But what surprised me – and what began to concern others I knew in the medical community – was some time later the deafening silence about the trial’s outcome, and what seemed to be a blackout about the actual data. Eventually, the study results were published indicating that 42 subjects had been ultimately recruited for the trial, not the planned 70, and not a single one of these had responded to the drug.
Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate,[18] leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes.[4] The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil.[15] Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant.[9] The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.[18]
The Keto diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning. The goal is to quickly lose weight and ultimately feel fuller with fewer cravings, while boosting your mood, mental focus and energy. According to Keto proponents, by slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.

With renewed use of the ketogenic diet has come heightened interest in its potential use for other conditions (Table 1). Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in speculation about the diet’s potential applications in a variety of metabolic, oncologic, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders. This review examines data supporting the potential use of the ketogenic diet in each disorder and considers potential mechanisms of action in each disorder, using these data to shed light on the diet’s disease-modifying effects. Both the human and animal studies discussed used standard ketogenic diets unless otherwise specified.

The current body of research on metabolic cancer treatments using a keto diet continues to grow. Keto or metabolic cancer therapy is somewhat different than the treatment for other illnesses, and is discussed in detail in my book Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet, which is based on the metabolic therapy research of Dr. Thomas Seyfried  and Dr. Dominic D'Agostino. The main idea behind the use of a ketogenic diet to treat cancer is to starve cancer cells of the sugar and other fuels they need to survive, and to provide support and protection for normal energy processes in healthy cells. The advantage of this treatment protocol is that it is non-toxic to the body, and in "wait and see" cases, it can provide an major health support advantage to the patient. The book was written for the patient and has all the details and research in an easy-to-use format.


• High-protein ketogenic diet — This method is a variant of the SKD. In a high-protein diet, you increase the ratio of protein consumption to 10 percent and reduce your healthy fat consumption by 10 percent. In a study involving obese men that tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce their hunger and lowered their food intake significantly, resulting in weight loss.11
Ive been strict keto for over 3 months and have lost 20lbs. I got my test results back yesterday and was shocked to see how my levels had changed: total cholesterol went from 230 to 308!! All the bad went up and all the good went down. But I’ve also heard that it can take a bit longer for cholesterol levels to even out and start going down. Is this true? I don’t want to quit keto because I have another 20lbs to lose, but I don’t want to have a stroke either.

One of the absolute worst things conventional medicine does is treat type 2 diabetics with insulin. This only exacerbates the problem. The key to treating and reversing type 2 diabetes is to cut down on net carbs, replacing them with high amounts of healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein. Dr. Tim Noakes has researched reversal of type 2 diabetes in South Africans, coming to the same conclusion.


“Net carbs” and “impact carbs” are familiar phrases in ketogenic diets as well as diabetic diets. They are unregulated interchangeable terms invented by food manufacturers as a marketing strategy, appearing on some food labels to claim that the product contains less “usable” carbohydrate than is listed. [6] Net carbs or impact carbs are the amount of carbohydrate that are directly absorbed by the body and contribute calories. They are calculated by subtracting the amount of indigestible carbohydrates from the total carbohydrate amount. Indigestible (unabsorbed) carbohydrates include insoluble fibers from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol commonly used in sugar-free diabetic food products. However, these calculations are not an exact or reliable science because the effect of sugar alcohols on absorption and blood sugar can vary. Some sugar alcohols may still contribute calories and raise blood sugar. The total calorie level also does not change despite the amount of net carbs, which is an important factor with weight loss. There is debate even within the ketogenic diet community about the value of using net carbs.
Low-carbohydrate high fat diets (LCHF diets) consistently improve all other markers of cardiovascular risk — lowering elevated blood glucose, insulin, triglyceride, ApoB and saturated fat (especially palmitoleic acid) concentrations, reducing small dense LDL particle numbers, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, blood pressure and body weight while increasing low HDL-cholesterol concentrations and reversing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
Having a coronary artery calcium (CAC) scan or CIMT test can provide information about actual heart disease that lab tests can't. Some people with extremely high levels of LDL cholesterol have calcium scores showing no plaque accumulation in the arteries and normal intima-media thickness, whereas others demonstrate mild to moderate atherosclerosis even when LDL cholesterol is within the normal range.
For an estimated 25 to 30% of people – whether weight loss occurs or not – LDL cholesterol goes up significantly in response to very-low-carb diets, sometimes by 200% or more. Many of these folks seem to belong to a group that Dave Feldman at Cholesterol Code refers to as lean mass hyper-responders (LMHRs). These often healthy people are sometimes shocked to discover that their LDL cholesterol has soared above 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) after going keto.
A randomised, parallel-group trial among 307 obese participants demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet resulted in lower levels of diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels in the first 6 months compared to the low-fat diet group. Moreover, the HDL cholesterol increased by 23% after 2 years in the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet group (14).
Scientists published the first pilot study on the relationship between the ketogenic diet and cancer in 2011. For their study, they recruited 16 patients (12 women and 4 men) with various cancers in advanced stages. They had an average age of 50.4 years (30-65 years). All of them had metastatic tumors, which means that they grew and spread throughout the body.

