Typically known as the “bad cholesterol” to its healthy counterpart HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).  Some studies show a strong correlation between LDL cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in both men and women.  Evidence also suggests that decreasing blood levels of LDL-C reduces the risk of CVD. 
We decided to join a ketogenic diet study. Not something you would have expected for cancer treatment. This wasn’t a random decision because there are many studies looking at how diets might improve cancer outcomes. I joined Alina as a coach and chef. You probably have heard about the “ketogenic” diet. It consists of lots of fat, some protein, and minimal carbs. Using this diet, our body switches from glucose as a fuel source to ketones. Carbs are strictly for those must-have nutrients.
In another parallel experiment the mice used did not have cancer at the start, but were bred to have a genetic predisposition toward breast cancer. Almost half of these mice, when fed on the Western diet, showed cancer within the first year (the average life span of these mice is two years). Only one of the mice in this group reached its normal life expectancy, and 70% ultimately died of cancer. Of the group on the ketogenic diet, only 30% ever developed cancer, and over half reached their normal life expectancy or exceeded it.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to transition the body’s primary fuel supply from carbohydrate to fat, creating a state of nutritional ketosis and, eventually, fat adaptation. The degree to which dietary carbohydrates need to be reduced to reach nutritional ketosis varies from person to person. Finding the optimal macronutrient ratios for getting your body into ketosis requires some self-experimentation. I recommend playing around with the ranges listed below to find the ones that work best for you.
We’re also going to keep it simple here. Most of the time, it’ll be salad and meat, slathered in high fat dressings and calling it a day. We don’t want to get too rowdy here. You can use leftover meat from previous nights or use easy accessible canned chicken/fish. If you do use canned meats, try to read the labels and get the one that uses the least (or no) additives!
I think we obsess about numbers because we have been given a range that is supposedly the healthy, right range. Unfortunately there are a lot of mechanisms that we don’t know a lot about right now, that could be going on that makes that happen for some people in the mornings. I’ve just talked to too many of the experts, who say “Don’t worry about that. It’s really not the big deal. Keep an eye on your fasting insulin levels in the morning and even if you want to do a five hour glucose tolerance test, it’s call a 5 hour GTT, could go down to your doctor, please don’t drink that crappy glucose serum, because that will mess you up.” I actually did it one time with my co-author, he actually ran it with me … I wanted to see what would happen to my blood sugar and insulin levels when I had a low carb meal.
As the authors write, “the protocol was not designed to reverse tumor growth or treat specific types of cancer.” The researchers also acknowledge the patient numbers were too small to allow for meaningful statistical evaluation, even for the avowed purposes. Overall, the discussion centers on the practicalities of implementing the diet and the results of the PET scans.
There is not one “standard” ketogenic diet with a specific ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. For a 2000-calorie diet, this translates to about 165 grams fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, and 75 grams protein. The protein amount on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein can be converted to glucose, so a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.
I had some eggs and some meat and all this stuff. Then they tested me literally every 30-60 minutes for five hours. I got to see literally what was happening real time after a low carb meal. I think that’s where having the right nutrition really is the basis for knowing where you stand. The other thing for people that are worried about this morning reading, check your A1C. That’s the average of the last 3 months worth of all of your blood sugars, not just the ones in the morning that you’re testing and freaking out about. By the way, when you freak out that also raises your blood sugar.
Overall- there will be a need to learn how to prepare meals differently, which takes time and work. There also may be some difficult adapting to the new meals. However with creative meal planning and sensitivity to your difficulties, some of these obstacles can be overcome. Many families cope with the challenges and would agree that the hard work is worth it if the diet achieves seizure freedom or significantly reduces seizures.
Recent studies show that low-carb diets such as keto are more effective at raising good (HDL) cholesterol than low-fat diets [1, 2]. However, there are also studies showing that keto can increase total cholesterol (HDL and LDL) . On the other hand, low-carb, high-fat diets also decrease LDL particle concentration (LDL-P), increase the size of LDL cholesterol and decrease the amount of harmful VLDL cholesterol in the blood , all of which have a positive effect on cardiovascular fitness.
A more recent clinical trial comparing a ketogenic diet (33.5% protein, 56% fat, 9.6% carbohydrate) to a low-fat diet (22% protein, 25% fat,55.7% carbohydrate) among 55 obese adults, showed that the ketogenic diet resulted in improved cholesterol levels compared to the low-fat diet. More specifically, the group following the ketogenic diet reported higher increases in HDL cholesterol and higher decreases in triglyceride levels compared to the control group (15).
Chris: Okay. Thanks, Kelsey, for sending that question in. It’s a really great question, one that’s been on my mind a lot recently, actually, and I’ve been diving into the research on. Most of you probably know that cancer dogma holds that malignancies are caused by DNA mutations inside the nuclei of cells and that these mutations ultimately lead to runaway cellular proliferation, which is the hallmark feature of cancer.
In his books and in his office working with his own patients, Dr. Atkins warned that to reap the benefits of his diet, one must reach and stay in a state of ketosis, much like the traditional Eskimos. Even a slight deviation from the diet, some ill-advised cheating with a cookie or candy, could stop ketosis in its tracks, and with it, the value of the diet.
Further, these experts believe that DNA mutations, uncontrolled cellular growth, and other hallmarks of cancer are a consequence, not the cause, of impaired energy metabolism. They suggest that the poor rate of success in the “War on Cancer” has to do with mainstream medicine’s failure to recognize mitochondrial dysfunction as the underlying cause of cancer.
Despite the initial warning signs, the media continued its relentless promotion of interleukin-2 for a number of years. In 1992, perhaps due to political pressure more than scientific evidence, the FDA approved the drug for use against cancer, despite the lack of comprehensive controlled trials. Then in the late 1998 a clinical study – completed some 13 years after the initial reporting – showed that interleukin-2, at least with advanced kidney cancer, worked no better than placebo.
