4

votes

Long time LowCarb Paleo and cancer?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM

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?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:53 AM

I'm sorry, Ben; that sounds pretty awful. I hope things cleared up when you changed your diet.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 28, 2011
at 01:27 AM

I got very painful, receding, sometimes bleeding gums after months of eating only animal matter. I never believed the scurvy thing going in to it. I had read GCBC thoroughly and Taubes had mention of the lack of carbohydrates somehow alleviating the amount of C actually needed.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Yeah, there's debate about the necessity of vitamin c on an all-meat diet. Because of the glucose/C uptake competition, many believe C isn't necessary if you're not eating carbs. Stefansson famously claimed to cure scurvy in his men by feeding them only fresh meat. OTOH, a couple of ZCers recently came down with symptoms that seemed to resemble scurvy, although one was eating only pemmican, and it now seems it may have been a folate deficiency instead. I think folks should eat as widely as their bodies allow. Although I'm ZC, I eat lots of seafood, and liver once a week or more.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Good good, of course his exhortation to only eat brains infrequently because of the carbs (lol) would have made him vitamin c deficient. I'm a bit surprised that he was so healthy for so long. Neat-o.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 08:37 PM

Stabby, Owsley would have completely agreed with you about cooking method, or at least degree of doneness. His "rules" for eating can be seen here: http://musingsandmanifestations.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/the-bears-simple-rules/

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Oh Owsley, I wish I had met him, sounds like a crazy dude. Whenever talking about eating enormous amounts of red meat there is also the cooking technique and antioxidant intake to consider. Antioxidant intake, which would have been very low, always seems to be protective, and harsh cooking techniques seem to be causative (at least in populations) but gentle ones are not.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 07:53 PM

Yes, although new research shows a moderate genetic component: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726163443.htm . In Stanley's case -- as in so many others -- it's hard to say exactly what factor(s) caused the cancer, of course. Lots of people point to his years of being a roadie for the Dead; it's anyone's guess what he inhaled/ingested/imbibed during that time.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Isn't throat cancer related to heavy smoking, hard liquors and acid reflux?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 27, 2011
at 07:33 PM

I do not think OD being low in protein is a/the problem. Again, I assert we need to stop focusing on macronutrients - http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/1/29/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-i-fats.html

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:47 PM

No white rice or other starches for me - it gives me congested sinuses and cramps in the guts. And here in Germany you can get squashes and pumpkins only for a few weeks in autumn.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:46 PM

I know what the question was, but instead of echoing "where's the evidence" I tried to provide an explanation for what I thought the purported evidence would be. The only time I have ever heard of a low carb diet causing those diseases is if it was high in omega-6. Just trying to make conversation.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

If it is a lot of cream and butter and a modest amount of olive oil and canola it might actually not be so bad, the canola provides a good ratio of PUFAs and if they keep it under 3 tbs of it I can't see that causing any diseases. New evidence seems to show that ketogenic diets for epilepsy don't actually have to be so strict so as to have side-effects. A normal low carb diet of 50g of carbohydrate and a fair bit of protein seems to work just as well if you use coconut oil.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

The debate was not about high omega 6 diets but about High Fat and Low Carb in general. The diet for epileptic kids is deficient in proteins - that seems to be one of the reasons for the stunted growth. An if the seed oils are replaced with coconut oil the fat content of the diet can be reduced to way less than 90% of fat.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:33 PM

Some doctors are moving to MCT-based keto diets, but I'm not sure they're using coconut oil; it looks like it's some commercial preparation especially for the diet. The standard diet, as I understand it, is "butter, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, and oils (e.g. canola or olive)" as described here: http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/treatment_Ketogenic_diet

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I have never heard of a seed oil diet for epilepsy, I always thought that they used lots of coconut oil because it is best for generating ketones and then meat and dairy fat because they are more palatable than drinking soy oil. I have no doubt that the saturated fat ketogenic diet is better for all purposes.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Stabby, I'm pretty sure the standard ketogenic diet for epileptic kids is based on seed oil (poor things). AFAIK, they've been shown to be at risk for kidney stones and shortened stature, but I don't recall seeing other maladies in the standard literature. I've often wondered if the kids would do better on an animal-fats-based keto protocol, but I guess the docs are too skeered of that idea to try it.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Try cooking the hell out of white rice. 50g carbohydrate of that and some cooked vegetables. Also try squashes.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Try cooking the hell out of white rice. 50g of that and some cooked vegetables. Also try squashes.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 05:49 PM

No, no real evidence yet...

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Wow! Thank your for your answer. I eat LCHF because I can't tolerate potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy food or fruit: so where should my carbs come from? The problem with Kasniewski/OD is perhaps that it is too low protein.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 27, 2011
at 04:12 PM

I edited the question to correct the spelling of "cancer", nothing else

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on July 27, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Did this person supply any evidence?

