Ketones, Cancer, and Eating Right.

The ketogenic diet goes against conventional wisdom asserting that we should consume a diet that is high in carbohydrates, and instead recommends a system based on the idea of putting the body in a state of “ketosis”. Ketosis is defined as a state of elevated ketone bodies in the human body. Ketone bodies are defined as three different water-soluble, biochemicals that are produced as by products when fatty acids are broken down in the liver for energy. Ketosis is achieved by reducing the daily amount of carbs in one’s diet, to 50 grams or less of carbohydrates. The premise being that your body will use fat and ketone bodies for energy, rather than glucose. Glucose is one of the main forms of energy that the body uses, and when carbohydrates enter the body, they are converted into glucose. So with the ketogenic diet, the goal is to essentially switch the body from a carb burning machine to a fat burning machine.



The controversy has been around since physician and cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins(1930-2003) has been preaching a low carb diet. This kind of diet flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which says that carbs are needed for energy, eating fat makes you fat, and weight loss is simply a calories in, calories out equation. As far back as 1973, the chair of Harvard’s nutritional department, went on record before a US Senate committee and denounced the Atkins diet. In 2003 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicinecame out against the Atkins diet, claiming that high fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets lead to increased risk of chronic health diseases and health problems. These same claims have been made for decades, and numerous medical associates and groups have spoken out against the Atkins diet, including the American Medical Association, American Dietetics Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, The Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, The American Kidney Fund, American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Institute of health. Of course, there also exists plenty of evidence showing that a high carb diet can itself be harmful.

While the arguments for and against the low-carb, ketogenic diet are many, possibly the most common argument(and misconception) is in regards to what is referred to as ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition in which abnormal quantities of ketones are produced in an unregulated biochemical situation. The amount of ketones produced during a ketogenic diet are far lower than in ketoacidosis, which is something that mainly affects patients with type 1 diabetes. This simple similarity in terms has led to a confusion regarding a low carb diet being dangerous.

Health Benefits of The Ketogenic Diet

There has been research done in the topic of using a ketogenic diet to treat cancer. Dr. Thomas Seyfried has published a book called, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer”, and in it he brings together methods and findings regarding the sources and prevention of cancer that he spent many years working on at Boston College and Yale University. In the book, he writes “Emerging evidence indicates that impaired cellular energy metabolism is the defining characteristic of nearly all cancers regardless of cellular or tissue origin.” The main idea behind using a ketogenic diet as a cancer treatment, is to deprive the cancer cells of the glucose and other fuels they need to survive, and to provide support for the mitochondrial respiration process in healthy tissues. The obvious advantage to using the diet as a treatment, is that there are no harmful side effects that are so commonplace in conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The treatments have not always been successful, but newer research is showing that ketosis can be beneficial for many cancer cases.

Take the case of Dr. Fred Hatfield, a former power lifting champion, author of over a dozen books, and millionaire businessman. After being diagnosed with metastatic cancer in his skeletal system, he was given only three months to live by his doctors. He was preparing himself to die when he heard about an anti-cancer diet, so with nothing to lose he gave it a try. To his amazement, the diet worked, and his cancer is gone. “The cancer was gone! Completely. To this day there’s no trace of it, and it’s been over a year.” Important to note when undertaking this diet is that your body will need supplemental salt (NaCl) to offset the water retention lost during the change from a high carb to a low carb diet.

Another exciting development in the ketogenic diet it’s success at treating seizures of individuals with epilepsy. Several studies have shown the effects of the ketogenic diet with epileptic patients, and each study showed and massive improvement in most of the patients and even complete elimination of all seizures from some of them. Whether the ketone diet is always applicable or useful is a different question, but it seems clear that we can be healed or harmed through our nutrition.

‘Fat’ drug could treat epilepsy.

A substance made by the body when it uses fat as fuel could provide a new way of treating epilepsy, experts hope.

Researchers in London who have been carrying out preliminary tests of the fatty acid treatment, report their findings in Neuropharmacology journal.

