At the end of August 2016, I launched a new, more user-friendly version of my website. A friend of mine gave up a big chunk of her free time to help me with it- I’m sure you agree that it’s beautifully designed and easier to get around now!
As part of the re-launch, I also made the decision to not offer a comment section under my blog posts any more. This is for various reasons:
- I’m an incredibly open-minded person and really appreciate comments, feedback or criticism on the work I do. But recently things have become so busy and loads of comments were made on a daily basis. I have to go through every single post, read it and approve it (to protect from spam). It’s also important to me to get back to everyone, answer questions or clarify things. Because I’m a “one-woman-show” and don’t have any admin support, this has become an almost full-time job!
- As with any controversial topic (and the ketogenic diet for cancer definitely IS one of them!), there are lots of opinions, experiences, emotions, frustrations, conflicting research “out there”. Of course there are also trolls who like to trash anything and everything that doesn’t fit into their world view. I’m not willing to offer my website as a platform for ideological battles. This is my work space and I prefer to keep it friendly.
- I’m keen to keep this website MY space where I share my research, resources and experiences. If people want to debate, discuss or get in touch with me, there are several options: They can follow me on Twitter or facebook. Or join my facebook group. Or get in touch with me directly here.
- There is another group of people who think nothing of the ketogenic diet. That it offers zero benefits for cancer patients. In short: They can’t stand what I write about. I have a suggestion for you: Click away! Don’t put yourself through the agony of reading my material. Find another platform to get rid of your frustration.
But because there has already been some criticism about this decision of removing the comment section- especially also under one of the more heated debates– I’ve done some copy pasting below to make sure those comments are still visible for those who are interested.
After reading your blog I felt compelled to send you a note of support. I am living proof the ketogenic diet works. I was diagnosed with 4th stage mantle cell lymphoma. I spent a year in a cancer ward, including receiving a stem cell transplant.
That was 3years ago, which I know may not seem a long time to some people, but is a lifetime to me.
I have never felt better.
I never had a “sweet” tooth so switching to a Keto diet was easy.
It is now a lifestyle for me.
Please, do not be deterred in any way by the narrow-minded. People like me need you.
I find your response to my comments quite offensive. I did not make any angry responses, I did not shame you, I did not belittle you- I simply disagreed with what you had written- is this not allowed? I read what you wrote very carefully despite your suggestion that I did not ( and the nasty implication from you that perhaps I didn’t read research material carefully). For example I know the public is confused about aspects of metabolism such as pH balance but there are no mixed messages from authoritative sources about this. There is established scientific fact which you can find in any biochemical textbook and there is nonsense peddled by quacks such as the alkaline diet supporters. I know where I get my information from.
From Patricia, in reply to Noirin:
First of all, thanks for getting back to me, Noirin. I really appreciate it.
It’s kind of ironic that you find my comments offensive. OF COURSE it’s allowed and welcome to disagree with me- do you think I’d have taken the time to write such a thorough and long response if I didn’t care and embrace what critics say? I’d have simply moved your comment to trash and carried on! Admittedly, English isn’t my first language but when somebody says “shame on you for…” I clearly understand this as shaming. Not much room for interpretation there if you ask me.
In defence of the general public, there ARE mixed messages about pH balance. And rightly so, if you analyse it in details- it’s not as black or white as you might think, despite coming from “authoritative sources”. The terms “acidosis” and “acidaemia” are regularly (and incorrectly) interchanged, which can be very confusing for the public. Acidosis is the process that calls upon the body’s compensatory mechanisms to buffer acidity and acidaemia occurs with blood pH of less than 7.35, which can get lethal very quickly. It’s been clearly shown that this won’t happen by simply eating the “wrong” (i.e. acid forming) foods in one meal. HOWEVER, the (chronic) net acid load of a diet (the balance between acid-forming components like sulfuric acid and alkaline-forming components like bicarbonate) may indeed be relevant to human health! I acknowledge that this is an area without general consensus and one that lacks a definitive marker of acid–base status. Nevertheless, fascinating and worth keeping an eye on in terms of clinical relevance, right? And when you talk about “pH balance”, textbooks and experts need to be a lot more specific to avoid this exact confusion I’ve just been talking about.
I’ve checked in the biochemistry book that is used in UCD on the MSc in Food, Nutrition and Health and this is what I read about ketosis/pH balance: “Ketosis is a sign that the system is struggling, and since the two acids, acetoacetic and β-hydroxybutyric, are quite strong acids, it tends also to challenge the pH balance. Therefore, in the event of ketosis arising from fasting, etc. (with low blood glucose), one would set up a glucose drip. This would not be appropriate in diabetic ketosis – the blood glucose in that situation is already too high!”
