The conventional view of cancer is that it is caused by DNA mutations in the cell nuclei. However, the metabolic theory of cancer proposes that some cancers are caused by a dysfunction of cellular respiration and that the restriction of glucose in the diet may prevent and even reverse some cancers. Today I’ll review the research supporting this theory and explore how the ketogenic diet may impact cancer tumor growth.
Jimmy Moore: One thing we’ve not talked about, I alluded to a little bit earlier, is LDL particle size. When people hear LDL, they think “Oh that’s one number.” Uh-uh, it’s actually 2 major numbers, it’s a lot more than 2. It’s about 6 or 8 sub-fractions of LDL sizes. Primarily it’s pattern A and pattern B. Pattern A being the large fluffy kind. Pattern B being the small dense kind.
First of all, myeloma patients, even when diagnosed with an aggressive form, often linger for years before the disease advances. I would never have included such a two-year survivor in One Man Alone, or in any other book I have written or plan to write – unless, possibly, there has been documented significant regression of disease, not apparent in this case. I do include a case of multiple myeloma treated by Dr. Kelley in my monograph, a woman diagnosed with extensive cancer throughout her skeleton with evidence of multiple fractures.
After Kelly closed down his practice, in late 1987 I returned to New York and began treating patients with advanced cancer, using a Kelley-based enzyme approach, with immediate good results. One of the first patients who consulted me had been diagnosed two years earlier, after a series of mishaps, with inflammatory breast cancer, the most aggressive form of the disease.
A ketogenic diet may be an option for some people who have had difficulty losing weight with other methods.  The exact ratio of fat, carbohydrate, and protein that is needed to achieve health benefits will vary among individuals due to their genetic makeup and body composition. Therefore, if one chooses to start a ketogenic diet, it is recommended to consult with one’s physician and a dietitian to closely monitor any biochemical changes after starting the regimen, and to create a meal plan that is tailored to one’s existing health conditions and to prevent nutritional deficiencies or other health complications. A dietitian may also provide guidance on reintroducing carbohydrates once weight loss is achieved.
There’s a really great inflammatory marker that you can have any doctor can run this for about fifty bucks, and insurance should cover it. It’s called HSCRP, high-sensitivity C reactive protein, and that is the key marker. There’s some other inflammatory markers in the body but that one will really tell the tale of whether you have high levels of inflammation or not. Ideally you want that one optimally under 1.0, most certainly under 3.0. My recent one just a few months back, Leanne, was 0.44.
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (about 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.[48]
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."

Another memorable patient written up for the book had been diagnosed with what was thought to be localized endometrial cancer in 1969. After a course of radiation to shrink her large tumor, she underwent hysterectomy, and was told they “got it all.” Over the next few years, however, her health began to deteriorate: she experienced persistent fatigue, malaise, pelvic pain, and weight loss.
If pricking your finger regularly isn't for you, you can also use ketone strips, which measure ketones in your urine. Some critics argue they aren’t as accurate as checking blood levels, but they can provide some indication of whether you’re in ketosis, they’re less expensive than glucose meters, and you don't have to prick your finger multiple times daily.
Kelsey: Hi, Chris, I was just wondering about your thoughts on the ketogenic diet as an approach to cancer prevention and therapy. I just read something about how cancer cells can only thrive on glucose, and in its absence we can prevent cancer potentially. So I was wondering if you could discuss this in a podcast. I think that would be great. Thank you.
Regular readers of SBM should know the problem with this sort of approach. No IRB worth its salt would approve such a trial because it would be ethically dubious, but, even worse, it would be ethically dubious and it wouldn’t really tell us anything unless those few patients either had near-miraculous responses or died very quickly. Anything else would simply tell us that the diet is probably doing no harm. More numbers would be needed, particularly if the comparison is to historical controls, to get even an inkling of whether there might be benefit. In that case, you might as well do a proper phase I/II clinical trial, which is what is happening. For instance:
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.)
On a “strict” (standard) keto diet, fats typically provides about 70 percent to 80 percent of total daily calories, protein about 15 percent to 20 percent, and carbohydrates just around 5 percent. However, a more “moderate” approach to the keto diet is also a good option for many people that can allow for an easier transition into very low-carb eating and more flexibility (more on these types of plans below).
And finally, there is increasing debate over the importance of the standard (i.e., calculated) LDL cholesterol level relative to the sum of other cardiovascular risk factors. This controversy makes it difficult for the individual patient to weigh the evidence from the various known risk factors. If you are uncertain, it is a good idea to follow up with your physician, who may recommend performing the most up-to-date assessment of your blood lipids, including the size and amounts of your LDL cholesterol fractions with a NMR or VAP lipoprotein test.

