Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic Diet and Cancer

by Mauris Emeka

Admittedly, fasting is not an easy thing to do for most of us. But if there are serious concerns about either preventing or overcoming cancer it can motivate one to consider fasting. Here’s hoping this article proves to be timely and helpful.

In the early part of the last century, before the use of pharmaceutical drugs, fasting played a vital role in healing.   Within the last five years something called intermittent fasting has been increasingly observed as a way to prevent and help overcome cancer.  Studies show that fasting is good for cleansing and recharging the body, reducing harmful free radicals, and strengthening the all-important immune system.  In effect, the body’s own healing power gets a boost.  How, then, does intermittent fasting play a role, and why is it helpful against cancer?

First, it needs to be understood that cancer cells generate energy by consuming one and only one nutrient – and that nutrient is called glucose.  Without glucose cancer cells begin starving. In addition, cancer cells consume glucose every minute of each 24-hour day.  On the other hand, healthy cells are not limited to glucose for generating energy; and healthy cells do not need to generate energy every minute of a 24-hour day.

Intermittent fasting beats cancer

Intermittent fasting involves establishing a routine of eating two meals spread over about a 6-hour period during the day. A common practice for carrying out this routine is to eat lunch at 12:30 to 1 pm, and eat dinner later that day at 5:30 to 6 pm; and then to avoid eating any solid food until the next afternoon at 1 pm. That completes an 18 to 19 hour fast. When this routine is done for several days, and assuming one eats the right foods, then this can greatly challenge the ability of cancer cells because it puts them on the road to starvation.

What are the foods we need to be concerned about?  As mentioned earlier, cancer cells generate their energy by consuming glucose, and large amounts of it.  The body makes glucose from sugar and simple carbohydrates from refined grains such as white flour and whole wheat flour. Glucose is also made from various refined foods and simple carbohydrates such as white potatoes, white rice, macaroni, spaghetti, pasta.  Any food that produces glucose and produces it fast is dearly loved by cancer cells.  Regrettably, that describes a high percentage of the food eaten in the USA.

The Ketogenic diet for cancer

As already mentioned, cancer cells need to consume glucose every minute of the day and night. That is not the case for healthy cells because they are not limited to glucose for producing energy. Healthy cells can also produce energy from something called ketones which comes from eating a ketogenic diet.  To follow the ketogenic diet one must avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates that were just noted. The ketogenic diet includes eating fresh fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables), moderate amounts of animal proteins, and high amounts of good fats (such as unrefined coconut oil, butter, avocados, nuts). One can include small amounts of legumes such as lentils, black beans and lima beans; and since they are complex carbohydrates they are high in fiber and, unlike simple carbohydrates, they are slow to convert to glucose.  The ketogenic diet does not include highly processed hydrogenated fats. And the good news is that this diet produces ketones instead of glucose for generating energy.  Ketones are known to be much cleaner than glucose and the human body uses them more efficiently than glucose. In short, ketones can make cancer cells go by the wayside.

By following a ketogenic diet fasting routine for several days a week, and drinking lots of good water (i.e., high pH ionized water) it helps cleanse and detoxify the body and make for a stronger immune system.  The number of days to fast intermittently to get free of cancer depends on how far a particular cancer condition has advanced.

Fortunately, this fasting procedure is completely safe; also, assuming that one has commitment and discipline it can be easy to implement.  Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California is quoted as saying “…by undergoing a fasting-mimicking diet, you are able to let the body use sophisticated mechanisms to identify and destroy the bad but not the good cells in a natural way.”

Dr. David Jockers, DC, is an accomplished chiropractor who notes that one of the benefits of intermittent fasting is to normalize insulin within the body.  He also points out that fasting reduces inflammation and reduces oxidative stress – and that can be a great benefit for anyone challenged with cancer.

Research shows that fasting increases tumor killing T-cells, and it also strips away the covering from cancer cells, and that enables the immune system to recognize cancer cells and target them for destruction.  Dr. Thomas Seyfried, Professor of Biology at Boston College, has completed extensive study of cancer cells.  He presents proof that cancer cells can be destroyed with 5 to 10-day intermittent fasting when consuming the ketogenic diet. And since this diet produces ketones instead of glucose we can all be eternally grateful! The bottom line: intermittent fasting on its own can be a big help against cancer; and when it’s accomplished along with a ketone-rich diet this proven approach makes the body a place where cancer is NOT welcomed.


1.)  “Water Fasts as a potential Tactic to Beat Cancer” by Dr. Thomas Seyfried (from





Mauris Emeka is a retired U.S. Army officer whose wife died from cancer.  He resides in Port Orchard, Washington, and has since authored and published two books about cancer and nutrition.  

His website is