Jillian Michaels didn’t hold back when recently asked for her thoughts on the ketogenic diet: "A terrible, terrible idea".
The former Biggest Loser trainer was a guest on an April episode of the podcast Adulting , telling its hosts that the fad diet "is bad for your overall health and wellness" and puts your body into "a state of medical emergency".
The ketogenic diet was originally developed in the 1920s to treat children with epilepsy, but has gained momentum in recent years for its (supposed) weight-loss and health benefits.
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The diet works by severely restricted carbohydrates to about 5-10 percent of total energy intake. Because the body can’t convert carbs into glucose to use as fuel, it must find another source: converting fat into compounds called ketones. According to keto apostles, this process speeds up fat loss — although the science is far from settled , and studies suggest keto is no better for weight loss than any other diet that restricts calories.
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Michaels, 45, is a long-time critic of the keto diet.
"Why would anybody think this is a good idea? Bad plan," she said in a January 2019 interview with Women’s Health . "When you do not eat one of the three macronutrients [protein, fat and carbohydrates] you’re starving your cells.
"Avoid the keto diet… carbs are not the devil."
She offered a more measured take on keto in a 2018 blog post on her site , conceding "has its upsides for sure" — but that its advantages are outweighed by its disadvantages, particularly the risk of nutrient deficiencies caused by cutting carb-rich foods from your diet.
"Fruits, whole grains, legumes all have extremely vital minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, prebiotic fibre and other nutrients for optimal health," she wrote.
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Speaking on Adulting , Michaels explained it’s possible to gain the weight-loss and health benefits of the keto diet by eating "clean, whole versions of processed fat and carbs" and "not eating tons of white flour and white sugar".
She cited the Mediterranean diet — a way of eating characterised by legumes and whole grains, as well as olive oil, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
In January, a team of nutritionists recruited by US News and World Report deemed the Mediterranean diet the No.1 overall way of eating — while the keto diet was way down the list, in 38th place out of 40.
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