I just found out that my cancer has spread. I’m having surgery in June, and before surgery and after, I want to do what I can to keep the cancer from returning. I started doing research and stumbled across the Ketogenic Diet.
What is the Purpose? The first question I had was, “What is the Ketogenic Diet and what purpose does it serve in relation to cancer?” According to CBN News, the Ketogenic Diet’s main purpose is to starve cancer cells. While many people do not believe that something as simple as what you eat has an effect on cancer, there seem to be just as many people who do. There is evidence that cancer loves glucose, carbohydrates, glutamine, and protein. The debate is whether cancer can be killed by starving it, how to starve it, and if that type of diet is safe for cancer patients.
Is it Dangerous? This was my second question. Many so called “cures” for cancer can actually hurt you and interfere with traditional treatments like chemotherapy. I don’t believe that anyone should risk dying because someone says, “I have the cure!” Research it, talk to everyone you can about it, and then decide for yourself. As far as the Ketogenic Diet goes, I have a few issues with the diet. Your body first uses simple carbs (the bad ones), then complex carbs (the good ones), then moves on to using protein, and finally starts using it’s stores when no food is taken in. That’s when muscles atrophy from starvation. While this diet may starve cancer cells, it obviously starves other cells as well. Doesn’t sound very healthy, does it?
Special Note: Starving your body of glucose does not seem safe. Your body turns all foods into glucose and it needs the glucose to function properly. Read about the effects of ‘starvation mode’ here.
Danger for Cancer Patients? I feel it may be even more dangerous for some cancer patients who suffer from issues like chronic dehydration, liver and kidney failure, inability to absorb nutrients and so forth. That means that something that works for a healthy person may be difficult or even impossible to follow for cancer patients. I have to eat 4,000 calories per day just to keep from losing weight. I am actually underweight for my height. So eating 15 percent less calories than I need per day might not be good for me. Fasting would be devastating to my health.
The National Cancer Institute warns against cancer patients not getting enough calories per day to keep up their weight and the Ketogenic Diet involves fasting. You fast in order to starve your cancer of glucose. The problem is that you are also starving your other cells. Did you know that glucose is the only compound that your brain cells and red blood cells can use?
I personally was not allowed to eat or drink for months due to radiation enteritis of the small intestine and colon. Guess what? My cancer came back. So despite having no nutrition whatsoever; including glucose; why did my cancer spread if starving yourself is the answer?
What’s Involved? The Ketogenic Diet requires you to eat good fats like virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil, eat a ton of protein (I assume this is so that the body has something to feed on without glucose), and to eat no carbohydrates other than vegetables. You are allowed cheeses etc. The best resource I’ve found for foods allowed on the Ketogenic Diet are here. It is also suggested that you fast with this diet and as I mentioned before, that may be impossible and even dangerous for some cancer patients. Cancer Active can give you some great tips on what to eat, resources, studies being conducted, and why scientists think this diet is worth researching. The Caveman Doctor has an interesting article on this diet and why it’s thought to inhibit tumor growth.
My Research: The more I research cancer diets and so called ‘cures’ of all kinds, The Gerson Therapy, Wheatgrass Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Burzynski, and on and on…I have noticed one commonality among all of these diets and methods of treatment.
Each and every one recommends, in fact demands healthy eating habits that limit (or completely cut out) refined sugars and flours, unhealthy fats, unhealthy carbs, many if not all meats (excluding the Ketogenic Diet), dairy, and processed foods. This leads me to believe that maybe all of these diets can help a person with cancer by providing the body with a chance at greater health. Will it completely reverse and cure it? I don’t know. I am of the opinion that eating healthy certainly can’t hurt you unless you starve yourself, which completely defeats the purpose getting healthy in the first place.
Research is of course, lacking as far as this diet is concerned but it is in premature stages. If you are considering any diet, do discuss it with your doctor and make sure that as a cancer patient your body can handle it; especially if you are considering fasting.
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