In August of 2020, an article published by Eat This, Not That, an American media franchise centered around diet and health, ranked the Ketogenic (Keto) Diet as the No.1 diet in America¹. Those who don’t know what keto is, or have heard of it but don’t understand the lifestyle, are in the right place, especially if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, those seeking alternative forms of treatment for their breast cancer may be ordered a series of different therapies along with the ketogenic diet to help mitigate the disease.
What is Keto?
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet that is extremely beneficial for those interested in weight loss or struggling with certain conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, diabetes or cancer. Its purpose is to deprive the system of carbohydrates so that it can utilize natural body fat as energy. In addition, it also turns fats into ketones, which allows the body to provide energy for neurological functions. Usually, carbohydrates in food are converted into glucose, which is transported into cells, however when the body is deprived of this, the liver will convert the fat into fatty acids and ketones. There are four types of ketogenic diets:
- The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): A low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. It contains 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): Involves a temporary higher carb refeed along with five days of keto, followed by two high carb days.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): Similar to the standard, however allows patients to eat carbs during workouts.
- The High Protein Ketogenic Diet: This is also similar to the standard lifestyle, however it includes a higher percentage of protein.
At LifeWorks, we usually recommend the standard ketogenic diet for most breast cancer patients in order to produce changes in their overall metabolism and prognosis. This usually involves restricting one’s carb intake to less than 50 grams per day.
Why Keto for Breast Cancer?
What many might be unaware of is that cancer cells feed on sugar and use it as fuel to grow and multiply. An article published by WebMD explains that “cancer cells are rewired to get most of their energy by breaking down lots of glucose”². Glucose is the sugar that comes from carbohydrates that one consumes, and while it’s essential for the body to receive the right amount of glucose, too much of it can provide a feeding ground for tumors to grow. Some common foods that are known to be high in carbs include potatoes, pasta, bread, and sugary snacks. The keto diet will limit the amount of sugar that is consumed and starve the tumors of their energy. In turn, this will boost the cancer treatment process for LifeWorks patients undergoing insulin potentiation treatment (IPT) along with other therapies. In addition, other researchers have discovered that keto can also change the expression of genes, which regulates cell behavior.
How Do I Follow the Keto Diet?
Following the keto diet can be complex and varies from person-to-person based on weight and ketone levels. Patients should seek organic natural foods such as avocados, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, organic grass fed butter and a small portion of fruit (such as berries). After reducing one’s carb intake, the body will go into a metabolic state called ketosis. This is the stage in which one’s body will begin using its own fat for energy and ketone levels in the bloodstream will substantially increase. By this point, one will be instructed to monitor their ketone levels with a glucose monitoring system. All ketosis ranges differ among patients, therefore it’s important to understand one’s personal range.
As a result, everything that is consumed is based on a preplanned, calculated schedule to ensure that one does not consume more carbs, calories or fats. It’s common for most people to struggle with this on their own at first, therefore it’s recommended for patients to consult with a LifeWorks practitioner to ensure that this is the right diet for them, even if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Starting keto can cause a few temporary side effects such as fatigue, low blood pressure, frequent urination, constipation, and headaches, and it is often not recommended for those with liver or kidney conditions.
Other Treatments for Breast Cancer
While the ketogenic diet is extremely beneficial for those battling breast cancer (or other cancer types), it will not work on its own. As stated previously, most LifeWorks breast cancer patients are ordered a series of IPT treatments which uses insulin to drop their blood sugar level prior to administering low dose chemo. Since cancer cells require glucose for energy production, they have an overabundance of insulin receptors. And while they’re already deprived of sugar due to the keto diet, these weakened cancer cells are more desperate to find any source of sugar that they can. The insertion of the insulin will increase the cell membrane’s permeability while the low dose chemo will target and kill them. In addition to IPT, breast cancer patients may be required to have ozone therapies, intravenous therapies, supplementation, and peptides to ensure that the body’s immune system is not compromised.
LifeWorks Wellness Center has successfully treated multiple breast cancer patients using natural remedies for over 23 years. If you or someone that you know have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are interested in alternative forms of treatment, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists at 727-466-6789.