The ketogenic diet has various health applications, including accelerating weight loss, reversing type 2 diabetes, curbing epilepsy-induced seizures, and preventing cancer, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino said on a July 29 podcast with fitness author Jimmy Moore.
"The ketogenic diet has such a tremendous track record, for seizures, type 2 diabetes and other emerging diseases," said Dr. D'Agostino. "It's a very effective metabolic therapy."
D'Agostino is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology. He has made headlines for his groundbreaking research on the use of the ketogenic diet to manage advanced metastatic cancer.
Moore is a health blogger and author of Keto Clarity, which many call the definitive guide to the ketogenic diet. But Jimmy didn't just research the ketogenic diet; he used it to lose 180 pounds and turn his life around.
Moore, who once tipped the scales at 410 pounds, now weighs around 230 and has never looked or felt better. He is convinced the ketogenic diet saved his life and feels others can also benefit from it.
Moore and D'Agostino join a growing list of health experts who say unprocessed saturated fat does not cause obesity, diabetes, or heart disease.
To the contrary, research suggests that following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet actually promotes weight loss and prevents heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's.
The ketogenic diet has proven effective for preventing epileptic seizures in children who don't respond to drugs, but D'Agostino's research shows its seizure-inhibiting qualities work equally well in adults.
Since 2007, Dr. D'Agostino has worked with the Office of Naval Research to assist the Navy SEALs by developing ketogenic diet strategies to protect them from the undersea environment. He found that a ketogenic diet prevented Navy SEALs from getting seizures during rigorous underwater training exercises.
On top of its disease-fighting properties, Dr. D'Agostino said a ketogenic diet may be beneficial for many people, because restricting carbs makes weight management easy and staves off almost all degenerative diseases.
Ketogenic Diet Starves Cancer
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 in an exclusive interview.
This is because nearly all the healthy cells in our body have the metabolic flexibility to use fat, glucose and ketones to survive, but cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility and require large amounts of glucose and cannot survive on ketones. So by limiting carbohydrates we can reduce glucose (and insulin) and thus restrict the primary fuel for cancer cell growth.
D'Agostino's colleague, Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College, told me the ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for almost all cancers.
Seyfried's decades of research indicate cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease. And his research shows the ketogenic diet effectively treats advanced cancer in mice.
These same anti-cancer properties have also been observed in human cancer patients and reported in published studies. Today, there are about a dozen studies that are investigating the use of the ketogenic diet to manage all kinds of cancer. Those results will determine whether the medical community will adopt metabolic therapy to treat cancer in the future.
For now, both 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 is 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."