Keto diets are high in healthy fats and protein also tend to be very filling, which can help reduce overeating of empty calories, sweets and junk foods. (4) For most people eating a healthy low-carb diet, it’s easy to consume an appropriate amount of calories, but not too many, since things like sugary drinks, cookies, bread, cereals, ice cream or other desserts and snack bars are off-limits.

When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
Patients diagnosed with the immune based “blood cancers” like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, as well as the sarcomas, a type of connective tissue malignancy, required a lower carb, high animal fat, moderate animal protein diet. Other patients, usually with problems other than cancer, thrived on a more “balanced” diet, incorporating a variety of plant and animal foods.
Intermittent fasting, an eating style in which you eat within a specific period each day and fast the rest of the time, is a great way to reduce the amount of time your body needs to enter nutritional ketosis. (48) Intermittent fasting accelerates the time to ketosis by keeping insulin levels low and raising ketone levels. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start by limiting your eating to an eight- to 10-hour window each day and fasting for the remaining 14 to 16 hours of the day (and night).
In Asia, the normal diet includes rice and noodles as the main energy source, making their elimination difficult. Therefore, the MCT-oil form of the diet, which allows more carbohydrate, has proved useful. In India, religious beliefs commonly affect the diet: some patients are vegetarians, will not eat root vegetables or avoid beef. The Indian ketogenic diet is started without a fast due to cultural opposition towards fasting in children. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate nature of the normal Indian and Asian diet means that their ketogenic diets typically have a lower ketogenic ratio (1:1) than in America and Europe. However, they appear to be just as effective.[54]
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): If you find it difficult to stick to a very low-carb diet every day, especially for months on end, you might want to consider a carb-cycling diet instead. Carb cycling increases carbohydrate intake (and sometimes calories in general) only at the right time and in the right amounts, usually about 1–2 times per week (such as on weekends).

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.


My professor patient seemed quite taken by the ozone approach, which he thought I should start implementing in my practice. However, I become somewhat doubtful about the theory, and the use of ozone as a treatment for cancer. At the time I had already taken care of dozens of patients who prior to consulting with me had been to the Mexican Clinics to receive ozone along with other treatments.
Cancer cells demonstrate increased glucose metabolism compared with normal cells, with a shift toward lactic acid production despite the presence of oxygen, a mechanism also referred to as the Warburg effect.1,2 Glucose is an important precursor to mitochondrial respiration, which results in the production of energy as ATP. In normal cells, the ultimate conversion of glucose to ATP requires the presence of oxygen; if oxygen is not present, lactic acid is produced. Cancer cells, however, convert glucose to lactic acid in the presence of oxygen.2 In addition, cancer cells harbor mitochondrial DNA mutations that result in impaired mitochondrial respiration. Therefore, cancer cells require a large amount of glucose to satisfy their energy needs.
The ketogenic diet may seem like the Jekyll to the Hyde-like low-fat craze of the 1990s. The bulk of current research finds that the middle ground between the two extremes is more beneficial for overall health. Make it easy for yourself: Eat at least two servings a week of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) and cook with a variety of quality fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil) throughout the week.

