A recent Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) ruling upheld complaints by a number of agencies purporting to be in the “interest of patient safety” regarding the ketogenic diet and specifically the work of Patricia Daly, nutritional therapist. Ms Daly would like to make a number of points responding to this ruling.
- That the ASAI is arbitrating on the matter of cancer nutrition indicates a worrying use of a private regulatory body to adjudicate on a public health matter. This is all the more surprising as the issue which has been ruled on is about science, not advertising. This raises the issue of the competency of the ASAI to arbitrate in the matter of cancer nutrition.
- The ruling asserts that a website operated by nutritional therapist Patricia Daly makes false claims. This is not the case, throughout her website and cookbook, Ms Daly has emphasised that research into the ketogenic diet is pre-clinical. It is made clear in all publications, including advertisements, that there are limitations to the use of the ketogenic diet and that it is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach.
- As a qualified, insured and registered nutritional therapist with the NTOI (Nutritional Therapists of Ireland), the official register for nutritional therapists, Ms Daly adheres to the code of practice of this body, much like members of the ASAI, also a self-regulated body, are expected to do. Her main client base is in the US, where she also receives referrals from oncologists.
Agencies made their initial complaint to the ASAI “in the interests of patient protection” in Ireland. But, the ketogenic diet has a proven safety record – even for cancer patients in advanced stage. Its potential validity as a dietary option supporting those receiving cancer treatment is accepted by numerous international cancer and diet researchers, doctors and oncologists including; Dr Adrienne Scheck (PhD, cancer researcher, Barrow Neurological Institute), Dr Colin Champ (MD, radiation oncologist, UPMC Cancer Center Pittsburgh), Dr Rainer Klement (PhD, Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, Leopoldina Hospital, Schweinfurt), Prof Dominic d’Agostino (PhD, Assistant Professor, University South Florida), Prof Dawn Lemanne (MD, oncologist, Oregon Integrative Oncology), Prof Thomas Seyfried (PhD, cancer researcher, Boston College).
Interest into the ketogenic diet as part of a metabolic therapy for cancer is increasing rapidly around the world. This is demonstrated by a growing number of human clinical trials. One study published in the US National Library of Medicine in 2014, states that “dietary modifications, such as high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets that enhance mitochondrial oxidative metabolism while limiting glucose consumption could represent a safe, inexpensive, easily implementable, and effective approach to selectively enhance metabolic stress in cancer cells versus normal cells,” Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism (Allen, et al, 2104).
The complaint by the INDI and the ICS was made in June 2016 to the ASAI, 2 months after publication of the best-selling “The Ketogenic Kitchen”, written with co-author Domini Kemp. In August 2016, the book was published in the US by Chelsea Green. The authors and publishers are considering whether to appeal the recent ASAI decision.