Jillian Michaels is standing behind her controversial comments on the keto diet — and she's ready to take on any critics saying otherwise

By Dave Quinn
January 17, 2019 10:10 AM
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Jillian Michaels is standing behind her controversial comments on the keto diet — and she’s ready to take on any critics saying otherwise.

The longtime trainer, 48, was called out left and right by celebrities after she said the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet was a “bad plan.” Andy Cohen even named her the “Jackhole of the Day” on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, and Today weatherman Al Roker said that Michaels’ alleged promotion of “on camera bullying, deprivation, and manipulation” on The Biggest Loser made him question her health advice.

But Michaels — whose new book, The 6 Keys, addresses the myths and misunderstandings associated with aging — stood firm.

“I have an idea…” Michaels wrote to Cohen and Roker on Twitter last Friday. “How about a civil intelligent debate on The 6 Keys book and keto instead of personal attacks and name calling? I’m also a motivator and I know you guys can do this.”

Michaels then addressed Roker directly in a video, The Daily Mail reported, citing the mutual “respect” they have for one another.

If you want to debate the science of keto, then, by all means, let’s do that,” she told the weatherman, whom she says she has known for years. “But the personal attacks are bizarre, and unnecessary. It’s uncalled for, right. … I am here to discuss it with you.”

In the past, Michaels has been vocal about her hatred of keto, urging viewers to take a less complicated route when speaking to PEOPLE TV in May. “Do not go keto. Just work out, eat clean and don’t overeat. I promise you, balanced diet,” she said. “It’s that simple.”

She continued her criticism of the diet in a video for Women’s Health. “I don’t understand. Like, why would anyone think this is a good idea?” Michaels said in the clip, imitating a keto creator. “‘You know what we need to do? All fat and animal protein!’ No! Bad plan. For a million reasons.”

The mom of two said that the keto diet deprives your body of essential nutrients. “Your cells, your macromolecules, are literally made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, nucleic acids. When you do not eat one of the three macronutrients — those three things I just mentioned — you’re starving yourselves,” she said. “Those macronutrients serve a very important purpose for your overall health and wellbeing. Each and every one of them.”

Jillian Michaels
Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

“What’s my take on keto? It’s not a take. There is no take,” she said, explaining that what she stated is fact. “The side effects? Too much fat, too many calories, too many animal proteins. You’ve got micronutrient deficiencies, because you’re not getting all the phytonutrients and the antioxidants and polyphenols that you would be getting if you weren’t afraid of an apple, or a banana, or a papaya, which is absurd.”

“On top of all that, our cells are made of protein, fat, carbohydrates and nucleic acids,” she continued. “When you’re not eating all of the macronutrients you’re literally starving your body, you’re starving your cells. Those macronutrients have very specific jobs for your biochemistry; for your body to do what it needs to do for you to continue living in the healthiest way possible. So if you want to look your best, feel your best and live your longest, that is not the diet for you.”

Roker, 64, explained on Today that he’s been successfully following the keto diet since Sept. 1, and saw improvements in his cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

“My point is, what works for you, works for you,” he told Today co-anchors Craig Melvin and Dylan Dreyer. “There’s science on both sides that says it’s not a great idea and science that says it is a good idea.”

“I think it’s up to people — with their doctor, with their medical professional — [to make their own decision],” Roker added.