Can a Ketogenic Diet Help Fight Cancer?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (1Trusted Source).Cancer is most commonly treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Many different diet strategies have been studied, but none have been particularly effective.

Interestingly, there is some early research suggesting that a very low-carb ketogenic diet may help (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).

Important note: You should never, ever delay or avoid conventional medical treatment of cancer in favor of an alternative treatment like the ketogenic diet. You should discuss all treatment options with your doctor.

A Brief Overview of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with Atkins and other low-carb diets.

It involves drastically reducing your intake of carbs and replacing them with fat. This change leads to the metabolic state called ketosis.

After several days, fat becomes your body’s primary energy source.This causes a significant increase in the levels of compounds called ketones in your blood (5Trusted Source).

In general, a ketogenic diet used for weight loss is about 60-75% of calories as fat, with 15-30% of calories from protein and 5-10% of calories from carbs.

However, when a ketogenic diet is being used therapeutically to treat cancer, the fat content may be significantly higher (up to 90% of calories) and the protein content lower (6Trusted Source).


BOTTOM LINE:The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. For cancer treatment, fat intake may be as high as 90% of total calorie intake.