Dr. Patterson Stark
Dr. Patterson Stark


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Ketogenic Diet Decussion and Overview


Patterson Stark, DC

Attribution Rights

This overview has come from many sources. The book “The Cantin Ketogenic Diet for Cancer, Type I Diabetes and Other Ailments” is a good outline of one woman’s experience with this topic and cites most of the medical research in the field. You are encouraged to read it and other monographs on the subject.

Let's start with the basics: normal body cells produce energy by oxidizing sugar in the process of metabolism. In 1955 double Nobel Prize laureate Otto Warburg proposed that some forms of cancer developed when cellular oxygen levels fell. As a consequence, it was forced to change its energy source to a more primitive anaerobic "glucose fermentation" process. Maintaining high levels of respiratory (oxygen-producing) enzymes should therefore act as a preventive health measure. L- Carnitine, antioxidants, magnesium and B vitamins will improve cellular respiration and possibly encourage cell normalization. This would help any condition of chronic stress in the body such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, dementia and any other metabolically unstable process where inflammation and energy production are key issues. If one is to try a ketogenic diet, trials should last for at least 6 to 8 weeks under the supervision of a trained health care professional.

Historically, what is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet involves eliminating foods high in carbohydrates (starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains and sugar) while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat. A ketogenic diet of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrate will force the body to mimic starvation and burn fat, rather than following the normal metabolic pathway, which converts carbohydrates into fat (carbohydrates stimulate insulin production which results in increased body fat storage).

The metabolism of fat burning produces “ketones” in the liver. These are produced by cells, which have metabolized fat for energy instead of glucose (sugar) as a source of energy – this results in the state of metabolic “ketosis”.

This diet has just enough protein for growth and repair in the body and sufficient calories to maintain the correct weight, and produces ketones that may inhibit cancer growth and other disease processes by eliminating the fermentation of sugar. The excess acidity created by the high fat and protein diet may be buffered with citrate and alkaline foods and vegetable juices. Keeping the right types of green juices in the diet while maintaining high protein and fat will go far in eliminating constipation, which can be commonly experienced.

Possible side effects

Body odor may change under ketosis and the smell of the breath could become more acrid. Ketosis is measured on a relative scale, and mild ketosis to extreme ketosis can be detected in the urine on a dipstick tester. The goal is to achieve what can be considered "moderate amounts" of ketosis. Heavy ketosis is an indication of ketoacidosis which can cause damage to the kidneys. It is usually found only in extended starvation, however.

The body in a ketogenic state

The ketogenic diet produces three primary types of ketones:
BHB or beta hydroxybutyrate which constitutes over 75% of floating ketones Acetoacetate, about 25%
Acetone which is usually 2% or less and derived from acetoacetate.

Positive benefits of BHB

The major ketone “BHB” is linked to an increase in cellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is a major antioxidant (it is linked to a decrease in reactive oxygen species – ROS), a master detoxification and anti-inflammatory compound. Glutathione also helps maintain "cellular redox homeostasis" which allows better control of pH, transporting amino acids to the cell and carrying oxygen. This reverberates with what Otto Warburg said about cancer cells and their requirement to grow in an oxygen deprived environment with high fermentation of sugar. It becomes obvious that buoyant glutathione metabolism would discourage a degenerative disease state.

Lastly, BHB and its effect on glutathione are responsible for body regeneration of muscle, fat burning and tissue repair. These aid body strength and support proper insulin levels, which again makes it disadvantageous for degenerative disease of any type.

Benefits of Acetoacetate

Acetoacetate, the second major source of ketone bodies, has been shown by research to reduce cancer cells and slow cancer cell growth. Again, this is a positive effect of ketosis.


Acetone, the smallest proportion of ketone bodies found in the ketotic state, is responsible for symptoms of disease similar to viral infections which cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea. This would be a sign of severe ketosis, but may accompany moderate levels of ketogenic activity also.


