Plant-Based Vs. Vegan
I want to be clear that I generally do not recommend a vegan diet. While certain aspects of a vegan diet are very therapeutic, there are certain animal-based products that provide their unique benefits as well.
This is why instead of a vegan diet devoid of all animal products, I recommend a diet that has a heavy emphasis on plant based foods with a small amount of animal foods as well. It is this combination of plant based and ketogenic diet that gets amazing results in transforming people’s health. This is the style of eating I have recommended for years with great results clinically.
What We Know About Cancer
There are two things you must know about cancer that make a plant based ketogenic diet relevant for therapeutic purposes. While I’ve already touched on these things, I want to reiterate to make them better understood.
First of all, cancer cells thrive in a high-sugar environment. They have broken mitochondria and use only sugar to produce energy. This means that following a ketogenic diet, where the body burns fat instead of sugar, you can place cancer cells at an energetic disadvantage.
Secondly, we now know that cancer has epigenetic influences. Basically, we know that cancer is generally a result of faulty DNA leading to poorly functioning cells (genetics). We used to think that DNA mutations were completely random and conditions like cancer simply “run in the family”. The reality of it is that our diet and lifestyle can largely dictate whether or not these faulty DNA sequences will occur or not. This is called epigenetics.
There are several epigenetic pathways in the body that are associated with cancer growth. A plant based ketogenic diet is capable of altering these pathways in a manner that improves your chances of overcoming cancer.
Key Cancer Mechanisms
There are four primary pathways in the body that are important to understand in the case of cancer: mTOR, P53, IGF-1, and AMPk.
mTOR stands for mammalian target of rapamycin and is a physiological pathway in the body that helps to regulate cell growth and replication. We know that cancerous tissues tend to have an elevated activation of the mTOR pathway that may be contributing to the rapid cell division found in cancer.
mTOR is a necessary biological pathway but is problematic when it is chronically stimulated. One of the primary activators of the mTOR pathway is insulin. This means a high sugar diet may contribute to cancer by elevating mTOR activity. The excessive ingestion of protein can also stimulate this pathway.
For the reasons outlined above, a plant based ketogenic diet that also implements protein restriction can be a great strategy for cancer.