Publication Date: 08/2018
Summary: Ketogenic diets (KDs) are gaining attention as a potential adjuvant therapy for cancer, but data are limited for KDs’ effects on quality of life. We hypothesized that the KD would (1) improve mental and physical function, including energy levels, (2) reduce hunger, and (3) diminish sweet and starchy food cravings in women with ovarian or endometrial cancer. Participants were randomized to a KD (70:25:5 energy from fat, protein, and carbohydrate) or the American Cancer Society diet (ACS: high-fiber, lower-fat). Questionnaires were administered at baseline and after 12 weeks on the assigned diet to assess changes in mental and physical health, perceived energy, appetite, and food cravings. We assessed both between-group differences and within-group changes using ANCOVA and paired t-tests, respectively. After 12 weeks, there was a significant between-group difference in adjusted physical function scores (p < 0.05), and KD participants not receiving chemotherapy reported a significant within-group reduction in fatigue (p < 0.05). There were no significant between-group differences in mental function, hunger, or appetite. There was a significant between-group difference in adjusted cravings for starchy foods and fast food fats at 12 weeks (p < 0.05 for both), with the KD group demonstrating less frequent cravings than the ACS. In conclusion, in women with ovarian or endometrial cancer, a KD does not negatively affect quality of life and in fact may improve physical function, increase energy, and diminish specific food cravings. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT03171506.