Calling something “cancer fighting” is a bold claim. We all know cancer to be the most devastating family of diseases, and even the most treatable forms take a significant toll on our bodies. So, when something claims to be cancer fighting—or, even more promising, “cancer preventing”—it’s important to back up those claims. The Keto Diet does.
Thanks to significant scientific research around the Keto Diet, scientists have discovered links between the diet and cancer prevention. These links focus primarily on cellular metabolism and insulin levels, and how our bodies behave while in ketosis. And while there’s a lot we’re still learning, there’s plenty of excitement surrounding Keto and cancer.
To understand how the Keto Diet can help prevent cancer, it’s important to understand how the disease functions. Cancer is, in simplest terms, a form of unchecked cell mutation. These deviant cells multiply and grow, creating tumors, which spread if left untreated.
Today’s cancer treatments use surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to remove and kill these deviant cells, so they stop reproducing. To effectively fight and prevent cancer, our bodies need a way to prevent cell mutation or kill those cells as soon as they’re produced.
Cellular behavior on Keto
Like all cells, deviant cancer cells multiply by feeding on blood sugar—namely glucose created by carbs. In other words, when we eat a sandwich and process food into energy, we’re feeding not only our normal cells, but also the cancerous ones. Unfortunately, there’s no way to pick and choose!
On Keto, however, your body isn’t fueling itself on blood glucose. Insulin levels are maintained, which controls blood sugar levels. Instead, your body is in a state of ketosis, which means it’s using fat for fuel and burning ketones for energy. And while your body’s normal cell metabolism adapts, cancerous cells don’t.
Keeping cancer in check on Keto
Keeping the body in a constant state of ketosis as a form of cancer prevention has actually been studied. A 2013 study showed a marked reduction in tumor sizes and growth rates in patients who adopted the Keto Diet. Another study in 2014 concluded similar results.
There have also been cancer-specific studies involving Keto as a supporting part of oncology. One study in 2018 showed a marked improvement in physical performance in women with ovarian or endometrial cancers.
There are dozens of studies from the past decade that support links between the body’s ability to starve cancer cells when it thinks it’s starving. It’s led many researchers to theorize Keto’s role as a supportive cancer fighting or cancer prevention therapy.
Reducing cancer risk factors
In addition to inhibiting cancer cells by starving them, Keto also reduces many peoples’ risk factors for developing cancer. Weight loss, blood sugar management, insulin regulation, neuroprotective benefits and more are all measurable benefits on Keto—and they’re all recognized ways to reduce the risk of cancer.
Keto doesn’t prevent cancer—nothing we’ve discovered up to this point can prevent the disease. But there’s evidence that Keto can help your body fight back against cancer-causing conditions, and even cancerous cells themselves. It’s a powerful claim that Keto lives up to in study after study—and we’re still learning more every day.
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