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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.

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Targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer: a pilot safety and feasibility dietary trial in 10 patients.

A Ketogenic Formula Prevents Tumor Progression and Cancer Cachexia by Attenuating Systemic Inflammation in Colon 26 Tumor-Bearing Mice

Carbohydrate Restriction, Prostate Cancer Growth, and the Insulin-Like Growth Factor Axis

Effect of energy substrate manipulation on tumour cell proliferation in parenterally fed cancer patients.

Treatment of glioma patients with ketogenic diets: report of two cases treated with an IRB-approved energy-restricted ketogenic diet protocol and review of the literature

Effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric oncology patients: two case reports.

Tumor Cells Growth and Survival Time with the Ketogenic Diet in Animal Models: A Systematic Review

Metabolic management of glioblastoma multiforme using standard therapy together with a restricted ketogenic diet: Case Report.