Blog - Keto Lifestyle - Thomas Seyfried, PhD, Professor, researcher and pioneer of cancer as a metabolic disease

Thomas Seyfried, PhD, Professor, researcher and pioneer of cancer as a metabolic disease

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. 

Watch all of Dr. Seyfried’s videos on the Charlie Foundation YouTube channel.


Beth Zupec-Kania

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has managed ketogenic diet therapies since 1991. Designer of KetoDietCalculator, online program for creating ketogenic diets, and prolific author. Beth has trained over 300 medical centers globally on implementing keto diets and has recently published a keto pocket guide for professionals.

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