Keto Diet - too risky for cancer patients

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Key Points

  • Only follow a Keto Diet with close doctor supervision
  • There are many health risks and uncomfortable side-effects associated with the Keto Diet
  • The Keto Diet is not a sustainable and healthy option for cancer patients and survivors

While there are some studies that show a Keto Diet can help some cancer patients, the potential risks likely outweigh the benefits.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fats.  The point is to force your body to burn fat for energy when there aren't enough carbohydrates available.

The Keto Diet and Cancer

People who promote the Keto Diet as an option to fight cancer say that the Keto Diet will starve the cancer in the absence of sugars which feed cancer.

But as we all know, cancer is tricky, and this alone is not going to get rid of your cancer, and the potential complications may weaken your immune system making it harder to fight cancer.  

This diet would not be recommended for cancer patients unless under very close doctor supervision.

Keto Diet Benefits

The Keto Diet does suppress appetite, so it is possible to lose weight.  It has been shown to help with lower blood-sugar, but again, patients with blood sugar issues need to be careful with their diet choices - extreme diets like the Keto Diet are not sustainable for them.

Keto Diet Risks

With very few benefits, the Keto Diet has many risks, including long-term issues, like kidney damage (leading to painful kidney stones), impaired growth, high cholesterol levels, unintentional weight loss, bone loss, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Keto Diet Side Effects

The Keto Diet can have several side effects that add to the discomfort for cancer patients.  The Keto Diet can cause constipation, and difficulty sleeping.  In addition, there's a side effect called the 'Keto Flu', with symptoms of dizziness and fatigue.

And then there's the 'Keto Breath' which has a metallic taste in your mouth, but smells like acetone to other people.  At a time when keeping your appetite up due to cancer treatment, or just wanting to feel normal when treatments are over, the Keto Diet is the least appealing way to fight cancer with diet.

Work With Your Doctor

There may some rare cases where your doctor recommends a diet similar to the Keto Diet for a specific targeted purpose.  In this case, you'll want to follow your doctor's plan exactly.  But with dangerous side-effects, the Keto Diet is not recommended for patients to self-prescribe, or to follow without supervision.

Keto Diet is Not Sustainable for Cancer Patients

The best thing you can do for yourself as a cancer patient and survivor, is to find a healthy and sustainable diet that gives you lots of energy, boosts your immune system, and makes you feel good and positive.  The best cancer fighting diet is a diet that can easily fit in with your lifestyle, and that you enjoy the food enough to continue it as a permanent lifestyle change.