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Ketogenic diet for cancer...

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 621
Joined: Mar 2012

I saw a special on this tonight and there was a man there who had three months to live and gave this a try. He is alive a year later with no cancer and no treatment. Anyone hear of it!

May also be called the metabolic diet.

http://www.theketogenicdiet.org/the-ketogenic-diet-and-cancer/

Www.nbcnews.com has info on it as well.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I would avoid it like the plague and stick to the advice of credible sources like Servan-Schreiber, Block and Campbell. Even just the approbatory reference to Atkins put me straight off.

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 621
Joined: Mar 2012

Thanks TW...will avoid! ;)

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Texas_wedge,

I'm just curious why you would avoid that particular diet? I've been on this particular diet (IE avoiding sugar and starch, increasing fat intake and equalizing protein) for quite a while and have experienced quite a few positive experiences, the least of which was a significant amount of weight loss. I've also been researching this to the extent and finding significant amount of studies (peer-reviewed) not stemming from a single source, on it's beneficial effects on mental metabolic disorders (Alzheimer's and Epilepsy), as well as Diabetes, Cancer, and Obesity. I've also spoken to a significant amount of people in various communities that have anecdotally shown this was the case.

For the record, this is my first post here. I found this brief thread through my research and decided I should put forward my 2 cents - especially in a forum community that hopes to assist people with or had cancer. I have a facebook page and am actually making a website on my own time to promote this particular way of living by virtue of all the good things I know it can provide people. If you want access to the actual studies - I've listed them all on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/ketoliving).

If you have any questions, reach out to me there (or comment here).

 

Thanks,

-Ketoliving

adman's picture
adman
Posts: 258
Joined: Jul 2012

Keotliving,

 

Thanks.

Please provide a few examples of what kinds of food you eat following this diet...i.e, a list of what you ate on a few days or more. Curious to see. Thanks. 

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hey Adman,

It's less about what foods I eat vs. what foods I avoid. I don't eat anything that is high in sugar or starch:

I don't eat - Potatoes, Candy, Rice, Bread (or any wheat-based product), etc.

I avoid/minimize - Fruits/High glycemic vegetables (Like carrots, yam, etc.)

I eat - Full fat meats (Pork, Chicken, Beef), Seafood (preferably wild, full fat like salmon), Eggs, Green Leafy Veg (will provide any nutrients you need that you would otherwise get from fruits), Dairy products (Butter, Cream, etc. - avoiding low-% fat products as it contains a higher % of lactose which is a sugar, or is actually replaced directly with sugar).

The general consensus is if you want to go full ketogenic you would keep your net carb intake below 20g/day (this will put you in a state of nutritional ketosis). If you want maintenance or minimization, keep it under 50g/day. Personally I've never reverted back or craved carbs since I've started and have maintained sub-20g/day for quite a while.

I've also spoken to some paleo folks and on top of the above, they also avoid anything that's not 'natural' - IE only grass-fed meats, wild seafood, free range eggs, etc. in order to avoid any unnatural hormones and increase the nutritional value of your protein sources.

The main thing I get about this change is that a lot of people are still under the assumption that cholesterol or saturated fats are bad for you - I've listed quite an extensive list of studies on my facebook page that shows both articles and peer-reviewed studies that this is not the case.

 

Hope this helps!

-Ketoliving

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

With only one kidney I'd be concerned with a diet so high in protein as lower protein diets are advised as easier on the remaining kidney.

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hey Garym,

I've actually heard this concern before alongside people who have had other sorts of kidney issues (like kidney infections, etc.). With a ketogenic diet - increasing protein intake is not overly necessary, the typical macronutrient ratio of food (based on calories) is typically 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs. Based on a regular diet - this would not typically increase your protein requirements from a regular diet.

That said, I'm not familiar with the physiological differences of having 1 kidney vs. 2 and it's nutritional requirements - so for your particular circumstance, if you've been advised to lessen your protein intake from where it was previously, then I wouldn't be able to safely say that going ketogenic would be a good idea without further research - but it would still be worthwhile to do some basic research on it regardless.

 

-Ketoliving

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I'm afraid that I avoid Facebook so I won't see your references. Would it be possible for you to cite at least some of them here?

The reason I said I would avoid it is because it appears to contradict the advice of reputable serious scientists.

Can you please explain what "equalizing protein" means and why you would avoid starch and increase fat intake (relative to what baseline?).

