While some celebrities have sworn by keto—the high fat, very low-carb weight loss plan that more or less dominated 2018—a number health influencers, most prominently Jillian Michaels, have spoken out against it. To be fair, it's something that we've had questions about as well, especially about the long-term health effects. Though we did try it out, with very mixed results.
While keto, also called the ketogenic diet, remains controversial, Jillian Michaels isn’t backing down on her firm anti-keto stance. Michaels recently appeared on the podcast #Adulting, hosted by comedian Zack Peter and wellness expert Nikki Sharp, saying, “People can criticize me all they want, but the bottom line is, it's science and the science is there—and [keto is] bad for your overall health and wellness.”
If you’re somehow not familiar with it, it works by essentially depriving your body of carbs (some dieters consume fewer than 20g per day) and replacing those calories with a lot of fat and a moderate amount of protein. The point is to get your body in a state of ketosis, in which your body stops burning carbs and instead burns fat for energy. Many dieters like it because there’s no calorie counting, and previously “off-limits” foods—like red meat, cheese, butter, and heavy cream—are actually encouraged.
But Michaels isn’t a fan of inducing ketosis. She says, “Ketosis is a state of medical emergency, so when the body becomes what is called ‘ketotic’, your cells cannot function. Your cells function optimally in a very specific pH. Any endocrinologist will explain this to you.”
Michaels says although keto can help with weight loss, there are better ways to shed fat—like by eating a balanced diet full of lean protein, fresh produce, and whole grains. She said, “You can achieve all the good stuff with none of the bad stuff.”
And the “bad stuff” that comes along with keto can be pretty scary—like constipation, keto breath, nutrient deficiency, and even diabetic ketoacidosis. Michaels said, “It attacks the s–t out of your liver, your thyroid. It shortens your telomeres, it’s bad for your macromolecules. I mean, it makes you stink, but that’s—we can table that one!” she said.
The bottom line: While there are some health benefits to keto, it can be easy to miss out on the key nutrients your body needs to properly function. And if you want to lose weight, you should first talk to your doctor to see what plan is best for you.
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