A Case for Fat: How Increasing Dietary Fat (and Decreasing Carbohydrates) Can Treat Cancer, Obesity, and Heart Disease and why Marketers Should Care: An Abstract

Julie Guidry Moulard, Shannon Rinaldo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This research reviews literature from marketing, medicine, nutrition, metabolism, genetics, pathology, and other academic areas that offers empirical evidence of the role of the ketogenic diet in treating inflammatory diseases. The research herein was motivated by one of the author’s experience with the ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Upon this author receiving a diagnosis of Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, she immediately began the ketogenic diet, which has been empirically demonstrated to treat cancer. While her cancer has been addressed and managed with multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy, she is convinced the diet is a major factor in her success at keeping the cancer at bay thus far and in offering her a high quality of life. Despite her success with this diet, marketing academics have typically assumed a “healthy” diet is one that is low fat (and thus low calorie) (Bolton et al. 2015; Cook et al. 2013). These studies have typically been in the context of weight management (Bolton et al. 2015) or the effects of the availability of nutritional information on consumer choice (Tangari et al. 2010). This prior research assumes that low fat diets and calorie restriction lead to decreased obesity. This viewpoint, which has prevailed since the 1950s, is primarily based on the diet-heart hypothesis that posits a high-fat diet leads to high cholesterol and thus heart disease. However, many researchers claim that the diet-heart hypothesis has weaknesses. Specifically, the hypothesis (1) is based on questionable research and tenuous results showing weak correlations, (2) was promoted by the American Heart Association and sensationalized in media reports, and (3) was incorporated into government publications such as the food pyramid due to pressure from the sugar and wheat industries (Teicholz 2016). Further, evidence is rapidly accumulating suggesting the ketogenic diet is a healthier alternative to the low-fat diet. Contemporary metabolic research in the areas of nutrition (Phinney et al. 1983), medicine (Abassi 2018), and cell biology (Roberts et al. 2017) is building evidence that a ketogenic diet not only leads to weight loss, but also serves as an adjunct medical therapy for treating and preventing epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, and other inflammatory illnesses (Gasior et al. 2008; Stafstrom and Rho 2012). Furthermore, research has demonstrated that the ketogenic diet slows the aging process, provides endurance athletes with the energy to exercise for extended periods, and promotes mental clarity. To be effective in promoting public health, marketers need to be aware of the history behind food guidelines and to have the ability to distinguish healthy diets based on empirical evidence from those historically marketed as ‘healthy.’

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


  • Cancer
  • Diet
  • Food consumption
  • Heart disease
  • High-fat
  • Ketogenic
  • Low-carb
  • Low-fat
  • Obesity


Dive into the research topics of 'A Case for Fat: How Increasing Dietary Fat (and Decreasing Carbohydrates) Can Treat Cancer, Obesity, and Heart Disease and why Marketers Should Care: An Abstract'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this