The ketogenic or keto diet has been a trendy diet for several years. It consists of low-carb, low-sugar and high-fat foods and is designed to help you lose weight by putting your body into ketosis. In addition to that, the keto diet is also credited among some for improving overall health.
In this article, we wanted to take a look at those supposed health benefits, especially the ones connected with cancer. That’s because there have already been several articles that keto might be able to fight cancer.
It’s important to state that, based on current scientific knowledge of cancer, it is still only possible to treat cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Those are the approved methodologies worldwide. Many diets have been tried, but none have been proven to be effective. That’s why it’s vital to look at this piece as a thought experiment only, and you should discuss any and all cancer treatment options with your doctor before doing anything. Because diet plays an important role in your overall health, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment, it’s important to discuss any big changes in your diet with your medical team prior to implementing them.
What Is the Connection Between Keto Diet and Cancer?
The defining characteristic of a keto diet is the fact that it includes a high percentage of fat intake. A typical keto diet involves eating around 75% of fat every day, while 20% of calories should come from protein and only 5% from carbs.
By eating so many healthy fats, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. After a few days, the body starts using fat as its primary source of energy.
As for cancer, it’s a known fact that most types of cancer cells live and grow by consuming carbs or sugar in the blood.
By eating a keto diet, the metabolism changes, and blood sugar levels drop as the carb intake is reduced to a minimum. The theory is that essentially, a keto diet allows a cancer patient to starve their cancer cells. To some, this may suggest that keto helps treat cancer, but it should be combined with radiation or other proven cancer treatments. It is vital to take a look at the research before forming a conclusion
What Does the Research Say?
Research from 2019 has found an important connection between blood sugar and cancer. The early results state that you can combat specific cancerous tumor growths by lowering your blood sugar level. While this sounds promising, it’s important to note that the test was performed on mice only. The scientists fed them a keto diet and a diabetes drug, and that combination proved efficient at stopping further tumor growth. However, further research is needed to say anything for certain. The promising thing about this research is the indication that the keto diet could be effective, especially when combined with radiation to remove the tumor that already exists.
This is only the latest study on the subject. Many other studies have been performed to see what effects a keto diet has on cancer.
The research is promising when it comes to animals. However, only a few small studies have been performed on humans, and while the keto diet has been shown to possibly have an effect on slowing cancer cell growth, we still need more research.
The fact remains that cancer patients need to heed their doctor’s advice on how to treat cancer, and they should only use a keto diet as a supplement to the treatment. Even then, it’s best to talk with your doctor and medical team before changing your diet dramatically.
More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us at 850-610-3743, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion, so you too can experience the difference.