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My Love – Hate Relationship with The Ketogenic Diet

There are always new diets popping up everywhere. One diet that recently caught my attention was the Ketogenic Diet. Since I have experimented with just about every diet out there, I wanted to experience first hand what it was all about.

Since we are now understanding that cancer is a metabolic dis-ease and basically a dis-ease of insulin resistance, carbohydrate intolerance and inflammation, the low carb approach of the Ketogenic Diet made sense to me. Plus, there is more and more science to back it up. 

I have just spent the last three months with a Ketogenic Diet Coach exploring this very low-carb, low sugar way of eating. What I discovered about my own body based on how I responded to it was very eye-opening.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?
This form of eating was actually developed close to one hundred years ago as an effective way to treat and heal epilepsy. Today there are dozens of studies that confirm its long-term effectiveness at preventing epileptic seizures and other complications of this disease, especially in children for whom conventional treatment has not been effective. Studies have also shown the diet’s effectiveness on migraine headaches, narcolepsy, Retts syndrome, Dravett Syndrome, COPD, and Type 1 Diabetes

Recent studies have are also beginning to confirm its effectiveness at slowing cancer tumor growth as well.

The Ketogenic Diet is high in healthy fats, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrates (20-50 grams per day, depending on your weight) . When a person eats this way, their body is forced to burn fats instead of carbs (glucose) for fuel. Fewer carbs and glucose to use as fuel affects the liver; it will then begin to change fats into fatty acids and eventually into what are called “ketone bodies” which are water soluble fats.

According to ketogenic diet experts, our bodies and our brains are able to run about 70% more efficiently in this way. This is partly because ketones are able to pass directly through the blood-brain barrier to provide necessary fuel for the brain.

And not to worry if you think that you may not get enough energy with this diet. Did you know that approximately 56% of the excess protein you  ingest will turn to glucose in your bloodstream? This process is called gluconeogenesis.

Can the ketogenic diet help you heal breast cancer?

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The ketogenic diet is focused mostly on ingesting healthy oils and fats, with moderate amounts of protein and very few carbs.

The increased metabolic efficiency of the ketogenic diet can also help to heal cancer, according to a growing number of studies. Since cancer cells feed on glucose and they cannot feed on ketones, you are in essence, starving the cancer.

~ A 2012 Duke University study found that carbohydrate restriction was “significantly associated with lower tumor volumes” in a prostate cancer mouse model;

~ A January 2017 study published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology found that a ketogenic diet was seen as a viable therapeutic option for malignant brain cancer. In their final report, the Israeli researchers summed up why a low-carb diet would be especially helpful for healing brain cancer in particular:

“Normal brain cells depend on glucose metabolism, yet they have the flexibility to switch to the usage of ketone bodies during caloric restriction. In contrast, tumor cells lack genomic and metabolic flexibility and are largely dependent on glucose.”

~ A 2014 study conducted by the University of Iowa came to the same basic conclusion for breast and colon cancer cells. They surmised that the diet may be beneficial as an adjunct to other healing modalities for both colon and breast cancer, since it appears to lessen oxidative stress and can interfere with cancer cells’ increased glucose  metabolic needs.

What I loved and “hated” about the Ketogenic Diet
As you can see in this chart, there are many benefits, but I feel they come at a price. For me, the leg cramps and digestive disturbances were quite a nuisance. It took me about 2 months for my body to adapt to the lifestyle.

I also learned to adjust my ratios of Fats to Carbohydrates and Proteins and raised my calorie in take a bit so I could get more nutrition. This made a big difference in how I felt.

After three months on a ketogenic diet, I believe that this kind of eating may be therapeutically beneficial for some individuals who wish to use it as an adjunct to other cancer-healing modalities. or for those who feel stuck in their healing journey. I am not convinced, however, that it would be a healthy long-term diet for most people.

Other factors to keep in mind include the need to supplement with essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D, Selenium, Magnesium and Potassium while one is on this diet. One should also be aware of the possibility of kidney stones.

One thing that I have learned in almost 40 years in the health industry is that there is no “perfect cookie-cutter anti-cancer diet”. If someone is adamant about a specific eating style, run the other way

I have seen some individuals thrive on the ketogenic diet while others did better on a plant-based diet.

The ketogenic diet is not for everyone. However, I would say that if you have tried other diets, especially those that emphasize raw juicing, raw foods and vegetarianism, and you are not seeing the results you need, you may want to investigate the ketogenic diet. If you do, get with a ketogenic coach so they can get you started in the proper direction.

Here are a few references to get you started:

Dietary Therapies

Keto Nutrition

Ketogenic Diet Resource

February 5, 2017

© 2017 Dr. Veronique Desaulniers – All Rights Reserved

Submitted to for publication to Kettle Moraine Publications by the author, Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of The 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer Naturally. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 day mini e-course, and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit http://breastcancerconqueror.com/.

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