Could a ketogenic diet help prevent or even cure cancer?

In 1977 my mother passed away from cancer at the age of 47.  I was thirteen and my little sister was eight.

Fairly recent research has shown remarkable facts about cancer cells (Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories, ch. 13):  cancer cells use thirty times as much glucose as healthy cells because they depend on fermentation for energy.  Furthermore, they are not insulin resistant–when other cells in the body resist the efforts of insulin to import glucose for energy, cancer cells happily accept them.  Thus, cancer cells apparently thrive in people who have high levels of blood sugar (e.g., prediabetics who have glucose intolerance), for diabetics and prediabetics have a much higher rate of cancer than people with normal blood sugars.

So I ask myself if it would be possible to starve cancer cells to cure cancer or to prevent their appearance in the first place.  With a little bit of internet research, I found a some sources that may suggest this:  (1) A 2011 scientific study shows that a low carb diet could prevent cancer in lab mice; (2) Some claim that a ketogenic diet (i.e., a diet consisting of a absolute minimum of carbohydrates resulting in the burning of fat for energy) is a useful therapy against cancer, also in combination with traditional therapies (chemo or radiation).  One man claims that a ketogenic diet cured his cancer when doctors had given him only three months to live (see here).

Now the medical profession as a whole has been slow to accept low carb dieting, and this is much to their shame.  Personally, I’ve benefited from low carbing: I now enjoy normal blood sugars, normal blood pressure, 35 lbs of weight loss, and a significant attenuation of all my diabetic symptoms.  I feel better and I have hope that I may actually be able to live longer with much better health.

My mother was a physician and she had diabetes.  But I am certain that she did not have her blood sugars under control–our family ate rice everyday, along with other high carb foods.  Moreover, the technology to be able to monitor blood glucose at home did not exist before 1977. Dr. Richard K. Bernstein champions the Diabetes Solution, which requires diabetics to monitor their blood sugar several times a day and implement an ultra low carb diet (30 gm of carbs per day)–Dr. Bernstein only started using a portable glucose tester for the first time in 1969 (p. xvi).  The makers of this glucose tester designed it for hospital use only, but Dr. Bernstein, who was an engineer at the time, was able to obtain one through his wife who was a physician.  Then it took him a few years to perfect a technique for establishing normal blood sugars.  Today, many diabetics use his method to successfully maintain normal blood sugars.

It makes me wonder:  Had my mom been able to control her blood sugars, could she have prevented her cancer? I hope through this blog post to encourage low carb dieting as a legitimate effective therapy and preventative method–for many ailments related to diabetes, but perhaps also for cancer.  I think that this is where the research is leading us, and hopefully the medical profession will pay attention.

PS:  As I finished writing this post the news of Hugo Chavez’ death from cancer at age 58 has surfaced.  Undoubtedly, he suffered from metabolic syndrome, as his girth would suggest.

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One thought on “Could a ketogenic diet help prevent or even cure cancer?

  1. Pingback: Thomas Seyfried on ketogenic diets and fasting as a treatment for cancer | The Righteous Investor

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