Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Stephen Kolwicz Jr.

Committee Member

Beth Bailey

Committee Member

Cory Straub

Department Chair

Rebecca Lyczak

Project Description

The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that results in the elevation of serum ketone bodies, known as ketosis. This metabolic consequence has been suggested as a method for treating neurological conditions, improving exercise performance, and facilitating weight loss for overweight individuals. However, since most research primarily uses male populations, little is known about the potential sex differences during consumption of the ketogenic diet. In addition, the effects of the ketogenic diet on aging are relatively unexplored. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the sex and aging differences seen in the physiology and motor coordination of mice fed the KD. Male and female C57BL/6 mice at either 12-weeks or 24-weeks of age were randomly assigned to KD (90%fat, 1%carbohydrate) or chow (13% fat, 60% carbohydrate) group for 6 weeks. Body weight and food intake were tracked weekly. Ketone body levels and the potential state of ketosis were monitored with a handheld ketone body meter at baseline and 2-week intervals. Additionally, at baseline and every 2 weeks following, the Rotarod performance test assessed motor coordination and activity levels in all mice. After 6 weeks, adipose tissue, quadriceps, heart, and liver were removed and weighed to observe changes in organ weight between groups. Blood was also drawn to measure changes in serum metabolite levels. Findings suggest that male and female mice on the KD differ in their time sensitive adaptation to ketosis, Rotarod performance, and weight gain. Since both males and females variably gain weight on the KD, this study questions the viability of the KD as a potential tool for weight loss. Importantly, this study highlights potential sex differences and aging differences in adaptation to the KD.


Funding provided by the American Heart Association.