The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic, or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, complications may result.[28] These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery.[28] Common but easily treatable short-term side effects include constipation, low-grade acidosis, and hypoglycaemia if an initial fast is undertaken. Raised levels of lipids in the blood affect up to 60% of children[38] and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%.[28] This can be treated by changes to the fat content of the diet, such as from saturated fats towards polyunsaturated fats, and if persistent, by lowering the ketogenic ratio.[38] Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.[18]
So far the research has found energy restriction to significantly reduce growth and progression of numerous cancers including mammary, brain, colon, pancreas, lung, and prostate cancer. However, it is important to note that the best results are achieved from severe calorie restriction (<1,000 calories per day). If you are considering using calorie restriction along with your cancer treatment, make sure you consult your cancer care team first.
The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more1-6.On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.
A study of 183 children in whom the diet was discontinued determined that the speed of  the wean did not matter: children tapered over several weeks did just as well as those in whom the diet was stopped more slowly. Children in whom there was a good, but not complete seizure reduction with the diet (50-99% seizure reduction) were at highest risk for seizure worsening with the diet discontinuation . Should seizures worsen, many of these families elect to continue a low-carbohydrate diet versus new anticonvulsants . Some child neurologists opt to stop the diet over 4-6 weeks with close email contact.

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.
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.
As you’ve looked into the keto diet, you’ve probably read that sugar is our primary fuel source, and this is true — but cancer cells handle glucose a bit differently. At rest, for example, our healthy cells will not produce lactic acid. Conversely, cancer cells have such an issue with normal energy metabolism that it essentially can only burn glucose in a way that produces lactic acid. By producing energy in this way, the cell will become more and more cancerous as it makes itself vulnerable to further mutations without any hope of repair.
Conversely, when beginning a diet, motivation is high, and the tendency is to push oneself to the physical and dietary limit. You might decide to cook every meal at home when you typically eat out, or you may sign up for the gym and commit to working out 3 hours a day for 5 days a week. But pushing oneself too hard, especially in the beginning, most often leads to burnout and diet failure.
Dr. Folkman had developed two drugs, angiostatin and endostatin, that in animal experiments reversed tumor growth by blocking new blood vessel formation, essentially starving out the cancer cells. In a November 1998, presentation of his work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Folkman announced to the world that at least in mice, “we have not seen a tumor we cannot regress.”
If I was diagnosed with cancer or one of my relatives or friends were diagnosed, I would certainly put the ketogenic diet and fasting at the top of the list of potential treatments to investigate because I see a high potential for benefit and very little downside. You can’t say that about many cancer therapies. As we talked about earlier, the goal with cancer treatment is to find something that inhibits the growth of cancer cells but doesn’t damage healthy cells. Again, there just aren’t that many therapies out there that do that.
Serum cholesterol and triglycerides may increase, especially during the first 6 months. These levels may even out by 6 months, then decline often back to normal values. It is rare to stop the diet due to a cholesterol problem, especially after 1-2 years of use. Adjustments to the diet (e.g., increased protein and polyunsaturated fat) can be made in children with significantly high cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.
People claiming huge benefits of these supplements – despite the lack of solid scientific support – may sometimes have a financial reason to believe in the supplements. Some of these products are sold under a multi-level marketing arrangement, where sales people are paid based on commission. For example, the company Prüvit sells drinkable ketones, called KETO//OS with a multi-level marketing structure.
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.
