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Metabolic Approach to Cancer and Ketogenic Diet.

Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms

by Travis Christofferson

Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont

$24.95, hardback, 258 pages.

Tripping Over the Truth recounts one of the most important stories in medicine today. This is a well-documented, highly readable examination of the history of cancer research, the backstories, personalities, and politics involved. In the early 20th century, surgery, followed by radiation, were the only cancer therapies available. When researchers found that mustard gas achieved cancer remission (however briefly), they believed they had found a systemic cure for cancer, a form of therapy that simply needed refining. The subsequent hypothesis that genetic mutations were driving cancer development, paired with these treatments, created an approach to cancer that has lasted to the present.

Christofferson, a gifted science writer with a background in molecular biology and materials science, explores an alternative thesis, highlighting major discoveries over the century that point to a metabolic cause. This book connects the dots, recounting each milestone: Warburg's forgotten discovery that cancer cells survive by fermenting glucose; Peter Pederson's work at Hopkins in the 1970s and 80s showing that half the mitochondria in cancer cells are damaged or missing; the development of PET scans in the 1980s which document the presence of cancer by imaging the glucose within tumor cells; the lack of evidence for genetic patterns after a decade of sequencing the cancer genome; recent research at the University of Vermont and University of Texas confirming that damaged mitochondria are a major step in carcinogenesis; and the work of the geneticist, Thomas Seyfried, on cancer metabolism and ketogenic diet, recounted in his book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease (2012). This is the respectful handling of a difficult, byzantine topic that needs to be brought current, laying the groundwork for broader understanding of an energy-based metabolic approach to cancer.

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies

by Nasha Winters, ND, and Jess Higgins Kelley Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont $29.95, 362 pages.

Integrative oncologists will want to recommend this book to their patients. This review reads like a short course in functional medicine, focusing on ten key areas central to integrative cancer care: genetics, ketogenic diet, detoxification, the microbiome, immune function, inflammation and oxidative stress, reducing angiogenesis, hormone balance, circadian rhythms, and mind-body issues. In one relatively concise read, the authors touch on all the major areas that must be addressed, covering important topics in enough depth to explain clinical and treatment issues and why they matter. For a physician, this is a huge timesaver, providing patients with important scientific background. Although the book is somewhat technical, a major effort is made to keep the concepts understandable. This information positions the patient to be able to ask well-informed questions. Patients who are willing to read this will come into the discussion with a much higher level of understanding of their treatment.

Providers who are not familiar with integrative cancer treatment will gain insight on how an integrative oncologist organizes and synthesizes information in each of these ten major practice domains. More than 300 references from the medical literature are included and the resource section is excellent, useful for both providers and patients. The ketosis chapter, while not as complete as Keto for Cancer, touches on primary issues but leaves the details of implementation to the practitioner. This information comes with the warning that patients should not embark on this diet without supervision, because real problems can develop.

Keto for Cancer: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy

by Miriam Kalamian

Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont $29.95, 356 pages.

Keto for Cancer is an excellent, user-friendly, and in-depth discussion of the role of ketosis in cancer management, from the science of ketosis to the actual implementation of the program. Ketosis, as a component of cancer treatment, reflects our expanded understanding of the energy dynamics of cancer and the advantages a ketogenic diet brings to the management of this complicated disease. Over the past decade, the ketogenic diet has emerged as an important tool in integrative cancer care. In Kalamian's work, instructions and guidelines are written with the care of the individual cancer patient in mind, including what ketosis is, why ketosis helps fight cancer, the pros and cons of the diet, the assessment of ketogenics within the medical community, review and refutation of the most common objections to ketogenic diets, step-by-step information on how to get started, and instructions to caregivers. The depth of information here is remarkable and strongly recommended for both practitioners and patients.

This is the most thorough, detailed investigation of ketogenic diet this reader has encountered in a decade. Every component of the diet is reviewed in detail. The author investigates so many different aspects of ketosis that the reader is never left wondering about making the right clinical decision. This knowledge is hard won: the author's understanding of cancer began with her son's (terminal) cancer diagnosis.

The Ketogenic Kitchen: Low Carb. High Fat. Extraordinary Health

by Donna Kemp and Patricia Daly Chelsea Green, White River Junction, Vermont $29.95, 450 pages.

Written by two young dieticians in the UK who are both cancer survivors, this cookbook is an especially good fit for this set of resources. The need for a hands-on cookbook is clear--patients often become overwhelmed when they are advised to make major changes in their diet. The cookbook is presented in an elegant contemporary format that is pleasing to handle, with beautiful photographs and soothing colors. For the patient who is not feeling so great, this is an appetizing presentation. A thoughtful detail of the book's design is that when the book is opened, it lays flat to keep the recipe visible.

There are more than 250 recipes in total, for every meal of the day, with menu plans plotted out as well. Although the meals are a little more elaborate than necessary, solid recipes are provided for a wide variety of foods. Each recipe includes a breakout of the fat, protein, and carb content, so the impact on the ketogenic environment is a known factor. The inclusion of both metrics and American measurement (teaspoons, table spoons, cups) is a useful idea, although we would like to see this aspect of the page design simplified a bit. For the future, we would love to see this publisher do a cookbook with quick recipes that are easy to put together, for those days when patients have very limited energy.


For most Americans who develop cancer, this kind of information is new. The approach to cancer in the popular media and in medicine offers a somewhat skewed representation of the nature of cancer and of actual success rates using standard approaches. Patients who elect integrative oncology often experience aggressive resistance from relatives and from mainstream providers, and it is important they educate themselves on the science, clinical issues, and treatment options.

reviews by Jerry Stine, CNC, and Nancy Faass, MSW, MPH

Four new books on cancer as a metabolic disease and on ketogenics from Chelsea Green Publishing are designed to meet the growing need for in-depth information on these vital topics.

Tripping Over the Truth

"The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)... shocked everyone. No single mutation... or combination of mutations [proposed to] initiate the disease could be identified... there was a frightening degree of randomness. More than 18,000 genes were sequenced, the most exhaustive sequencing to date. [Researchers] were stunned by the seeming random nature of the cancer genome seen two years into the project."

Jerry Stine has been employing ketogenic diet for a decade in his practice and consulting in support of individuals with a range of health conditions:

Nancy Faass works collaboratively with clients to develop articles, Web content, white papers, and books:
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Title Annotation:Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms
Author:Stine, Jerry; Faass, Nancy
Publication:Townsend Letter
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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