The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carbohydrate diet geared towards switching the metabolism from burning carbohydrates (glucose) to burning fat leading to ketosis. While a person is in ketosis energy is produced from burning ketones instead of using glucose as a primary energy source. The basic principles of the diet are:
- HIGH FAT
- MODERATE PROTEIN
- LOW CARBOHYDRATE
The diet was originally developed in the 1920s by Dr. Wilder at the Mayo Clinic as a treatment for epilepsy. Research now supports the use of this diet in cancer, seizures, and other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The use of the ketogenic diet in cancer is based on the principle that cancer cells require sugar to grow and divide. Starving these cells of sugar helps to reduce tumor growth. Research into the use of ketogenic diet and cancer first showed benefit in brain cancer. However, this diet has now been shown to be beneficial and well tolerated in advanced cancer of many forms including lung, pancreas, colon and prostate cancer.
A study done in 2013 (Poff et al) showed that the ketogenic diet increased survival time in mice with brain cancer by 56.7%. When the ketogenic diet was used with hyperbaric oxygen therapy the survival time increased even more to 77.9%.
The ketogenic diet has also been used to help with weight loss. This diet has been shown to reduce sugar cravings and addictions to other foods, lower appetite, lower blood pressure, lowers overall cholesterol while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering triglycerides. In addition the following benefits have also been seen for patients on a ketogenic diet:
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Reduces joint stiffness and pain
- Improves sleep
- Relieves GERD/heartburn
- Improves mood
- Improves digestion
The Naturopathic Doctors at the Nardella Clinic in Calgary have experience integrating the ketogenic diet safely into a variety of treatment plans for a variety of conditions including those mentioned above and more. The ketogenic diet is most effective when used in combination with other naturopathic therapies.