Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Stephen Kolwicz


In the United States, fad diets are becoming increasingly popular as a dietary strategy to combat the growing incidence of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The ketogenic diet, a diet that that consists of high fat and low carbohydrate content, has gained widespread mainstream media attention as a formula to improve weight loss as well as enhance exercise performance. Although research supports a positive effect on obesity in the short-term, there are a number of health concerns regarding long-term consumption of the diet. Research suggests that consumption of diets high in fat content can increase oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant capacity. Since increased oxidative stress has been associated with several chronic diseases, such as obesity and heart disease, the consumption of the ketogenic diet may facilitate disease progression. In research studies, oxidative stress is typically measured via assessment of ROS (e.g., superoxide and hydrogen peroxide) and/or antioxidant enzymes (e.g. superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase). In addition, cellular measures of lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, or the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione are used as markers of oxidative stress. In this review article, we will discuss the measurements of these commonly used indicators of oxidative stress. In addition, we will review previously conducted studies in which the ketogenic diet was employed in an effort to determine if the ketogenic diet contributes to elevated oxidative stress in the heart and other organs.


Presented during the 22nd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2020 at Ursinus College.

The downloadable file is a poster presentation with audio commentary. Presentation run time is 4:30.

The final project is available here.


Available to Ursinus community only.