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4 Answers

8
D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

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

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Try cooking the hell out of white rice. 50g of that and some cooked vegetables. Also try squashes.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 27, 2011
at 07:33 PM

I do not think OD being low in protein is a/the problem. Again, I assert we need to stop focusing on macronutrients - http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/1/29/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-i-fats.html

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Try cooking the hell out of white rice. 50g carbohydrate of that and some cooked vegetables. Also try squashes.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Wow! Thank your for your answer. I eat LCHF because I can't tolerate potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy food or fruit: so where should my carbs come from? The problem with Kasniewski/OD is perhaps that it is too low protein.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:47 PM

No white rice or other starches for me - it gives me congested sinuses and cramps in the guts. And here in Germany you can get squashes and pumpkins only for a few weeks in autumn.

3
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

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.

3
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

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?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I have never heard of a seed oil diet for epilepsy, I always thought that they used lots of coconut oil because it is best for generating ketones and then meat and dairy fat because they are more palatable than drinking soy oil. I have no doubt that the saturated fat ketogenic diet is better for all purposes.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

The debate was not about high omega 6 diets but about High Fat and Low Carb in general. The diet for epileptic kids is deficient in proteins - that seems to be one of the reasons for the stunted growth. An if the seed oils are replaced with coconut oil the fat content of the diet can be reduced to way less than 90% of fat.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Stabby, I'm pretty sure the standard ketogenic diet for epileptic kids is based on seed oil (poor things). AFAIK, they've been shown to be at risk for kidney stones and shortened stature, but I don't recall seeing other maladies in the standard literature. I've often wondered if the kids would do better on an animal-fats-based keto protocol, but I guess the docs are too skeered of that idea to try it.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

If it is a lot of cream and butter and a modest amount of olive oil and canola it might actually not be so bad, the canola provides a good ratio of PUFAs and if they keep it under 3 tbs of it I can't see that causing any diseases. New evidence seems to show that ketogenic diets for epilepsy don't actually have to be so strict so as to have side-effects. A normal low carb diet of 50g of carbohydrate and a fair bit of protein seems to work just as well if you use coconut oil.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:33 PM

Some doctors are moving to MCT-based keto diets, but I'm not sure they're using coconut oil; it looks like it's some commercial preparation especially for the diet. The standard diet, as I understand it, is "butter, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, and oils (e.g. canola or olive)" as described here: http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/treatment_Ketogenic_diet

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 06:46 PM

I know what the question was, but instead of echoing "where's the evidence" I tried to provide an explanation for what I thought the purported evidence would be. The only time I have ever heard of a low carb diet causing those diseases is if it was high in omega-6. Just trying to make conversation.

2
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

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.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on July 27, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Isn't throat cancer related to heavy smoking, hard liquors and acid reflux?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Good good, of course his exhortation to only eat brains infrequently because of the carbs (lol) would have made him vitamin c deficient. I'm a bit surprised that he was so healthy for so long. Neat-o.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Yeah, there's debate about the necessity of vitamin c on an all-meat diet. Because of the glucose/C uptake competition, many believe C isn't necessary if you're not eating carbs. Stefansson famously claimed to cure scurvy in his men by feeding them only fresh meat. OTOH, a couple of ZCers recently came down with symptoms that seemed to resemble scurvy, although one was eating only pemmican, and it now seems it may have been a folate deficiency instead. I think folks should eat as widely as their bodies allow. Although I'm ZC, I eat lots of seafood, and liver once a week or more.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 27, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Oh Owsley, I wish I had met him, sounds like a crazy dude. Whenever talking about eating enormous amounts of red meat there is also the cooking technique and antioxidant intake to consider. Antioxidant intake, which would have been very low, always seems to be protective, and harsh cooking techniques seem to be causative (at least in populations) but gentle ones are not.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 07:53 PM

Yes, although new research shows a moderate genetic component: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726163443.htm . In Stanley's case -- as in so many others -- it's hard to say exactly what factor(s) caused the cancer, of course. Lots of people point to his years of being a roadie for the Dead; it's anyone's guess what he inhaled/ingested/imbibed during that time.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 28, 2011
at 01:27 AM

I got very painful, receding, sometimes bleeding gums after months of eating only animal matter. I never believed the scurvy thing going in to it. I had read GCBC thoroughly and Taubes had mention of the lack of carbohydrates somehow alleviating the amount of C actually needed.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:53 AM

I'm sorry, Ben; that sounds pretty awful. I hope things cleared up when you changed your diet.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 27, 2011
at 08:37 PM

Stabby, Owsley would have completely agreed with you about cooking method, or at least degree of doneness. His "rules" for eating can be seen here: http://musingsandmanifestations.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/the-bears-simple-rules/

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