In conclusion, all the mechanisms described above lead to systemic modifications and a dynamic metabolic homeostasis, in which the interplay among KB, glucose levels, mitochondrial function, synaptic neurotransmitters, and channel modifications can lead to changes in the seizure threshold and hyperexcitability. These changes contribute to the final antiseizure mechanism of KD.
Having said all that, there is tremendous value in short-term ketosis. The natural process of ketosis induced by a 3-5 day water fast or the 5-day ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet has powerful benefits in the body including autophagy, as well as stem cell activation and regeneration. Learn more about that in my interview with world-renowned scientist and longevity expert Dr Valter Longo here.

Dr. Gonzalez and his colleague Dr. Linda Isaacs MD have had remarkable success treating cancer patients with a non-toxic nutritional protocol that incorporates some of the principles of the late Dr. Max Gerson MD along with the late Dr. William Donald Kelley’s protocol which includes high doses of pancreatic enzymes and individualized diets depending on body type and cancer type. I have huge respect for them, not because of their theories, but because they are getting RESULTS, including reversing “incurable” stage four cancers. Two volumes documenting 112 of their successful case studies can be found here.
One of the primary culprits of chronic inflammation in our society is a poor diet full of sugars and processed vegetable oils. In fact, blood sugar and measurements of insulin resistance are a much more accurate predictor of heart disease risk. I often look at values such as fasting glucose, HbA1c, and fasting insulin as a means of determining the inflammatory state of someone’s body.
Although studies have shown that the keto diet can reduce seizures for children with epilepsy, there is no evidence indicating that keto helps with other brain disorders or improves mental cognition, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Some studies show that keto may lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes, but there is not enough long-term research to determine whether it’s safe and effective for diabetics.

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes – Several studies have evaluated the effects of a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet on type 2 diabetes, with promising results. Among the benefits seen are improved blood glucose profiles, improved insulin sensitivity, improvements in hemoglobin A1c, decreased triglycerides, increased HDL cholesterol (commonly thought of as ‘good’ cholesterol), and an improved total cholesterol to HDL ratio.23 24 25 26 The aforementioned improvements not only support those with existing type 2 diabetes, but also those with metabolic syndrome.
Finally a publication that explains how to fight cancer with a Ketogenic Diet. Easy to understand and follow. Great for helping those trying to follow this diet for someone who is battling, in our case Brain cancer. Thank you Ellen for all your hard work and dedication to keep this updated in a hope that we, as the readers and caretakers, can extend an awesome quality of life for those battling Glioblastoma Multiforme grade 4.
• Cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD) — Whereas TKD is focused on fitness enthusiasts, CKD is focused more on athletes and bodybuilders. In CKD, you cycle between a normal ketogenic diet, and a short period of high carb consumption or "re-feeds."8 The idea here is to take advantage of the carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen lost from your muscles during athletic activity or working out.9
Type 2 Diabetes:  Although the current mainstream diabetes treatment advice to eat 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate is starting to change, many practitioners are still giving out the old advice. Since carbohydrate is the prime driver of higher blood sugar, this advice is detrimental to diabetic health because it results in blood sugar spikes and crashes, which in turn causes a greater need for medication and insulin. Those high blood sugars also result in the complications of diabetes.  In contrast, a ketogenic diet reduces and in many cases, eliminates the need for diabetic medications and lowers the number of insulin units needed to manage blood sugar.  For people with Type 2 diabetes, ketogenic diets remove the trigger (carbohydrate intake) and reverse the underlying insulin resistance which causes the disease. As a result, long term complications are reversed or avoided.  Learn more in our Conquer Type 2 Diabetes e-Book  or click on the book cover.
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.
Mitochondria generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) during their metabolic activities. In normal cells, the production of ROS and their elimination by antioxidants are kept in balance.10 Intriguingly, a higher incidence of errors, or mutations, in mitochondrial DNA have been observed in many human cancers, likely as a result of uncontrolled ROS production and oxidative stress.11
The total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is found by dividing your total cholesterol level by your HDL-C, and it is essentially the same thing as an LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratio since most non-HDL cholesterol is LDL cholesterol [26]. The researchers of the 2003 meta-analysis used this ratio because it is a better cardiovascular risk predictor than total cholesterol levels [25].

