keto diet and cancer

Can the Keto Diet Help Battle Cancer?

A new study from UT Dallas published in Cell Reports reveals that the keto diet can prevent squamous cell cancer from growing.

Cancer can rely on sugar in order to survive and grow. Therefore constantly high glucose levels can be a problem when dealing with the disease. 

The study showed that, combined with the diabetes drug Invokana as well as chemotherapy, the keto diet helped to stop squamous cell lung cancer from progressing. Even without the addition of chemo and Invokana, the keto diet was effective in slowing the cancer. The study was performed in mice who had not been diagnosed with diabetes. 

A previous study by the same research team showed that those who had squamous cell carcinoma and high blood glucose levels had worse rates of survival than those who didn’t. The researchers found that this particular kind of cancer was especially reliant on glucose to grow and survive.

Methods such as diets are now being used as important complements to chemo, radiation, and other means of cancer treatment. “Maybe we can manipulate our own biological system a little bit or activate something we already have in place in order to more effectively combat cancer,” said Dr. Jung-Whan Kim, study lead. 

What is the keto diet?

A ketogenic diet is one in which you eat little to no carbs. Partitioners of the keto diet eat plenty of meats, eggs, cheese, fish, butter, oil, and vegetables. Over time, the keto diet causes your cells to use ketones (broken down stored fats) instead of sugar for energy.

The keto diet is not for everyone, and it may take a few weeks to adjust to. Since cancer treatments such as chemo can cause nausea, it might be hard to follow such a restrictive diet. Talk with your doctor and come up with a plan that’s right for you. Your can also seek out a dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition. People with kidney disease should not try the keto diet.

The keto diet has also been shown in the past to reduce the risk of seizures in children as well as to help with weight loss. It can help with blood glucose control in those with type 2 diabetes as well.