I've just read your reply to adman's enquiry. I agree with the desirability of minimising exposure to undesirable chemicals, but for the rest of it I think it's almost complete nonsense.

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi TW,

Based on my research - most scientists that are considered 'popular' would have some sort of financial biased in mind. Keeping this in mind, I found the most unbiased sources and went straight to the peer reviewed studies - not just hearsay from scientists.

My description of my diet is relative to a hypocaloric diet that I was on in an attempt to lose weight for almost 2 years (IE Calorie restriction). Starch is a carbohydrate which (along with sugar), easily crosses your intestinal barrier and becomes processed by your body as glucose and also induces an insulin spike. This insulin spike is what causes your body to stop producing both leptin and ghrelin which is why after eating carbs - you will readily be hungry within about 2 hours after your last meal (that's the source of the modern thought of eating smaller but more frequent meals throughout the day). This insulin is largely what has been theorized and partially studied to be the cause of various metabolic diseases (Obesity and Diabetes) and the excess glucose prior to being converted into fat is what is thought to fuel various types of cancers. Even if you don't have a facebook account - you can still view all of the studies I've posted without signing in as I've made all the articles public.

Listed below are some of the links for both articles and studies concerning various things that I think are relevant to this forum:

http://www.emaxhealth.com/1506/deadly-brain-tumor-may-respond-specialized-diet

http://scienceblog.com/58381/what-turns-carby-treats-into-fat/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-great-cholesterol-myth.html

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/8/1/54

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123763 (Links of Sat. Fat. & Stroke)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23125921 (High Carb vs. High Fat diets)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22673594 (Low Carb vs. Low Calorie)

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822395001891 (Cancer studies w/ Ketogenic diets as far back as 1995)

http://rdfeinman.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/targeting-insulin-inhibition-as-a-metabolic-therapy-in-advanced-cancer/

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8479191 (Comprehensive study on links between heart disease and a high-fat diet - There is none.)

 

There's a bunch more on there if you care to look as well.

 

Cheers,

-Ketoliving

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks for those links.

I've now read all of the articles and I can't find anything in any of them that supports a ketogenic diet! If they represent the sort of material you base your beliefs on then I see nothing to dissuade me from the recommendations of highly regarded scientists who are of completely contrary opinion. I don't feel I need to look any further if that's the sort of support you are relying on.

I did, however, find the last item about high fat diet and CHD of interest and shall be looking out for intelligent responses to it by other researchers.  Do you know of any studies that endorse the finding?

Incidentally, are you an RCC patient?  From your pseudonym I gather you are a zealot for this particular type of diet and you refer only to your personal benefit in respect of your attempts to lose weight.  Did you come here to persuade us that the kind of diet you are advocating would be good for kidney cancer patients?  If so, you would need to provide us with at least a modicum of evidence and so far you haven't managed to show us any at all.

There is a conspectus of shifting scientific views on carbohydrate intake here:

http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/26/9/1958.full.pdf+html

It's entitled  "The Changing Roles of Dietary Carbohydrates From Simple to Complex"   and has the imprimatur of the American Heart Association.  I'd be intrigued to hear your take on it.

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Texas_wedge,

I'm not entirely sure what your concept of a ketogenic diet is. Ketogenic diets are simply means to cut down carbohydrates, and increase fat intake. I'm not entirely sure what type of information you're looking for to 'dissuade' you from other opinions. Studies are not meant to 'dissuade' anyone, they're meant to provide insights into the new frontiers of whatever is being studied. I would have a hard time responding to that with respect to what recommendations or opinions that you are saying that are contrary to my own. That said, based on the tone of your first paragraph, you can find in any sort of information whatever type of conclusions you wish to pull from any study if you're approaching them with your own personal biases.

Also, if you consistently rely on 'expert opinion' instead of being able to educate yourself in how to read unbiased evidence that 'experts' get their support from - then I can safely say that you will never free yourself from biased information. Experts get to where they are in large part due to the fiscal draw of their own positions, and end up making money supporting their own ideologies. They easily disregard unbiased information that go against their core beliefs, and easily attach themselves to those who may or may not be biased to those that agree with their own views - similar to the approach you're taking with your commentary.

I would consider myself a zealot insofar as that I know this can benefit people - the question would be simply bias. I put that as my name as a full disclosure that I am for this particular diet. Do I make any money out of this? No. Have I published any books that would benefit me in any way? No. The experts you're touting do. To your point that I haven't provided a modicum of evidence is frankly insulting considering you have not provided any evidence at all to support your points except for the single study at the end of your commentary, and yet have the gall to say that I'm the one who has not provided any evidence and it's only you that choose to disregard the ones I've provided.

