By Samantha Chang
The ketogenic diet has been shown to help manage a variety of diseases, including epilepsy and cancer in both mice and humans. But researcher Thomas Sandberg says the ketogenic diet can also help dogs and cats live longer as well as prevent and combat cancer.
Sandberg, an animal activist and founder of Long Living Pets Research in Oakley, Utah, has been studying the use of the low-carb, grain-free ketogenic and raw food diets to enhance the longevity and health of dogs for the past 15 years.
Sandberg, who launched his 30-year research project in 2000, has been tracking the health of 1,000 dogs around the world.
He discovered dogs (and cats) thrive on both a low-carb, grain-free raw food diet (raw meat, offal and bones) and a ketogenic diet, which is an extremely low-carb, high-fat, adequate-protein diet.
“Dogs are pure carnivores and do not thrive on your average commercial dog food,” Sandberg told Celebrity Health & Fitness.
Sandberg discussed the optimal diet for canines in his book, Learn How to Add Years To Your Dog’s Life.
“I have studied dogs’ and cats’ digestive systems since 1997 and believe feeding them a simple diet of raw meats, edible bones and organ meats will promote a healthy immune system. The result is a long, healthy life way past what is the expected lifespan of most breeds that are fed commercial dog food.”
Thomas, who was born in Norway, said the commercial kibble that most dog owners feed their pets causes them to get sick, fat and die early.
Sandberg believes you can dramatically extend a dog’s life (even two-fold) simply by limiting their intake of unhealthy carbs and feeding them what nature intended.
Sandberg, who himself follows a ketogenic diet, said his research also shows dogs placed on a ketogenic diet were able to completely eradicate their tumors and become cancer-free.
The cancer-inhibiting effects of a ketogenic cancer have been studied for years by leading researchers such as Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College.
In an interview with the Examiner, Dr. Seyfried said his decades of research indicate cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease. And the best way to treat a metabolic disorder is through diet, not by pumping a patient full of toxic radiation.
Seyfried published his findings in his ground-breaking book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease.
The problem with the traditional treatment of cancer, said Seyfried, is that the cancer community has approached it as a genetic disease, so much of the research efforts have gone into gene-focused studies, which he says does not address the root of the problem.
Dr. Seyfried, widely considered the godfather of the nutritional treatment of cancer, joins a growing number of researchers who say the ketogenic diet can treat most forms of cancer.
This is because nearly all the healthy cells in our body have the metabolic flexibility to use fat, glucose and ketones to survive, but cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility and require large amounts of glucose and cannot survive on ketones. So by limiting carbohydrates (as the keto diet does) we can reduce glucose and insulin, and thus restrict the primary fuel for cancer cell growth.
Thomas Sandberg has read Seyfried’s research and agrees the ketogenic diet can help both humans and dogs. He’s astounded by the reluctance of many dog owners to accept that kibble is not the optimal food for their pets. Fortunately, Sandberg says the tide is slowly changing, as evidenced by the growing number of dog owners who ask to be included in his research project.
“Dogs are carnivores,” he said. “Therefore, the only food they can properly digest, metabolize, and utilize is raw meat. This is a fact.”
Sandberg, a former fitness executive and lifelong animal lover, started his research project because he wanted to learn how to extend the lives of his own dogs and cats. Thomas has six dogs and two cats.
“I have fed my Great Danes a ketogenic raw food diet since 2000,” he said. “Every year my dogs undergo a full medical check-up and each year, without exception, they have been 100% healthy. There’s no reason why all dogs can’t enjoy a long, healthy, disease-free life with the proper nutrition.”