The keto diet and cancer: What patients should know

There’s no one food that can cure cancer, but that doesn’t stop such myths from circulating. And while researchers are starting to find some links between nutrition and cancer, more research is needed. The ketogenic diet – also called the keto diet — is among those diets rumored to cure cancer. We talked to Maria Petzel, a senior clinical dietitian at MD Anderson, to learn more. Here’s what she had to say. What is the keto diet? The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate diet. The diet’s strict guidelines recommend eating more fat and protein while cutting most carbohydrates and sugars out of your diet. Cutting out carbs forces your body to burn the fat you’ve already stored. This process, called ketosis, usually begins three to four days after eliminating carbs from your diet. What are the pros and cons of the keto diet? For most people, the keto diet will result in weight loss, but this might not be the healthiest way to do it. When your body burns fat because it is starved of carbs, it makes ketones. Ketones are a type of acid made by your liver and then sent into your bloodstream. Too many ketones can led to dehydration and alter the chemical balance of your blood. Cutting out entire food groups can also be hard to stick with long-term, and most people regain some or all of the weight lost when they quit the keto diet and resume a less extreme diet. In addition, diets high in fat are associated with heart disease and obesity. Many keto diet-safe foods, like red meat, can increase your...