Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition. Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.
Leanne: Yeah, that’s amazing that you took your health into your own hands. I think that’s so empowering for so many people. When we just say “enough is enough and we need to change.” For me I came at this from the hormone piece, but also we have a strong line of dementia in our family. Very, very strong. For me, it was how can I be as good to my brain as possible? Not only is this good for your heart and everything else, but also looking at the health of your brain, which we talked about with having enough cholesterol is important for our brain function, too.
Calorie restriction (CR) and a ketogenic diet (KD) target the same molecular pathways that are also targeted individually by drugs to improve cancer treatment outcomes. Arrows indicate activation, truncated lines inhibition. Carbohydrate (CHO) restriction up-regulates fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis (beneficial for normal tissues) and impairs glycolysis and glutaminolysis (detrimental to tumor cells). Full study here.
Although the high-fat, calorie-restricted ketogenic diet (KD) has long been used to prevent childhood epileptic seizures that are unresponsive to drugs, physicians have not really understood exactly why the diet works. New studies by a research team at Emory University School of Medicine show that the diet alters genes involved in energy metabolism in the brain, which in turn helps stabilize the function of neurons exposed to the challenges of epileptic seizures. This knowledge could help scientists identify specific molecular or genetic targets and lead to more effective drug treatments for epilepsy and brain damage.
In order to be successful, this therapy calls for strict compliance and plenty of patience, especially in the beginning. Most important, patients with epilepsy should only use the diet with the support of a knowledgeable ketogenic diet team, including a doctor and a licensed dietitian who can correctly calculate and monitor the diet for each individual.
Between 5 and 10 percent of women in the United States have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disorder characterized by insulin resistance, menstrual irregularities, hyperandrogenism, overweight, and obesity. (15) A ketogenic diet improves fertility in women with PCOS by improving insulin resistance, promoting weight loss, and inducing ovulation. (16)
Ketogenic diet for cancer patients must be followed to weaken cancer cells. When evaluating any cancer, regardless of the stage or faction, it is vital to pinpoint the cause. Although there are varying ideas afloat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find those who do not agree that the immune system is the catalyst between cancer development and its reversal. In the words of Dr. Ben Johnson, “With every cancer patient, their immune system has missed cancer.” We can see the way in which the general public and Orthodox Medicine alike, are unknowingly depleting the supply of immune cells and creating a chronic state of susceptibility. Aside from chemotherapy and radiation being strong-armed into the American Public, we are personally killing our natural defenses while fueling cancer cells every day.
7. Raygan, F., Bahmani, F., Kouchaki, E., Aghadavod, E., Sharifi, S., Akbari, E., . . . Asemi, Z. (2016). Comparative effects of carbohydrate versus fat restriction on metabolic profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in overweight patients with Type 2 diabetic and coronary heart disease: A randomized clinical trial. PMID: 28607566
A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed, 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort, 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases, and 16% had never prescribed the diet. Several possible explanations exist for this gap between evidence and clinical practice.[34] One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.[31]

Great article! I have been diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, however, I am not concerned at all. I continue to follow a restricted calorie, zero carb ketogenic diet, that I have been doing strictly for the last year and a half. All of my health markers are excellent, except for LDL particle number and total, and it is the large buoyant type. I am middle-aged (46). I did get both a CT scan and tri-vascular scan, and got perfect scores for both. That alleviated any concerns that I might have previously had. Since this diet has improved my gut issues, bodyfat, blood pressure, insulin, blood glucose, mood, energy, A1C, CRP, etc., - basically every single health parameter I have tested, I am sticking with it! Thank you for clearing up the confusion surrounding LDL!
To hit my fat targets with normal Filipino food, I used to mix coconut oil with my meats and veggies, and butter with my black coffee. Coconut oil and butter consists mostly of saturated fats. At the advice of one of my doctor friends, I’m currently experimenting with olive oil and peanuts, which are mostly monounsaturated fats, to hit the same fat targets. We’ll see how this affects my productivity and lipid profile.
I remember one of the first, from 1980 when I was a first year medical student at Cornell; in this case, it was, according to the press and the journals, the magic of interferon, an immune stimulant destined to bring cancer to its knees. Not too long afterward, interferon would turn out to be a bust, with its promise and fame rising and falling in roller coaster-like style.
