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Is the Ketogenic Diet Really a ‘Cure’ for Cancer?

The ketogenic diet is often touted as a 'cure' for cancer. But is this justified? Could there be risk from using a keto-diet for cancer?

Key Findings:

• Keto-diets are likely to benefit many cancers
• Overloading with any fuel could be detrimental to treating cancer
• Ketones can be used by several cancer types (the Reverse Warburg Effect) and can result in aggressive rebound growth
• Practitioners should be aware of the emerging evidence for ketone vs glucose use by different cancer types
• Protein should not be excessively restricted

Ketogenic diets are now one of the, most popular diets in the mainstream consciousness. Despite this popularity, practitioners and laypeople alike often misunderstand the ketogenic diet, and there are many myths and fallacies surrounding its application and use.

It is more and more frequently claimed that keto-diets can be used as a treatment option for cancer. This is due to the observation that most cancer cells are predominantly glycolytic. In other words, cancer cells have a preference for using sugar for fuel and are quite resistant to burning fat (and ketones). This effect is known as the ‘Warburg Effect’ as it was originally described by the scientist Otto Warburg.1


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