UAB study looks at effects of keto diet in cancer patients

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WAIT) — A trendy diet is catching the eyes of people hoping to lose wright. The diet is also catching the eyes of UAB researchers who say it could help some cancer patients. 

UAB researchers randomly assigned 45 overweight or obese women with ovarian or endometrial cancer either the standard American Cancer Society diet or the ketogenic diet.

The keto diet is low-carb, high-fat and moderate protein, while the American Cancer Society recommended diet is moderate to high-carb, high-fiber and low-fat. 

During the UAB study, women on the keto diet lost significantly more body fat and had lower glucose and insulin levels. 

“The idea behind eating this diet is that it potentially can starve cancer cells so they don’t get the fuel source they need to grow,” said UAB professor Kevin Fontaine. 

Fontaine suggests increasing intake of things coconut oil, olive oil and staying away from vegetable oil. Fontaine says eating foods with healthy fats like avocados could be beneficial as well. 

Fontaine stresses this diet is not a cure for cancer, instead he suggests it could help prevent cancer in some cases. 

“This diet is probably going to ultimately be more beneficial in preventing people in developing it, because if you eat in a style that doesn’t spike your glucose and your insulin, if you have any cancer cells, they’re not going to be able to thrive,” said Fontaine.

UAB researchers are hoping to conduct a larger study with ovarian cancer patients. They’d like to get them on the keto diet as soon as they’re diagnosed to see what sort of effects it has on the progression of their cancer. 

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