Fact Check: Can fasting on water for seven days prevent cancer?

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Quick Take

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A video on social media shows an influencer claiming seven days of fasting reduces the risk of cancer by 95%. We fact-checked and found the claim to be False. The social media influencer misleadingly referred to a research by Dr Thomas Seyfried, which hypotheses ketogenic diet, a calorie-restricted diet when preceded by three to five days of fasting only on the water, can reduce cancer cell growth.

The Claim

In an Instagram video, a social media influencer named Ben Azadi referred to research by Dr Thomas Seyfried to claim fasting only on water for seven days once a year reduces the risk of cancer by 95%.

Ben Azadi has 112K followers on Instagram, whereas the video had 17,968 likes till we last checked.

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Fact Check

Who is the claimant?

We searched online for Ben Azadi to find that he runs a website named ketokampacademy.com and promotes ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. Also, he has published many reels on his Instagram account around these topics. However, this time it seems he has misinterpreted the research done by Dr Thomas Seyfried and published a misleading video. 

Azadi’s LinkedIn page shows that he is a functional health practitioner certified by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN). We could not find any information about course accreditation on the website.

In the USA, National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits programs, including health coach certification. There is no mention of NCCA on the FDN website. Also, anyone can enroll on the self-paced courses offered after paying the fees, which again puts the credibility of certificants in question.

Is the claim in the Instagram video correct?

It does not seem so. The claim is misleading and does not provide a complete picture of the research by Dr Thomas Seyfried. No evidence confirms fasting only on water for seven days once a year reduces the risk of cancer up to 95%. Even the research by Dr Thomas Seyfried, to whom the claimant referred to in the video, has not confirmed the same.

We ran a keyword search and found an article published on The Paleo Diet website that discussed the research by Dr Seyfried. This article shows Dr Seyfried hypotheses ketogenic diet, a calorie-restricted diet when preceded by three to five days of fasting only on the water, can reduce cancer cell growth. The condition is that calories mostly made of fats and proteins should be 30 to 40 per cent of normal intake. We also found that in the article Dr Seyfried promoted such a diet because cancer cells cannot process ketones, but normal cells can process them to generate energy. So, in the presence of ketones and the absence of glucose and glutamine, cancer cells starve, which may shrink the tumour by burning fat instead of carbohydrates.  

We further researched on this conclusion and found a review published in 2014 that showed ketogenic diet might be a good adjuvant therapy to mitigate the damage to normal cells during radiation therapy and chemotherapy. This diet may also increase the efficiency of treatment with a lesser chance of an adverse event. However, the research on the impact of a ketogenic diet on cancer cells is nascent and not enough to establish any conclusion. Even this review recommends more research in preclinical and clinical settings.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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