Can a Ketogenic Diet Squash Cancer for Good?
March 07, 2016 | 1,989 views
It’s no secret that a cancer diagnosis is difficult not just for the patient, but for his or her loved ones as well. In a report entitled “Cancer Facts & Figures 2016” by the American Cancer Society,i it’s said that cancer takes an estimated half a million lives a year.
While health experts and physicians scramble to find the ultimate treatment for cancer, did you know that simply making the switch from eating carbohydrates to healthy fats may actually help lower your risk or even potentially cure this disease? This is what the ketogenic diet is all about.
Defining the Ketogenic Diet
In a ketogenic diet, carbohydrates (both sugars and grains) are swapped for moderate amounts of high-quality, organic proteins and high amounts of beneficial fats such as:
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Raw, grass-fed butter
- Organic raw nuts like macadamias
- Organic and pastured egg yolks
Traditional diets have vilified the presence of fats, particularly saturated fat, thinking that even small amounts could trigger negative health impacts. It’s been proven, however, that saturated fat contains fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), delivers building blocks for cell membranes and hormones, serves as brain fuel, and results in satiety (making you feel full longer).
Truth is, there’s only one type of fat you should avoid, and that’s trans fats. Trans fats are found in processed food and are some of the biggest culprits behind high obesity and chronic disease rates.
Linking a Ketogenic Diet to Cancer Recovery
Most cancer patients rely on chemotherapy or radiation therapy to cure their cancer. However, there are hidden dangers in these methods. Chemotherapy involves the use of cytotoxic poison, while radiation is known to be harmful to the human body.
Instead of relying on these conventional cancer treatment methods, adapting a ketogenic diet is the better choice, as Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D. found out. Seyfried, one of the pioneers in natural cancer treatments, observed how malignant brain cancer (a metabolic disorder concerningthe dysregulation of respiration) could be treated with just changes to the environment:
“The transition from glucose to ketone bodies as an energy source is an ancestrally conserved adaptation to food deprivation that permits the survival of normal cells during extreme shifts in nutritional environment. Only those cells with a flexible genome, honed through millions of years of environmental forcing and variability selection, can transition from one energy state to another.
We propose a different approach to brain cancer management that exploits the metabolic flexibility of normal cells at the expense of the genetically defective and metabolically challenged. This evolutionary and metabolic approach to brain cancer management is supported from studies in orthotopic mouse brain tumor models and from case studies in patients.
Calorie restriction and restricted ketogenic diets (R-KD), which reduce circulating glucose levels and elevate ketone levels, are anti-invasive, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic towards malignant brain cancer."
The story of Fred Hatfield, Ph.D. and his remarkable recovery from cancer also highlights the effectivity of a ketogenic diet. Hatfield was an established collegiate gymnast, bodybuilder, and author in the U.S. who was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in his skeletal structure, as reported by CBN News.ii
Doctors gave him no more than three months to live, but he heard about metabolic therapy and tried a ketogenic diet. Eventually, his cancer disappeared completely.
Combatting Cancer Cells
For starters, it’s important to know that all the cells in our bodies use glucose as an energy source, cancer cells included. But, if you’re wondering how the ketogenic diet is able to potentially treat cancer, Dominic D’ Agostino, Ph.D. says:
"Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. But cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility. So we can exploit that."
Once you’ve made the switch from carbohydrates to healthy fats, the body becomes “fat-adapted” and begins to use fat as fuel and even improves insulin and leptin signaling, which is critical for avoiding cancer and other chronic diseases.
This swap also paves the way for cancer cells to starve since you’re no longer providing them with the glucose they need to grow.
Boost Your Ketogenic Diet With Intermittent Fasting
Apart from increasing your intake of healthy fats via the ketogenic diet, there are other ways for you to improve your health. One is through intermittent fasting, which is not just a beneficial dietary practice but a lifestyle that should be consistently practiced. The main premise of intermittent fasting is calorie restriction by limiting eating hours to only a six- to eight-hour window, while fasting for the remainder of the day. With this plan, what happens is you’re skipping either breakfast or dinner.
Like the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting puts emphasis on consuming high amounts of healthy fat, coupled with moderate amounts of grass-fed protein. What’s different though is that an intermittent fasting diet recommends unlimited quantities of raw, organic vegetables.
Intermittent fasting may look daunting, especially if you’re a beginner, but it’s definitely worth giving a shot. Practicing intermittent fasting instead of fad diets out there can help you:
- Normalize levels of ghrelin, “the hunger hormone”
- Normalize insulin and leptin sensitivity
- Reduce triglyceride levels
- Lessen inflammation and free radical damage
- Stimulate production of the human growth hormone (HGH), which helps in improving your health and slowing down the aging process
If you want to learn more information about burning fat for fuel and how switching to a ketogenic diet can help cancer patients (or lower your risk for it), read my latest book, Fat For Fuel, and my article “Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Cancer Recovery.”
Sources and References