They came up with the idea because of a special diet used by some children with severe, drug resistant epilepsy to help manage their condition.

The ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate.

The high fat, low carbohydrate diet is thought to mimic aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

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The identification of these fatty acids is an exciting breakthrough”

Simon WigglesworthEpilepsy Action

Although often effective, the diet has attracted criticism, as side-effects can be significant and potentially lead to constipation, hypoglycaemia, retarded growth and bone fractures.

By pinpointing fatty acids in the ketogenic diet that are effective in controlling epilepsy, researchers hope they can develop a pill for children and adults that could provide similar epilepsy control without the side-effects.

In early trials, the scientists, from Royal Holloway and University College London, say they have identified fatty acids that look like good candidates for the job.

They found that not only did some of the fatty acids outperform a regular epilepsy medication called valproate in controlling seizures in animals, they also had fewer side-effects.

But many more tests are needed to determine if the treatment would be safe and effective in humans.

Prof Matthew Walker, from the Institute of Neurology, University College London, said: “Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of these people have epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by our present treatments.

“This discovery offers a whole new approach to the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies in children and adults.”

Simon Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “We know the ketogenic diet can be a highly effective treatment for children with difficult to control epilepsy and it is starting to be used for adults.

“The diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates and the balance of the diet needs to be carefully worked out for each child. Although some children manage the diet very well, others find the diet unpleasant and difficult to follow. Children can also experience side-effects including constipation and weight loss.

“The identification of these fatty acids is an exciting breakthrough. The research means that children and adults with epilepsy could potentially benefit from the science behind the ketogenic diet without dramatically altering their eating habits or experiencing unpleasant side-effects.

“We look forward to seeing how this research progresses.”


Nature’s Goodies for Diabetics.

We understand that as a diabetic, your diet is of utmost importance. And that sometimes those sweet cravings are just way too hard to resist! So we bring you alist of natural goodies that tantalise your taste buds, are easy to find and as a bonus, are great for your health!

Tempting red strawberries or indigo coloured blueberries or just any berries for that matter. Experts advice that these little colourful fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fibre and are low-carb! So top off your breakfast with some strawberries or just toss them in your mouth. It adds a pop of colour and a dollop of health!

Low in calories and carbohydrate content, this portable fruit can be toted around easily in your bag, making it the perfect snack. Fibrous, with tonnes of vitamins and antioxidants, this diabetes-friendly fruit will add a crunchy and healthy punch to your diet.

Is there nothing this superfood can’t do? Research shows that green, leafy and fresh spinach is extremely low in calories and carbohydrates, which is especially good news if you are a diabetic. In fact, spinach is one of the rare things that a diabetic can eat almost freely!

Kidney beans, black beans or lentils have been shown to have immense health benefits for a diabetic. They are low fat, low calorie and high protein! They make you feel full, slow down your digestion process and prevent blood sugar from spiking.


Despite the fact that an orange contains sugar, it also contains other compounds that help control blood glucose, which makes it good for a diabetes patient. The soluble fibre present in an orange thickens as it’s being digested. This in turn slows down the sugar absorption, offering better control of your blood sugar.

Cabbage has a low glycaemic index of 10 which is very diabetes friendly. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and K. However, keep an eye on the fat content if you are including cabbage in your diet.

Brinjal: Non-starchy, low carbohydrate and soluble fibre, could a vegetable be more perfect for diabetes? Load up on this easily available vegetable and enjoy the goodness that it offers!

Okra (Lady’s Finger) is a sure shot hit with kids and diabetics! Like brinjals and oranges, the presence of soluble fibre in okra makes this humble vegetable one of the best things to eat if you are diabetic.

Pears: Rich in potassium and loaded with fibre, a pear is also low in carbohydrates! Add them in your fruit bowl or mix it up with spinach to get an instant fix for your hunger pangs.
Despite the fact that fruits and vegetables are good for you, there’s no denying the fact that some of them contain sugar and carbohydrates, albeit in small amounts. So keep your portions small and do check with your nutritionist before any major diet changes.