Similar results were reported by a telemedical guided weight loss program among 200 overweight adults, where triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol levels were lower at month 6 in the keto diet group compared to the low-fat group. The conclusion was that a low-carb diet has more benefits in reducing cardiovascular risks compared to the low-fat diet (12).
Red flags or no red flags, it is, of course, possible that Dr. Seyfried is on to something and has let his enthusiasm overwhelm his judgment with respect to whom he associates with and the sorts of statements he makes, many of which sound as though they could have come from Stanislaw Burzynski, Ralph Moss, or Joe Mercola. In actuality, he isn’t totally wrong, but he isn’t totally right, either. As is typical of someone without a medical background, in particular an oncology background, he is, basically, putting the cart before the horse, as you will see.
Then there are some more experimental drugs that restrict the availability of glucose via inhibition of glycolysis and other processes. One of those drugs is called 2-DG, and that’s shown quite a bit of promise, so there’s not a lot of research on it yet, and then there’s an older drug named DCA, which also limits the availability of glucose. That has shown some promise, although it has known toxicity and side effects. It may not be a good choice for that reason.
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]
Mitochondria are the main power generators in our body’s cells and also play a prominent role in antioxidant activities and calcium buffering. The number of mitochondria present in any cell is directly related to its metabolic requirements, and can range from a solitary mitochondrion to thousands of them. In fact, mitochondria enable cells to generate up to 15 times more ATP than they could otherwise!
[46:12] – Why smoking is linked to a high risk of cardiovascular disease even when cholesterol might be low. The key is to find out what it is that makes the vascular system weak or strong. Dave explains why he believes the weak association between cholesterol and atherosclerosis may be due to the body’s response to stress bringing higher levels of cholesterol.
Although many hypotheses have been put forward to explain how the ketogenic diet works, it remains a mystery. Disproven hypotheses include systemic acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood), electrolyte changes and hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose).[19] Although many biochemical changes are known to occur in the brain of a patient on the ketogenic diet, it is not known which of these has an anticonvulsant effect. The lack of understanding in this area is similar to the situation with many anticonvulsant drugs.[56]
I had the same doubt about coconut oil, I read someone recommending that the first thing to do would be dropping bulletproof coffee and changing to olive oil. Do you think is that valid? My father also has high cholesterol and had a heart attack, though he also had a smoking/drinking record. I never drink/smoke and always exercise, so I hope that compensates, since all the other markers seem to be normal..,though I'm worried and thought if I should just eat more fiber and come back to a Paleo diet including some fruit ( the same guy that recommended the olive oil instead of coconut said that, I don't know if it's valid)
Chris, I’m missing the logic here. Even when carbohydrates are restricted, the body is going to take fats and glycogen and turn them back into blood sugar, i.e. glucose. Glucose is also the only fuel the brain can use, and when it is too high or too low, all kinds of alarm bells go off, and the body does everything it can to restore normal glucose levels. Ketogenic diet or not, blood sugar is going to stay pretty steady if all the normal regulatory mechanisms are in place. If there is glucose in the blood, there is glucose in the interstitial fluids, and cancer cells are never going to be starved for glucose. So if restricting carbs has any use in cancer therapy, it has nothing to do with preventing cancer cells from getting glucose. If there is no glucose in the blood, you are dead.
You can get cholesterol from eating animal foods like eggs, cheese, meat, and dairy but your body can also produce its own. An average 150 lb weighing male can synthesize 1000 mg of cholesterol a day. One single egg has 200 mg of cholesterol. The typical US dietary intake of cholesterol is about 307 mg[iv]. In that case, about 75% of your body’s cholesterol gets produced by the body internally and 25% gets ingested externally[v].
