Among the diet fads that have made their mark in the new year is the ketogenic diet — the high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb eating plan that is both defended and disputed by many.
While some members of Hollywood have embraced keto — which can help shed a significant number of pounds if followed consistently — longtime trainer Jillian Michaels isn’t a proponent.
Last week, Michaels, 44, said in a video for Women’s Health that she disagreed with keto, which she called a “bad plan.”
“I don’t understand. Like, why would anyone think this is a good idea?” Michaels said as she went on to imitate 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 macro molecules, are literally made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, nucleic acids. When you do not eat one of the three macro nutrients — those three things I just mentioned — you’re starving yourselves,” she said. “Those macro nutrients 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 said. “Common sense. Balanced diet is key.”
After Michaels made the controversial comments, many shared their personal opinions on the subject matter on social media — both agreeing and disagreeing.
“@JillianMichaels is 100% right about the Keto diet! I agree with her totally!” tweeted one user, while another said, “Upset with comments on Keto- do not agree with what you said Jillian.”
Following her comments, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen disagreed with the former Biggest Loser star’s opinions and called her a “Jackhole” during his live Bravo show.
Today weatherman Al Roker also spoke out and said that her alleged promotion of “on camera bullying, deprivation, and manipulation” on The Biggest Loser made him question her health advice.
Michaels though — whose new book, The 6 Keys, addresses the myths and misunderstandings associated with aging — stood firm.
“I have an idea…” Michaels wrote to Cohen, 50, and Roker, 64, 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 the weatherman, whom she said she has known for years. “But the personal attacks are bizarre. It’s unnecessary, it’s uncalled for, it’s beneath both of us, right?”
PEOPLE has reached out to reps for both Cohen and Michaels.
While Michaels’ comments swiftly garnered polarizing opinions, 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.”
“How much time do I have? And I’m not allowed to swear? Yes, keto is a diet fad,” she told PEOPLE TV. “The reason that keto has been getting so much attention is because it helps significantly to manage your insulin levels. Very high insulin, very bad thing.”
Months after she denounced the keto diet, she spoke with PEOPLE Now in December about what she recommends for health and wellness.
The first step, she said, is to cut out processed foods. “You don’t want to eat processed foods — that’s obvious. Foods with a ton of chemicals; that goes without saying,” Michaels said. “Use common sense with your food choices. No chemicals; nothing overly processed.”
She added that processed foods affect more than just your weight.
“Things like fake fat, fake sugar, processed grains, processed sugars; essentially wreak havoc on your on your body chemistry,” she said. “So beyond obesity, you’re looking at your skin, your hair your nails, your liver, your heart, your kidney your brain; kind of everything.”
And while some diets may instruct people to avoid sugar, Michaels said that the sneakily healthy fun food has positive side effects.
“Chocolate — dark chocolate — is actually great for you,” she told PEOPLE Now, “because it has antioxidants and polyphenols that help to fight the free radicals in your body that cause aging.”
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