Dr. Seyfried, PhD published a groundbreaking treatise entitled, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer (Wiley, 1st ed., 2012). His research describes a theory that cancer can be best defined as a mitochondrial metabolic disease rather than as a genetic disease. Calorie restriction and fasting are methods that Seyfried has studied in mice with brain tumors with striking results. By restricting carbohydrate the tumor cells starve and stop growing. Nutritional ketosis provides a similar environment as fasting by supplying dietary fat as the main source of calories.
Ketogenic diets are high in fat, low in carbohydrate and include sufficient protein. The ketosis that results from this macronutrient prescription feeds all cells except tumor cells. Researchers have viewed Seyfried’s theory of metabolism as one of cancer science’s greatest breakthroughs. Seyfried’s research has led to studies in humans that show ketogenic metabolic therapy sensitizes tumor cells, in effect targeting them for destruction by chemotherapy without damaging healthy cells. Incorporating ketogenic metabolic therapies into cancer treatment has been shown in case reports and small studies to be effective in brain, breast, colon, ovary, lung and pancreatic cancers.