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Ketogenic Diet in Cancer Care

The keto diet have been widely used in medical nutrition therapy for epilepsy.


It is a diet with high fat (70%), moderate protein (25%) and very low carbohydrate (5%) percentages, which force the body to undergo ketosis, burning fat for energy. Most of the keto diet studies are done on mice, and there is a lack of clear, clinical studies for its effectivity in humans.


Truth is that more research is needed before researches can draw any conclusion.

Potential challenges of using ketogenic diet during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments are potential unintended weight loss (which could be harmful when going through cancer treatments), appetite loss, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, kidney function and excessive dietary restrictions. Although there are reported improved quality of life in patients using ketogenic diet coupled with radiotherapy treatments, such as improved physical function, energy and diminished food cravings. However, there are also other potential risks of stomach discomfort, elevated cholesterol levels, other than the list aforementioned.

As ketogenic diet is low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes due to carbohydrate restrictions, you will also be limiting the intake of natural cancer-fighting antioxidant components found in plant phytochemicals.

In diabetic patients with fluctuating blood sugar levels, it is advisable to frequently perform self-monitoring blood glucose levels to watch for hypoglycaemia (that comes with severe outcomes), especially if you are practicing a low carb diet.

Do bear in mind, to date, there are no long term controlled trials that demonstrate the safety and improved outcomes in cancer patients, the hype definitely outpaces the available evidence at this point. If you are keen on practicing a ketogenic diet, you should be aware of the potential risks and dangers, other than the potential benefits.

For evidence-based guidelines for cancer prevention and treatment to date, it is by including plant-based diet (variety of colored fruits and vegetables) and practice of low fat foods, with limitation of red and processed meat consumption.


If you would like to speak to your healthcare provider or dietitian regarding any consultation for your diet practices during medical treatments, you can do so now via telehealth, through ML’veGreat★ membership. This telemedicine option includes e-Screening and e-Consultation, for further details of sign up, click here. You can view available slots, and book your sessions through the page too, without having to call the hotline or sending an email!

(updated : January, 2020)

Disclaimer : The website may contain information relating to various conditions and treatment, gathered and sourced from reputable sources. However, this is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is solely intended for informational purposes only. Patients should always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider for thorough medical advice and information about diagnosis and treatment.

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