Healthy Living: The Ketogenic Diet – How to Starve Cancer

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The war on cancer has been going on a very long time and we are not winning. It is estimated that one in three of us will get cancer. A basic understanding of these cancer cells will make clear why there are better ways than the generally accepted cancer treatments of trying to poison (chemo), mutilate (surgery) or burn (irradiate) the tumor.

Cancer is a process. Cells are the basic building blocks of your body. For most of your life, cells do their normal assigned functions to keep you working in a predictable and organized manner. Each of the more than 70 trillion cells is doing its job. All of a sudden, some no longer followed the plan. Why these cells get derailed and go off in a different direction is fascinating. There are many known “carcinogenic,” cancer-causing things, but here I want to talk about the nature of these cells and how we can use this basic nature in our favor.

What makes these cells so dangerous is that they are very fast-growing and take over, interfering with the processes of keeping you alive that normal cells are trying to carry on. That same quality of fast growth is their weakness and the basis of this article. Because they reproduce so fast, they don’t fully mature and don’t have all the capacities of normal cells. The most important capacity that they lack is that they are not able to burn fat for energy. Most cancer cells live on sugar only and literally starve in the absence of sugar-producing foods. Normal cells, in the absence of sugar, start the process of benign ketosis, not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a pathological condition in diabetes. Ketosis is using fat for energy. This is what allows people to live for a month or more just on water. Primitive man often went without food for extended periods (when McDonald’s was closed in the Paleolithic age). Ketosis is the sophisticated survival capacity of our cells to get us through these periods. This sophistication is the key to using the Ketogenic Diet for starving cancer.

John Hopkins University first revealed the success of this diet with cancer in the early 90’s. In the 1920’s, the Ketogenic Diet was first used with great success to cure epileptics of seizure. Drs. Wilder and Peterman from the Mayo Clinic were the first pioneers of this diet as a treatment for epilepsy. The diet fell out of favor when more drugs started to be used for epileptics in the following decades. The renewed interest in the diet in the 1990’s was the result of the efforts of Jim Abrahams, who, through his own research, rediscovered this diet and saved his son, Charley. Mr. Abraham started The Charley Foundation to popularize the diet for epileptics, thus resuming the interest in and use of the diet1. As luck would have it, this resurgence of interest led the way to discovering many more benefits of eliminating sugar to heal other degenerative conditions.

Another well known, but mostly misunderstood, proponent of ketosis was Dr. Atkins, who applied ketosis to weight loss and healing heart disease, as well as, arthrosclerosis by eliminating the inflammatory effect of sugar on the lining of the arteries.

So how do you use this information if you know someone in the throes of cancer? My recommendation is to purchase “The Cantin Ketogenic Diet” by Elaine Cantin. Elaine was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She had seen several women in her family die from that diagnosis after using all that modern medicine had to offer. She did not want to follow suit and, much like what Jim Abraham did for his son, she saved herself by researching her alternatives. I recommend Elaine’s book rather than the many written by MD’s for four reasons. Written by a layman, it is much easier to read. She incorporated an important factor in the viability of this diet by the elimination of allergenic foods, as well as the implementation of the basic diet. She lays out the program in a very simple way, so it is easier to apply, and she relates her plan for prevention of cancer recurrence. Elaine also used several other modalities to support her body in healing itself – modalities that support the immune system, as well as the systems of detoxification, which furthered her healing process. I’m familiar with and like all of them, so this adds to the value of the book. Finally, reading the account of someone who succeeded so completely (her two-inch tumor completely disappeared in a matter of weeks) in an endeavor of life and death is inspiring. I hope that this serves to at least move you to look at the possibility of this method of healing.

1 Ketogenic Diets, Treatments for Epilepsy and Other Disorders, Drs. Eric H. Kossoff, John Freeman, Zahava Turner, James Rubenstein, Fifth Edition (2011), Demos Medical Publishing, New York, NY. pgs. 21-25.

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