How A Ketogenic Diet May Prevent Cancer
The ketogenic diet is not a fad.
It’s not just a weight loss diet either, even though there’s a lot of hype and marketing directed at getting people onboard the “keto train.”
While the ketogenic diet is great for weight loss, and great at helping to stabilize insulin levels and fight off type 2 diabetes, one of the chief reasons to adopt a ketogenic diet is because of what it will do to help fight cancer.
Dr. Joseph Mercola who was one of the earliest proponents of the ketogenic diet makes this case in his book “Fat for Fuel.”
As Dr. Mercola illustrates in his book, the modern American diet isn’t just filled with too many carbohydrates…
Protein is a big problem as well.
This is why most ketogenic diets recommend less than 25% of your caloric intake come from protein.
Protein is a potential issue when it comes to the formation of one of the world’s most devastating diseases.
This Is How Too Much Protein May Lead to Cancer
Americans have fallen in love with protein.
The same way we fell in love with low-fat diets back in the 70s and 80s, high-protein diets have become all the rage in the 2000s.
One reason is the emphasis on protein and lean body mass. Protein is touted as one of the best nutrients available for people who want to lose weight and tone up their physique.
The theory is since protein is used to build muscle, the more protein you eat the better your body will look.
And yet, the biological mechanism causing protein to build muscle is the same mechanism that may lead to cancer.
When protein is ingested and broken down by the body it activates a regulatory pathway called mammalian target of rapamycin, or mTOR for short.
mTOR is essential for growth and repair.
When mTOR is activated it causes growth. When it is inhibited it leads to repair.
As Rosedale notes, if your body was able to repair itself and grow in a perfectly orchestrated balance you could conceivably live forever. Unfortunately, for most people, mTOR is being activated more than it is inhibited, and this leads to more growth than repair.
Think about what would happen if you just ran your car 10 hours a day and rarely serviced it. What would happen?
Your car would eventually fall apart and it would die.
That’s essentially what’s happening when we eat too much protein and not enough fat. Your body’s mTOR switch is constantly switched “on” and not enough resources are devoted to repair.
While the exact science behind too much protein, over-excitability of mTOR, and cancer formation could be written out in a 36-page research paper, I’ll be giving you a top-down view of how our culture’s fascination with protein may have inadvertently triggered an explosion in cancer rates.
Dr. Ron Rosedale, M.D is an anti-aging expert and one of the leading experts in research related to mTOR and cancer.
As Dr. Rosedale notes in his research, virtually all cancers known to man are associated with excessive mTOR activation.
Now if you’re wondering how that happens, allow me to show you.
Why It’s OK To Starve A Little
We tend to think of growth in a generally positive light.
But when it comes to cancer, growth is never good.
The very definition of cancer is the proliferation and unregulated growth of cells that eventually cause death.
Tumor growth eventually kills you because your body diverts most of its energy to feeding cancer and you become weakened and die as cancer robs you of the basic energy you need to live.
When mTOR is switched on, it affects various hormones like human-growth-hormone, insulin growth-like factor and causes them to go into overdrive.
Which is great for muscle growth and reproductive health, but not great for helping resist the overgrowth of cancer cells.
On the other hand, if you don’t eat high levels of protein and carbs then human-growth-hormone and insulin growth-like factor will be inhibited which means rather than your body being focused on “growth mode” you’re in repair mode.
Which is extremely beneficial from an anti-aging standpoint as well as an anti-cancer standpoint.
And the best way to avoid high protein and carbs is to do two things.
One, is to starve yourself a little. When you do this your body induces autophagy.
Here’s what Dr. Mercola says about autophagy.
“TOR also plays an important role in autophagy, the process by which your body cleans out debris, including toxins, and recycles damaged cell components. A similar process is known as mitophagy, where damaged mitochondria are cleaned out and replaced with new, healthy ones, and this process is also largely regulated by mTOR.
By boosting your body's autophagy processes, you dampen inflammation, slow down the aging process, and optimize biological function.”
Starving yourself a little is as simple as skipping a meal.
The other way to avoid high protein and carbs is to eat a ketogenic diet. I don’t want to belabor the point here, so if you’re unfamiliar with a ketogenic diet you can read this article on the merits of eating high fat, and low protein and carbs.
The bottom line here is when you eat high-fat ketogenic diet and you burn mostly fat for fuel, mTOR is inhibited and your body uses more energy for cellular repair as well as not feeding cancer cells any growth signals.
Eating a ketogenic diet doesn’t guarantee cancer prevention, however, it does give you a great deal of protection against a disease that feeds off your body’s resources and kills you from the inside out.