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Updated: Mar 14, 2023

How the ketogenic diet is effective for brain tumours:

The ketogenic diet (KD), a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, has been proposed as a potential treatment for brain tumours. The idea behind using the KD for brain tumours is that it may help to lower the body's glucose levels and shift the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, which may reduce the availability of glucose to cancer cells and potentially slow the growth of brain tumours.

However, while some early studies in animals and small human trials have shown promising results, there is limited evidence to support the use of the KD as a standalone treatment for brain tumours. More research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of the KD for brain tumours, and it is important to note that the KD should not be used as a replacement for conventional treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

It is important to talk to your doctor before starting the KD or making any significant changes to your diet. Your doctor can help to determine if the KD is safe and appropriate for your individual situation and can also help to ensure that you are getting adequate nutrients and meeting your individual calorie needs.

In conclusion, while the KD may have potential benefits for people with brain tumours, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine its safety and efficacy as a treatment option.

Dave's Ketogenic Diet Experience:

Dave stuck to a strict keto diet for 18 months whilst undergoing treatment as part of a clinical trial at the brilliant Walton Centre, Liverpool.

The ketogenic diet was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Despite being highly effective in treating epilepsy, it fell out of fashion due to the surge in new anti-seizure medications in the 1940s.

The diet is high in fat, supplies adequate protein and is low in carbohydrates. This combination changes the way energy is used in the body. It is essentially getting your body to run and be fuelled on solely Ketones. Ketones are a by product from the fat converted in the liver. This is when your body is in a state of Ketosis. Your body uses carbohydrates as it's primary source of fuel and stores the fat on your body and around your organs. Once in ketosis your body produces Ketones (caution Ketones are bad for pregnant women) The big plus Dave saw with this trial, was the removal of sugar and grains completely. There are 3 Macronutrients Fat, Protein & Carbohydrates. As a species we have only started consuming Carbohydrates in the last 100years. Only one of the Macronutrients as humans we do not need to survive yep you guessed it... CARBOHYDRATES!!!!!

Buy or borrow the book The Real Meal Revolution, written buy Professor Tim Noakes (The scientist), Sally-Ann Creed (The Nutritionist) & Jonno Proudfoot (The Chef).

This book has the history of the Low Carb, High Fat diet (LCHF), the science behind LCHF and 100's of recipes and cheats to keep you on the right track. The book is aimed at the LCHF more than the Ketogenic diet. Visit their website for more details:

Now imagine a tumour as its own self sustaining, living structure. It has its own nucleus, blood supply and its main food source, is derived from your blood sugar. I.E Glucose , Glutamine, fructose, Carbs and in a recent study, Acetate. Acetate is an enzyme produced from alcohol in the liver, when its attempted to be broken down.

By essentially removing the food supply to the tumour and replacing it with goods fats which will in turn produce ketones.

The Cancer/Tumours can't use Ketones as fuel and the principal is that, the tumour should either starve it, stop it growing or shrink & kill it!

“I was asked to take part in a clinical trial at the brilliant Walton Centre. This was Following my reoccurrence of my tumour. Unfortunately to address the new Terry the terminator, a Glioblastoma Multiform 4 (GBM4). This was/is to look at the effects the Ketogenic Diet has on the body, whilst undertaking chemotherapy. This was/is the first phase to see if we, as patients (only 5 GBM4 patients were picked) could handle the diet whilst in treatment. Now this was a BIG decision for me having been on a mostly plant based and dairy free diet. After doing my own research, it was something I believed was worth a try. I thought I had spent the last 12 months as a ovo-vegetarian(vegan that eats organic eggs) since first diagnosis. I had now relapsed following a routine MRI. But this time it had progressed into the worst brain tumour you can get GBM4. So time to change direction and approach. I accepted to go on the trial with a day to spare.” - Dave Bolton


In 2015 after Dave was given a 3 months life expectancy, he researched about how sugar and glucose feeds Cancer. He researched and found that the Ketogenic diet can complement traditional medical treatments, whilst in theory starving cancer. He was accepted onto a trial that he inspired at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Charity under the guidance of the dietitian specialists.

There are thousands of versions and variations of the Ketogenic diet . Dave was on an extreme modified version, he combined the vegetarian with the meat version.

Dave now eats predominantly as a vegetarian only eating turkey, chicken and white fish on the odd occasion such as meal out.


