Volek presented the talk “The Many Facets of Keto-Adapation: Health, Performance and Beyond” as part of a series hosted by the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition, a technical research center with offices in Ocala and Pensacola, in cooperation with the College of Central Florida and local business sponsors.
The series has been ever-increasing in popularity, with several hundred in attendance Thursday.
“Tonight’s talk sold out within six hours of being posted on our website,” said John Rogacki with IHMC, as he introduced Volek. Mia Gottlieb with IHMC said “the audience for every talk seems to be increasing.”
Volek said he feels the typical American diet, typically rich in carbohydrates like bread and pasta, is a health concern that leads to more storage of fat than fat burning, the latter of which may be accelerated by a designed and balanced intake of more fats.
“Restricting carbs can increase fat burning, in some cases, more than exercise,” Volek said.
Volek cited studies with diabetic patients and world-class athletes on “ketogenic diets high in fats” to bolster his claims of the benefits of restricting carbs.
“Restricting carbs allows (the body) to use stored fat for fuel rather than the limited (fuel) obtained from carb intake. When body chemistry changes occur, including the liver releasing fat-burning ketones, a state of “ketosis” has been reached and fat is burned usually at a higher rate than a person on a high-carb diet.
“We’ve been condemning fats in the diet for decades,” Volek said, adding that sources of fat he may suggest as part of a personalized diet include meats, cheese, eggs and nuts. Urine and blood tests can be used to monitor proper intake, he said.
According to a biography on Volek distributed at the talk, his 15 years of research indicate the “metabolic adaptations” achieved from a properly designed restricted carb diet can have therapeutic effects beyond weight loss, including “reversing Type 2 diabetes.”
“There’s an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. We now have about 10 percent of the population that has type 2 diabetes and (each patient) spends about $8,000 annually related to the disorder, or about $200 billion overall,” Volek said.
“(The medical profession) continues to recommend a high-carb diet, which exacerbates the problem. It boggles the mind,” Volek said, adding that diabetic patients typically end up taking increased medications.
Volek displayed a video that included tables indicating that the fat burning of long distance runners was significantly higher when the traditional carb-laden diet before an endurance event was changed to one higher in fats.
“We have studied athletes who ran over 100 miles,” Volek said.
Volek, who contributed to the latest Atkins Diet book — “A New Atkins for A New You” — and has written four science- and diet-related books, including “The Art and Science of Low Carb Living,” co-authored with Steve Phinney, espouses a reduction of carbs because “they block metabolism.”
Volek said he knew of “no effective and safe weight-loss medication, but if the pharmaceutical companies could replicate the effects of ketosis, they’d have a blockbuster.”
Following the talk, several attendees discussed the talk and its content.
Local dentist Dr. Keith Phipps said he is intrigued by the concept.
“This was an excellent talk, and it seems to be the cutting edge information on science and diet,” Phipps said.
Jillian Daniel Ramsammy, with the College of Central Florida, and her husband, Trevor, said they may gradually try the dietary change.
Ken Ford, IHMC director, said he adheres to a “ketonic” diet.
“It helps eliminate brain fog,” Ford said.