It’s safe to say that Jillian Michaels, health and fitness expert and creator of the Jillian Michaels Fitness App (available in iOS, Android and on the Samsung Health wellness platform), knows almost everything there is to know about health and fitness. So, when she told us that she didn’t approve of the popular Keto diet (or likely its cousin, the lazy Keto diet), both of which have been making waves in the health and fitness world, we knew we had to ask her why. “The Keto diet is one of the most dangerous fad diets,” Michaels tells The List. “There are SO many issues with this diet I would need pages to list and explain them all”, she continues.
Pointing to her history of helping hundreds of thousands of American transform their lives, diets, and bodies, Michaels notes that if you’re looking to lose weight, the Keto diet isn’t going to cut it (and really, by now, we should all know the key to weight loss is eating sensibly and moving more). And beyond simply losing weight, the diet also isn’t the right choice for improving your overall health.
The Keto diet is not exactly healthy
One of the key reasons Michaels is adamant that the Keto diet is bad news is because it advertises itself as a healthy weight-loss diet. The fitness pro explains: “What makes this diet nefarious is how it purports to be healthy. And this is justified because Keto will help someone lose weight and help with insulin-related conditions like type 2 diabetes.” She continued, “However, you can achieve weight loss and reverse insulin-related health conditions WITHOUT going on Keto, by simply moving more, eating less, and using common sense with your food choices.”
Keto is also not balanced. The diet, which focuses on low-carbohydrate, high-fat foods, cuts out so many antioxidants, micronutrients, and digestive enzymes, that our bodies need, per Michaels. And Dr. Nancy P. Rahnama, a bariatric and internal medicine doctor based in California, agrees, telling Healthline, “Keto is not a great long-term diet, as it is not a balanced diet.” She continued, “A diet that is devoid of fruit and vegetables will result in long-term micronutrient deficiencies that can have other consequences.”
The Keto diet may shorten your longevity
As Michaels tells The List, “study after study show us that diets high in animal protein and fat are linked to a shorter life span and a host of health conditions.” In other words, there is the potential that the Keto diet could do the same. As Dr. Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the a study focusing on diets low in carbohydrates and high in animal protein (like the Keto diet), published in The Lancet Public Health, said: “Our data suggests that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged,” said (via BBC).
Ultimately, if you want to continue to eating a low carb diet you can, however, you should opt for plant-based protein, rather than animal protein to fill the gaps (read: you should ditch the Keto diet). “If one chooses to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy aging in the long term,” Dr. Seidelmann advised.
The Keto diet comes with side effects
If you’re still not convinced the Keto diet is a bad idea, Michaels list of side effects might turn you off it. “This diet has been linked to all kinds of side effects like “the Keto flu,” muscle cramps, palpitations, weakness, bad breath, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, rashes, headaches — the list goes on,” she tells The List. Worse still, she also pointed out, “it has been shown to be hard on kidneys (kidney stones), liver, thyroid, gall bladder and more.”
Again, Dr. Rahnama agrees. “With the start of the Keto diet, the body switches from using sugar as a source of energy to using the body’s stored fat,” she explained. “In the process of breaking down fat, the body produces ketones, which are then removed by the body through frequent and increased urination. This may lead to dehydration and flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, dizziness, irritability, nausea, and muscle soreness.”
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. However, if you’re going to adopt a Keto diet, it’s crucial that you do the research and speak to a medical professional to ensure it’s right for you — there may be a far healthier way.
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