The trendy, and often controversial, keto diet is becoming popular with every passing day. Many hope to use this approach to losing weight.
Keto diet emerged in the 1920s with a hope to treat epileptic patients. Now, the researchers are busy investigating if this diet possesses other medical proposes. One of such purposes is the treatment of cancer.
The researchers belonging to the University of Alabama investigated about keto diet and its link to cancer. They particularly checked its effects in the endometrial or ovarian cancer in women.
What were the Findings?
Researchers took into account about 45 obese or overweight females. These females were suffering from either endometrial or ovarian cancer. They randomly assigned half the participants the keto diet. The other half took the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommended the diet.
As compared to those following the ACS diet, women on the keto diet lost farther. In the 12 weeks of study, they also experienced a lowering of their blood insulin levels.
The results of this research are present in the Journal of Nutrition.
However, the experts have certain cautions. They suggest that helping cancer patients lose weight doesn’t make the keto diet a treatment for this disease.
How can Keto Diet Help?
The keto diet is all about limiting carbs which can increase insulin and glucose in the blood. This forces your body to use fat as the fuel and burn it for energy. Some of this fat converts into ketones that your brain uses to function.
Because cancer cells prefer using glucose, the diet restricting it may be advantageous. The ketogenic diet has its own benefits for cancer patients since it limits glucose. In addition to this, it reduces different growth factors and controls the growth of cancer. This gives the patient enough time to activate their immune system and attack cancer.
Many studies have proved that a keto diet can positively impact the outcomes of cancer. It works by initially lowering insulin, which is a type of growth factor. High glucose diets cause insulin to raise and this is what stimulates the growth of cancer. Secondly, the keto diet can also cause a selective loss of visceral fat.
Scientists explain visceral fat as the fat present in the abdomen. The presence of this fat in your body may elevate the risk of diabetes and cancer in people.
The researchers noticed that the patients with high ketones had reduced levels of IGF-1. IGF-1 is a type of growth cancer which stimulates the cancer cells.
The authors of the study wish to continue the research to clarify the link between keto diet and cancer.
Can Keto Fight Cancer?
The current research regarding the effects of keto diet on cancer diet is promising. However, it does not suggest that a keto diet is a treatment for cancer. Experts say that it is not right to routinely recommend keto outside of a clinical trial for any cancer treatment. This is because the current study did not evaluate the effects of a keto diet on the cancer outcomes.
The researcher has even answered why the keto diet was able to accelerate more weight loss than the ACS diet. They say that it may be possible that the keto diet caused a significant decrease in calories. It is also possible that the metabolic effects of the keto diet contributed to it.
Many experts belonging to different institutes have warned the people about using this diet for cancer. They say that the current research did not focus on whether or not the keto diet inhibited cancer. It only emphasized the weight loss results in the patients of cancer.
Losing weight with the help of a keto diet may sound like a good idea. It is also possible to lower body fat on a short-term basis with this approach. However, more research is essential to determine its effects in the long run.
As far as the cancer patients are concerned, experts say that it is better to follow nutritious eating plans. Cancer patients get more help from these plans instead of diets.
Some experts admit that losing weight can help people suffering from estrogen-sensitive cancer. However, they also believe that the weight loss due to the keto diet is on a temporary basis.
A case study of 2010 discussed a case of post-surgical cancer patients following a keto diet. This diet slowed the progression of tumor temporarily. As soon as the person went off the diet, it returned.
What is the Alternative?
It is better to focus on an optimizing nutrition and nutritional interventions to treat chronic diseases. Depriving your body of the access to macronutrients can change your metabolism. This can exert a negative impact on your health.
The best intervention for losing weight is a portion-controlled, calorie-restricted diet. Make sure that it is a well-balanced diet plan.
The benefits of the keto diet for cancer patients are not evident. Some believe that there may be possible risks while following this approach.
It may become difficult for the dieters to fulfill their protein and energy requirements. The diet may lead to long-term issues such as kidney damage and bone loss. Other harms include deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and unintentional weight loss.
A more moderated approach may be suitable in such circumstances. For example, a diet with low refined carbs and more healthy fat can be beneficial for health.
The Bottom Line
The keto diet helped women with endometrial or ovarian cancer. It lowered their insulin levels and aided in weight loss. Researchers speculate that this diet can make cancer cells deprived of glucose. This way, cancer fails to thrive and the health of the patient improves.
But with the research in early phases, the diet is not actually a treatment for cancer. It is not wise to include it in your daily life to fight cancer. Instead, try eating healthy and consult a doctor.