Leanne: Even a lot of my friends who went to the dietetics route, as oppose to the holistic nutrition route, we both were taught the exact same thing when it came to protein. Even my physio and my naturopath, there’s been a lot of misconception about protein. Getting back to the cholesterol and heart disease, if somebody has a history of heart disease in their family and they want to try eating high fat, low carbohydrate, keto … awesome. What you’re saying is perhaps for those types of people, look at your inflammation. Get that under control, while you do the high fat, low carb, keto thing and you’re actually doing your body a major service by switching to that eating style, especially if you have a history of heart disease in your family.
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether.[18] Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions.[46] This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure-free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.[9]
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:

The glowing TV stories followed, including a memorable prime time, one-hour special about the subject on ABC hosted by the late Peter Jennings. The other networks, in quick succession, picked up the cause. However, not too long after, word broke that Times’ reporter Kolata had been, through her agent, hawking to publishers an idea for a book about anti-angiogenesis and cancer.


When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
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.
Notably, there is a relationship between metabolic and epigenetic modifications. Shimazu et al. (2013) observed that βOHB inhibits class I histone deacetylases. During the KD, the elevation of βOHB causes changes in large-scale gene transcription but particularly those linked to oxidative-stress resistance factors. This result emphasizes that the KD has a potential role as a disease-modifying treatment in epilepsy.
Several laboratory abnormalities have been reported in children on the ketogenic diet, although none has been found to have clinical significance. Patients on the ketogenic diet are in a chronic acidotic state, putting them at risk for osteopenia. Some studies have shown a progressive loss of bone mineral content, resulting in osteopenia and osteoporosis; this loss occurred with ketogenic diet treatment despite improved serum vitamin D concentrations.
At the core of the classic keto diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb intake, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood (using urine strips, for example).
We also maintain a certain amount of stored sugar as glycogen, found in the liver and muscle and formed when glucose molecules link up to one another in complex chains. In times of need and if deprived of dietary carbohydrates, our liver and muscle cells can break down glycogen into glucose for release into the bloodstream. Our liver cells can also, when necessary, convert certain amino acids such as alanine into glucose.
In addition to neuroblastoma, various researchers have investigated the efficacy of KDs as an adjuvant therapy for other types of cancer. The strongest evidence (> 3 studies) for a tumor-suppressing effect has been reported for glioblastoma, whereas little or no benefit was found for two other brain tumors (astrocytoma and medulloblastoma). Good evidence (2 - 3 studies) is available for prostate, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer [1]; neuroblastoma also falls into this category (Figure 1). Some of those studies report a tumor-suppressing effect of KD alone and/or in combination with classic therapy and/or caloric restriction. One study on prostate cancer applied the KD in a preventive, instead of a therapeutic, study setting. Only limited evidence (1 study) supports the anti-tumor effect of an unrestricted KD on breast, stomach, and liver cancer.
Now a report, appearing several weeks ago in the journal Neurology, reveals that in fact, a ketogenic diet is also profoundly helpful in adults as well in terms of treating epilepsy. This research, published by investigators in Maryland, found that there was at least a 50% reduction in seizures in 32% of patients treated with a ketogenic diet as well as in 29% of patients who went on a modified Atkins diet. In fact, 9% of those placed on the ketogenic diet and 5% of those placed on the modified Atkins diet had a greater than 90% reduction in the frequency of their epileptic seizures. These diets were designed such that the bulk of calories, between 67% and 75%, came from fat. The study revealed that “the anticonvulsant effect occurs quickly with both diets, within days to weeks.” Interestingly, the most common side effect was weight-loss which the office indicated “maybe advantageous inpatients with obesity.”
There are some treatment centers like Care Oncology Clinic in the UK and ChemoThermia Oncology Center in Istanbul that are using ketogenic diet and fasting along with glucose inhibitors and conventional treatment like chemo. They claim to be getting good results, but I don’t know much about these cancer centers above and beyond what I just told you. Note that keto only seems to work with the faster-growing cancers like breast cancer, but not as much with slower-growing cancers like prostate cancer.
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)