If these inaccuracies are being taught at well-recognised institutes, then I’m not surprised at the uproar ketogenic researchers are experiencing. LOTS of work ahead. And, by the way, I’ve been doing JUST fine without glucose drip in the past 4 years!
Thanks again for passing by, Noirin.
Fantastic Patricia, I rarely manage to read long blog posts to the end, this was no effort! Here’s to being open minded, embracing all new information and debating without slight.
Thank you Patricia for your wonderful post ~ it’s refreshing & inspiring to basque in your honest tone of openness, sincerity, commitment & caring for people and the gifts you bring to your profession…I appreciate you ~ Geoff White, Concho, AZ
Rather shame on you Noirin, for peddling that scurrilous tirade above.
Read Patricia’s response above.
Then read it again.
Patricia is simply being progressive, and moving where the preponderance of the data indicates. She is also leveraging the knowledge and work product of some past and current great scientists, who are not willing to simply plough the tired soil of genetic-mutation exploration (which quite frankly has been a huge disappointment in the past 20 years). She is giving people a locus about which they can take some personal action – rather than being powerless and awaiting the outcome of drugs and radiation (which by all means are needed, but adjunct therapy based on solid hypotheses is important too).
She bases advice on emerging science and currently established vectors, without recommending anything remotely dangerous. In a sense it focuses more on foods of an evolutionary nature. How bad. This is how scientists and engineers used to explore and progress, before the past few decades locked down the system with ever-increasing barriers, only surmountable by the power centres.
It increasingly appears to me that strident attacks emerge against anything that conflicts with orthodoxy. If it ain’t patented and part of a business model, the little armies are galvanised to screech.
We have lived through the farce of smoking being defended for decades.
And the farce of ‘cholesterol’ being a major cause of CHD (still going on).
And the farce of ‘fat clogging yer arteries’ (still going on).
There are many more farces too depressing to mention, where our great and good screeched in outrage when their flawed science was questioned. All are driven by arrogance, hubris, conservatism…and continually supported by business interests well able to manipulate the paradigms.
Now we suffer this current farce that suggests a high-carbohydrate diet (from that ludicrous pyramid) is optimum for someone tackling cancer. And anyone who is sensible enough to restrict carbohydrate therapeutically….is of course screeched at.
This farce too will pass in time. They all do in the end.
N=1, I know, but when my wife underwent surgery for a bowel tumour 2 years ago, the surgeon said the tumour had shrunk from a T2N2 to T0N0 during the 5 weeks of chemo/radiotherapy prior to the surgery.
The oncology team stated that they only ever saw this level of regression in 14% of cases with the remainder showing little or no regression in the type of tumour my wife had. When I suggested it may have been partly due to the ketogenic diet we had coincidentally been on leading up to the discovery of the cancer, they ‘pooh-poohed’ the idea and claimed it was all down to the chemo and radio.
They couldn’t explain why 14% of people also experienced this phenomenon. Every discussion I tried to initiate on the Warburg effect was shut down. I simply gave up trying to explain it to them and kept my own counsel.
I have to report that even though my wife had to undergo major life-changing surgery to remove her rectum, we have had no signs of recurrence of any cancer. We remain on a ketogenic way of eating.
Such a thoughtful, rational and calm response Patricia, thank you.
Nice rebuttal Patricia, keep up the great work!
Fanastic reply Patricia. And you were fanastic lecturing us this year at the IINH. I just don’t know why it’s such a struggle to get this information out there, why such resistance from some quarters…Ivor Cummins answers best above!
I’m fully agree with you Patricia on Cancer and glucose
proliferating cells including cancers and immune cells does use glucose as the main substrate to sustain the pentose phosphate pathway to create biomass for nucleotides (cell cycle on synthesis phase)
the difference is that when the immune cells engaging their proliferation, they will secrete cytokines that act as a request for gluconeogenesis in the liver and kidney, and its happening even under a very low insulin state such as on prolonged fasting conditions.
while on the other hand, cancers is a cell that benefits from the circulating glucose and taking advantage from any inflammation that also bring the glucose circulating level up (from gluconeogenesis that triggered)
the key is the control that we have over the circulating glucose during fasting and ketosis
any abnormal raise thats happening would be initiated by the immune cells action upon their transition from quiesence (fat metabolism) to battle mode (aerobic glycolysis)
and gluconeogenesis will be the natural control over the battle supplies that easily turns down by negative feed back regulation upon immune cells that were also creating inflammation during the battle
so adding glucose such as from carbs would negate the control over glucose availibility that was initially brought up by demands from the immune cells from being switched to different phenotype that required to eliminate the non self (or transformed) antigen upon recognition
then for the acid base balance, the real cause of acidity that result in many metabolic syndrome and even cancer initiation or progression is happening within the intracellular level, not the extracellular space such as blood or lymphatic circulation which is tightly regulated by the lungs and kidney
the acidity is happening from cellular lactic acidosis from glycolysis and glutaminolysis alteration of fermentable substrate
and its triggered by hyperinsulinemia that accounts for insulin resistance within the cells
this acidity is the real issue that cause the stabilisation of HIF (Hypoxia Inducible Factor) and result in a cascade of primitive survival mechanism towards malignancy within the nucleus and mitochondria DNA alteration
Well balanced and scientifically sound reply, Patricia, and admirably calm!
