The Keto Diet, Chemotherapy, and Cancer

There are claims that the keto diet allegedly helps manage cancer.

A plate of blackberries, avocado, and eggs

Keto diet and chemotherapy: How was it connected with each other?

Our bodies have an amazing and organized way to divide and regrow cells. But disorganize this process and it will result in chaos. In fact, the abnormal and malignant growth of cells is what causes cancer. It can travel through the blood vessel affecting any areas of our bodies and producing another cancer.

Tumor is made out of abnormal cancer cells. It does not spread or produce other tumor but it chokes healthy cells. It can also interfere with the function of the other organs of the body plus it draws too much nutrients.

In this article, we will talk about the two assistant in treating cancer. These are the keto diet and chemotherapy.

Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is linked to a lot of health benefits including weight loss as well as diseases like epilepsy, cancer, and diabetes. It reduces blood sugar and insulin levels efficiently. In the condition of cancer, the diet is believed to slow down the growth of a tumor.

If you are familiar with Atkins and low-carb diets, the keto diet has similarities with it. The process in keto diet improves the metabolism putting you in the state of ketosis. Ketosis makes your body burn fats efficiently for energy as well as turning the fats into liver ketones–responsible for providing energy in the brain.

There are various types of ketogenic diet namely standard, cyclical, targeted, and high-protein. However, when treating cancer patients, standard and high-protein keto diet are the most appropriate one. Meanwhile, the cyclical and targeted ketogenic diet is an advanced diet that is more applicable to athletes and bodybuilders.

Standard Ketogenic Diet

This is a diet which involves very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat. Normally, fat contains about 75%, protein is 20%, and carbs are 5%.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

Based on its name, the diet works in a cycle. There is a period where you can have high-carb intakes. For instance, you may have 5 continual days of the ketogenic diet, then 2 days high-carb diet.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

If you are doing a workout, carbs addition are allowed with this type of ketogenic diet.

High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

This ketogenic diet has similarities with the standard one. However, protein intake is allowed in a bigger portion. Then, fat will be 60%, protein is 35%, and carbs is 5%.

What Food to Avoid

Limiting your intake of high-carb food is vital in doing the diet. Below is the list of food that you should avoid or reduce the intake if you are undergoing a keto diet.

  1. Sugary foods like ice cream, candy, soda, cake, etc., as well as sugar-free diet food.
  2. Alcohol should also be avoided or eliminated because of its high carb content.
  3. Unhealthy fats such as mayonnaise and vegetable oils.
  4. Condiments and sauce that enclose unhealthy fat and sugar.
  5. Root vegetables and tubers such as carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.
  6. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.
  7. Fruit except for berries. However, only small portions of berries are allowed to be eaten.
  8. Grains or starches such as rice, wheat-based products, pasta, etc.

What Food to Take

Under the diet, your food intake should revolve around the list of food below.

  • Meat including bacon, poultry (e.g. chicken and turkey), ham, sausage, and red meat.
  • Whole eggs
  • Fatty fish such as mackerel, trout, salmon, and tuna.
  • Any cheese that is unprocessed.
  • Grass-fed butter and cream
  • Nuts and seeds such as flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, etc.
  • Low-carb veggies such as onions, peppers, green veggies, tomatoes, etc.
  • Whole and fresh avocados as well as guacamole.
  • Healthy oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, and virgin olive oil.
  • Natural condiments like salt and pepper as well as herbs and spices like rosemary, oregano, etc.


There are many kinds of cancer treatment such as surgery and radiation, but chemotherapy is the most famous cancer treatment which involves the process of killing cancer cells by the use of drugs. Radiation and surgery often target a specific area in the body, but chemo on the contrary targets multiple areas of the body. Cancer cells have a fast characteristic to grow and divide. These characteristics of the cancer are what chemo targets, affecting the other fast-growing cells of the body such as hair, skin, bone marrow, and intestines in the process.


Depending on what cancer a patient has, chemotherapy can treat, manage, or ease the symptoms of cancer.

On a positive basis, chemo can completely work on someone’s health, destroying the cancer cells until the patient can be announced as cancer-free. Moreover, cancer cells at no time may grow back again as the best result. On the other hand, there are cases wherein cancer is only managed to stop spreading in the other areas of the body as well as managing its symptoms.

If chemo doesn’t treat cancer by itself, it is partnered with other methods such as surgery and radiation.

In terms of schedule and longevity, chemotherapy varies on which type of cancer a patient have. You may have cycle chemo treatment in which, for example, you’ll undergo a 4-week cycle. The cycle may be composed of a week treatment and a 3-week rest. The week treatment is the process of killing the fast-growing and dividing cells, while the 3-week rest is for the growing of the new cells.

Additionally, it may be given in different forms as stated below.

  • Injection: The drug is directly injected into your arm muscles, hip muscles or thigh muscles. It can also be shot through the fatty part of your bodies such as the stomach, arm, or leg.
  • Intra-arterial (IA): Through needle or catheter, drugs are delivered straight into the artery.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP): The peritoneal cavity contains our stomach, intestines, liver, and ovaries. In IP, which is done through a tube with a special port during surgery, the drugs are distributed to the peritoneal cavity.
  • Intravenous (IV): The drugs are transported straight to the vein.
  • Topical: Chemotherapy is in the form of a cream that can be rubbed directly to the skin
  • Oral: The drug is in the form of an edible liquid or pill.
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