Mama June Shannon, star of the TLC show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," credited a low-carb ketogenic-style diet for her stunning 120-pound weight loss.
A swimsuit-clad Mama June showed off her slimmed-down physique in a Twitter photo posted by a fan, who saw her vacationing in Panama City, Florida.
Mama June lost 120 pounds and shed six dress sizes by cutting back on high-carb fare such as sugary sodas and doughnuts and eating chicken, baked foods and snacking on cheese cubes.
Shannon, who once tipped the scales at 400 pounds, is a lot slimmer, but has no desire to become super-skinny. She insists she was never ashamed of her appearance, even when she was obese.
“I’ve always taken pride in how I look,” Honey Boo Boo's mom told InTouch. “I’m happy with the way I am now but I was also happy with myself when I was 400 pounds. I taught myself and my kids that you’ve got to be comfortable no matter what your size.”
Mama June's dramatic weight loss has fueled rumors that she underwent bariatric surgery or used diet pills, but Shannon denied those rumors. “I haven't done any surgeries, she said. "No diet pills, never went to the gym.”
Mama June said her slim-down has inspired her daughters, Anna, 19, Jessica, 17, Lauryn “Pumpkin,” 14, and Alana (Honey Boo Boo), eight, to lose weight.
Ketogenic Diet Fights Diabetes, Epilepsy and Cancer
Other celebrities who have lost weight on a low-carb diet include Sharon Osbourne, who shed 30 pounds in six weeks, and Kim Kardashian, who lost 56 pounds in six months on a ketogenic-style Atkins diet that limited her daily carb intake to less than 60 grams.
While Kardashian's star status has raised the popularity of the ketogenic and Atkins diets for weight loss, research indicates these low-carb, high-fat diets have various health applications, including combating depression, reversing type 2 diabetes, preventing epileptic seizures, and managing metastatic cancer.
Several noted cancer researchers, including Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College, said the ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for most cancers. Seyfried's decades of research indicate that cancer is a metabolic disease. And the best way to treat a metabolic disorder is through diet, Seyfried told me.
Similarly, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino of the University of South Florida Medical School said the ketogenic diet starves cancer because cancer cells thrive on sugar.
According to Dr. D'Agostino, we are only as healthy as our mitochondria, which are the power sources of all our cells, so if we keep our mitochondria healthy, we can stall the onset of age-related chronic diseases. D'Agostino's research during the past four years confirmed that a ketogenic diet successfully manages even advanced cancer.
"We've found that diet therapy can be effective in prolonging survival in mice with aggressive metastatic cancer," D'Agostino told me.
For now, D'Agostino and Seyfried are encouraged by the growing mainstream acceptance of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet as a way to combat obesity, diabetes and heart disease. D'Agostino and other cancer researchers are optimistic the keto diet will emerge as a useful tool for cancer prevention and treatment.
"I have no doubt that ongoing research and clinical trials will show that the ketogenic diet slows or suppresses tumor growth," said Dr. D'Agostino. "Nutrition is the foundation of health. I hope universities will recognize this and incorporate nutrition into the medical curriculum."