Jeff Volek

Headshot of Jeff Volek

Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Kinesiology

(614) 688-1701

Personal Website


During the last 25 years I have been conducting ketogenic diet, nutritional supplement, and exercise studies including highly-managed free-living and controlled-feeding studies covering a broad range of populations and analyzing a wide range of physiological outcomes. Much of my ketogenic diet research has focused on reversing manifestations of insulin resistance. I have managed complex multidisciplinary research teams and led large projects to successful outcomes while at Ball State University (1999 to 2001), the University of Connecticut (2001 to 2014), and Ohio State University (2014-present). My scholarly work includes 350+ peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts/chapters and five books and my H-index is 118 with over 43,000 total citations.

My primary research focus has been elucidating how humans adapt to diets restricted in carbohydrate, and more recently exogenous ketones, with a dual focus on clinical and performance applications. My work has contributed to the existing robust science of ketones and ketogenic diets, optimal formulation and implementation of ketogenic diets, and their use as a therapeutic tool to in very chronic diseases. This research indicates that that well formulated ketogenic diets result in substantial improvements in insulin resistance and the myriad of cardio-metabolic biomarkers associated with metabolic syndrome, including favorable changes in fatty acid composition and saturated fat metabolism, cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles.

As a translational outcome of this work, I co-founded a digital health company (Virta Health) that delivers a ketogenic diet through a novel remote virtual care platform to safely promote weight loss and reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes at scale. Virta is partnering with forward-thinking organizations (employers, health plans, healthcare providers) to help them save money and transform the lives of their members.

My research team’s translational approach spans bench-to-bedside, bench-to-battlefield, and bench-to-ballfield. We are currently exploring optimal methods of achieving beneficial levels of ketones by diet and/or exogenous ketone supplements to augment human health and performance. We have ongoing ketogenic studies in several areas including type 2 diabetes, heart failure, major depression, various types of cancer, polycystic kidney disease, and human physical and cognitive capabilities in athletes and military personnel exposed to various stressors such as sleep restriction. 


  • PhD, Kinesiology/Nutrition, Pennsylvania State University, 1999
  • MS, Exercise Physiology, Pennsylvania State University, 1995
  • BS, Dietetics, Michigan State University, 1991

Research Interests

Selected Publications

Selected Recent Publications:

1.         Volek JS, Clinthorne J, S Yancy W Jr. Applying a nutrition security lens to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to address metabolic health. Front Nutr. 2023 Apr 21;10:1141859.

2.         Noakes TD, Prins PJ, Volek JS, D'Agostino DP, Koutnik AP. Low carbohydrate high fat ketogenic diets on the exercise crossover point and glucose homeostasis. Front Physiol. 2023 Mar 28;14:1150265.

3.         Buga A, Kackley ML, Crabtree CD, Bedell TN, Robinson BT, Stoner JT, Decker DD, Hyde PN, LaFountain RA, Brownlow ML, O'Connor A, Krishnan D, McElroy CA, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. Fasting and diurnal blood ketonemia and glycemia responses to a six-week, energy-controlled ketogenic diet, supplemented with racemic R/S-BHB salts. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2023 Apr;54:277-287.

4.         Buga A, Crabtree CD, Stoner JT, Decker DD, Robinson BT, Kackley ML, Sapper TN, Buxton JD, D'Agostino DP, McClure TS, Berardi A, Cline S, Fleck T, Krout J, Newby D, Koutnik AP, Volek JS, Prins PJ. Metabolic and ruck performance effects of a novel, light-weight, energy-dense ketogenic bar. Exp Physiol. 2023 May;108(5):715-727.

5.         Prins PJ, Noakes TD, Buga A, D'Agostino DP, Volek JS, Buxton JD, Heckman K, Jones DW, Tobias NE, Grose HM, Jenkins AK, Jancay KT, Koutnik AP. Low and high carbohydrate isocaloric diets on performance, fat oxidation, glucose and cardiometabolic health in middle age males. Front Nutr. 2023 Feb 9;10:1084021.

6.          Belany P, Kackley ML, Zhao S, Kluwe B, Buga A, Crabtree C, Nedungadi D, Kline D, Brock G, Simonetti OP, Volek JS, Joseph JJ. Effects of Hypocaloric Low-Fat, Ketogenic and Ketogenic & Ketone Supplement diets on Aldosterone and Renin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Jan 11:dgad009.

7.          Kackley ML, Brownlow ML, Buga A, Crabtree CD, Sapper TN, O'Connor A, Volek JS. The effects of a 6-week controlled, hypocaloric ketogenic diet, with and without exogenous ketone salts, on cognitive performance and mood states in overweight and obese adults. Front Neurosci. 2022 Sep 30;16:971144.

