Can low-carb and ketogenic diets be helpful in treating cancer?

Can low-carb and ketogenic diets be helpful in treating cancer? Learn more in this new interview:

Dr. Kara Fitzgerald: Cancer, Low-Carb Diets and Tumor Keto-Adaptation

The main point is that there seems to be a great variability in responsiveness in patients to low-carb and ketogenic diets. Dr. Eugene Fine, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, explains that in cases where patients did not respond well in his study, there were metabolic dysregulations (e.g. prediabetes) that may have made cancer cells resistant to the potential anti-cancer effects of ketosis.

Note also that in almost all cases researchers are discussing using ketogenic diets together with conventional cancer treatment, not by itself.


A couple of years ago I interviewed Dr. Eugene Fine about his study on ketogenic diets and cancer:

Can A Ketogenic Diet Treat Cancer? – Dr. Eugene Fine


Earlier posts about cancer


  1. Bob Niland
    Interesting that their study only took patients with positive PET scans. A tumor that doesn't uptake the tagged glucose is not exhibiting Warburg Effect and is probably not going to be terribly responsive to a lower glycemic environment.

    Dr. Fitzgerald seems a bit mystified about the role of caloric restriction, which suggests that she's unaware of Seyfried, who argues that the point of it is to reduce glutamine, which most tumors can use instead of glucose. Unsurprisingly, no mention of exogenous ketones or HbO2, which Seyfried are also exploring.

  2. Bob Niland
    Another aspect of the Fitzgerald article:
    "But the 4 people that had worst progression of disease were also the heaviest with BMIs 28 – 31."

    I got to poking around on that, and I'm not surprised that ketogenic diet (KD) is less effective for people who are overweight at cancer diagnosis, and this is entirely apart from the likely presence of metabolic syndrome up through T2D and its high BG.

    The fat (adipose tissue) tends to represent the diet of the preceding 3-4 years. Modern diets are drowning in the PUFA Omega 6 linoleic acid (ω6LA), which is inflammatory, obesogenic and tumor-promoting. A KD is going to release fat stores, and I read that PUFAs are released preferentially. So someone with a high BMI and cancer, doing KD, is going to be flooding the blood with ω6LA.

    This does not lead to a conclusion of don't do KD. Keeping the weight on is apt to be even riskier. What it really means is that anyone concerned about cancer avoidance needs to lose the weight now, and not after diagnosis. Also get as much overt and stealth ω6LA out of your diet as you can.

  3. Michael
    Bob Niland

    I was most interested in your comments on the subject; thet certainly seem to make sense.

    Having read Christofferson's book "Tripping Over the Truth: The Metabolic Theory of Cancer" ( Seyfried's book was way beyond my purse) your comments were of great interest. I must say that I am greatly surprised that there is so little research in this area particularly after Ko and Pedersen's work on 3BP. But then 3BP is not going to make Big Pharma the £thousands (10s???) per treatment that they want.

    As I understand it the 80% of solid tumours that display the Warburg effect (metabolic damage to mitochondria) is due to the fact that cancer cells depend on a primitive fermentation process to utilize glucose which 3BP, properly formulated and used, can destroy.

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