This essential, fully referenced book is a practical guide for physicians, patients and caregivers, and provides step-by-step instructions for customizing the diet and clear explanations of the cutting-edge research on ketogenic therapies being done by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s team at the University of South Florida and Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s team at Boston College. The ketogenic diet for cancer is based on the consumption of whole, fresh foods and it can be used in addition to standard care or as a stand-alone treatment in wait-and-see situations.


Type 2 Diabetes:  Although the current mainstream diabetes treatment advice to eat 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate is starting to change, many practitioners are still giving out the old advice. Since carbohydrate is the prime driver of higher blood sugar, this advice is detrimental to diabetic health because it results in blood sugar spikes and crashes, which in turn causes a greater need for medication and insulin. Those high blood sugars also result in the complications of diabetes.  In contrast, a ketogenic diet reduces and in many cases, eliminates the need for diabetic medications and lowers the number of insulin units needed to manage blood sugar.  For people with Type 2 diabetes, ketogenic diets remove the trigger (carbohydrate intake) and reverse the underlying insulin resistance which causes the disease. As a result, long term complications are reversed or avoided.  Learn more in our Conquer Type 2 Diabetes e-Book  or click on the book cover.

Leanne: Yeah totally, chill out. Do a little meditation if you need to get into the zone. Exactly. You mentioned vegetable oils causing inflammation, are there specific fats that will help us, like we’ve talked a little bit about saturated fats, we all know trans fats don’t even go there … the mono poly saturated, unsaturated, is there a certain ratio that we should be aiming for. I know you’re the guy that will just slice off butter and eat it … I am too, a little bit of Himalayan rock salt on there never hurt anyone. Are there specific facts that we should be focusing on?
Its hard to find any information about hyper responders, even harder for me as my total cholestorl levels increased extremely after I went on the keto diet, from an already high 5mmol/dL to extremely high (14mmol/dL or 538mg) which is unheard of, even in the many hyper responder cases I've studied. But my HDL increased to 2.7mmol and my trigicerides stayed the same at good 0.9. Nobody 've seen has such a high total cholestrol. Even as i research how cholestrol doesn't have much link to heart disease mortality, there's no research on anything as high as my case.
Check the nutrition labels on all your products to see if they’re high in carbs. There are hidden carbs in the unlikeliest of places (like ketchup and canned soups). Try to avoid buying products with dozens of incomprehensible ingredients. Less is usually healthier.Always check the serving sizes against the carb counts. Manufacturers can sometimes recommend inconceivably small serving sizes to seemingly reduce calorie and carb numbers.

