On May 30, 2016, Donal O’Neill wrote this very interesting facebook post. With his permission, we’re copying it in here to spread this important information. Donal started exploring dietary guidelines when his otherwise very fit and healthy dad nearly died from a heart attack. He couldn’t believe what he uncovered and subsequently started producing the movie “Cereal Killers”. Please check out his movies Cereal Killers and Run on Fat and also this video here with Dr Aseem Malhotra.
But without further ado, here is Donal’s response to an article on INDI’s website:
Dear Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute –
We note and take exception to your reference to the ketogenic diet as a “fad”. Do you not realise that it is right about the same age as the Republic of Ireland (est 1916), whose dieticians you represent?
It was 1921 when the endocrinologist Rollin Woodyatt first identified the three water-soluble, starvation induced compounds we now call ketone bodies; namely acetone, β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. That the liver would also produce ketones – and mimic the therapeutic benefits of fasting – as a result of a well formulated diet rich in fat and low in carbohydrates was probably something of a eureka moment back then.
Meanwhile, over at the world famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Russel Wilder coined the term “ketogenic diet” (KD) and began using this protocol as a treatment for epilepsy. Unfortunately this was almost 40 years before your own organisation came into existence (in 1958) so you did not have a chance to cry “fad” at the appropriate time.
The KD was subsequently used as a therapeutic intervention for epilepsy throughout the 1920s and 30s before falling out of favor in the face of emerging drug therapies in the 1940s. That was an interesting era indeed.
In 1931, when German scientist Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize (he was nominated 36 times), it must have felt like the perfect storm was brewing for a metabolic approach to many diseases, including cancer, in the decades ahead.
But then a few things happened all at once….
Those shiny new epilepsy drugs diluted the therapeutic application of the KD in the 40s while the commercial production of insulin concurrently pushed the disease known then as carbohydrate intolerance (Type 2 Diabetes) into the manageable by drugs (as opposed to restricting carbohydrates in the diet) space.
The killer blow? That landed right out of left field – or perhaps more accurately from another field entirely.
It was 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize for defining the building blocks of life – DNA and the double helix structure. That set off a race to “crack” our genetic code (and perhaps the cure to all illness?) and Warburg’s metabolic theory of disease pretty much died with him. When he left us, he did so raging against the dimming of the metabolic light –
“That prevention of cancer will come there is no doubt, for man wishes to survive. But how long prevention will be avoided depends on how long the prophets of agnosticism will succeed in inhibiting the application of scientific knowledge in the cancer field. In the meantime, millions of men must die of cancer unnecessarily.” Otto Warburg
Fast forward to 1971 and U.S President Richard Nixon echoes Warburg’s warning by publicly commiting $100 million to a “War on Cancer”. He launches the National Cancer Institute (NCI) –
“The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal.” President Richard Nixon
Some sponsors predicted a cure for cancer by 1976…..
In 1987 the General Accounting Office Report concluded that the statistics from the NCI “artificially inflated the amount of ‘true’ progress.”
Never mind all that.
In 1997 Al Gore announced the launch of the NCI’s Cancer Genome Anatomy Project with great gusto.
Was this the big one?
In 2003, the successful completion of the Human Genome Project exactly 50 years after Watson and Crick’s Nobel Prize completed our understanding of human genetics.
U.S President Bill Clinton captured the upbeat global mood in his announcement from the White House. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair even joined the party by satellite link –
“….our children’s children will know the term cancer only as a constellation of stars.” President Bill Clinton
NCI Chief Andrew von Eschenbach announced that cancer will be curable by 2015. That was last year and cancer is still very much here.
In the thick of all this in 2006, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a US effort to genetically profile 10,000 tumours was launched with $150 million in pilot finance.
Then in 2009 the Obama Administration issued $1 billion of a $5 billion medical research spending plan earmarked for research into the genetic causes of cancer and targeted cancer treatments. It’s hard to keep up, right?
“Now is the time to commit ourselves to waging a war against cancer as aggressive as the war cancer wages against us.” President Barrack Obama
In 2013, 10 years after the sequencing of the human genome, mortality rates from cancer continued to grow, although per capita rates had fallen slightly by circa 5% (albeit in line with a reduction in smoking).
In 2014, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) completed. There was no link up between the White House and 10 Downing Street. The silence was deafening. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel subsequently concluded that cancer is two thirds “bad luck”.
So what happens now?
As with fasting, the Ketogenic Diet can trace the roots of its therapeutic impact back to early man. The unlocking of ancient metabolic pathways is something we have yet to fully understand. Our bodies might get it, but we don’t.
Strange then that the US Military has been the one organisation financing some of the most progressive research into the performance power of ketones over the last decade. That this research has tripped over into the cancer and health sector is illuminating. If the war on cancer has been an unilateral slaughterfest, perhaps it’s time for a change of tactics.
Over 100 years ago, Albert Einstein lifted his pen to write a personal plea to Otto Warburg that he return safely from the Great War at the earliest opportunity, such was his promise as a scientist.
That letter is older than Ireland and Einstein is smarter than us all. It was punctuated with the potential that maybe, just maybe, could have saved us 50 years of genetic blind alleys, millions of lost lives and billions of dollars.
In Warburg, Einstein saw a prodigy. And the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
The ketones are coming…..