four from Kelley’s files and three from my own practice. The four Kelley cases include the 31-year survivor of metastatic pancreatic cancer confirmed at Mayo, the 34-year survivor of stage IV endometrial cancer, the five-year survivor of aggressive brain cancer, and the 11-year survivor of advanced, aggressive multiple myeloma.
Hello, following a Keto diet with IF but cholesterol ratios not proper. Diet fats come mainly from olive oil, avocado oil, once a week beef, no butter, bacon etc. Had to go back on statins. Goal is stay away from drugs. Is there a doctor/clinic in the Boston area that you can recommend that understands/tests what you explain in this article? Please advise. 
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