With regard to your single study that you've provided, here are my insights and opinions:

There have been 3 key historical impetuses that has created such a prevalence and therefore a perceived requirement of carbohydrates in the north american diet - starting off with the food shortages shortly after WW2, the Ancel Keyes studies sponsored by the USDA in 1969, and then the banning of low-carb labelling in 2004 in Canada due to a large financial lobby from the sugar and agricultural industries. You can research these individually but these are key things to keep in mind for the following.

My first comment to this would be a question of why you're quoting a single study published in 2006, which reads into the progression of understanding of knowledge stemming back from 1958 up until 2004. The conclusions and RECOMMENDATIONS from this study are based on information published from the late 90's to 2004. Since 2004 and the ban of low-carb labelling in Canada, a significant burst of research has been started and completed (including decade-long studies that were started in the late 90's as well) that have tried to isolate the key points of support that low carb does have practical and significant beneficial effects in human physiologies. Since then, the studies I've provided to you have all pointed to the links of various metabolic diseases - even the ones that were funded (and subsequently tried to be buried) by the sugar industry, the USDA, the American Heart Association (+ The Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada), showed significant results towards the ill-health effects of carbohydrates in the diet.

So in large part, I don't care as much about what kind of imprimateur is on a study - that only leads me to bear in mind what kind of biases were set going into the studies. The sources I've quoted are largely from academic foundations (Cambridge, British Journal of Nutrition, John's Hopkins, etc.) as opposed to a singular organization who has a blatant bias at proving that their previous recommendations were not wrong. Since the studies that have recently been released, the USDA has since changed their stance on the food pyramid - cutting down recommendations on their 'My Plate' system, which I have no doubt within the next 2 decades, will continue to minimize the role of carbs in the human diet.

 

Sorry for the long rant, but I've encountered people that have such convictions based on their encounters with expert opinions (some even touting TV celebrities like the Doctors or Doctor OZ), without being able to comprehend where their information is coming from. Frankly if looking at unbiased academic studies isn't enough to make you think twice about your own personal convictions, I don't think anything will.

adman's picture
adman
Posts: 258
Joined: Jul 2012

 

IKetoliving,

I'm with you on the power of a 'low carb' diet and losing weight fast.

I lost 60lbs 18 months ago. I've put 20 back on and am in process of losing it....down 7-10...it's harder this time due to my inability to be on the same higher protein/ low carb mix b/c of my kidney situation.

My recent GFR # - 78

Creatinine - 1.1

I've been advised that higher protein diets aren't the way to go with my condition, but believe me, I know how they work.

BTW,  complex carbs are not bad...certain fruits, whole grain bread in moderation.

Who knows.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1873
Joined: Oct 2011

Of course there is always the exception to the rule. I tend to survive on pizza and beer diet. But never more than 7 days a week. I still contend that according to the Krebbs cycle, all food products are broken down into adp and atp for energy. Even Ben Franklin understood all things in moderation. Honestly, I don't want to change anything that I do since I've been a good responder to treatment. It's like the mediocre swimmer who never got into trouble until he learned to swim well. Then he drowned trying to swim the english channel.

Ketoliving
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hey Foxhd,

The Krebs cycle is definitely a proven procedure, but that only happens once food has entered the blood stream. However the mechanism for food to be transported in the bloodstream is drastically different from Fat/Protein vs. anything else - IE Carbs, Drugs, Alcohol, etc. Fat and Protein stay in your intenstines until your body can provide enough bile/enzymes to break it down so that it can actually pass through in the right amounts in your bloodstream. Other chemical substances like the ones I listed above don't need this mechanism - and regardless of how much you intake, it will go directly into your bloodstream causing whatever impacts it has to your body.

In the case of carbs - this increase results in an insulin spike, which both leads to weight gain as well as arterial damage (which is the root cause of artherosclerosis - the cholesterol lining is your body trying to repair these microtears). This also leads, as is currently theorized, to be a ready source of energy for cancer cells - since your body can't block glucose once it's in your bloodstream - glucose hungry cells (tumors) readily eat them up. Fat and Protein on the other hand are controlled by your body in the amounts they enter your bloodstream - only giving you the energy that your body requires when it requires it - as glucose is only provided by your liver/kidneys through gluconeogensis, and is typically only enough to feed your body and not cancer cells.

