In this initial article, I’d like to begin by making the point that the world of cancer research and cancer medicine is littered with the discarded theories and rejected therapies thought at one time to be the next promising miracle, the final answer to this perplexing and deadly disease. In my own professional lifetime, I have witnessed a number of cancer miracles come and go, sometimes in quite dizzying succession and at times with extraordinarily dazzling hysteria.
Keep eating low carb to continue losing weight, feeling good and becoming healthier!Try making any of our hundreds of recipes available on the site. We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.
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?
Kossoff, E. H., Zupec-Kania, B. A., Ephane Auvin, S., Ballaban-Gil, K. R., Bergqvist, A. G. C., Blackford, R., et al. (2018). Optimal clinical management of children receiving dietary therapies for epilepsy: updated recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Child Neurol. Soc. Epilepsia Open 3, 175–192. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12225

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.


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.
Another possible concern with long term adherence to a ketogenic diet is that some people are ‘hyper-responders’ to high fat intake. In these people, (estimated to be around 25-30% of the population) a high fat intake may lead to increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While this may be cause for concern in some people, in others this increase might be temporary, and still others may find, after considering things such as inflammation levels, total cholesterol:HDL ratio, and triglyceride:HDL ratio, the increase is not cause for concern.

The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if you deprive the body of glucose—the main source of energy for all cells in the body, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat (thus, the term “keto”-genic). The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about 120 grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. [1]
Seyfried agrees that there is clear evidence that cancer is a genetic disease, since we can inherit mutations that are clearly associated with increased cancer risk. That’s not at all controversial. That’s well established, and even Seyfried agrees with that. But he argues that many of these mutations that we can inherit are mutations that actually disturb cellular respiration, maybe that the heritable aspect of cancer is not mutation that drives itself—cellular proliferation—but instead are mutations that actually cause mitochondrial dysfunction and defects in cellular respiration. He also points out that many of the non-inherited causes of cancer that have been identified and are clearly recognized, like radiation, impair mitochondrial function. That may be a common mechanism that is shared between these non-inherited causes of cancer and inherited causes of cancer.
Eliminating several food groups and the potential for unpleasant symptoms may make compliance difficult. An emphasis on foods high in saturated fat also counters recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association and may have adverse effects on blood LDL cholesterol. However, it is possible to modify the diet to emphasize foods low in saturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
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]
They need to make a lot of ATP, and quickly, to support their high requirements for energy. Adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP, is a compound that provides energy to drive hundreds of thousands of biochemical processes in living cells. Found in all forms of life, ATP is often referred to as the chemical energy “currency” that powers metabolic activity.

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 most common and relatively minor short-term side effects of ketogenic diet include a collection of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, difficulty in exercise tolerance, and constipation, sometimes referred to as keto flu. These symptoms resolve in a few days to few weeks. Ensuring adequate fluid and electrolyte intake can help counter some of these symptoms. Long-term adverse effects include hepatic steatosis, hypoproteinemia, kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

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.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.

