Written by: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
A recent report from the World Health Organization states that the number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to surge by 57 percent over the next twenty years.
For many, this will mean painful, expensive (and potentially deadly) treatments with chemotherapy and radiation. On the other hand, many others will choose a more natural approach to treat and prevent cancer… one that is meant to boost the immune system, curtail the proliferation of cancerous cells, and starve those cells of the very fuel they need to grow.
And one of the most effective natural approaches for doing this is the ketogenic diet. It is certainly not the only thing that should be included in a cancer-fighting protocol, but science has proven that it can be a very important part of one.
The Ketogenic Diet: Natural, Effective “Metabolic Therapy” for Cancer
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb diet that is moderate in protein and high in fat. It is well known that the cells in your body are normally fueled by glucose (the form of sugar present in the blood). But when glucose is not available, cells derive their energy from ketones – a byproduct of fat breakdown.
And if you are concerned about cancer this is a very good thing…
You see, cancer cells work differently than normal cells. And while they thrive on glucose, they are unable to make the switch to ketones. Without glucose as a source of fuel, cancer cells begin to die off. Over time, tumors shrink and the diagnosis of “cancer” can disappear.
Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, metabolic therapy researcher at the University of South Florida 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.”
In fact, preliminary studies have shown the ketogenic diet to be so effective at resolving a number of different types of cancers (including some in the advanced stages) that it is being called “metabolic therapy.”
Researchers at the University of South Florida found that removing carbohydrates from lab mice with aggressive cancer increased their recovery. The ketogenic diet was also shown to work better than traditional chemotherapy (and, of course, without the horrible side effects).
Another study at Johns Hopkins found that people with brain tumors have a significantly lower survival rate when they have higher blood sugar levels. This provides additional support for the role of a ketogenic diet in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Tips for Following a Ketogenic Diet
With cancer on the rise, the ketogenic diet is providing a safe, natural means of prevention and recovery for many people. And while each one of us is unique, with regards to the macronutrient ratios required to reach ketosis, a general guideline is to keep your carbohydrate consumption limited to 50 grams per day. The majority of calories should come from healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein.
Here are some quick meal ideas for a ketogenic diet:
• Breakfast: Pastured eggs cooked in grass-fed butter, pastured pork sausage and avocado. You could also supplement with a tablespoon of coconut oil, avocado oil, fish oil or MCT oil for an added boost of healthy fats.
• Lunch: Wild salmon over a large organic green salad with Kalamata olives and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette. Pastured lamb burgers with mint gremolata, olives and greens (with oil or duck fat) might be another option.
• Snack: Grass-fed pemmican, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts or canned mackerel… plus another tablespoon of your favorite healthy fat.
• Dinner: Free-range roasted duck legs over mashed cauliflower with grass fed butter and a green salad with olive or avocado oil. Another option: grass-fed ribeye steak with a generous helping of basil pesto and steamed broccoli. Another tablespoon of your favorite healthy fat before bed.
As research continues to mount that cancer is largely a disease of the metabolism, we have more opportunities to treat it with the safe, natural diet enjoyed by our ancestors.
Read more articles by Kelley Herring here.
ED NOTE: Do you want to follow a ketogenic diet? But are you worried that won’t be able to completely cut out those tasty treats that you enjoy? Over on the Healing Gourmet website, Kelley has a recipe for Keto Paleo Dinner Rolls that are grain free, low in carbohydrates, and just perfect for sopping up the last few bites of your evening meal.
1. WHO: Imminent global cancer ‘disaster’ reflects aging, lifestyle factors. Tim Hume and Jen Christensen, CNN. February 4, 2014
2. A.M. Poff, C. Ari, T.N. Seyfried and D.P. D’Agostino The Ketogenic Diet and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Act Synergistically to Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer. PLOS ONE, June 5, 2013
3. McGirt MJ, Chaichana KL, Gathinji M, Attenello F, Than K, Ruiz AJ, Olivi A, Quiñones-Hinojosa A. Persistent outpatient hyperglycemia is independently associated with decreased survival after primary resection of malignant brain astrocytomas. Neurosurgery. 2008 Aug;63(2):286-91; discussion 291.
4. Thomas N. Seyfried, Michael A. Kiebish, Jeremy Marsh, et al. Metabolic management of brain cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics. Volume 1807, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 577–594
5. Thomas N Seyfried Laura M Shelton. Cancer as a metabolic disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010; 7: 7.