A diet in which is supposedly capable of suppressing and starving cancer is called the ketogenic diet. This diet mainly revolves around minimizing carbohydrates and maximizing fats. You do this by avoiding things like bread, pasta and focusing on meats and proteins. Eating this way forces the body to start using fats verses the normally used carbohydrates as a fuel source. In this environment, the liver will convert fats into ketones. When this happens, sugar levels drop and are thought to be beneficial for cancer treatment. According to Dr. Warburg’s theory, cancer cells rely solely on sugar for fuel. So of course cutting off the cancers main energy supply sounds like a good idea. But does the ketogenic diet work for real life cancer patients?
Ketogenic Diet In Real Life.
The theory behind this treatment is pretty sound. Sugar does have a large impact on cancer. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly how large of an impact as of yet. But you can’t treat cancer with just a theory. So how did the ketogenic diet work on real cancer patients? The results are mixed. No large scale randomized studies have been done to test the ketogenic diet on cancer patients. However, a smaller pilot trial and various case studies have been documented. The 16 advanced cancer patient pilot trial did not notice any anti-cancer effect. The trial stated some quality of life aspects might have been improved.
One case report shows a patient with advanced stage malignant Astrocytoma tumors remained free of disease progression for over 12 months.
Another Pubmed article combines results from a total of 32 glioma patients that have been treated with some type of ketogenic diet. Article concludes that data shows the ketogenic diet to be safe and may be effective in controlling the progression of some gliomas. Some patients showed no response to the diet while others showed signs of stable disease.
The Final Word.
In real life the ketogenic diet performed poorly and has a low number of human studies to support its use. At its best, the diet might be able to stabilize disease depending on the type and stage of cancer. It was a lot more common to see the diet have no effect at all, then to have a positive anti-cancer response. The ketogenic diet obviously needs more testing and research to get a more definitive answer. But if the ketogenic diet was on track to be a successful cancer treatment, wouldn’t better results be noticeable by now? The biggest impact a ketogenic diet might have is on gliomas, which is where most of the best results have been documented. The ketogenic diet added to other conventional therapies might also be beneficial. But even as a adjunct treatment, not enough research is available to know for sure. Obviously the research as of right now would point away from using this as a stand alone treatment, regardless of cancer type.