I also might offer a thought as to why, from a more esoteric, more biochemical perspective, for most people diagnosed with cancer the ketogenic diet might not work. For the past 150 years, researchers have approached cancer as a disease in which perfectly happy, normal mature cells sitting in some tissue somewhere suddenly go awry, lose their normal regulatory restraint, develop a primitive, undifferentiated appearance or phenotype, begin proliferating without restraint, begin invading through tissues and organs, begin migrating, spreading, creating new blood vessels along the way to feed the rapacious appetite of cancer. But over the past 15 years, gradually, a new, more productive, and I believe more truthful hypothesis has emerged, spearheaded particularly by Dr. Max Wicha at the University of Michigan. Scientists such as Dr. Wicha have discovered that cancer may be a little more complicated than we have thought these long decades.
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)
The body excretes more salt on a keto diet than on a standard diet due to reductions in insulin, which normally promotes a certain degree of water retention. Once you’re in ketosis, add an extra three to five grams of Himalayan, sea, or Redmond Real salt to your diet every day. (Five grams is about one teaspoon, but that may vary depending on the type of salt and the size of the grain.)
In addition to sodium, levels of magnesium and potassium can also drop on a ketogenic diet due to its dehydrating effect on the body. Make sure to eat plenty of magnesium- and potassium-rich foods. Some of the best keto-friendly sources of magnesium are dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and cacao. Keto-friendly potassium sources include spinach, kale, avocados, and mushrooms.
It’s not clear just how a ketogenic diet works for seizures. But Yellen says seizures are like “electrical storms” in the brain. “There are potassium channels in the brain that, when open, seem to have a quieting influence on this electrical excitation,” he says. “We think these channels work better when the brain is using ketones instead of glucose for energy.” Even when epilepsy medications have failed, a ketogenic diet can work wonders, he says.
Excessive LDL particles have been found to be associated with the development of atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of heart disease. In atherosclerosis, LDL particles are known to end up in damaged artery walls, and connected to an inflammatory response. Over time, cholesterol, calcium, white blood cells and other substances accumulate at the site to form a plaque. Most heart attacks and strokes are caused when a plaque ruptures and forms a clot that blocks arterial blood flow.
Though I would see Bob occasionally at conferences, I never mentioned any of this to him. Some years later we met for lunch in Washington, DC, at a conference where we were both scheduled to speak. To my astonishment, he told me he was closing down his cancer unit completely, to concentrate on his traditional area of expertise – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, the metabolic syndrome – problems for which he knew his nutritional approach with the ketogenic diet worked quite effectively.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. [2,7] There is also growing interest in the use of low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes. Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, though they have not been consistently shown in research: [2,8,9]
Leanne: Yeah, it’s really scary and I actually read Good Calories, Bad Calories and did a review on it on YouTube, and going through that whole thing it really paints a really scary picture about how this all came about. It’s really concerning and that’s why I know that you do what you do and I do what I do because we just want to share … this might not be exactly where you want to go with your health and do the research and it’s really great. I know that a lot of doctors, at least in Canada, refuse to do that NMR test.
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.
As the Atkins diet makes abundantly clear, problem foods like gluten and dairy can slip into the strictest low-carb or keto plans. I often see patients "doing keto" with massive amounts of cheese or processed meats full of fillers, which is a terrible idea. These potential top food sensitivities increase inflammation and create problems with gut permeability, leading to leaky gut syndrome.
Vitamin K exists in two forms: K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in plants and is involved in blood clotting. By contrast, vitamin K2 is found mainly in animal products – and might help protect heart health by keeping calcium in your bones and out of your arteries.The best sources of vitamin K2 include liver, eggs, grass-fed dairy products and chicken.

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.


Adverse effects of the dietary interventions were experienced in all studies. The most commonly reported adverse effects were gastrointestinal syndromes. It was common that adverse effects were the reason for participants dropping out of trials (GRADE rating low). Other reasons for dropout included lack of efficacy and non‐acceptance of the diet (GRADE rating low).
Ketogenic diet is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment for epilepsy. Most ketogenic diet centres have traditionally specialized in treating children ages 0 to 18 years of age. However, there is growing evidence that shows its usefulness in controlling seizures in adults. In the content below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the benefits and challenges of this diet therapy. Please note, the ketogenic diet should never be attempted on your own. It should only be attempted with the support of a trained medical team.
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
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.
If you’re new or just still learning the ropes for the keto diet food list, your biggest questions probably revolve around figuring out just what high-fat low-carb foods you can eat on such a low-carb, ketogenic diet. Overall, remember that the bulk of calories on the keto diet are from foods that are high in natural fats along with a moderate amount of foods with protein. Those that are severely restricted are all foods that provide lots of carbs, even kinds that are normally thought of as “healthy,” like whole grains, for example.

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.

Certainly Dr. Seyfried has put together a most impressive achievement, chronicling in great detail his belief that cancer does not develop from genetic alterations – as is generally believed – but as a result of changes in fundamental cell physiology, specifically changes in energy production, that in turn lead to the cancer phenotype. In essence, the genes remain intact, but metabolism goes awry.
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