This process of burning fat provides more benefits than simply helping us to shed extra weight — it also helps control the release of hormones like insulin, which plays a role in development of diabetes and other health problems. When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released as a reaction to elevated blood glucose (an increase in sugar circulating in our blood) and insulin levels rise. Insulin is a “storage hormone” that signals cells to store as much available energy as possible, initially as glycogen (aka stored carbohydrates in our muscles) and then as body fat.
The diet is also effective for children with infantile spasms. For this condition, about 70% of children will have seizure reduction with 35% becoming seizure-free. There has been one study using the ketogenic diet as initial treatment for infantile spasms. At the end of 1 month, 8 of 13 (62 percent) infants were seizure-free. Time to spasm freedom was 6.5 days, suggesting that, if the ketogenic diet is used as initial treatment, a 2-week trial period is sufficient to judge efficacy for infantile spasms.
It is an oversimplification that cancer cells use anaerobic fermentation all the time. Tumors have hypoxic zones and normoxic (aerobic) zones, with a symbiotic relationship between the two. Hypoxic cancer cells derive energy from fermentation of glucose, and secrete lactate. Normoxic cancer cells prefer and attract lactate as fuel for the TCA cycle, sparing glucose for the hypoxic cells. Cancer cells can switch fairly quickly between hypoxic and normoxic states, and may oscillate between the two. [NCBI, “Tumor cell metabolism: an integral view”]
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.
Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)!

In conclusion, clinical application of KDs as an adjuvant therapy for cancer patients first requires that the KD be evaluated for its anti-tumor effect for each single type/genetic subtype of cancer in a preclinical setting, as the safety and efficacy of the KD strongly depend on the tumor entity and its genotype. Based on the results of rigorous preclinical and clinical studies performed thus far, the KD would appear to be a promising and powerful option for adjuvant therapy for a range of cancers. Cancer-specific recommendations await the findings of randomized controlled clinical trials.
The most common side effect encountered is constipation. Many of the children who begin the diet are already prone to this problem because of limited mobility, hypotonia, or spasticity. Constipation can be treated with regular doses of polyethylene glycol, fiber, increased fluids, salt, mineral oil, intermittent pediatric-dose enemas, or magnesium hydroxide . Other more common side effects include hunger, acidosis (during illness), and hypoglycemia (just during the start of the diet). Many children as well can have gastroesophageal reflux, which can be managed with medications. The high fat content decreases gastric emptying, which promotes gastroesophageal reflux.
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.[19] On admission, only calorie- and caffeine-free fluids[37] 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.[19]
In conclusion, all the mechanisms described above lead to systemic modifications and a dynamic metabolic homeostasis, in which the interplay among KB, glucose levels, mitochondrial function, synaptic neurotransmitters, and channel modifications can lead to changes in the seizure threshold and hyperexcitability. These changes contribute to the final antiseizure mechanism of KD.

Some experts now feel that impaired energy metabolism may be the defining common factor in nearly all cancers, regardless of their origin.12,14 They believe that cancer, rather than being caused by errors in DNA, is fundamentally a metabolic disease caused by a disruption in a cancer cell’s ability to get the energy it needs from mitochondrial respiration like a normal cell would.
I have been on a low carb keto diet for more than a year. As T2DM my A1C dropped from 9% to 5.4% & I discontinued meds. All my lipids improved even with ample healthy saturated fat. More than a year now so I wonder why this would be a short term improvement when its obvious that I will not go back to a high A1C and taking 3 diabetes medications including sulphonylureas. It is clear from this article that you lack the necessary experience that would be gained from wholeheartedly trying the diet or monitoring patients doing it properly like me. I would be probably be facing my first amputation if I believed the negativity in your article. So for people with diabetes who may be dissuaded by your article. Ignore it and take back your health by restricting carbs (<25 g a day) or as low as you reasonably can below 130g while being satisfied that you are getting adequate nutrition.
Patients diagnosed with the immune based “blood cancers” like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, as well as the sarcomas, a type of connective tissue malignancy, required a lower carb, high animal fat, moderate animal protein diet. Other patients, usually with problems other than cancer, thrived on a more “balanced” diet, incorporating a variety of plant and animal foods. 

