In a discussion about my WOE (LowCarbHighFat) someone stated, that a ketogenic diet of more than 1000 kcal a day would lead inevitably to liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Me thinks: Humbug! Isn't a ketogenic diet used in cancer treatment? Doesn't fatty liver desease heal on LowCarb eating?
So: Do you know of any long time LowCarber who started in good health and developed cancer while eating LowCarb Paleo?
Any links to independent peer reviewed studies linking ketosis and cancer?
asked byKikilula (1994)
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on July 27, 2011
at 03:57 PM
I am not completely answering your question since I do not have peer reviewed results as you have requested. But regardless...
This is discussed in Perfect Health Diet. See the following link which I think is very relevant for your question - http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1077
There has been discussion of this in the context of Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet (OD), which is a high fat (low carb) diet that Peter at Hyperlipid writes about/follows with some notable modifications. The following link is also include in the PHD link I included above - http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2010/08/back-comments-section-of-uric-acid-post.html
So yes there is some basis for the cancer connection. I am not deeply versed in Optimal Diet, but there is still an inclusion of grains as I understand it. So this may confound results.
I think this is a GREAT example of the huge issue with the assumption that Paleo = Low Carb. Many people many think of OD as being Paleo-ish, but if neolithic toxins are still present, then this might be a red herring regarding the cancer linkage.
Finally, some additional thoughts on Ketosis from Kurt Harris -
As many have already written here on PH, I so wish we could finally escape the paradigm of Paleo=Low Carb, you can't lose weight without Low Carb, or the continued perservation about Macronutrients and instead focus on eliminating neolithic toxins in the context of eating whole/real foods. But I think my wish will remained unfulfilled for quite some time since like the Diet-Heart Hypothesis, many cannot seem to let go of the initial hypotheses which may have correlation, but not necessarily causal linkage to what really made us sick as a society.
EDIT - One more comment for you to consider. You wrote "Isn't a ketogenic diet used in cancer treatment? Doesn't fatty liver desease heal on LowCarb eating?". Perhaps by way of analogy - carbohydrates as such do not cause diabetes, but once you have diabetes, low carb eating might be beneficial/necessary. So perhaps you should consider the distinction in this cancer question as well. The same comment applies when one talks about causes of obesity vs treatment once actually obese
on July 28, 2011
at 12:06 AM
There are many competing theories. If you believe the PHD book and blog, a VLC diet could induce cancer by wiping out the moisture in your colon walls and stomach lining. (There has also been a study linking pickled vegetables to the occurrence of disproportionate stomach and throat cancer in Korea, whose denizens voraciously consume such pickled vegetables, including kimchi.)
On the other hand, high insulin promotes tumor growth. So keeping your diet VLC or ketogenic might be to your advantage if you already have cancer or is in danger of contracting one. But then, the question remains: is it sugar that's really driving oncongenesis or is it insulin? Cancer cells are known to feed on sugar.
If it's sugar, then you can do moderate carb as long as you only eat safe starches. If it's insulin, well, maybe you might have to stick to a VLC or ketogenic diet.
I think a VLC diet that makes the moisture to disappear from your colon is problematic: not only is it potentially oncogenic but it causes very painful constipation. And I think it's high sugar that's driving tumor growth and not high insulin resulting from all carbohydrate consumption.
Frequently, people do not bother to distinguish between safe starches and non-safe insuling skyrocketing items (flour products, sugary baked goods, candies). That's why our dietary recommendations will always be incomplete, misleading and downright misguided.
on July 27, 2011
at 06:12 PM
I found one where indeed a ketogenic diet helped fatty liver http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=ketogenic%20diet%20cirrhosis
Of course the literature is awash in studies along the lines of "we fed a high fat (corn oil) diet to rats long-term AND THEY DIED!" which is obviously the effect of too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 demonstrated here. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/eicosanoids-fatty-liver-and-insulin.html
If you feed them moderate amounts of omega-6 AND some omega-3 they don't get insulin resistance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3303333
Not sure about cancer. Like has been suggested before, where is the evidence other than rat studies with seed oils? I have no doubtt that if you tried to do a ketogenic diet with seed oils as the fat you would get some sort of horrible malady, but that's not what we're talking about is it?
on July 27, 2011
at 07:19 PM
Owsley Stanley developed throat cancer in 2005, after following an all-meat diet for decades. He credited his survival to his ketogenic diet (and I believe attributed the cancer itself to his childhood diet, which included vegetables).
Other than that, I know of nobody else who's developed cancer on a VLC/paleo diet. It will be interesting to see what happens as the current cohort ages. I really hope someone's keeping track.