In children who can be successfully withdrawn from anti-convulsant therapy and are seizure-free for 2 years on the ketogenic diet (about 10 percent of treated children), an EEG is repeated and the ketogenic diet is slowly withdrawn. However, the diet is often stopped earlier if not successful. Similarly, after 2 years in children with continued seizures, most ketogenic diet centers will at least try to have the children come off the diet and see if it is no longer necessary for control.
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet or the low-glycaemic index treatment diet, because they find the difficulties too great.[42]
This is a wealth of information. My husband and I are starting the keto diet tomorrow and I knew nothing about it. When I sat down to look up information about it, I found this. Thank you! This is everything I need to know in one place. We are not as healthy as we’d like to be and I am optimistic this will help us obtain our goals, along with an exercise plan.
Although some doctors may suggest it if you have genetic factors that are actively contributing to your cardiovascular health, an advanced cholesterol panel isn’t necessary for everyone. Instead, most people should look for a different blood marker that can be found from the results of a standard blood lipid panel —  the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. Why?
Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that alter the body's metabolism to produce ketones, which puts the patient into a state called ketosis. The state of ketosis has been linked to reduced seizure frequency in some adults with epilepsy. Studies have shown that approximately 50 percent of patients on this diet experience a 50 percent or greater reduction in seizures.
Fanatic? Someone with T2D, a disease usually claimed to be progressive and a never ending stream of problems and medications, was REVERSED. That’s something to shout from the rooftops. The drop in medication use alone, but the big pharma companies would prefer that people’s stories of reversing (well, putting it into remission) T2D get called fanatical instead of insightful.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
Jimmy Moore: This is where the fat, fat, fat comes in. That’s why I add butter and add coconut oil and the full fat dairy, and all the things that you can add fat to your diet and it makes it taste good. That’s the thing, people are like “Well, it’s not supposed to taste good, I’m on a diet.” I’m like “no, you’re on a live-it. Please live it up and have the fat.”
Understandably, most have become concerned, since elevated LDL is typically considered a major heart disease risk factor. However, the reason for this response - and whether it poses significant health risks – isn't completely understood or agreed upon by experts. This article takes a balanced look at the issue and its potential implications for cardiovascular disease and overall health.
Chapter 6 continues with advice on customizing the diet, foods that are allowed or disallowed, meal preparation, and how to follow the diet when away from home, such as restaurant or travel dining. Chapter 7 presents a number of diverse topics of great practical importance especially to a cancer patient but seldom mentioned in popular diet books: alcohol consumption: how to handle incidental illnesses; sick days and menstrual cycles; stress; exercise; acidity and alkalinity; and vegetarianism. Finally there are 12 appendices that provide convenient worksheets and a wealth of advice and information that will save many telephone calls, and trips to the library or internet.
Over half of children who go on the diet have at least a 50% reduction in the number of their seizures. It can start to help after just one week, but more often it can take a few weeks up to several months to judge whether it will be effective. If the diet successfully controls seizures, it may be continued for several years under the supervision of the child's health care team. Many children on the ketogenic diet continue to take seizure medications but on average they require one less medication and often the dosage of remaining ones is lowered.
Mitochondria are the main power generators in our body’s cells and also play a prominent role in antioxidant activities and calcium buffering. The number of mitochondria present in any cell is directly related to its metabolic requirements, and can range from a solitary mitochondrion to thousands of them. In fact, mitochondria enable cells to generate up to 15 times more ATP than they could otherwise!
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.
Ketogenesis has existed as long as humans have. If you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, you starve your brain of glucose, its main fuel source. Your body still needs fuel to function, so it taps into your reserve of ketones, which are compounds the liver creates from fat when blood insulin is low. This process is known as ketosis: It’s like when a hybrid car runs out of gas and reverts to pure electricity.

