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Which Diet is Most Effective?

Posted on Friday, September 19, 2014

Current studies are looking at the potential for ketogenic diets to reduce the risk of cancer through glucose starvation of cells and the associated reduction in insulin stimulation of cell growth.

The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet is probably the most popular of the “ketogenic” diets.  Ketogenic diets typically include very low carbohydrates and increased dietary fat and protein.  These diets get their name from the fact that a significant decrease in dietary carbohydrate intake alters normal metabolic pathways and results in a rise in the production of ketone bodies, which take the place of glucose as the body’s normal source of energy. Several beneficial health effects, including weight loss, have been attributed to the Atkins diet, although the mechanism of weight loss is controversial.  One theory is that the increase in protein in the diet leads to a sense of fullness and indirectly curbs the appetite.  Other theories implicate metabolic factors, including increased fat breakdown, or increased metabolic rates. Studies have shown that people who adopt the Adkins diet have a reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides, although there is an increase in LDL cholesterol, leading some to caution about increased cardiovascular disease risk. It is not clear if the Adkins diet is superior in achieving weight loss compared to low-fat diets, or diets based on calorie restriction. Current studies are looking at the potential for ketogenic diets to reduce the risk of cancer through glucose starvation of cells and the associated reduction in insulin stimulation of cell growth.

Reference:

Paoli A, Rubini A, bolek JS, Grimaldi KA.  Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinnical Nutrition 2012;67:789-796.

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Mary B. Daly, MD, PhD, FACP

About Mary B. Daly, MD, PhD, FACP

Mary B. Daly, MD, PhD, FACP, is a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Daly specializes in treating patients with breast cancer and founded the Risk Assessment Program. Dr. Daly is the Chair, Clinical Genetics; holds the Timothy R. Talbot Jr. Chair for Cancer Research; and is a Primary Member, Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase. 

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