  • 120grams of good fat per day

  • 2400 calories per day

  • 20grams of total carbs (this is taken up, with any fruit or veg)

  • 90-130 grams of protein a day

As Dave was currently undergoing the standard care of treatment at the time, his weight needed to be maintained to be able to handle treatment. For this reason his protein intake was unrestricted. Please note that when too much protein is consumed and is not used up or processed by the body, it is converted into glucose. Dave does not buy or consume any processed food. When cooking, use a medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) such as extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil.


You have to test your urine with special ketosis testing sticks and match the colour after 15 seconds. This shows what level of Ketosis the body is in.

There are 0-Negative , 0.5- Traces , 1.5- Faible, 4-Moyen (KETOSIS) , 8-Fort(KETOSIS) , 16-Fort (Potentially hyper ketosis.)


0-3 months: Dave would water fast before he started the Ketogenic diet for 36hrs, this is something he continued to do once in a while which would kick start the process of his body producing ketones changing the body's main fuel source from carbohydrates to Ketones.

Water fasting beforehand enabled Dave to get into ketosis within 2 days. It can take up to a week. For the first few days all he craved was the wrong types of food - cakes, carbs and sugar! (Sugar gives off the same addictive high chemical, called dopamine in the brain as cocaine.) After that initial period, he lost the cravings for grains, sugars and carbs. Dave actually found he had more energy, better mental clarity and his cognitive functionality improved. You do have to be creative on it, researching recipes non-stop is a must in the beginning, or you can get sick and tired of eating the same things, over and over again.

There's not much you can drink. However you need to drink a lot of water this helps stop kidney stones. Dave drinks 4litres a day of Kangen Water. Along with a host of different green, red , soursop, herbal teas, breakfast tea with homemade almond milk and various detox teas. What Dave realised is that you still have to live your life, so if its a special occasion he will eat what he wants. (Now this is once maybe twice a month, as long as he doesn't go crazy, he can get back in Ketosis within 1-2days max.)


Dave's 3 Month final review was very successful with body fat at 9% at it lowest. He added 10cm to my biceps, visceral fat, good & bad cholesterol were all perfect and his balance of macronutrients were the best they had seen. He told them he would continue with this keto diet but will up the carbohydrates to 5g-10g to allow more fruit and veg. This was agreed and he stayed under his consultant's guidance.

Dave stayed on this strict keto diet for 18 months. The trial has been that successful, that it has now been opened up to other GBM4 sufferers.


All of the food above sticks to the strict 5% carbohydrate allowance that we use on keto.

In general, you can eat from the following food groups:

  • Fats & Oils: Try to get your fat from natural sources like meat and nuts. Supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.

  • Protein: Try to stick with organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat where possible. Most meats don’t have added sugar in them, so they can be consumed in moderate quantity. Remember that too much protein on a ketogenic diet is not a good thing.

  • Vegetables: Fresh or frozen doesn’t matter. Stick with above ground vegetables, leaning toward leafy/green items.

  • Dairy: Most dairy is fine, but make sure to buy full-fat dairy items. Harder cheeses typically have fewer carbs.

  • Nuts and Seeds: In moderation, nuts and seeds can be used to create some fantastic textures. Try to use fattier nuts like macadamias and almonds.

  • Beverages: Stay simple and stick to mostly water. You can flavour it if needed with stevia-based flavourings or lemon/lime juice.


Dave found out about this one like always - the hard way! Hyperketosis can occur when you bodies ketones are to high and excessive.


  • Rapid, panted breathing,

  • Increased heart rate,

  • Facial flushing,

  • Vomiting & dizzy feeling,

  • Unexpected Lethargy & irritability

If you experience these test your ketone levels, if hyper ketosis drink a fresh juice or sugary drink, then 15 minutes later re-test.


Having been on holiday Dave had taken a week off the diet. When he returned he resumed the diet and on day 3 he decided to do a Ketosis test to see where on the scale as he hadn't been feeling to well and had a few of the aforementioned symptoms.

To his surprise he was +4 or 16-Fort on the test, basically in hyper ketosis.

As it was late at night he decided to leave it and just go to sleep hoping he would feel fine in the morning. BIG MISTAKE - he woke up at 3am, walked to the toilet and was staggering everywhere. Dave was short of breath, felt weak nauseous and dizzy.

Next thing he new, he was coming round on the bathroom floor. Couldn't stand and his wife had heard the thud had ran in and sat him up. Dave's head was pounding and was bleeding from a cut to the side of his head. Dave drank a glass of fresh orange and 10 minutes later he felt was fine.

please ensure that if you decide to try the ketogenic diet, that you consult your medical team prior to starting. each cancer Is different and is as unique as your Dna or fingerprints. what works for one, may. not work for another and always consult your medical team to ensure that it does not effect your treatment plan.


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