The discovery that diet may actually play a pivotal role in cancer treatment began just under a century ago, and more research and discoveries are being published today. Yet, it likely will be a number of years before we see this approach to treatment implemented in society-it just sounds too good to be true. And could cancer treatment really be that simple? Not to mention, pharmaceutical and academic industries have thrived on the notion cancer must be treated through medication, and of naming cancer as a product of environment, genetics, and even personal lifestyle choices.
Yet destroying our bodies with chemotherapy and toxic drugs may not be the only way to treat cancer. We know that eating processed foods and being unhealthy in general can contribute to cancer and other health concerns, so why is much of the medical community surprised and outraged to hear that changing nutrition should also be a treatment for cancer?
Part of this explanation lies in the fact that alternative treatments are rarely prioritized because they don’t pay well, and don't abide by modern, traditional approaches to medicine, which often dictates a prescription. Thus, they aren't really publicized and aren’t well-documented. Drug companies simply will not fund test trials for something they deem 'unmarketable;' they can make more money keeping patients dependent on their products, which is why people like Thomas Seyfried, Professor of Biology at Boston College, are not taken too seriously as of yet.
Seyfried is the author of a groundbreaking treatise, called Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. His research demonstrates how cancer is more of a mitochondrial metabolic disease than a genetic one. According to Seyfried's research, the mitochondria of cancer cells malfunction, and generate energy through anaerobic fermentation; this can either cause or be caused by genetic mutation, and is stimulated by environmental carcinogens.
What makes this discovery profound is Seyfried's discovery that treatment which starves cancerous cells of glucose and glutamine prevents fermentation and arrests cancerous growth. The ketogenic diet accomplishes this by minimizing carbohydrates and getting energy from healthy fats and protein; this allows primarily healthy cells to flourish because they can adapt to use ketone bodies (chemicals produced from fat metabolizing) for energy instead.
The number of cancer cases and deaths are rising, and there has been no significant progress in treatment for decades, virtually unheard of in every other medical field. Time will tell if Seyfried and other's research and discoveries will prove fruitful, but the promising connection to healing cancer through diet could be the breakthrough people have been looking for.