Now, there’s even evidence that a low-carb, high-fat regimen (as the keto diet is) helps you live longer, compared to a low-fat diet. In a study by the medical journal The Lancet that studied more than 135,000 adults from 18 countries, high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.

I think it was still hard for him to accept that many cancer patients, and many humans without cancer, did best on a plant-based, high carb diet, so foreign to his way of thinking. Though he had heard me expound on the Kelley approach many times over the years, it was to him implausible that humans as a species had adopted to a variety of diets, some high fat, some high carb, some more balanced, and that in medical practice, we as physicians had to be aware that different patients might require completely different diets for optimal health.
News of Dr. Rosenberg’s “miracle” was everywhere, in the print media, on the local and national news, and in an extended Newsweek story appearing December 16, 1985, with white-coated Dr. Rosenberg on the cover peering intently at the world. The article, titled “Search for A Cure” in large bold print went on for six pages, accompanied by photos of Dr. Rosenberg, one with a patient, another as the serious scientist in the lab. Elaborate, colorful artwork illustrated the narrative, showing the intricate mechanisms of the immune system, and pinpointing interleukin-2’s ability, under the guiding hand of Dr. Rosenberg, to fight malignant disease.

If you want to take a deep dive, Dr. Gonzalez masterfully dismantles the ketogenic diet for cancer in the lengthy article below. This is not a scientific rebuttal, quibbling over theories about Warburg, glycosis, cell respiration, and ATP, rather it is a thoughtful, well-reasoned reflection from a medical doctor who was in the trenches of nutritional cancer treatment for nearly three decades. His real world experience with patients, insider knowledge, historical perspective and common sense put him head and shoulders above the lab-rat researchers and theorizers, no offense guys/gals.
The authors defined a VLCKD as a diet lower in 50g of carbohydrates – lower than the daily recommended grams of carb consumption clinicians recommend to diabetics. They included 13 randomized controlled studies with a total of 1,415 subjects. All studies took place for at least a full year and all subjects included were over 18 years old and had a BMI of at least 27.5 kg/m2. In each of these studies, VLCKD diets were compared to low-fat diets.
Dr. Gonzalez wrote an eight part article series for Natural Health 365 on the history and failure of the ketogenic diet for cancer. Dr. Gonzalez’s nutritional cancer treatment expertise is much deeper than ANYONE currently promoting the ketogenic diet for cancer, because unlike anyone else promoting it, he actually treats cancer patients with nutrition every day.
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.
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.

Feldman’s theory about why this happens is based on research he’s conducted on himself and hundreds of other low-carbers over the past two years. He states that the higher energy demands, lower body fat stores, and lower glycogen stores in these LMHRs trigger the liver to increase production of lipoprotein particles so that triglycerides (fat) can be transported to cells for use as fuel. Since cholesterol travels along with the triglycerides, blood cholesterol levels rise as the liver pumps out more lipoproteins to keep up with the body’s energy demands.
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.
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.
Then there are some more experimental drugs that restrict the availability of glucose via inhibition of glycolysis and other processes. One of those drugs is called 2-DG, and that’s shown quite a bit of promise, so there’s not a lot of research on it yet, and then there’s an older drug named DCA, which also limits the availability of glucose. That has shown some promise, although it has known toxicity and side effects. It may not be a good choice for that reason.

Dr. Chris Masterjohn postulates that this ratio is an accurate marker for the amount of time that LDL particles spend in the blood [26]. This is an important thing to take note of because the LDL particles are more likely to become oxidized and cause atherosclerosis when they are in the blood for longer periods of time. This gives us a deeper explanation of why the authors of the 2003 meta-analysis looked at the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio rather than total cholesterol levels.
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.
One of my favorite patients, whom I have discussed at times in my lectures, was diagnosed in August 1991 with stage IV pancreatic cancer, with multiple metastases into the liver, into the lung, into both adrenals, and into the bone. After a lung biopsy confirmed adenocarcinoma, his doctors discouraged chemotherapy, telling him and his wife conventional treatments would only ruin his quality of life while offering no benefit.

The Modified Atkins diet and modified ketogenic diet (sometimes called 'modified ketogenic therapy') use a high proportion of fats and a strict control of carbohydrates. These are often considered more flexible than the classical or MCT ketogenic diets, as more protein can be eaten, and approximate portion sizes may be used in place of weighed recipes.
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.

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.
Taking your first step into the ketogenic diet is an exciting phase for your health. But before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it's important to first take a look at what you're eating now and take out anything that's unhealthy. This means that you have to remove sugars, grains, starches and packaged and processed foods from your diet. Basically, anything that won't add to your new eating regimen has to go. This is what I call a "pantry sweep."
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 .

