So much of our health relies on what we eat. In the last decade, researchers have found several foods and diets that help to stave off serious diseases. For instance, one can greatly reduce their risk of heart disease by adhering to a Mediterranean diet. The risk of cancer in particular can be reduced by eating allium vegetables such as garlic, onions, and shallots.
Now, new research suggests that the high-protein, high-fat, low-carb keto diet can greatly reduce one’s risk of colorectal cancer.
Keto keeping cancer at bay
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, killing over 50,000 Americans a year. Excessive drinking, red meat, obesity, low-fiber, and high-sugar diets are known to contribute to people’s risk.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that the mice they put on low-carb, high-fat diets had a notable resistance to colorectal tumor development and growth. The reason for this was beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), a natural molecule the liver produces in reaction to starvation or keto diets.
“Our findings suggest that this natural molecule, BHB, could someday become a standard part of colorectal cancer care and prevention,” says co-senior author Maayan Levy, an assistant professor of microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The study set out to examine how different diets affected colorectal development and growth in lab mice. They put six groups of mice on diets of varying fat and carb contents, and then they introduce a chemical treatment that typically induces colorectal tumors. They found that the groups with the most ketogenic diets, with 90 percent fat-to-carb ratios, for the most part, prevented colorectal tumor development in the animals in those groups.
Further study showed researchers that BHB slows epithelial cell growth in the lining of the colon, which can lead to overgrowth and then mutations that lead to tumors. They also found that by simply introducing BHB into the mice’s diets they could slow tumor development.
More trials will soon be underway to more accurately determine if this simple change in diet could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer not just in mice but in humans as well.
Source Study: Nature — β-Hydroxybutyrate suppresses colorectal cancer | Nature