Actual Science Behind the “Keto Diet” to End a Celebrity Feud

Star trainer Jillian Michaels and news anchor Al Roker got into it over ketogenics.

Keto diet
The keto diet encourages eating fat and abstaining from carbs.
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A bit of a celebrity feud has incited over the controversial ketogenic diet.

After trainer Jillian Michaels told Women’s Health that the high-fat, low-carb keto diet is “a bad plan, for a million reasons,” other celebs, like Al Roker and Andy Cohen criticized Michaels’ take, causing her to double down on her position and offer to debate the science of the diet, Time reported.

“I don’t understand. Like, why would anybody think this is a good idea?” Michaels asked.

But what even is keto, you might ask? The ketogenic, or keto, diet — once used in the treatment of seizures — involves mostly eliminating carbohydrates, cutting back on protein and eating plenty of fats. Anyone on keto is advised to eat about 80% of their calories from fats and the rest from protein, with minimal carbohydrate consumption — which means eating plenty of meats, dairy products, butter, eggs, nuts, seeds and oils, and avoiding grains and carb-heavy fruits and vegetables.

The diet is meant to push the body into a state of ketosis, or burning fat for energy.

The diet’s guidelines are a “stark departure” from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which say between 45 and 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates, Time noted.

Typically, the body’s main source of energy comes from burning carbs; but on a keto diet, the body uses up all the fats a person consumes, making it an ideal diet for those battling the bulge. Even U.S. News & World Report called keto the second-best diet for fast weight loss this past year.

But is keto actually healthy? The jury is still out on that one. Keto has proved effective for short-term weight loss and has aided in reversing the effects of type 2 diabetes, Time reported. Yet experts are still unsure of what, exactly, the diet does to the body long-term.

“Ketogenic and other very-low-carbohydrate diets can be quite challenging to follow over the long term, and the possibility of adverse effects has not been ruled out,” Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Time in 2016. “Usually, such severe restriction isn’t necessary.”

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