Understanding the mechanisms of how this lifestyle works is the key as this isn't just a 'diet', it's a complete change of paradigms in the BS that we've been fed by people who make money from feeding you carbs and keeping you sick (most studies are funded by sugar or pharmaceutical companies that are in favour of carbs - and these are readily viewable by looking at the financial sources of each study or the financial backing of the researchers in the study). The 'All things in moderation' mantra doesn't hold sway - unless you believe carbohydrates are ESSENTIAL to life (which they're not - I have not eaten over 10-20g of carbs in over a year, most of which is fiber which your body doesn't digest anyways), then it's kind of like saying that heroin, cocaine, or whatever else is ok in moderation.

But that's just my 2 cents.

Cheers,

KetoLiving

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Our chance visitor from the world of obesity problems will probably never visit here again.  However, in case anyone in future hits upon this thread, it would be a great pity if his pronouncements appeared to be the last word on the topic.  Although his denouncement of high sugar intake (generally, refined carbohydrates) is certainly to be applauded, the rest of his diet recommendations are virtually the exact opposite of what should be the nutritional intake for just about everyone.

The diet he propounds would almost certainly shorten the life of most RCC sufferers, would be bad for those with cardiovascular problems, or arthritis and doubtless many other health problems. 

It ill becomes someone who has no understanding whatsoever of RCC to come to this forum and try to persuade RCC patients to adopt his crank diet which flies in the face of the advice of those who have infinitely better credentials, scientific knowledge and  relevant experience.  Rather than bother to rebut each of the unsubstantiable claims that have been made, I'll cut to the chase with this quote from Keith Block's book, arguably as good a source of sound advice for cancer patients as is currently available:

"Notice that the culprits here are refined carbohydrates. Just as with fats, there are good carbs and bad carbs, an important distinction that the recent fad for low-carb diets ignores. [My emphasis] Carbohydrates represent your most important source of energy and calories; they add bulk and satisfaction to your meals.  Most important for our purposes, they are a major part of traditional diets associated with low cancer rates and high cancer survival. "

adman's picture
adman
Posts: 258
Joined: Jul 2012

 

I'm considering the Nutrisystem diet here in the US. I hear it's great for 1-2 month periods & 10-20 lbs. to lose.

question -  This diet is about 35 % protein @ 90-120 grams/ day. Is this too much protein intake with our type of condition? 

Thanks. 

NanoSecond's picture
NanoSecond
Posts: 515
Joined: Oct 2012

I have done lots of research on this and agree - cancer should be approached as a metabolic disease.  However, that does not mean you can completely disregard the genomic/somatic pathways with impunity.

And I am quite familiar with the current research on ketonic diets as an additional (NOT "in lieu of") strategy for combating cancer.

I strongly suggest that you read the book, "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease" by Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried before making any blanket pronouncements.

Restricted (this is vitally important) ketogenic diets do show great promise as a way to enhance the effectiveness of many therapies.  However, they rarely, if ever, offer complete response just on their own.  And they should be conducted under the auspices of medical experts.  It is not an easy path for most cancer sufferers to undergo voluntarily.  (Yet, in the case of brain cancer, they may have no choice).

I encourage you to join SmartPatients.com to discuss this exciting line of research further.  But do some more research first.

Meanwhile, many of the advantages of restricted ketonic diets can be won just by following a low-carb diet.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

SCSCF, a few questions:

Do you have kidney cancer? 

Are you over-weight? 

Where did you get your information that of the "700 durgs" only one "has had any impact"?

What are your credentials to support your pronouncements about cancer, about drugs and about nutrition?

Can you give us an example of what you consider constitutes a "ketogenic diet"  e.g. a sample day's food menu - one for a human being with kidney cancer, not a murine victim with implanted malignant brain cancer?

Answers to these questions might help us to evaluate the merits of your contentions.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Neil, as I rather expected, the latest irresponsible idiot to arrive here anonymously from out of nowhere, touting the supposed benefits of a "ketogenic diet", has yet to return and answer any of the questions I put above.

Since this is your 'thing', may I ask you to give me some idea of what you would consider a "ketogenic" (or "ketonic") menu to look like? I suspect that many of these diet labels camouflage a good deal of common ground among their various proponents.  I took a look at what some proselyte was suggesting on the Web.  It looked fairly nauseating to me but seemed to represent a good healthy diet, wrecked by the addition of a lot of animal fats, processed foods and dairy products.  