Jimmy Moore: That’s a loaded question and we could probably go 3 hours just on that but I’ll give you the nut shell. Most medical professionals have been taught to look at 2 primary numbers on your cholesterol panel. Total cholesterol, and this number called LDLC, which is your LDL cholesterol that you’ve heard about. You’ve heard LDL is bad and you’ve heard if you’re total cholesterol level is over 200, oh my god you are at great risk for heart disease. Exactly.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
Hi, I’m still a bit skeptical, I have seen some of my friends do the keto diet, and have had good results. Though I am still not sure about the idea of the fats being eaten. They say they eat meat with the fat and must do so, is this correct? Also isn’t this not good for the body especially for the kidneys? Second, can a diabetic do this diet? There are many questions running through my head.
However different these diets might be, each of these groups, and the many other traditional peoples Price studied, enjoyed excellent enduring health, free from the diseases of civilization – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. In his extraordinary and very detailed 1945 book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price documented his thesis that we humans over the millennium adapted to and thrived on not one, as the experts usually claim, but a variety of different diets.
These preliminary findings spurred Dr. Good to encourage a more thorough investigation of Kelley’s methods and results. As the project grew in scope, I continued my “Kelley Study” in my spare time during the last two years of medical school, and ultimately brought it to completion while pursuing my immunology fellowship training under Dr. Good at All Childrens’ Hospital in St. Petersburg.
All that said, it’s really promising, interesting info here, and we know that a ketogenic diet can be therapeutic in many other situations. There’s not really much downside to the ketogenic diet and fasting if they’re done under supervision. Both can have a lot of beneficial effects in terms of upregulating autophagy—cellular repair process, possibly stem cell regeneration in the case of fasting, for both of those. Ketosis has neurological benefits and many other potentially positive effects when it’s done in the right circumstances, so I don’t see any downside at all in continuing to explore these therapies for cancer treatment.
In 1970, Robert C. Atkins developed a weight-loss diet that restricted the intake of carbohydrates (Sharma and Jain, 2014), and this diet was later evaluated for seizure treatment. The first patient was a 7-year-old girl with intractable epilepsy due to a left parietal cortical dysplasia, who used the Atkins diet for a week in order to acclimate to the CKD. After 3 days, her seizures stopped, and she remained seizure-free for 3 years with continued dietary treatment (Kossoff et al., 2013). In 2006, this diet was first formally referred to as the “MAD” to distinguish it from the Atkins diet (Kossoff et al., 2013). The MAD has three significant differences from the first version: the induction phase of limiting carbohydrates is maintained indefinitely; high-fat foods are not only allowed, but encouraged; and the primary goal of the diet is seizure control (Atkins, 2002; Sharma and Jain, 2014).
Tumors did not progress at all at all in the five patients that successfully completed the ketogenic trial. This is a positive outcome given the advanced stage of their cancer. Additionally, some of these patients experienced favorable changes in glucose, HDL:LDL ratio, triglycerides, and healthy levels of weight-loss. These findings further support the healthy impact a ketogenic diet may have on cancer.
If you're new to keto, watch out for hidden carbs. Generally, dairy products and nuts are a good way to meet your daily fat intake, but know that some of those items may contain more carbohydrates than you think. For example, yogurt topped with nuts may seem like a great keto-friendly snack, but a 5.3 ounce serving of plain yogurt has 12 grams of carbohydrates. Vanilla flavored yogurt has 24 grams of carbohydrates. Add an ounce of cashews, weighing in at nearly nine grams of carbs, and you’re up to 21 to 33 grams of carbs for that snack, which could knock you out of ketosis. Be sure to read nutrition labels carefully and pay careful attention to serving sizes. Track foods using a keto-specific app like Senza or KetoDiet can help you stay within your recommended daily carb intake.
Jimmy Moore: Quite frankly. They’ve not been trained to teach you how to do nutrition, and then if they turn to nutrition they either leave it to the dietitian who has been trained in low fat, high carb diets or they’ll just “Well, the USDA my plate says blah blah blah.” They’re just parading what someone else has said. They’ve not done their own research. Just assuming that your doctor knows everything about what it takes nutritionally to make you healthy is a bad mistake.
In addition to neuroblastoma, various researchers have investigated the efficacy of KDs as an adjuvant therapy for other types of cancer. The strongest evidence (> 3 studies) for a tumor-suppressing effect has been reported for glioblastoma, whereas little or no benefit was found for two other brain tumors (astrocytoma and medulloblastoma). Good evidence (2 - 3 studies) is available for prostate, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer [1]; neuroblastoma also falls into this category (Figure 1). Some of those studies report a tumor-suppressing effect of KD alone and/or in combination with classic therapy and/or caloric restriction. One study on prostate cancer applied the KD in a preventive, instead of a therapeutic, study setting. Only limited evidence (1 study) supports the anti-tumor effect of an unrestricted KD on breast, stomach, and liver cancer.