8.          Kackley ML, Buga A, Crabtree CD, Sapper TN, McElroy CA, Focht BC, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. Influence of Nutritional Ketosis Achieved through Various Methods on Plasma Concentrations of Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor. Brain Sci. 2022 Aug 27;12(9):1143.

9.         Achterberg C, Astrup A, Bier MB, King JC, Krauss RM, Teicholz, Volek JS. An analysis of the recent U.S. dietary guidelines process in light of its federal mandate and a National Academies report. PNAS Nexus, pgac107, July 20, 2022.

10.      Ludwig DS, Apovian CM, Aronne LJ, Astrup A, Cantley LC, Ebbeling CB, Heymsfield SB, Johnson JD, King JC, Krauss RM, Taubes G, Volek JS, Westman EC, Willett WC, Yancy WS Jr, Friedman MI. Competing paradigms of obesity pathogenesis: energy balance versus carbohydrate-insulin models. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jul 28.

11.      Crabtree CD, Blade T, Hyde PN, Buga A, Kackley ML, Sapper TN, Panda O, Roa-Diaz S, Anthony JC, Newman JC, Volek JS, Stubbs BJ. Bis Hexanoyl (R)-1,3-Butanediol, a Novel Ketogenic Ester, Acutely Increases Circulating r- and s-ß-Hydroxybutyrate Concentrations in Healthy Adults. J Am Nutr Assoc. 2022 Mar 25:1-9.

12.      Buga A, Welton GL, Scott KE, Atwell AD, Haley SJ, Esbenshade NJ, Abraham J, Buxton JD, Ault DL, Raabe AS, Noakes TD, Hyde PN, Volek JS, Prins PJ. The Effects of Carbohydrate versus Fat Restriction on Lipid Profiles in Highly Trained, Recreational Distance Runners: A Randomized, Cross-Over Trial. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 8;14(6):1135.

13.      Hanners A, Melnyk B, Volek J, Kelley MM. Ketogenic diet, African American women, and cardiovascular health: A systematic review. World Views on Evidence-Based Nursing. January 19, 2022.

14.      Astrup A, Teicholz N, Magkos F, Bier DM, Brenna JT, King JC, Mente A, Ordovas JM, Volek JS, Yusuf S, Krauss RM. Dietary Saturated Fats and Health: Are the U.S. Guidelines Evidence-Based? Nutrients. 2021 Sep 22;13(10):3305

15.      Volek JS, Phinney SD, Krauss RM, Johnson RJ, Saslow LR, Gower B, Yancy WS, King JC, Hecht FM, Teicholz N, Bistrian BR, Hamdy O. Alternative Dietary Patterns for Americans: Low-Carbohydrate Diets. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 22;13(10):3299.

16.      Ludwig DS, Aronne LJ, Astrup A, de Cabo R, Cantley LC, Friedman MI, Heymsfield SB, Johnson JD, King JC, Krauss RM, Lieberman DE, Taubes G, Volek JS, Westman EC, Willett WC, Yancy WS, Ebbeling CB. The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Sep 13:nqab270.

17.      Hyde PN, Sapper TN, LaFountain RA, Kackley ML, Buga A, Fell B, Crabtree CD, Phinney SD, Miller VJ, King SM, Krauss RM, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. Effects of Palm Stearin versus Butter in the Context of Low-Carbohydrate/High-Fat and High- Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diets on Circulating Lipids in a Controlled Feeding Study in Healthy Humans. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 5;13(6):1944.

18.      Crabtree CD, Kackley ML, Buga A, Fell B, LaFountain RA, Hyde PN, Sapper TN, Kraemer WJ, Scandling D, Simonetti OP, Volek JS. Comparison of ketogenic diets with and without ketone salts versus a low-fat diet: liver fat responses in overweight adults. Nutrients. March 2021.

19.      Buga A, Kackley ML, Crabtree CD, Sapper TN, McCabe L, Fell B, LaFountain RA, Hyde PN, Martini ER, Bowman J, Pan Y, Scandling D, Brownlow ML, O’Connor A, Simonetti OP, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. The effect of a 6-week controlled, hypocaloric ketogenic diet, with and without exogenous ketone salts, on body composition responses. Frontiers in Nutrition. March 24;8:618520, 2021.

20.      McKenzie AL, Athinarayanan SJ, McCue JJ, Adams RN, Keyes M, McCarter JP, Volek JS, Phinney SD, Hallberg SJ. Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Focused on Normalization of Glycemia: A Two-Year Pilot Study. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 26;13(3):749.


Complete list of publications: