Why Jillian Michaels Refuses to Back Down on Keto Diet Criticism

  • Trainer Jillian Michaels has reaffirmed that she does not support the keto diet in a recent interview on the #Adulting podcast.
  • The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan that has surged in popularity for weight loss.
  • Michaels says the diet is "bad for your overall health and wellness" and believes people can lose weight without the risk of negative side effects.

Jillian Michaels has made her feelings about the keto diet very clear—and she's not backing down any time soon. Back in May, she urged people to stay away from the high-fat, low-carb plan, labeling it another "diet fad."

Despite the backlash from fans and celebrities who have seen success on keto, Michaels is standing her ground. "People can criticize me all they want, but the bottom line is, it is science and the science is there—and it is bad for your overall health and wellness," she said in a recent interview on the #Adulting podcast, which is hosted by comedian Zack Peter and wellness expert Nikki Sharp.

While the ketogenic diet has maintained huge popularity, it's not exactly easy to follow: Your daily calories are typically comprised of 80 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and just 5 percent carbs. The gist: Your body usually burns carbs for fuel, but when you basically cut them out of your diet, it will go into a state of ketosis to burn fat for energy instead.

And while that can lead to weight loss, Michaels says it's not worth it. "Ketosis is a state of medical emergency," she said during her interview. "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. It's science."

Michaels isn't really arguing that going keto won't lead to weight loss. She simply believes that "you can achieve all the good stuff with none of the bad stuff."

Some of that "bad stuff" includes certain unpleasant (and unhealthy) side effects of the keto diet, such as the "keto flu" (which comes with headaches, fatigue, and nausea), cholesterol issues, and even potential kidney problems. "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.

In a past interview with Prevention, Michaels also criticized the keto diet for its lack of a calorie cap and restriction on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.

"Here's the thing, we can accomplish both of those things—weight loss, fat loss, reversing disease—without going into ketosis," the former Biggest Loser trainer said. "How do I know? Well, I've been doing it for thousands of people for three decades now."

"What you also have to understand is that keto is a big business, right? So, you've got billion-dollar corporations dumping money into this diet," she added.

One diet Michaels does endorse? The heart healthy Mediterranean diet, which was recently named one of the top diets of 2019.

Bottom line: Regardless of the diet you decide to try, be sure to talk to your doctor first before you make any dramatic changes, especially if you're unsure of how it will impact your health—that's something all of us can agree on.


Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.

Health Editor, Prevention.com Alisa Hrustic has spent her entire career interviewing top medical experts, interpreting peer-reviewed studies, and reporting on health, nutrition, weight loss, and fitness trends for outlets like Women's Health and Men's Health, where she both interned and worked full-time.

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