Advertising ban on ketogenic claim ‘stinks’, says Domini Kemp

Cook accuses ASAI of ‘silencing emerging science’ on links between diet and cancer

Cook Domini Kemp has accused advertising regulators of trying to "silence emerging science" after they ruled against claims in support of a ketogenic diet.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) found claims about the effect of a ketogenic diet on cancer by nutritional therapist Patricia Daly breached its code, and said they should not be made until evidence is available to substantiate them.

Ms Daly and Ms Kemp, the authors of a 2016 book The Ketogenic Kitchen, have rejected the ruling and questioned the ASAI’s remit and processes.

Ms Kemp claimed the complaint made by the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute and the Irish Cancer Society gave a false impression of Ms Daly's views and was based on incomplete or nonexistent pages from her website.


“As a consumer, I question the remit of the ASAI and how this entire process has been handled. As one colleague has said, ‘It stinks’.”

“It is understandable that there are different views regarding science and nutrition. But to silence emerging science that has been adopted in many countries? It is very worrying, indeed.”

Ketogenic diets, which restrict carbohydrate intake while increasing fat intake, have grown in popularity in recent years, often through celebrity endorsement. Ms Daly had claimed on her website that the diet can have an effect on tumour markers and can “weaken” cancer, according to the authority. Ms Daly said it was not within the ASAI’s remit to make judgement “on the cutting edge of science, cancer and diet” and criticised the authority for not seeking independent medical advice on the complaint. Her own research, prompted by a tumour threatening her eye, showed Irish dieticians were “shockingly out of touch” on cancer nutrition, she said.

“On my website, I explain how the ketogenic diet saved me from losing my vision and my eye. It also helped shrink a secondary tumour which didn’t respond to radiotherapy.”

Research into the ketogenic diet was, she said, “pre-clinical” but “too compelling to dismiss”.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times