Here’s an interesting thing that came out in Cholesterol Clarity. One of my experts, and we had 29 experts in the book that I quoted from, was Chris Masterjohn, and he said in traditional cultures, where there’s no heart disease at all, the normal level of total cholesterol for people in 6o-80s, want to guess? Of course if you read my book, you know.
The day before admission to hospital, the proportion of carbohydrate in the diet may be decreased and the patient begins fasting after his or her evening meal. On admission, only calorie- and caffeine-free fluids are allowed until dinner, which consists of "eggnog"[Note 8] restricted to one-third of the typical calories for a meal. The following breakfast and lunch are similar, and on the second day, the "eggnog" dinner is increased to two-thirds of a typical meal's caloric content. By the third day, dinner contains the full calorie quota and is a standard ketogenic meal (not "eggnog"). After a ketogenic breakfast on the fourth day, the patient is discharged. Where possible, the patient's current medicines are changed to carbohydrate-free formulations.
A study of 39 obese adults placed on a ketogenic very low-calorie diet for 8 weeks found a mean loss of 13% of their starting weight and significant reductions in fat mass, insulin levels, blood pressure, and waist and hip circumferences. Their levels of ghrelin did not increase while they were in ketosis, which contributed to a decreased appetite. However during the 2-week period when they came off the diet, ghrelin levels and urges to eat significantly increased. 
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.
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
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.
The ketogenic diet exerts anticancer effects by inducing a metabolic shift in malignant tissues that promotes apoptosis (self-programmed death) of cancer cells, inhibiting angiogenesis (the growth of new tumor-supporting blood vessels), reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, suppressing mTOR (a protein in humans involved in the regulation of cell growth and regeneration), and increasing the sensitivity of certain cancer cell types to chemotherapy. (38)
A popular keto supplement are exogenous ketones (popularly called “keto diet pills”) that may help you achieve results earlier as well as remain in that state. (Don’t confuse exogenous ketones with raspberry ketones, as the latter don’t raise ketone levels in the body or mimic endogenous ketones, so you wouldn’t use raspberry ketones in your regimen.)
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.
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.
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.
A ketogenic diet derives approximately 90% of dietary calories from fat, 8% from protein, and just 2% from carbohydrates.1 In comparison, the standard American diet derives 35%, 15%, and 50% of calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates, respectively. Although it is rising in popularity, the ketogenic diet is not a new dietary intervention. It is an established nutritional treatment approach — first developed in the 1920s — for patients who have epilepsy that is not well controlled with antiepileptic agents. The keto diet later remerged as an acceptable intervention in the 1990s.
Cholesterol is most commonly transported in the blood by molecules composed of fat and protein called lipoproteins. From least dense to most dense, they come in five forms: chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Because VLDL, LDL, and HDL cholesterol are frequently used as clinical indicators, we are going to focus on them.
As of the moment, there is no industry standard as to how many calories should be consumed in a restricted ketogenic diet, but there are published studies that provide estimates. In one example, a 65-year-old woman who was suffering from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive type of brain cancer, was put into a restricted ketogenic diet that started with water fasting and then proceeded to consuming 600 calories a day only.
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.
To some ears, last week’s exultation over interleukin-2 has a familiar but discordant ring. Something similar happened about five years ago with a substance called interferon, the “magic bullet” of cancer research, featured on magazine covers and in articles with titles like “To Save Her Life – And Yours.” … But by 1984 the magic bullet had misfired; now the articles were called “The Myth of Interferon.”
Well, I am going to give this another try. I have great difficulty in eating greens , or drinking them, also I am not fond of fats, years and years of low fat diets have totally screwed my metabolism,and taste buds. I will read this page every day to keep my mind focused. Start tomorrow when I get up …… I work nights which can cause me problems as well. When I tried this diet before, I got terrible cramp, now I realise I wasn’t drinking enough water. Anyway.here goes.
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.
In one week my husband lost 1.5 kg because of Keto diet and recipes. Thank you for the insights and tips. I would like to have a complete recipe for meals everyday and hoping by subscribing I will receive try my mail. I will keep u posted. It takes 2 to tango. The one who wants to diet must be cooperative with the plan and execution while the other person who is preparing the food must be patient to the dieting person. Its not easy to change meals so patience is required
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:
We admit approximately four children ranging from infants to adolescents each month to participate in the therapeutic ketogenic diet program. New patients take part in a 3-day orientation (Monday through Wednesday) that starts the child on the diet and provides education for the family. After that, we follow up with the patients in our clinic every one to three months.
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.
The ketogenic diet is proposed as a potential adjuvant therapy by exploiting these differences between cancer and normal cells. Consuming a ketogenic diet reduces blood glucose levels through a drastic reduction in the amount of carbohydrates consumed.1,2 As a result of decreased blood glucose levels, less insulin is secreted, which downregulates signaling pathways that are frequently constitutively active in tumor cells.2 Because glucose metabolism is inhibited, energy must be primarily derived from fats.1 Fat metabolism results in the production of ketone bodies and β-hydroxybutyrate by the liver, which are used to fuel energy production. Cancer cells have difficulty using these pathways because they rely on glucose; the metabolism of fat increases oxidative stress.
Hello, following a Keto diet with IF but cholesterol ratios not proper. Diet fats come mainly from olive oil, avocado oil, once a week beef, no butter, bacon etc. Had to go back on statins. Goal is stay away from drugs. Is there a doctor/clinic in the Boston area that you can recommend that understands/tests what you explain in this article? Please advise.