It is such a shame (sic!) that some shamers are bad-mouthing your exemplary work.
We need your good work in getting some progress in the field of nutrition, Thank you for it!
Having Ivor Cummins leave such a reply on my behalf would pay off for anything these “pedigreed” ones keep shouting… I’ve given up on diplomas and welcomed real science, truth and good will! Keep it up, Patricia! From Brazil, get my best regards!!!
From Noirin, in reply to Patricia:
Public shaming is the deliberate humiliation of a person and is something I would never do. I did not do that- I disagreed with the content of your blog and what I found offensive is your characterisation of this as public shaming. I believe that what you did is much closer to public shaming. The phrase I used ‘shame on you’ has been around much longer than ‘public shaming’ and is not the same thing at all.
Interestingly you and some of the other commentators on your blog have suggested that I am resistant to new therapies- where is the evidence for that in what I said? I simply addressed what I saw as errors in the content of your blog. I think it is fantastic that people are researching new approaches and I hope that they are successful. I am just cautious and I believe that there is simply not enough evidence to support the ketogenic diet as a treatment. The researcher that you mention as a champion of this treatment, Thomas Seyfried has made wild claims such as ‘Ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for almost all cancers’. Not only is this completely unsubstantiated it is downright dangerous. He has also been quoted as saying: “The reason why the ketogenic diet is not being prescribed to treat cancer is purely economical,” said Dr. Seyfried, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. “Cancer is big business. There are more people making a living off cancer than there are dying of it.” Again this is completely irresponsible. Whatever one’s criticisms of cancer treatments you cannot argue with the vastly improved survival rates of recent decades which are due to improved therapies.
I understand that you do not make such wild claims but I don’t think he is someone you should be recommending.
I sincerely wish you the best.
From Patricia, in reply to Noirin:
I’m glad to hear you didn’t intend to publicly shame me, although it came across to me as such (saying “shame on you” on a public website with a significant amount of traffic, I mean). And I hope you also understand that there is a lot of public confusion around certain nutrition topics.
Anyway, when it comes to research- Prof Seyfried and I might have different opinions and approaches on how we use a ketogenic diet (I advocate using keto ONLY in conjunction with conventional treatment), but this doesn’t mean I dismiss his solid research (on the contrary!) and highly appreciate all he does for the field of metabolic therapies for cancer. And, by the way, when conversing with him and listening to his lectures, he makes it very clear that his main issue is with the Gold standard treatment of very aggressive brain tumours (GBM), namely surgery, chemo and radiation accompanied by high doses of steroids, possibly with Avastin thrown in the mix. He’s not the only own who has come to the conclusion that this simply doesn’t work. Check out what Prof Matt Williams from the UK has to say on this- I wrote about it on this blog.
When it comes to cancer as a business- I let everybody do their research and make up their own opinion on this. I recently watched this video published by the New Scientist, where Paul Davies (who was asked by the NCI to come on board with cancer research) starts talking about the progress we’ve made in cancer treatment in recent decades (from around 5 minutes). It’s a very sober picture he presents. Not sure he’d agree with your statement that we’ve vastly improved survival rates- it seems a question of interpretation what survival actually means. Improved therapies- yes, mainly in immunotherapy, but will we be able to afford these for everybody?
I wish you all the best as well- may we all be working together to challenge each other and hopefully make real progress in the future!
From Noirin, in reply to Patricia:
I had a quick look at that video by Paul Davies and I must say it is disappointing that he misuses statistics for his own purposes. On one slide he claims that the fact that the absolute number of deaths from cancer has not changed much since 1954 is evidence of little progress in cancer treatment but neglects to mention the more than 10 year increase in life span that has occurred in this time which could account for a lot of these cancers. But a much more serious attempt to distort figures is on the next slide. In the figure he presents as evidence that there has been little improvement in survival rates from cancer you will note that the legend says ‘survival rates for patients with distant metastases’ -not overall survival rates. It is very dishonest of him to present this as an overall survival rate from cancer when it is clearly not.
Cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled in the last 40 years according to Cancer Research UK.
