The ketogenic diet is usually initiated in combination with the patient's existing anticonvulsant regimen, though patients may be weaned off anticonvulsants if the diet is successful. Some evidence of synergistic benefits is seen when the diet is combined with the vagus nerve stimulator or with the drug zonisamide, and that the diet may be less successful in children receiving phenobarbital.[18]


Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He’s the author of the books “Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the upcoming “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease” (February 2019, published by Little, Brown Spark). He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

Some of the most exciting research on the ketogenic diet pertains to its applications in the treatment of cancer. A rapidly growing collection of animal studies indicates that the ketogenic diet has anticancer effects in malignant glioma, neuroblastoma, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. (34) In humans, a ketogenic diet has been found to work synergistically with antineoplastic agents in the treatment of malignant glioma, a common primary brain tumor that is notoriously difficult to treat. (35) Several small studies indicate that the ketogenic diet improves body weight and blood profiles while reducing a marker for tumor progression, TKTL1, in patients with breast, prostate, colon, melanoma, and lung cancers. (36, 37)


The Keto diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning. The goal is to quickly lose weight and ultimately feel fuller with fewer cravings, while boosting your mood, mental focus and energy. According to Keto proponents, by slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.
This week we’re getting stricter with our fasting. We had a full week of intermittent fasting and now we’re going to skip breakfast and lunch. Water is our BEST friend here! Don’t forget that you can drink coffee, tea, flavored water, and the like to get your liquids in. Keep drinking to make sure you’re not thinking about your stomach. It MIGHT start growling, just ignore it – your body will adjust with time.
KD is also known to be effective in a number of rare childhood epilepsies, including Dravet syndrome  and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. A recent study found KD equally as effective as various antiepileptic drugs as compared with vagus nerve stimulation.2  In addition, Klein said KD is the specific treatment for glucose transporter 1 deficiency, a very rare form of intractable epilepsy in children.
The Keto diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning. The goal is to quickly lose weight and ultimately feel fuller with fewer cravings, while boosting your mood, mental focus and energy. According to Keto proponents, by slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.

There are several medical studies — such as two conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, for example — that show the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for cancer and other serious health problems. (12)

After scouring the literature, he became quite attracted to the “good science” behind the ketogenic hypothesis, so under Dr. Seyfried’s direct supervision, he began the diet. Though the patient seems quite enthusiastic about his response, he admits in his note that with the diet there has been “no progression,” presumably in terms of x-ray studies, and some improvement in the blood studies. He still considers his disease as “incurable.”

The ketogenic diet is a natural, nontoxic metabolic therapy being studied and utilized for cancer prevention and treatment. It works because cancer cells are dependent upon a constant supply of blood sugar (glucose) to stay alive. Normal cells can make energy from both glucose and ketones (metabolic by-products of burning fat), but most cancer cells can only use glucose. Avoiding carbohydrates (starch and sugar) while enjoying delicious and healthy protein and fats will lower blood glucose and increase blood-ketone levels, resulting in a normal body state called nutritional ketosis. Research has shown that nutritional ketosis starves cancer cells while nourishing normal cells and strengthening total body health.
Each of these groups Dr. Price studied seemed well adapted to the available food supply. The Eskimos, as Stefansson earlier had reported and as Price confirmed, thrived on their high fat, no carb, animal-based diet. The Inca descendents, on the other hand, had done quite well consuming grains like quinoa, along with tubers, fruits, and some animal protein and dairy. The Masai flourished on a rather extreme diet consisting, for an adult warrior, of a gallon of raw milk a day with some blood and occasional meat, but no fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or grains.

Use fat as a lever.  We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied.
In the case of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer disease (AD) models, there are data suggesting that calorie restriction itself is protective [31,32••], raising the question of whether manipulations of some critical metabolic pathways also may possess disease-modifying properties. The ketogenic diet originally was designed to mimic fasting, and thus it may regulate a family of proteins known as sirtuins, which play a major role in mediating “anti-aging” effects of calorie restriction [33•]. Alternatively, the ketogenic diet may regulate a master energy-sensing protein in the cell, 5′-adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated kinase [34]. Both proteins have a number of downstream effectors that may possess neuroprotective properties.
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour, and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.[10][14]
Some experts now feel that impaired energy metabolism may be the defining common factor in nearly all cancers, regardless of their origin.12,14 They believe that cancer, rather than being caused by errors in DNA, is fundamentally a metabolic disease caused by a disruption in a cancer cell’s ability to get the energy it needs from mitochondrial respiration like a normal cell would.
However, this doesn't happen in every case or even most cases. In fact, many people see little to no increase in their LDL cholesterol while experiencing beneficial changes in other markers, such as an increase in HDL cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin levels – all of which are associated with reduced risk of CVD.
Leigh Tracy, RD, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator at The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, also advised people to remember that the study did not focus on whether or not the keto diet prevented or inhibited cancer growth — only on changes to the body including the fact that the diet reduced that patients’ central body fat, improved insulin levels, and improved lean body mass.
Nevertheless, anti-angiogenesis as the answer to cancer remains a big driving force in “biotech” companies, who have developed a whole slew of angiostatin and endostatin offspring, including the drug Avastin, costing up to $10,000 a month, though it doesn’t work particularly well. The clinical studies aren’t impressive, usually reporting several months of improved survival in patients diagnosed with a variety of advanced cancers.
Bob, who knew Stefansson’s work well, told me during more than one dinner together in the late 1980s that the ketogenic diet might represent the ultimate solution to cancer. He thought, as Donaldson and Stefansson had claimed before him, that all humans should be following a ketogenic diet to achieve ultimate ideal health. But were they right? Or was there another, perhaps more accurate way, to look at the human dietary condition?
Stem cells, wherever they may be found, can adapt quite nicely, and are far more flexible than originally believed. In laboratory animals, a liver stem cell placed into the bone marrow starts creating not liver, but bone marrow cells, a bone marrow stem cell transplanted into the liver begins to generate not bone marrow, but liver cells. The environment appears to be the key, ultimately determining the direction of stem cell development.
Kidney stones have occurred in about 6 percent of patients and may be increased in younger patients (<3 years of age), and those with hypercalciuria and low urine volume. Oral potassium citrate as a preventative supplement results in urine alkalinization, decreasing the prevalence of kidney stones. Universal supplementation appears to drop the risk of stones to nearly zero.
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.