The ketogenic diet is designed to allow an individual to feel satisfied easily as a result of optimal insulin and leptin sensitivity. For example, a man weighing 150 pounds should consume 30-50g/day of carbohydrates and less than 70g/day of protein to maintain an optimal state of ketosis. When only a single meal or two is consumed consisting of approved ketogenic foods, this is easy. The ideal blood sugar concentration for weakening cancer cells is between 60-70mg/dl, and ketone levels are recommended between 4-7mM.
Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
Except that it really isn’t, at least not anymore. If you do a Pubmed search on “targeting cancer metabolism,” which is what Dr. Seyfried is talking about, you’ll find over 22,000 articles, with over 3,000 in 2013 alone, with a sharply increasing curve since 2000 that only now appears to be leveling off. A search on “cancer metabolism” brings up 369,000 references, with 28,000 in 2013 alone. Cancer metabolism is an incredibly important topic in cancer research and has been for several years now, and finding means of targeting the common metabolic abnormalities exhibited by cancer cells is currently a hot area of research. From my perspective, Dr. Seyfried is exaggerating how hostile the cancer research community is towards metabolism as an important, possibly critical, driver of cancer, although, to be fair, one prominent cancer researcher, Robert Weinberg, has been very skeptical. To me, Seyfried just appears unhappy that genetics is currently thought—for good reasons, I might add—to be the primary driver of most cancers. Note that I intentionally used such phrasing, because Dr. Seyfried, in my readings, appears all too often to speak of “cancer” as if it were a monolithic single disease. As I’ve pointed out many times before, it’s not. Indeed, only approximately 60-90% of cancers demonstrate the Warburg effect.
Fasting continues until dinner on day 1 of the admission. At this time, half of the calculated diet is provided as an ‘eggnog’ (or ketogenic formula). A ketogenic eggnog looks and tastes like a milkshake and can be sipped, frozen as ice cream, or cooked as scrambled eggs. Excess ketosis at this time, which may cause vomiting, can be relieved with a small amount of orange juice. Once the child begins eating, serum glucose checks are unnecessary and are discontinued.
Steve McQueen was diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure, sought out Kelley after the conventional approaches, radiation and immunotherapy, failed to halt the progression of his disease. Though he seemed to rally initially, McQueen, according to accounts of those involved with his care, was not particularly compliant, and appeared at the time he first consulted Kelley too sick for any therapy to work. He would eventually die at a Mexican clinic under the condemning gaze of the media for his choice of an alternative method.
Another study from 2014 suggests that the ketogenic diet is a safe, effective treatment to manage aggressive cancers when used with conventional therapies. For their retrospective study, researchers reviewed 53 patients with glioma, a tumor that starts in glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. These patients were treated with chemoradiotherapy and other standard treatments from August 2010 to August 2013. Six of these patients also consumed a ketogenic diet while on treatment.
This has been very comforting for me to read as I’ve been on a Keto diet for 8mo, loving my results which were weight loss (initially) but now the sustained clarity & sharpness of mind. I am lean (58kg) and very active. I had a blood test last week just to see where I’m at & my LDL is very high. Of course my doctor wants me to stop Keto but I just feel so great. I’m torn...
PD is a neurodegenerative condition in which the impairment of mitochondrial complex I activity is hypothesized to play a role in the death of the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. Various investigators have hypothesized that ketones could bypass complex I to provide an alternative fuel source for neurons at risk. Alternatively, ketone bodies may enhance mitochondrial function and thus ATP production, thereby protecting cells against various insults that demand high levels of usable energy.
One theory is that an extreme increase in cholesterol may be common in those undergoing rapid weight loss. This is because the fat cells we have stored in our adipose tissue contain high amounts of both triglycerides and cholesterol. When we begin to break down our stored fat to be metabolized for energy, cholesterol in the blood goes up temporarily.
It’s a habit to enjoy a brie cheese for desert instead of a piece of chocolate cake but each are favored deserts in France. I’m personally more satisfied after a 350 calorie sized wedge of brie than the same number of calories of cake.. which will give me sugar crash and .. really I’d like two slices of cake(I’ve got a sweet tooth that once I get going it wants to keep being fed)
By that point, I knew Dr. Good quite well: during my second year of medical school, Dr. Good, at the time a professor at Cornell and Director of the Sloan-Kettering Institute, had begun guiding my fledgling research career. In 1982, during my third year of medical school, to my dismay the powers that be at Sloan pushed him out rather unceremoniously.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
Clearly, ketogenic diets are not ready for prime time as a treatment for cancer, either alone or in combination with conventional therapy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped it from being touted by all manner of alternative cancer practitioners (i.e., quacks) and others as a cancer cure that “they” don’t want you to know about or saying things like, “…it’s nothing short of medical malpractice and negligence to fail to integrate this type of dietary strategy into a patient’s cancer treatment plan,” as Joe Mercola did. Dr. Seyfried himself has contributed to the hyperbole quite a bit as well. For example:
[6:35] – Dave’s experiments and data show how cholesterol scores can be manipulated. How these cholesterol results can cause concern and uncertainty in individuals following the low carb high fat diet and how whilst feeling better than ever on a low carb diet, Dave is researching any possibility of potentially negative effects from raised cholesterol levels.

It’s a habit to enjoy a brie cheese for desert instead of a piece of chocolate cake but each are favored deserts in France. I’m personally more satisfied after a 350 calorie sized wedge of brie than the same number of calories of cake.. which will give me sugar crash and .. really I’d like two slices of cake(I’ve got a sweet tooth that once I get going it wants to keep being fed)

Variations on the Johns Hopkins protocol are common. The initiation can be performed using outpatient clinics rather than requiring a stay in hospital. Often, no initial fast is used (fasting increases the risk of acidosis, hypoglycaemia, and weight loss). Rather than increasing meal sizes over the three-day initiation, some institutions maintain meal size, but alter the ketogenic ratio from 2:1 to 4:1.[9]

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]. 