It should be noted that when the body is burning fat it is also liberating toxic debris that has been stored in fat. The body uses fat as a buffer for compounds which may be too damaging or of an unknown organic origin such as petrochemicals, prescription medications, synthetic compounds and other volatile organic compounds.

Aids for Glutathione Production

Dietary supplements that increase glutathione production or aid the body to produce glutathione on its own, are first and foremost, protein and fat from the diet, some vegetables, curcumin as a spice (turmeric), N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and EGCG, which is the active compound found in green tea.

Menu Rules

A ketogenic diet that uses healthy fats, good quality fiber that is low in carbohydrate value and a protein intake which approximates 1 g per kilo of body weight might seem hard to do - particularly if we ask ourselves to do this seven days a week for 4 to 6 weeks. Therefore, creativity, diversity and listening to one's body with regular self- monitoring and support from your health care team is prudent advice. Be aware that the state of ketosis can have an appetite suppressing effect.

High fat plus high protein and low carbohydrate: those are the dietary rules but what can get in the way?

Ideally, you would want to remove the following foods in any form:

  • glucose

  • fructose

  • soy

  • grains

  • dairy products

  • bovine growth hormone (rBGH) found in nonorganic beef and milk

  • all sources of lactic acid

  • all GMO foods (please see the documentary by Russell Blaylock called "The Beautiful Truth")

  • MSG - monosodium glutamate (also known as monopotassium glutamate, glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatin, hydrolized plant protein, autolysed plant protein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food or nutrient and autolyzed yeast!)

  • Fluoride in any form (check your water supply)

  • Mercury (vaccinations and fillings)

  • Aspartame (anything sweet is suspect)


Optimally, you would want to include the following non-allergenic proteins and fats in liberal amounts:

  • extra-virgin olive oil

  • Coconut oil 5-6 tablespoons per day

  • almond butter

  • cashew butter

  • Fresh wild salmon

  • any fresh whitefish

  • crab

  • scallops

  • muscles

  • Organic chicken

  • Lamb

  • 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrate per day
  • 3:1 to 5:1 ratio of protein and fat to carbohydrates

Review of the key points

It's important to look at this as control of your dietary environment - not as a "cure". It is an intense therapy to boost the immune system, change the actual source of energy production within the cell, and maintain body weight.

  • Avoiding allergenic substances such as cereals, dairy products and any processed foods is essential.

  • Using concentrated forms of energy from herbs, fresh vegetables, certain vitamin and mineral preparations and protein powder will all be positive in their effects.

  • Using alkaline ionized water would be considered positive to protect the kidneys, enhance lymphatic volume and at the same time supply a source of electronegative free radicals seeking hydroxyl ions that are peculiar to structured water.

My experience in dietary therapies

In the early 1980s, I was a practitioner of the "Kelly Program" and lectured on the merits of metabolic individuality. One of the first principles is to acknowledge that each person is metabolically unique and that one diet does not fit everyone. This biochemical individuality resulted in specifically designed programs that addressed the different needs for dietary intake, nutritional supplementation and medication.

Varying success with ketogenic diets can be attributed to unique metabolic needs that were not taken into account. Although patients are genetically unique, the way their systems decompensate is similar. Thus, one person may function best on a high vegetable, alkaline diet while another may be able to subsist on entirely animal products with a low fiber intake. In my experience, you cannot switch the diets of these individuals and have successful outcomes for either patient. There is no "one diet fits all" scenario in my opinion.

To use the ketogenic diet on a personal level, I would expect each individual to use their own judgment and assess how they are doing day to day.

  • Measuring urinary ketone levels at least twice a day would be recommended until a good record of results is attained.

  • Being monitored by a health care practitioner who is trained and familiar with nutritional therapies including ketogenic diets would be highly recommended.

Making sure that everything is ready in the pantry, and the support of family and friends is encouraged to maximize the achievement of individual goals.

Record your findings

Setting a time for reappraisal is important to review objective data regarding your response to therapy. With a simple tape measure and a scale you can document your weekly trends. It's important to understand that regular bowel habits are essential, as there is a tendency toward constipation with the Ketogenic Diet. This can compromise liver function. As the liver constitutes one third of the active immune system, we need to take care of it. Increasing crude fiber or actually taking a dietary fiber tablet may be necessary in addition to appropriate amounts of water to achieve regular bowel function.