This brings me back to the question of whether cancer is a metabolic disease or a genetic disease, the answer to which I promised early on. The likely answer? It’s both! Indeed, a “chicken or the egg” argument continues about whether it is the metabolic abnormalities that cause the mutations observed in cancer cells or whether it is the mutations that produce the metabolic abnormalities. Most likely, it’s a little of both, the exact proportion of which depending upon the tumor cell, that combine in an unholy synergistic circle to drive cancer cells to be more and more abnormal and aggressive. Moreover, cancer is about far more than just the genomics or the metabolism of cancer cells. It’s also the immune system and the tumor microenvironment (the cells and connective tissue in which tumors arise and grow). As I’ve said time and time and time again, cancer is complicated, real complicated. The relative contributions of genetic mutations, metabolic derangements, immune cell dysfunction, and influences of the microenvironment are likely to vary depending upon the type of tumor and, as a consequence, require different treatments. In the end, as with many hyped cancer cures, the ketogenic diet might be helpful for some tumors and almost certainly won’t be helpful for others. Dr. Seyfried might be on to something, but he’s gone a bit off the deep end in apparently thinking that he’s found out something about cancer that no one else takes seriously—or has even thought of before.
One review looked at how the KD and modified Atkins diet (MAD) helped with seizure control in adults. Across the 5 studies reviewed, 32% of KD-treated patients achieved ≥50% seizure reduction while a slightly lower 29% of MAD-treated patients hit that same target. Even more drastic was the 9% KD-treated and 5% MAD-treated patients that achieved >90% seizure frequency reduction.4
Jimmy Moore: The thing here is I also always had high cholesterol. Cholesterol goes to … think of cholesterol like a fire fighter and inflammation is the fire. If a fire fighter goes to the scene of a fire, blows the water onto … you burning the house and it puts it out. Let’s say the neighbors house is on fire, and there’s no fire fighter that comes, what happens? Destruction, right?
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs -- and makes -- less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.
With regard to Dr. Gonzales’ disagreement with Dr. Seyfried regarding ketogenic diets and cancer, it is known that cancer cells use glucose but not fatty acids for energy. Thus depriving cancer cells of glucose by means of a ketogenic diet is a logical approach. Beyond that, at the present time too little known about cancer metabolism to make any definitive statements about proper treatment. As lay people, we will leave the argument to medical professionals.

In 1921, Rollin Turner Woodyatt reviewed the research on diet and diabetes. He reported that three water-soluble compounds, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone (known collectively as ketone bodies), were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.[10] Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, at the Mayo Clinic, built on this research and coined the term "ketogenic diet" to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia) through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. Wilder hoped to obtain the benefits of fasting in a dietary therapy that could be maintained indefinitely. His trial on a few epilepsy patients in 1921 was the first use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy.[10]
I also want to be clear that I’m not making any specific recommendation here for treatment of cancer using ketogenic diet or anything else. As I’ve argued earlier in the podcast, I think cancer is a complex multifactorial disease and varies from individual. The ideology and pathology vary from individual to individual, and treatment decisions should be made with the support of an oncologist and other doctors on the care team. Please don’t take anything that I’ve said in this podcast as a recommendation for your particular situation or somebody in your life that’s struggling with cancer.

Yes, they're technically a fruit, but we think olives deserve a shout-out all of their own, since they're also a great source of healthy fats and are one of a few keto-approved packaged foods. Plus, they're a great source of antioxidants, will satisfy your craving for something salty, and are blissfully low-carb. “About a palm's worth only has 3 grams of net carbs,” Sarah Jadin, RD, told Health in a previous interview.


The first edition of this book was released in 2012 and was the first book written to help the patient. It has been updated as the research has developed, and the body of scientific evidence continues to grow. Metabolic therapy is cutting edge, and thousands of people have purchased and used the information in this book to take back some control over their own health. You can too.

You want to keep your cheats to none. Be prepared, make sure you’re eating what you need to be satiated (“full”), and make sure you’re satisfied with what you’re eating. If you have to force yourself to eat something, it will never work out in the end. This is just a guideline on how you can eat on a ketogenic diet, so you’re very welcome to change up what kind of foods you eat!
The most common side effects are constipation that can be supported with some dietary adjustments and laxatives. Other side effects that may occur that are relatively minor and transient include: kidney stones, low sugars, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sleepiness. There are some reports of longer term side effects that may include higher cholesterol, reduced bone health, kidney stones, slower linear growth velocity and abnormal heart rhythm.
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