This doesn't seem consonant with your recommendation of eliminating meat and dairy products, so what would you regard as a sensible "ketogenic diet"?  There seems still to be a major flaw in so many of these zealots' counsels of failing to make distinctions within carbohydrates, within fats and within proteins.  The elimination of refined carbohydrates and avoidance of much in the way of grains (particularly wheat) together with eschewing consumption of most processed vegetable oils, seems unexceptionable, but, as regards the rest ....?

Have you been thinking about Robin's item on SP revealing that the latest scientific research explodes the value of Omega 3 fish oils as having any value for cardiovascular health?  I'm intrigued to hear your take on that.

 

NanoSecond's picture
NanoSecond
Posts: 515
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Trevor,

Just got home and its late (for me).  Your question deserves a long and thoughtful response - which I will try to prepare when I have much more time.

Just briefly though - please check out that link to Dr. Peter Attia's blog I sent you earlier.  I think he clearly explains the "real" rationale for the various ketonic approachs.  But you really do need to read Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried's book, "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease" to get to the heart of the matter as it relates to fighting cancer.  However, I realize this is a very expensive book.  So I guess you may have to wait for me to summarize all the important points he makes - as well as the research he and his cohorts have conducted so far.

In the meantime, a few other thoughts.

1. I actually have not yet read Robin's SP link yet.  But I will.  However, please keep in mind that I recommend fish and fish oil only for its anti-inflammatory properties.  That is to say, it is necessary to properly balance the ratio of omega-6's to omega-3's in the diet.  I do not tout taking fish oil for cardiovascular issues (except indirectly - as inflammation is a primary contributor to arteriolosclerosis).  And to me the biggest culprit in causing the nflammation associated with cardiovascular disease (and many other syndromes) are simple carbohydrates (i.e. sugars).

2. My diet is always changing as I learn new things.  At this point I can now recommend eating some red meat.  I still think it should be limited to only grass-fed sources (low omega-6's) and to only once a week because of its potential effects on the microbiome (gut). Still I no longer ban meat entirely. In fact I follow Dr. Terry Wahls recommendation to eat some organ meats (like liver or heart) every now and then.

3. I do still ban all dairy products - with the one exception of allowing cooking in butter.  I think it is quite essential to only cook in saturated fats.  And that to me means either cooking in butter or coconut oil - but never in vegatable oils.  The reason for this is because heating low burn-point poly-unsaturated fats can turn them into the equivalent of trans fats.

4.  A true ketonic diet to me just means absolutely no sugar(s) and no carbohydrates whatsoever.  But in their place you have to substitute fats and protein.  You then have to closely monitor your blood ketones and blood glucose levels. I believe this should only be done under the close supervision of a doctor or nutrition expert.

Regardless, the whole point of going ketonic is to "train" normal cells to run primarily on ketones and not on glucose.   That way you can reduce the blood glucose level to a point where tumors are being weakened due to their lack of nutrients. At the same time normal cells are not being weakened at all - because normal cells can metabolize ketones while tumors cannot. 

Anyway, that is the theory.  Does it work?  Well, yes, it has worked so far in very limited clinical trials - primarily done on GBM (brain cancer) patients who had pretty much exhausted all their other chemo or radiation therapies. 

If you want to evaluate this approach fairly you really need to read Dr. Seyfried's books and/or related papers. I will try to post links to those papers on SP for you and others to ponder.  In fact I just noticed that someone else has already posted one of them earlier today - but I have not had time to read it yet.

Meanwhile I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the link to Dr. Attia's blog.

 

-N

NanoSecond's picture
NanoSecond
Posts: 515
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Trevor,

Getting back to you on the recent study on omega-3 fish oils, I think this video sums up the real "heart" of the matter for me:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/805210?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=193627SG

Basically it says just what I have advocated - eating fish at least 2 (but preferably 3 or 4) times a week.  That recommendation still stands. This particular study does not address the fact that sufficient amounts of omega-3's in the diet can reduce inflammation; reduce triglycerides; and act as a blood thinning agent.  That is the real reason they continue to be so important.

I also would prefer that people eat (fatty) fish rather than take fish oil supplements.  But I see no harm if that is how they choose to get them into their system.

The proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 3:1. The typical "western" diet has a ratio ranging anywhere from 15:1 to over 30:1 (i.e. far too many omega-6's).  That is the major problem.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Agreed.

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