Several studies have shown that the MAD, besides being more palatable, is as effective as the KD in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children (Miranda et al., 2011; Martin et al., 2016). A study performed using 20 children receiving 10 g of carbohydrates daily showed that 65% of the children had a >50% seizure reduction, 35% of the children had >90% improvement, and four children were seizure-free at 6 months (Kossoff et al., 2006). In a study in South Korea, 36% of 14 children treated with the MAD showed improvement of >50% in seizures and 12% were seizure-free (Kang et al., 2007). A recent meta-analysis performed using 70 studies concluded that the MAD and classical KD do not differ in reduction of seizure frequency at month 3 and month 6, with ≥50% and ≥90% reductions, respectively (Rezaei et al., 2017). A retrospective study showed >50% of seizure reduction in 65% of the 10 children who remained on the diet for up to 6 months, and 20% of them were seizure-free (Park et al., 2018).
Within 7 days of initiating the ketogenic diet, blood glucose levels declined to low-normal levels and blood ketones were elevated twenty to thirty fold. Results of PET scans indicated a 21.8% average decrease in glucose uptake at the tumor site in both subjects. One patient exhibited significant clinical improvements in mood and new skill development during the study. She continued the ketogenic diet for an additional twelve months, remaining free of disease progression.
32••. Qin W, Ho L, Zhao Z, et al. Neuronal SIRT1 activation as a novel mechanism underlying the prevention of Alzheimer disease amyloid neuropathology by calorie restriction. J Biol Chem. 2006;281:21745–21754. This study demonstrates that sirtuins link calorie restriction with disease-modifying effects in a neurodegenerative disorder. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
“It may be difficult for keto-dieters to meet their energy and protein needs, and the diet may cause long-term issues, including kidney damage, higher cholesterol levels, unintentional weight loss, bone loss, and certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” the article says. They say a more moderated approach to the diet may be advised, and cite that reducing refined carbohydrates and increasing the amount of healthy fats consumed can be beneficial to one’s overall health.
Frequent exercise depletes glycogen stores, causing your body to turn to fat for energy; this means that regular exercise can help you get into ketosis faster. Some people experience a reduced capacity for exercise upon starting keto; in this case, engaging in longer durations of low-intensity activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, can help you get into ketosis without causing undue fatigue.
In addition to neuroblastoma, various researchers have investigated the efficacy of KDs as an adjuvant therapy for other types of cancer. The strongest evidence (> 3 studies) for a tumor-suppressing effect has been reported for glioblastoma, whereas little or no benefit was found for two other brain tumors (astrocytoma and medulloblastoma). Good evidence (2 - 3 studies) is available for prostate, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer [1]; neuroblastoma also falls into this category (Figure 1). Some of those studies report a tumor-suppressing effect of KD alone and/or in combination with classic therapy and/or caloric restriction. One study on prostate cancer applied the KD in a preventive, instead of a therapeutic, study setting. Only limited evidence (1 study) supports the anti-tumor effect of an unrestricted KD on breast, stomach, and liver cancer.
In a recent review of studies of the MAD, there were 31 studies completed from multiple centers with a total of 423 children and adults enrolled across those studies. Adding everyone together, 47% of patients had a >50% reduction in their seizures, which is comparable to the results found for the ketogenic diet. It is important to understand that for children under the age of 2 years and those who receive formula-only nutrition the classic ketogenic diet is preferable. For older adolescents and adults, the MAD is often a better option due to increased tolerability.
For the study I reviewed thousands of Kelley’s charts, interviewed over a thousand of his patients, and evaluated 455 of them in some detail. I eventually put my information into monograph form under Dr. Good’s direction, including 50 lengthy case reports of patients with 26 different types of appropriately diagnosed, poor-prognosis cancer who had responded to Kelley’s nutritional regimen.
Intermittent fasting, an eating style in which you eat within a specific period each day and fast the rest of the time, is a great way to reduce the amount of time your body needs to enter nutritional ketosis. (48) Intermittent fasting accelerates the time to ketosis by keeping insulin levels low and raising ketone levels. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start by limiting your eating to an eight- to 10-hour window each day and fasting for the remaining 14 to 16 hours of the day (and night).

