The Ketogenic Diet’s Impact on Cancer

August 23, 2016 Lisa Cantkier

Too many lives have been impacted by and lost to cancer. In my case, it took away the most important man in my life—my father. I lost him fifteen years ago to pancreatic cancer and I can’t express my feelings in words, other than to say my life and world was completely shattered.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for nearly one third of all deaths. Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types in Canada and the number of newly diagnosed cases is growing quickly.

Although there’s no denying that factors like genetic mutations and infections are major risk factors, we do have the power to prevent cancer to a large degree. Genetic mutations, for example, only make up about 5% of all cancers. Cancer prevention includes screening, a clean diet, the elimination of toxins, lifestyle (including exercise and stress management) and so on. Smoking, as we know, is a major risk factor in the development of cancer and is responsible for about 30 per cent of all cancer deaths. Healthy body weight is another important factor. The CCS states on their website about half of all cancers can be prevented. You can bet that number will rise. Check out their cancer prevention tool.

When it comes to diet, one that’s been found to be effective for cancer patients is the ketogenic diet. Designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder, the diet is based on scientific research for epilepsy. It’s been found to be particularly effective in treating epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Ketogenic diet (and) cancer yields 135 (and counting) published scientific results on The authors of this research study review state, “the results obtained from animal models are encouraging and show that KD presents a viable option as an adjunct therapy for cancer.” 

A close cousin of the Paleo diet, the ketogenic diet is adequate in protein, high in fat and low in carbohydrates. In the liver, fat is converted into fatty acids and “ketone bodies,” which are chemicals made when there is not enough insulin in the blood. As a result, for energy, fat gets broken down instead of sugar. There ends up being a reduction in glucose levels and insulin resistance. People who follow a ketogenic diet need to be monitored by a health professional as creating too many ketone bodies can be toxic.

Health experts and researchers believe this diet helps to prevent and starve cancer cells which require glucose to live and grow. There are different variations of this diet. To find out about your risk for developing certain cancers and which diet is best for you, speak with your health care professional.

About the Author

Lisa Cantkier

Lisa Cantkier is a holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac specializing in special diets and food allergies. For more information, visit

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