People who have done extensive testing with ketogenic diets report that calories do not have to be restricted when one keeps in the ketogenic range. On the urine dipstick, the desirable range is above the “moderate” amounts detectable, but below the high end of the ketosis scale. Ideally, we are looking to target midway along the ketogenic scale. Different methods of testing use different scales, so you will have to identify the overall calibration of your testing system and adjust appropriately.

Some authors report that with aggressive disease states they try to make their ketosis as extreme as possible – this should be monitored very carefully with your healthcare team.

Dietary suggestions

The primary goal of the ketogenic diet is to remove dairy, red meat except for lamb, soy, wheat, grains and fructose (except for a few berries). These are either highly allergenic or too high in carbohydrate value.

Fat in the diet should be from healthy sources including extra virgin olive oil, pure orgainic coconut oil, ghee or goose fat can be used in cooking.

Permitted foods:

  • almonds

  • almond milk, unsweetened

  • almond flour

  • avocado

  • cocoa butter, organic/raw

  • chicken/organic

  • chicken broth or vegetable broth, organic and low sodium

  • Coconut oil, extroversion/organic

  • Coconut milk, unsweetened

  • eggs, organic (poached, coddled, fried, omelets, occasional hard-boiled)

  • fish (especially salmon, mackeral, sardines)

  • green tea (make sure to steep a good quality green tea or white tea for 3 to 5 minutes)

  • unprocessed sea salt

  • herbs (cilantro/coriander, parsley, basil)

  • Lemon

  • fresh mayonnaise

  • MCT oil medium chain triglyceride - found in health food stores

  • alkaline ionized water (high in calcium, magnesium and potassium in addition to being electronegative and free radical quenching)

  • olives and olive oil(only extra-virgin)

  • nuts – raw (I personally do not recommend peanuts as they can be contaminated with aflatoxin which is in itself a powerful carcinogen and this outweighs any possible benefit.) Almonds and cashews are generally excellent.

  • Protein powders, of non- gluten, dairy or soy sources.

  • salt (unprocessed)

  • Seafoods as mentioned and aquatic plants

o Organic kelp

o Dulse

o Spirulina

  • Spices

    o Turmeric o Curcumin o Ginger
    o Garlic
    o Peppers o Chilis

  • Turkey/organic

Vegetables (especially low-carb and cruciferous/Brassicas)

Vegetables and fibre

Consuming vegetables like brussel sprouts, bok choy, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, watercress, kale, mixed salad greens will provide plenty of fiber and alkaline nutrients that we need on a daily basis. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash and corn - completely.

Flavor and taste

Flavor can come from using fresh spices which have positive antioxidant effects, such as lemon, cayenne pepper, parsley, mint, turmeric, curcumin, garlic, garlic salt, cumin, onions, olives, watercress, cilantro/coriander, basil, black pepper, rosemary, paprika, saffron, thyme, fennel, ginger, cardamom and even cinnamon and borage. These not only add flavor and nutrients, but can significantly enhance the eye appeal and enjoyment of your meal.

Many people on ketogenic diets have a shot of wheatgrass daily because it alkalizes the body and has a huge amount of amino acids with detox properties. This helps our hard working liver too.

Daily Menus
Between 3:1 and 5:1 (Protein + Fat) : (Carbohydrates)

Last Note:

You may have to perfect your new cooking style, which will take practice.

  • Never hot fry or burn/char your food. Always use low heat.

  • Add oils towards the end of cooking to preserve the integrity of the oil. USE 5 TABLESPOONS OF ORGANIC COCONUT OIL PER DAY.

  • Use plenty of herbs and spices.

  • Keep your water intake up between meals.

  • Take digestive enzymes and antioxidants as prescribed and be prepared in advance for your daily dietary needs. Don’t buy or keep on hand non-permitted foods if possible.



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