Ok today I am going to get into more detail and real experiences for you. I feel compelled to tell you that many other people including some famous and not so famous doctors have endorsed the Ketogenic Diet in its various forms.
The Calorie Restricted Ketogenic Diet is very specific in its application. It is meant to be utilized as adjunct therapy for cancer. The cancer preventative aspects of it are very sound scientifically and I will get into them again (I mentioned them in Part 1). Above and beyond everything else I say here I need you to read and re read this at least 10X:
The words “cancer preventative” have not been tested or proven in human beings. There is no evidence to suggest that this diet works as advertised and proving or disproving it would be virtually impossible since you would need lifelong studies of people living in a totally controlled environment with some doing the diet and others eating differently.
This is very much the same thing I say when people ask me, “Does TA-65 prolong life” or the corollary, “Does telomerase activation and telomere lengthening prolong life.”
The answer for ALL the same reasons is, “We are not likely to ever know for sure because the study that would PROVE it to everyone is impossible to do!”
So now that I told you that the “cancer preventative diet” is more or less an educated crap shot you might want to know why I tried it.
Refer back to Part 1 for some of the motivations but here is the nutshell:
It is 7 days of my life 2x a year. If it works that is a small price to pay. If it doesn’t well then I learned a ton and it didn’t kill me to skip eating for a week!
OK here is the “why it should work” part again.
Cancer cells are different than regular cells in several ways. The most erudite voices of these hallmarks are Drs. Weinberg and Hanahan who note 6 major differences. They also recently added metabolic defects after the fact in a tip of the hat to Dr Seyfried.
One of the ways that cancer cells are different is how they process energy. All cancers have this difference although the degree to which they exhibit it varies from tumor to tumor. The simplest way to explain it is cancer does not use oxygen or fuel sources the way regular cells do.
In particular cancer cells seem unable to metabolize fat well and instead prefer glucose (sugar). This is the real reason sugar feeds cancer!* Of course there is a continuum and some cancers do use fats and not sugars but generally speaking the more “cancer like” cells behave and the nastier cancer behaviors they exhibit the more they are likely to prefer glucose and be slowed, stopped or even killed by glucose starvation.
The Calorie Restricted Ketogenic Diet (CRKD) is designed to do 2 things: It lowers blood sugar depriving cancer cells of their fuel and it feeds regular cells ketone bodies which allow them to thrive while the cancer cells are starved out. So it selectively targets cancer cells and preserves regular cells in a way that no chemo or radiation currently can! That is its sole purpose.
Now a word on other Ketogenic Diets. It is not necessary to severely restrict calories to treat epilepsy or other conditions. It is not necessary to severely restrict calories to induce ketogenesis/ketosis although I sincerely doubt the highly touted fat burning that supposedly occurs during these diets happens if you don’t reduce calories.
I am convinced that the “HCG” diet that is/was so popular works because of ketogenesis and severe calorie restriction, and has nothing to do with appetite suppression from HCG.
With any kind of SEVERE calorie restriction you can induce ketogenesis/ketosis even if you eat nothing but carbs. But you will not create the necessary low blood sugars you need to theoretically starve cancer cells. Your blood sugars will remain normal. Ketone bodies will appear in your blood anytime you go way below your needed calorie requirements. This is your body burning fat to supply the extra calories.
But before you go off and try this by eating nothing but a couple hundred calories in fruit and candy bars know this: The preferential use of ketones by your body depends not just on calories but the amount of glucose that is available from you food and other sources ( liver glycogen, gluconeogenesis etc). Your body will make ketones and use some of them but as long as there is sugar there it will use that first.
If you really want to get the full benefits of this diet you should have BOTH ketosis and hypoglycemia.
Now hypoglycemia is an evil word. It makes us tired light headed hungry irritable or worse it can kill some people right?!!!
Well maybe but the most interesting thing about the CRKD is that ketosis suppresses almost all of the effects of hypoglycemia including and especially the hunger. This is personal experience talking. For most of the entire 7 day period I was NOT HUNGRY and if I got a little bit hungry at all simply filling my belly with a big glass of lemon water put a stop to it.
This complete lack of hunger is the big secret shocker I alluded to at the end of Part 1. I expected to be miserably hungry. I was totally wrong about that.
Ok now I want tell you how I actually did things. At this point I have to admit failure at least to a degree. Dr Seyfried’s book talks about a 7 day water only fast in addition to other versions of the Ketogenic Diet. It was my intention to do this because frankly it was the simplest thing to do. You just don’t eat anything and drink water. You don’t have to count calories because water has none. You don’t have to count carbs because water has none. So Simple!
Well that proved impossible for me to do even for one of the 7 days. It was not the hunger so much as the need for a flavor or a texture other than plain water in my mouth. I will tell you that I don’t think I could do water only unless I were truly starving and had nothing else around me. That said I think my diet was a success because of the numbers I generated and of course all the things I learned.
And that will be where we pick up the next blog my friend!
Please note do not try this diet without medical supervision. If you are a Type 1 diabetic do not try this diet ever. If you are Type 2 make sure you have strict medical supervision on a daily basis to do this and follow your blood sugars very carefully.