Why the ketogenic diet may help fight diabetes, cancer

The ketogenic diet, or keto, relies on using your fat as fuel, instead of glucose from carbohydrates or protein. Simply put, the daily ketogenic diet consists of 75 percent fat, 20 percent of protein, and a teeny allotment of carbohydrates, about 5 percent. This balance of macronutrients is intended to put your body in a state of ketosis, which suppresses the release of insulin and blood glucose levels. The benefits of ketosis to your health are improvements in biomarkers like blood glucose, reduction of blood pressure and decreased appetite due to fullness linked to consumption of fats.

You might think this sounds a lot like the Atkins diet — it’s not. The main difference lies in the protein content of the diet. Atkins tends to be very high in protein, while ketogenic is moderate.

The theory of ketosis as a possible prevention against disease is gaining attention from cancer specialists. Tumor immunologist Dr. Patrick Hwu, one of the leading cancer specialists in the U.S., has followed the keto diet for four years, although he prefers to call it the fat-burning metabolism diet, or fat-burning diet. More research is needed to prove its benefits, but Hwu, the head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson in Houston, believes in it after seeing improvements in his own health.

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