Although Kelley did prescribe a variety of diets for his cancer patients, these two exemplary patients followed a plant-based eating plan, high in carbohydrates with a minimum each day of four glasses of carrot juice, dense in nutrients but also dense in natural sugar. Each of these diets allowed considerable fruit and whole grain products, foods again loaded with carbs. According to Seyfried’s hypothesis, both should have died quick miserable deaths.
Cancer cells need to carefully maintain their “redox status”. Redox status is the balance between oxidants and antioxidants. Oxidants, including free radicals and other “reactive” chemical species, are made continuously in every living cell as a byproduct of metabolic activities. Several antioxidant systems have evolved in our body to specifically counter the harmful actions of these oxidants.

The ketogenic diet has been shown in many studies to be particularly helpful for some epilepsy conditions. These include infantile spasms, Rett syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, and GLUT-1 deficiency. Using a formula-only ketogenic diet for infants and gastrostomy-tube fed children may lead to better compliance and possibly even improved efficacy.
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids.[57] Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.[56]

The MAD aims to provide increased flexibility and palatability, with a 1:1 ratio of fat to carbohydrates and protein, and contains around 65% fat, 25% protein, and 10% carbohydrate (Payne et al., 2018). Fat is encouraged and the carbohydrate intake is limited to 10–20 g/day in children and 15–20 g/day in adults (Kossoff, 2004; Kossoff and Dorward, 2008). Because of carbohydrate restriction, the MAD can also produce urinary ketones (Carrette et al., 2008). The MAD does not require weighing food on a gram scale, or restriction of calories, protein or liquids, and may be a good option for patients who are unable to tolerate a more restrictive diet such as the classical ketogenic diet (KD) (Cervenka et al., 2012). Low-carbohydrate multivitamin and calcium carbonate supplementation is recommended in the MAD (Kossoff et al., 2009).


A related clinical diet for drug-resistant epilepsy is called the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet, in which MCT oil is extensively used because it’s more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides. (13) Another dietary therapy for epilepsy called Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT) was developed in 2002 as an alternative to the keto diet. LGIT monitors the total amount of carbohydrates consumed daily, and focuses on carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.) (14)
I mean, they have no real scientific basis for their belief. The idea that high levels of cholesterol is dangerous is known as the Diet Heart Hypothesis. This hypothesis was first put forth by Ancel Keys in 1955. It states that eating high levels of saturated fat will increase your cholesterol, and increased cholesterol will clog arteries and cause heart disease.
Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats.
The ketogenic diet, or even just a higher-fat, low-carb diet, has now gained massive support as a modern-day healing strategy. In fact, our ideas about fats and cholesterol seem to have been almost completely reversed in recent years. That being said, many people see their cholesterol go up after beginning more of a ketogenic lifestyle. Some people get concerned when this happens, so in this article, I am going to address the phenomena of high cholesterol on a ketogenic diet.
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
Dietary treatments for diseases have probably been used for over 2000 years (Yuen and Sander, 2014). Fasting is the only therapeutic measure against epilepsy recorded in the Hippocratic collection. Two Parisian physicians, G Guelpa, and A Marie, recorded the first modern use of starvation as a treatment for epilepsy in 1911 (Wheless, 2008). The modern use of this form of therapy began in the early 1920s (Lima et al., 2014; Yuen and Sander, 2014), when Drs. Stanley Cobb and W.G. Lennox of Harvard at Harvard Medical School observed the effects of starvation as a treatment for epilepsy, noting that seizure improvement typically occurred after 2–3 days (Wheless, 2008). In the same period, Dr. Russel M. Wilder a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, suggested that a specific diet could produce similar benefits to fasting, and proposed a diet that produced ketonemia. He studied a series of patients with epilepsy and demonstrated a result equivalent to fasting and that was maintained for a much longer period. This new concept of diet was designated the “KD.” Peterman, also at the Mayo Clinic, described a composition of the KD similar to that used today (Wilder, 1921).
Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats. 
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