The ketogenic diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake to a minimum, while increasing fat consumption. By doing so, the body is brought to a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, the body’s glycogen stores (made from carbohydrate sugars) are depleted, so the body begins to use fat as its primary source of fuel. This leads to the production of molecules called ketones, which are used by the body for energy.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to have several health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, reducing inflammation, and promoting a healthy weight. It may also have potential benefits for those with neurological conditions, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
New research has proposed that the ketogenic diet may also be a potential complementary treatment (on top of standard treatment protocols) for cancer.
How the Ketogenic Diet May Help Fight Cancer
There are several reasons why a Keto diet may be effective in fighting cancer.
Cancer cells require glucose to grow, so by reducing your carbohydrate intake, you reduce the amount of glucose available to cancer cells. A Keto diet also increases the production of ketone bodies, which can reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to the development and progression of cancer.
Additionally, a Keto diet may increase the efficacy of traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This is because cancer cells are more susceptible to oxidative stress, which is induced by a Keto diet, making them more vulnerable to the effects of these treatments.
A Keto diet may also improve overall health and quality of life for cancer patients. The diet has been shown to reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, such as fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
A Keto diet can also help with weight loss, which is important for cancer patients, as obesity has been linked to a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Evidence From Clinical Studies
Although there is some preliminary evidence that a ketogenic diet may have potential benefits for cancer treatment, it is important to note that the research in this area is still in its early stages.
Clinical studies have shown mixed results, with some studies reporting positive effects and others reporting no significant benefits. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet as a complementary cancer treatment.
Multiple animal studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can inhibit tumor cell growth and improve survival rates.
However, the limited studies that have been conducted in human trials have not been so definitive. While some research has indicated that a keto diet may help fight cancer cell growth, other studies have found less significant benefits.
There are also indications that the keto diet may actually be a disadvantage for cancer patients. The keto diet encourages red meat, which has been linked to the development of certain types of cancers. It also restricts your intake of whole grains and fruits, which are known to provide antioxidant compounds that have been proven to help prevent cancer.
If you wish to try a ketogenic diet for its purported health benefits, consult with your primary doctor first. The ketogenic diet is not a replacement for conventional cancer treatments, and should only be used in conjunction with standard treatment protocols under the guidance of a healthcare professional.