Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


Health & Exercise Physiology

Faculty Mentor

Stephen Kolwicz

Student Contributor

Kaylin Knapsack


Presented during the 23rd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 23, 2021 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that results in the elevation of ketone bodies in the blood, known as ketosis. This metabolic consequence has been suggested as a method for treating neurological conditions, improving exercise performance, and facilitating weight loss. However, most research primarily use male populations, so little is known about the potential sex differences. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the sex differences in body weight and motor performance in mice fed the KD. Male (n=29) and female (n=26) C57BL/6 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. Ketosis with a handheld ketone body meter at 2-week intervals. At baseline and every 2 weeks, 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. Triglyceride and glycogen content was measured in the heart, liver, and quadriceps. Blood was also drawn to measure changes in serum metabolite levels. Preliminary 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 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 in adaptation to the KD.


Available to Ursinus community only.