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Cancer is the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells. Cell growth is not a bad thing, but when it becomes unregulated, it may begin to interfere with the normal, healthy functioning of that tissue. A larger threat is posed when cancer cells become malignant or travel to other areas of the body. These cells are able to grow and spread through various tissues, steal vital nutrients, and harm healthy organs.
How does the ketogenic diet play a role in cancer?
The Warburg effect is a heavily researched oncological phenomenon where cancer cells prefer glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose) to obtain fuel over any other process, even when it seems counterintuitive. Glucose is the main nutrient needed for the growth of cancerous cells, so naturally, researchers have proposed the idea that if an individual limits glucose (carbohydrate) consumption, they will essentially be starving cancer cells of their primary fuel source. Studies have backed up these claims by showing drastic reductions in tumor size after following the ketogenic diet for only a short period of time. Outside of just reducing glucose intake and starving cancer cells, the ketogenic diet has also been shown to reduce inflammation, produce ketone bodies that function as anti-oxidants, and down-regulate insulin-like growth factors, all of which have been linked to cancer growth.