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 and exercise training intervention 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, especially related to body composition, lipoprotein metabolism and fatty acid composition. 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 primary focus has been elucidating how humans adapt to diets restricted in carbohydrate with a dual focus on clinical and performance applications. My work has contributed to the existing robust science of ketones and ketogenic diets and their use as a therapeutic tool to reverse metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. 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 Corp) and serve as Chief Science Officer. Virta has developed a scalable novel continuous remote care treatment program that incorporates the use of a ketogenic to safely and sustainably reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes at scale. My scholarly work includes 330+ peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts/chapters and five books and I have a h-index of 110. My research team is currently exploring optimal methods of inducing ketosis by diet and/or supplements to augment the keto-adaptation process with focus on application in type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and cancer as well as human physical and cognitive capabilities in athletes and military personnel. My lab team’s translational approach spans bench to bedside, bench to battlefield, and bench to ballfield. 


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

Research Interests

Selected Publications

  1. 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, 13, 3299.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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 2021
  5. 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.
  6. Aronica L, Volek JS, Poff A, D’Agostino DP. Genetic variants for personalised management of very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. Dec 12;3(2):363-373.  
  7. Athinarayanan SJ, Hallberg SJ, McKenzie AL, Lechner K, King S, McCarter JP, Volek JS, Phinney SD, Krauss RM. Impact of a 2-year trial of nutritional ketosis on indices of cardiovascular disease risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2020 Dec 8;19(1):208
  8. Stubbs BJ, Koutnik AP, Volek JS, Newman JC. From bedside to battlefield: intersection of ketone body mechanisms in geroscience with military resilience. Geroscience. 2020 Oct 2.
  9. Miller VJ, LaFountain RA, Barnhart E, Sapper TS, Short J, Arnold WD, Hyde PN, Crabtree CD, Kackley ML, Kraemer WJ, Villamena F, Volek JS. A ketogenic diet combined with exercise alters mitochondrial function in human skeletal muscle while improving metabolic health. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Sep 28.
  10. Diamond DM, O'Neill BJ, Volek JS. Low carbohydrate diet: are concerns with saturated fat, lipids, and cardiovascular disease risk justified? Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2020 Aug 6.
  11. Astrup A, Magkos F, Bier DM, Brenna JT, de Oliveira Otto MC, Hill JO, King JC, Mente A, Ordovas JM, Volek JS, Yusuf S, Krauss RM. Saturated Fats and Health: A Reassessment and Proposal for Food-based Recommendations: JACC State-of -the-Art Review. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Jun 16:S0735-1097(20)35687-4.
  12. Kackley ML, Short JA, Hyde PN, LaFountain RA, Buga A, Miller VJ, Dickerson RM, Sapper TN, Barnhart EC, Krishnan D, McElroy CA, Maresh CM, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. A Pre-Workout Supplement of Ketone Salts, Caffeine, and Amino Acids Improves High-Intensity Exercise Performance in Keto-Naïve and Keto-Adapted Individuals. J Am Coll Nutr. 2020 Apr 24:1-11.
  13. Volek JS, LaFountain RA, Dituro P. Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel. Mil Med. 184(9-10):199-200, 2019.
  14. Athinarayanan SJ, Adams RN, Hallberg SJ, McKenzie AL, Bhanpuri NH, Campbell WW, Volek JS, Phinney SD, McCarter JP. Long-Term Effects of a Novel Continuous Remote Care Intervention Including Nutritional Ketosis for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-Year Non-randomized Clinical Trial. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 10:348, 2019.
  15. Hyde PN, Sapper TN, Crabtree CD, LaFountain RA, Bowling ML, Buga A, Fell B, McSwiney FT, Dickerson RM, Miller VJ, Scandling D, Simonetti OP, Phinney SD, Kraemer WJ, King SA, Krauss RM, Volek JS. Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves metabolic syndrome independent of weight loss. JCI Insight. 4(12). pii: 128308, 2019.
  16. LaFountain RA, Miller VJ, Barnhart EC, Hyde PN, Crabtree CD, McSwiney FT, Beeler MK, Buga A, Sapper TN, Short JA, Bowling ML, Kraemer WJ, Simonetti OP, Maresh CM, Volek JS. Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel. Mil Med. 184(9-10):e538-e547, 2019.
  17. LaFountain R, Hyde P, Volek J. Ketogenic Diet: Potential Benefits to Warfighter Health and Performance. The Journal of the Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Center. 6(1):38-43, 2019. 
  18. Ludwig DS, Willett WC, Volek JS, Neuhouser ML. Dietary fat: From foe to friend? Science. 362(6416):764-770, 2018.
  19. Creighton BC, Hyde PN, Maresh CM, Kraemer WJ, Phinney SD, Volek JS. Paradox of hypercholesterolaemia in highly trained, keto-adapted athletes. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 4(1):e000429, 2018.
  20. Bhanpuri NH, Hallberg SJ, Williams PT, McKenzie AL, Ballard KD, Campbell WW, McCarter JP, Phinney SD, Volek JS. Cardiovascular disease risk factor responses to a type 2 diabetes care model including nutritional ketosis induced by sustained carbohydrate restriction at 1 year: an open label, non-randomized, controlled study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 7(1):56, 2018.
  21. Hallberg, SJ, McKenzie AL, Williams P, Bhanpuri NH, Peters AL, Campbell WW, Hazbun T, Volek BM, McCarter JP, Phinney SD, Volek JS. Effectiveness and Safety of a Novel Care Model for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes at One Year: An Open Label, Non-Randomized, Controlled Study. Diabetes Therapy. 9(2):583-612, 2018.
  22. Miller VJ, Villamena FA, Volek JS. Nutritional Ketosis and Mitohormesis: Potential Implications for Mitochondrial Function and Human Health. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2018:5157645, 2018.
  23. Hyde, PN, Lustberg, MB, Miller VJ, LaFountain RA, Volek JS. Pleiotropic effects of nutritional ketosis: conceptual framework for keto-adaptation as a breast cancer therapy. Cancer Treatment and research Communications. 12:32-39, 2017.


  1. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity, April 2012. 162 pages.
  2. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity, May 2011. 302 pages.
  3. Westman, E.C., S.D. Phinney, and J.S. Volek. The New Atkins for a New You. Fireside, New York, NY, March 2, 2010.
  4. Volek, J. and Campbell A. The Men's Health TNT Diet. Targeted Nutrition Tactics. Rodale Books, Rodale Books Emmaus, PA, Oct 2, 2007.