Jillian Michaels Opens Up About 'Intense' Keto Diet Feud with Al Roker: I Will 'Let It Go'
The former Biggest Loser trainer isn't giving up on her stance against the popular high-fat, low-carb diet
“You don’t mend fences,” she told PEOPLE of their ongoing disagreement at the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards in Los Angeles on Friday. “You let it go. It is what it is.”
Michaels said she was confused when the Today weatherman — a proclaimed fan of the diet — first questioned her health advice and cited her alleged promotion of “on camera bullying, deprivation, and manipulation” on The Biggest Loser.
“The weird thing about Al Roker is that I’ve been doing segments with this guy on the Today show for over a decade and he has never been anything but the nicest guy,” Michaels told PEOPLE Friday, adding that Roker was always “lovely” and “sweet,” gave her kids hugs and asked about her family when she visited NBC’s morning program.
“I know that he does keto, and I get it, but you would think that I told him that there was no God,” Michaels added. “It was really intense. I must admit, sometimes I want to say, ‘You realize that this is just an issue about nutrition, right? We’re not talking about Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah.'”
Michaels sparked controversy in early January by speaking out about the diet in a video for Women’s Health, calling keto a “bad plan for a million reasons,” and adding that she believes 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.”
Instead, Michaels said that it’s best to eat a well-rounded diet: “You don’t eat processed sugar, you don’t eat processed grains, and to make a very long story short: avoid the keto diet,” she told PEOPLE Now in December. “Common sense. Balanced diet is key.”
RELATED VIDEO: Jillian Michaels Wants to Have a ‘Civil Debate’ with Al Roker Over Keto Diet Disagreement
On Friday, Michaels said that her comments on the eating plan were not meant to be harmful: “Nor, by the way, was anything that I had to say a personal attack of any kind,” she told PEOPLE. “It was just based on information that I heavily researched, with a co-author who specializes in this space, and neuroscientists, and endocrinologists, and registered dietitians who wrote over 500 studies over two years.”
She added with a laugh, “So, it’s possible that I did my homework. I don’t know.”
After Michaels’ recent comment about the diet, she found herself in the middle of a feud with Roker and Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen, who called her a “jackhole” on his Bravo show. PEOPLE has reached out to a rep for Cohen for comment.
When Roker, 64, and Cohen, 50, first called out Michaels, she tweeted back at them, writing that she would rather have a conversation about her book The 6 Keys, which addresses the myths and misunderstandings associated with aging, and the diet instead of feuding.
“I have an idea…” Michaels wrote to Cohen and Roker on Twitter on Friday, Jan. 11. “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.”
She also addressed Roker directly in a video, 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 Roker. “But the personal attacks are bizarre. It’s unnecessary, it’s uncalled for, it’s beneath both of us, right?”
On Friday, Michaels told PEOPLE she is standing firm on her stance against the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb eating plan, which she characterized as “essentially [the] Atkins [diet] re-skinned for Millennials.”
“The keto diet is basically when you deprive the body of carbohydrates, and it goes into a state called ketosis, which, long story short, your body releases ketones, and that is how you know that you are carb-deprived, and it will accelerate fat loss,” Michaels said at the event. “It seems like a great idea, but the reality is you can lose weight, and you can get healthy without any of the side effects associated with it. And at the end of the day, I don’t care if somebody wants to do it. I don’t want to do it, and I have done my homework on why I don’t want to do it.”
This isn’t the first time she’s criticized the keto diet. Last May, she called it a “diet fad” and urged, “Don’t do keto.”