What Jillian Michaels Really Thinks About Keto, Paleo, Whole30 and More

The fitness expert goes in front of our camera to share her opinion on 10 popular diet and fitness trends.

Jillian MichaelsPhoto Credit: Jones Crow

We sat down with fitness expert, life coach, and bestselling author Jillian Michaels to get her take on the latest wellness trends. Read on – or watch the video below! – as Jillian shares her unfiltered opinion on everything from collagen supplements and turmeric to Whole30 and the keto diet.

1. Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements I do take. With collagen, if you’re going to take the time to supplement it, you want to get a supplement that has all different types of collagen because your body utilizes different types of collagen to do different things, whether it’s your stomach lining, the connective tissue, etc. So get a multi-collagen supplement.

2. HIIT

100 percent yes. HIIT training burns more calories when you’re doing it, more calories when the workout is done. It also accelerates your level of fitness because it’s intelligently increasing what’s called your stress adaptation response. So we’re stressing the body more by training at a higher intensity, but you’re doing it for a shorter duration and you’ve got breaks in between so you’re reducing your risk of injury. Now, I wouldn’t make every workout HIIT for that very reason but I would do at least two of them a week. (Short on time? We asked Jillian to create a 7-minute total body workout you can do at home.)

3. Paleo Diet

I don’t even know what that is. I have to be honest, I’ve read 50 different versions of it. I literally have. Sometimes they do honey, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes quinoa is the devil and the saponins in it cause inflammation – which is totally untrue and proven to be untrue. Sometimes they eat nuts, nuts are seeds, no they’re not. It’s all over the place and there’s zero logic to it. And the concept that Palaeolithic man ate this way has also been proven false. In fact, Palaeolithic man ate like an ape – a lot of bark, berries, natural grasses. I guess if you did a paleo plan and you were intelligent about it and made it predominantly plant-based, clean meat that you didn’t eat too much of, and you avoided processed grains, hell yeah, fair enough. But I don’t think paleo knows what paleo is.

4. Turmeric

Yes, but remember too much of anything is bad. So if you’re going to do it have one shot of it a day. Don’t be putting it in your food and doing five shots. Too much of it is hard on the system. Balance – that’s the golden rule. (Try one of our all-time favourite turmeric recipes.)

5. Self-care

100 percent. That’s not even a question.

6. Nut Milk

Absolutely. However, one caveat with almond milk. Almonds are heavily sprayed with pesticides and they’re really hard on the environment; they use tonne of water. Personally, I say coconut milk. And there’s a pea milk people are really liking which is a great option. And oat milk is really popular right now. So yes to nut milk, but with almond–unless it’s organic–there are better options.

7. Whole30 Diet

Whole30 really just seems to be a common sense, practise eating whole foods for 30 days, so why not. (We’ve decoded the Whole30 rules to make it easy for you to get started.)

8. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is really interesting. A lot of people have a very confused idea about what the word fasting means. Fasting means a period where we’re not eating. It does not mean starvation, and you think those two things mean the same thing but they don’t at all. When you get into something like extreme calorie deprivation, which is like 500 calories a day, that’s starvation, that’s not intermittent fasting, you’re starving the body, you’re cannibalizing your own tissue. There’s a process called autophagy where your body eats dead or senescent cells. This is a good thing because as those things accumulate, you start to develop things like cancer. But, of course, anything done to the extreme isn’t good. You’re going to compromise bone density, muscle tissue, and so on. So 500 calories a day is a bad idea.

When we look at the benefits of fasting, it actually has nothing to do with weight loss, and it has everything to do with anti-aging because you have less oxidative stress on the system and you’re giving your body a period of time where it doesn’t have to worry or designate its energy to breaking down food, so it can take time to break down those senescent cells, called zombie cells, which can lead to disease. With that said, the best way to practice it is calorie restriction, which means we’re not eating more than we burn in a day, but we’re not starving the body either. You’re restricting your calories and you’ve attained a equilibrium. Your period of fast – it’s called breakfast. (Still have questions about intermittent fasting? We’ve answered them here.)

9. 80/20 Rule

I’m the 80/20 queen. I don’t believe in the concept of cheat days for so many reasons. On a psychological level I think it’s bad. It’s like this binge-purge-binge-purge cycle. And on a cheat day somebody can house like thousands of calories and not even realize it. I mean, I could. A pint of ice cream I could do for breakfast. 80/20 is the way to go. You get to indulge every day but you work it in to a framework that’s calorie controlled. So every day, take 20 percent of your allotted calories and you make it foods that are not terrible for you but less than healthy.

10. Keto Diet

If you love it, which is highly unlikely, it still has it’s massive downsides. If you don’t love it, which is more than likely, and you’re doing it because you think you have to, you absolutely don’t. There’s a far healthier and more balanced way to do it and it’s called a balanced, calorie-controlled diet where you don’t eat processed foods and you workout. Done.

Next, don’t miss our one-on-one interview with Jillian Michaels where we chat about ageism, sexism, and her new book, The 6 Keys.