Obesity is a condition of excess fat accumulation in adipocytes where the person is literally stuck in storage mode diverting a disproportionate amount of calories into fat cells as opposed to oxidation. Thus it is more productive to think of obesity as a problem in ‘energy flow’ rather than energy expenditure (i.e., calories in, calories out). The most efficient approach to accelerate the body’s ability to access and burn body fat is to restrict dietary carbohydrate while increasing fat intake for a period of several weeks, after which fatty acids and ketones become the primary fuel at rest and during submaximal exercise. The coordinated set of metabolic adaptations that ensure proper inter-organ fuel supply in the face of low carbohydrate availability is referred to as keto- adaptation. This unique metabolic state has recently been shown to have widespread and profound therapeutic and performance-enhancing effects ranging from reversing type 2 diabetes to shrinking tumors to allowing ultra-endurance runners to set course records. This presentation will discuss the physiologic effects of very low carbohydrate diets with an emphasis on their unique effects on both features of metabolic syndrome and human performance.
Dr. Jeff Volek is a Full Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut where he teaches and leads a research team that explores the physiologic impact of various dietary and exercise regimens and nutritional supplements. Dr. Volek’s most significant line of work has been a series of studies aimed at better understanding what constitutes a well formulated low carbohydrate diet and the physiological impact on obesity, body composition, fatty acid composition and lipoprotein metabolism, gut micro-biome, adaptations to training and overall metabolic health. This line of work has shown profound effects of ketogenic diets on overall health and well-being, as well as peak performance. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, many of which were longitudinal interventions of carbohydrate restricted diets. Specific to low carbohydrate diets, Dr. Volek has authored/co-authored 4 books, 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts and reviews, and delivered over 100 invited presentations on low carbohydrate diets in half a dozen countries at scientific and industry meetings. Through more than a decade of research dedicated to better understanding low carbohydrate diets, Dr. Volek has accumulated an enormous amount of laboratory and clinical data on how carbohydrate restricted diets affects human physiology, and acquired a unique knowledge pertaining to the individualization and formulation of safe, effective and sustainable low carbohydrate diets.