From Patricia, in reply to Noirin:
Thanks Noirin- I have to admit, I’m very confused by cancer statistics and have never really focused on this- simple lack of time! I’m sure you’re a lot more on top of this- thanks for pointing out those inaccuracies. If he’s indeed misusing statistics, that’s very disappointing, especially if he’s been commissioned by the NCI to do research because he’s totally unbiased and has no apparent vested interests. If I ever have a dull moment, I might try and get my head around all this…
Great reply Patricia – logical and calm. Surely, the only way we progress in science is to remain open-minded and ready to admit that we may sometimes be wrong or need to revisit our beliefs. Keep up the excellent work Patricia
You have tremendous patience! My response would probably not have been so nice. As a professional, fighting the same kind of ignorance as you did in this case (my work is in migraines), I think that comments such as what you received mean a few additional things that you did not mention in your response:
– they are being scared from the new you presented because you are stepping on the toes of others in the field who said something else and whose time has not yet come (and may not come)
– jealousy of you having something worthy to have been said that others had not thought about
– your novel ideas go over the head of those fighting it. That is good news! Unfortunately often these very same people are editors and/or reviewers in academic journals. I find that their incompetence (and having reached the Peter Principle) also means that science advances one death at the time. This is not true in every field, mind you. In nutrition (such as using saturated fats, particularly animal fats and the CHD issue with the “heart health” group (think Ancel Keys)) has taken many generations and “My Plate” (that replaced the food pyramid) still has NO FAT on it at all! So in some cases it may take centuries to make a change.
– and finally, if you had not said (or written) something that was frighteningly correct and thus threatens the current dogma, you would never have received a negative comment! I applaud you for getting a negative comment! It means you are at the leading edge of science that challenges dogma and scares other scientists! And I think that is great because they reveal WHO they are and what their problems are! I suppose we know who will win this chess game. 🙂
Keep up the great work and fight against dogmatic views that got the entire nation (and the civilized world) deeply into metabolic disease. I am sure that developments in the ketogenic diet will send many people now making a living off of sick people into the unemployment line and yes, I suppose it is scary for them but great for us!
I am looking forward to reading more of your work!
Angela A. Stanton, PhD.
“Patricia is simply being progressive, and moving where the preponderance of the data indicates.”
If this statement is true, you and Patricia should be able to produce this preponderance of evidence showing the benefits of a ketogenic diets on human cancer treatment, and use it to convince me and other critics of its merit.
It would also provide a strong moral justification for Patricia recommending – and making personal financial gain – from people who are, to be frank in a potentially vulnerable position.
Reading through the rest of Patricia’s site I don’t find the evidence for adopting a ketogenic diet compelling (yet), although it is unarguably an approach which shows a degree of promise.
But I am open to having my opinion changed by actual *evidence* which I find entirely more convincing than the assertions, fallacies and borderline conspiracy theories which take up the majority of Ivor’s post.
From Patricia, in reply to Slipp:
What can I say, Slipp- keep emphasising that the ketogenic diet is NOT a cure, that it should be considered an adjunct, that it’s in pre-clinical stage, that data is compelling but inconclusive…? But I do appreciate that this approach shows a certain degree of promise… When monitored (which I always recommend!), a low carb and ketogenic diet has a range of benefits for SOME people (again- nutrition is ideally personalised but we’re SO far from this!) that go way beyond “just” supporting cancer treatment. When I decided in 2012 to go this route, I knew there was no guarantee it would work for me (but hey, conventional treatments didn’t work either, so what did I have to lose?) but I had the reassuring data from RCTs carried out on epileptic children that the diet is safe. So what do you have to lose by giving it a go, as long as you do it under monitoring and in a very careful way? Maybe it’s something only a cancer patient in the same situation can understand, I don’t know. I’m not sure whether you’re aware how many people are sent home because “there’s nothing else we can offer you”. Or they’re presented with options that are simply not acceptable for their personal circumstances. For me it was a no brainer to give keto a go.
And when it comes to financial gain- this is all I have to say: When I do private consultations with cancer patients, I don’t set everyone up for keto. Sometimes it’s simply not appropriate- for many reasons. I only ever take a handful of clients because I’m incredibly thorough and put in lots of time. My online products are 97 USD for patients at the most- which includes 3 eBooks and over 3 hours of high quality video content. I’d easily have spent a whole lot more when I started- if it had been available.
Rest assured that I’m NOT at the Irish minimum pay rate of 9.15 Euro/hour. I’m WAAAY below this. If you saw my accounts, you would probably wet yourself laughing and ask why on earth I’m not moving back into corporate banking. Why? Because I’m getting a lot out of my work. Not financially, but in many other ways. And I know for a fact that many other practitioners working in the field of ketogenic diets (not just for cancer) are in a similar situation.
Now I’m hopping over to Twitter because I suspect you’ve already tagged me in a comment 😉