Increased enterohepatic circulation on high fat means that cholesterol is kept "in play" - bounced back into the bloodstream in ApoB particles - while low enterohepatic circulation, in people with with higher synthesis rates, during weight loss - when cholesterol is being dumped by shrinking cells - means that cholesterol can pile up in the gall bladder faster than it can be conjugated to bile salts and bile acids and faster than it can be extracted by the weak stimulus of low fat food.

Epilepsy can be caused by a variety of different conditions including head trauma, infection, brain tumor, and stroke, but by and large most cases of epilepsy have no readily identifiable cause. Epilepsy affects some 2.3 million adults in America and close to half a million children. Further, about one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lives. It’s been estimated that there are approximately 150,000 new cases of epilepsy diagnosed in the United States each year and overall about $15.5 billion in medical costs as well as lost earnings and production are attributed to this disease.
Fortunately, the keto diet has been found to decrease inflammation (which is part of the reason why it can help people who have autoimmune thyroid conditions). [29] However, if you still have high levels of inflammation after following the keto diet, then you may have to address other important variables like your stress levels, sleep quality, and food allergies/sensitivities before your cholesterol levels can rest at healthier levels. (By addressing these variables, you will also decrease your stress levels which may help improve your cholesterol levels even more.)

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In my opinion, Bob Atkins knew more about the theory and practice of the ketogenic diet, its benefits and limitations, including as applied to cancer patients, than anyone in the history of medicine. For him, the concept was hardly the musings of a PhD laboratory scientist, but the practical observations of a physician who treated thousands of patients over decades. And for cancer, the ketogenic diet just did not seem to work.
Now that we have a superficial understanding of the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, let’s look at the results of the meta-analysis. The two findings that the researcher’s highlight most are the effects that lauric acid (found in high quantities in coconut oil) and stearic acid (found in high quantities in animal fats) have on the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. Both of these fatty acids improved the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio more favorably than carbohydrates [25]. (A similar pattern emerges for blood sugar and triglyceride levels when we replace carbs with fat as well.)
The goal is to reach a ratio of four portion of fat to one portion of protein plus carbohydrate, described as “4:1.” To achieve this level, one of two approaches, with or without fasting, may be used. In the former approach, the patient must be hospitalized for 12–48 h, or when ketones are present in the urine (Rubenstein, 2008), to prevent the development of hypoglycemia and dehydration. This method tends to accelerate the development of ketosis although it can generate more stress on the patient (Armeno et al., 2014). When ketosis is reached, the meals are calculated to maintain a constant KD ratio, while calories are added until full-calorie meals are tolerated (Kossoff et al., 2009). The latter approach requires no hospitalization and the KD ratio increases weekly, from 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 to 4:1 (Bergqvist et al., 2005). Most of the literature suggests that there is no significant difference between the two approaches in terms of the time needed to reach ketosis and the occurrence of hypoglycemia (Kim et al., 2004), so nowadays patients tend to not fast.
"Most of the work in this field is still pre-clinical, meaning it's been conducted in animal models," Angela Poff, a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida, told U.S. News & World Report. "It's been done in various cancer types, but most of the work has been done in brain cancer specifically. But there's very little clinical data all around. There's some case reports and very small preliminary clinical studies in small groups of patients, usually very late-stage patients with various types of cancers. So in the clinical realm, which is the most important in telling us whether this is going to be useful, we have a long way to go."
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Your current cholesterol levels l is higher than I would personally feel comfortable with. I would consider making a few dietary changes (i.e., increasing fiber and net carbs, reducing saturated fat, and increasing protein), especially given your lack of improved cognition and decreased ability to work out. I wish you the best of luck going forward. - Franziska
But no fear, there’s always a new miracle around the corner, and in 1998 the newspaper reporters and TV newscasters, having effortlessly drifted away from interferon and interleukin-2 and the bone marrow transplant craze, were all in a tizzy over the newest “final” solution to cancer, anti-angiogenesis, based on the pioneering work of the late Dr. Judah Folkman of Harvard. Dr. Folkman had spent decades studying the process of angiogenesis in cancer tissues, the formation of new blood vessels that allow tumors to grow quickly and invade through normal tissues and organs with deadly effect.
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