The good, the bad and the ugly
THE GOOD: Ketogenic Diets Appear to Impede Cancer
So, you might be wondering— if ketogenic diets reduce muscle growth, then what could possibly be “good” about ketogenic diets? Well, astonishingly, it looks like ketogenic diets may actually mitigate certain cancers to a large degree, by inhibiting mTOR.1 This is because mTOR influences certain cellular processes that can promote uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. For instance, the ability of mTOR to control the cell’s protein synthesis machinery gives it the ability to trigger the production of certain proteins required for cell division2,3, which could result in unwanted cell division, supporting the progression of cancer.
Cancer cells rely heavily on glucose for energy, and mTOR inhibition by ketogenic diets reduces the production of several enzymes involved in the conversion of glucose into energy— decreasing the energy supply and thus, the viability of the cancer cell.4 In addition to inhibiting mTOR, the lack of carbohydrate consumed during the ketogenic diet should also impede cancer by further removing the cancer cells’ access to glucose-derived energy, and starving the cancer cell to death.1,5
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