One of the most vocal proponents of the keto-diet-as-cancer-treatment theory has been Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a cancer researcher and professor at Boston College. Several years ago, Seyfried said that the keto diet actually beats chemotherapy for some types of cancer, a claim founded in his rather controversial belief that cancer is primarily a mitochondrial metabolic disease. In a recent paper, Seyfried outlined a cancer-treatment approach that he thinks could be the "blueprint for the destruction of cancer," as he told U.S. News & World Report:

Jimmy Moore: Exactly. You’re already have a propensity for insulin resistance. It should not surprise you that as you get into this that you’re going to run into some of the manifestation of that, which is this thing called Don Phenomena, where in the morning you have a higher level of blood sugar, that’s totally normal. What tends to happen though, and certainly the people that have asked that question of you, I hope they’re testing later in the day as well. What you’ll see is later in the day, totally normal.


According to a 2015 review of the literature on the ketogenic diet for human glioma patients (32 case studies), “Prolonged remissions ranging from more than 5 years to 4 months were reported in the case reports. Only one of these patients was treated using KD as monotherapy. The best responses reported in the more recent patient series were stable disease for approximately 6 weeks.”
Over the past century, ketogenic diets have also been used as natural remedies to treat and even help reverse neurological disorders and cognitive impairments, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s symptoms, manic depression and anxiety. Research shows that cutting off glucose levels with a very low-carb diet makes your body produce ketones for fuel. This change can help to reverse neurological disorders and cognitive impairment, including inducing seizure control. The brain is able to use this alternative source of energy instead of the cellular energy pathways that aren’t functioning normally in patients with brain disorders.
Yes you can lose fat on a low carb because it’s just another low calorie diet. How do I know this? I’ve done low carb, (Atkins, etc) high carb, (Slimming Word) moderate carb etc and log my food and was shocked each time to see they were all low calorie. After the initial week or so the rate of fat loss is same as any other diet. It’s calories in calories out. Simple. It’s what some call indirect deficit diet placing silly restriction, rules can eat must eat etc. and of course you lose weight but nothing to do with low carb. It works because it’s a low calorie diet.
Given that the consumption of a high carbohydrate diet promotes inflammation and in turn causes CVD, is it any wonder then that our bodies would produce LDL particles which work to repair vascular damage, as they are needed to patch up the damage? Unfortunately LDL can only do so much under the constant onslaught of inflammation but had it not been there in the first place the person would not have survived as long as they did.

At the core of the classic keto diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb intake, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood (using urine strips, for example).
High-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD): This version of the keto diet is often followed by folks who want to preserve their muscle mass like bodybuilders and older people. Rather than protein making up 20 percent of the diet, here it’s 30 percent. Meanwhile, fat goes down to 65 percent of the diet and carbs stay at 5 percent. (Caution: folks with kidney issues shouldn’t up their protein too much.)
Ellen Davis, MS, is an expert on ketogenic nutrition and is an accomplished author and alternative-health advocate. Her website, Ketogenic Diet Resource, offers information and books on how to treat diabetes, cancer and other diseases with a ketogenic diet and provides a comprehensive source of information and tools for customizing a ketogenic diet plan to fit a range of health goals.
One of the primary culprits of chronic inflammation in our society is a poor diet full of sugars and processed vegetable oils. In fact, blood sugar and measurements of insulin resistance are a much more accurate predictor of heart disease risk. I often look at values such as fasting glucose, HbA1c, and fasting insulin as a means of determining the inflammatory state of someone’s body.
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...
David Book graduated with a PharmD from Drake University. After completing a Drug Information Residency in the greater Atlanta area with Mercer University's College of Pharmacy and InpharmD, he now works full time at an independent pharmacy. Drawn towards innovation and entrepreneurship, his interests include the business of pharmacy, healthcare advocacy, diet & nutrition, and health information technology.
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