The basic idea of the ketogenic diet is to minimize sugar intake. Since cancer cells feed on sugar, following the ketogenic diet is essentially starving the cancer. In this case, however, we follow a LOW TO ZERO carbohydrate diet, which forces our bodies to form so-called ketone bodies.
Ketone bodies are formed in the liver from acetyl-CoA, namely, acetoacetate, acetone, and 3-hydroxybutyrate. All three are substances that signal the body of an “emergency” from an evolutionary viewpoint. Thus, metabolic processes in the body change considerably in such emergency situations (a process called ketosis). When the body is hacked or fooled into processing that it no longer receives its “favorite fuel” (glucose) in large quantities, it begins to break down more fat as an alternative fuel source. This metabolic process is also why the Atkins Diet works so well for weight loss.
For cancer patients, who are often already in a catabolic phase, the body’s reaction to the aforementioned diet is detrimental for two reasons. On one hand, it’s because of the patients’ cachexia, and on the other hand, an altered fat metabolism is undesirable, about which Dr. Budwig and many other scientists have written.
In addition, there is the additional stress on the liver. Since the liver is already energetically exhausted by the increased conversion processes of lactate as well as the metabolism of toxins, the added load in the production of ketone bodies comes at the absolutely worst time for a body with cancer.
You can also see how important carbohydrates are for your body from the fact that even if you eat absolutely no carbohydrates, your blood sugar level drops only slightly and there is always enough sugar in your blood. This fact alone shows that the whole theory is wrong. Also, the much-discussed insulin level of the followers of a ketogenic diet is of secondary importance. In cancer patients, as already proven by Dr. Waltraut Fryda, it is not so much the height of the insulin level that counts, but the height of insulin’s opponent: adrenaline. I’m unaware of one study that significantly proves how the level of insulin would have affected the prognosis of a cancer patient. The adrenaline level, on the other hand, is different. Dr. Fryda, as well as other doctors I know who measure their cancer patients’ adrenaline levels, clearly indicated how much the prognosis is improved by an increase in the adrenaline level. Of course, I am not a friend of food that quickly increase or stimulate blood sugar levels and thus insulin production. Nevertheless, we have to say clearly that adrenaline levels play a significantly greater role for a cancer patient.
Followers of the ketogenic diet should know that Dr. Bonucello as early as 2010 (Cell Cycle. 2010 Sep 1;9 (17):3506-14) has shown that ketone bodies (3-hydroxybutyrate, specifically) have allowed tumors to grow 250% faster. To date, there is no conclusive study that a ketogenic diet is beneficial and helpful for cancer patients. In Germany, the study by Prof. Ulrike Kämmer, a biologist at the University of Würzburg, is often mentioned in connection with this topic. She published a study with 16 patients. Two patients died in week 2 and another two in week 5. Three patients left the study for personal reasons and another three had to leave due to disease progression. Why this particularly negative study is always mentioned on the success of a ketogenic diet for cancer patients is completely incomprehensible to me. Even the ERGO study by Dr. Rieger and Dr. Steinbach with 20 patients, or the work of Dr. Fine or Dr. Schröder indicated only negative results under the carb-restrictive diet.
Moreover, the book of Dr. Thomas Seyfried is far from convincing. It contains many theories but he is not describing one study adequately prove that the ketogenic diet actually prolongs the lives of cancer patients.
Personal opinion: In recent years I have had many positive experiences with cancer patients who have undergone ketosis, e.g. through Breuss Kost. Here, however, complete therapy concepts were always followed and ketosis was not produced solely by omitting carbohydrates. Only omitting carbohydrates can be fatal for cancer patients. Instead, you might want to take a proven therapy such as Oil-Protein Diet or Gerson.