– So that’s nothing, right? And it throws your body
into a state of emergency. That’s what ketosis is. (buzzer going off) – Hey everyone, this is Geoffrey Woo here with my colleague Dr. Brianna Stubbs. So on Twitter and on the blogosphere, people are talking about Jillian Michaels’ anti-keto rant. So our producer Zil flagged it to us and was suggesting, “Hey, “let’s do a quick live reaction video.” and we’ll watch the video and give you guys our live commentary. (electronic music) – I love the way that she’s gone for bacon straight off in there, the typical keto–
– We’ll take it. I mean, bacon, high fat. It’s a keto enthusiast staple.
– And it’s made into a nice little cross. – How do we really decipher the thousands of studies
that are out there on all of these diets? And the problem is what people will do to try to sell you a false bill of goods is take one study and blow that study out as
though it’s the entire picture, when of course it isn’t. Imagine you have a– – Nothing controversial so far. I think that’s reasonable. Let’s not over-extrapolate data. So we agree there. – Massive painting, but I only showed you this
tiny piece of the painting, but you had no idea what the hell else was going on over here. There’s no way you could
get an accurate read on if this is a sad picture, a happy picture, there’s no way you could know, correct? So when we look at keto, here’s why we’re saying, or not me, but here’s where some of the advocates are espousing benefits. Well, what are we doing with keto, right? We’re removing carbohydrates. Anything that elevates, you got about 20 grams
of carbohydrates a day that you’re ingesting, which is essentially nothing. It’s about 80 calories
worth of carbohydrates out of what could be anywhere from a 1,600 to 2,500 calorie a day diet, so that’s nothing, right? And it throws your body
into a state of emergency. That’s what ketosis is. – I would disagree with that. To rewind back, if we didn’t have ketosis, we wouldn’t exist like we do now. We have to have a way of fueling our brains and
keeping our brains going if there is no carbohydrate. So the reason that our bodies make ketones is to make big stores of energy as fat accessible to the brain. So I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a state of emergency. – Yeah, even a, just a more
concrete example is that newborns are in a state of
ketosis when they’re born because they’re drinking
their mother’s milk, super high in fat, a very low carbohydrate. Babies are using ketones as fuel. So unless you’re born and you’re already in
a state of emergency, then this is a very natural
physiological state. I mean, but I think everything else seems pretty correct, right? Like, the typical advice for a ketogenic diet is less than 20 grams of carbs, net carbs.
– Well, fifty, I think is the starting–
– twenty, fifty. It’s fine.
– Low, ultra low. – It is low, but that is part of the point, right? You are restricting carbohydrates. So no qualms there. Maybe we can nitpick a little
about protein and fat ratio, but overall I think
it’s a fair description of what a ketogenic diet is. – Yeah, I just think
using the word emergency is like a little alarmist in this context. – Let’s continue. – And because we don’t have
any glucose or glycogen, any blood sugar or stored blood sugar, we turn to– – Another thing that
I’d like to say is that even when you’re in ketosis your blood sugar is never zero, so she’s just saying you,
like, have no blood sugar. But even if you don’t
consume any carbohydrates, it never goes to zero. You’re gonna be bumping along, you know. It’d be really low if you
were under three millimole. Sometimes that happens, but– – Your body produces glucose
– Your body makes new glucose from the backbone of fat glycerol and also from amino acids as well. – Fat quickly. We produce ketones, and the idea is we burn through fat and we lose fat fast. And that is true, right? And you would think that
would be a good thing. And in addition, people will say, “Well, “I reversed my type 2 diabetes.” Of course, your insulin
level is through the floor. You’re consuming zero carbohydrates. So you have no blood sugar, so your pancreas is not releasing insulin. And this can also affect conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, and by virtue of that connection, it could also affect fertility. Fair, let’s give it that. – So she’s selling it
pretty well right now. Let’s see what she’s gonna say. – There’s zero calorie
restriction of a ketogenic diet, so you have a massive
amount of oxidative stress. There’s no consideration of timing with regard to food, so your autophagy process
is totally out of whack. In addition to that– – I think we should just dive into the timing question a little bit. I think a ketogenic diet doesn’t say anything
about timing and eating, just like a standard Western diet. You can nitpick a little bit here. Like fasting in and of itself
is interesting strategy, but the composition of the food is also a separate but
important thing to talk about. But eating keto doesn’t mean that you eat a thousand, a million calories of fat all the time, either. So now I think she’s making
a little bit of a straw man. She’s making a straw man here, right? No one’s saying eat 10,000
calories of fat all the time, and that’s keto. – Yeah, I would agree with that. – In addition to that, it’s very high in animal
fats and animal proteins. So we’re seeing that diets
rich in saturated fats are poor for our telomeres. Oxidative stress, increased inflammation, your nutrient-sensing pathways that are related to the health of your metabolism are overrun with constant food, heavy fats, lots of animal protein. We know it hurts your telomeres, and on and on and on. – I think it’s actually pretty funny, because one of the benefits
of a ketogenic diet is a production of ketones, which is known to be anti-inflammatory. – Yeah, I mean, to go back to what she’s saying that I said at the very start, there’s a lot of studies out there and you don’t want to focus in on any one, but there’s certainly plenty of evidence that the ketogenic diet
can be anti-inflammatory. So I would say that she’s kind of fallen into her own trap of saying that it’s very pro-inflammatory. I think you could kind of, especially in animal models, there are times when the high fat diet can be inflammatory. Like you said, we know that ketones themselves have anti-inflammatory affects. But I’m not gonna put myself
out there and be like, “Oh, high fat diet’s always
very anti-inflammatory.” I’m sure that there are settings where they are pro-inflammatory, but there’s also a lot of reasons why the ketogenic diet could be seen as being anti-inflammatory. And also she’s talked a few
times about oxidative stress. And again we know that
ketones are really good at scavenging the reactive
oxygen species, ROS. – Yeah, so it’s funny, she’s almost taking the weaknesses or the strengths of a ketogenic diet and saying that they’re weaknesses, which is interesting. But I feel like it is a bit
of a straw man argument here in terms of comparing her version of keto, which is eat infinite
calories of fat all the time and eat some of the more unhealthier fats and conflating all of that together. – I would definitely say
that the impression I get from the way that she’s speaking is that she thinks that people just gorge and constantly,
all of the time on fat. And she’s also kind of slipped into talking quite a lot about protein, which, again you said it, ketogenic diet’s controlled
in terms of the protein. But I think the inference
is that you then eat all of the time all of the fats. And actually people on keto
tend to be more satiated and voluntarily consuming less. – Right, that’s actually one of the best parts of a ketogenic diet that a lot of advocates would claim. It’s more satiating so you wanna eat less. Absolutely. – Now, what about the benefits? Is it worth it? Let me tell ya, the number one way to sensitize somebody’s
body again to insulin is exercise. I’ve been doing this
a heck of a long time. (laughs) I’ve reversed type 2 diabetes. I’ve helped people get off all medications for type 2 diabetes and PCOS and get pregnant after
years of trying and failing through a common sense diet where we don’t eat too much. We eat real food, and we have balanced macronutrients. So I can give you all those benefits with none of the negative
side effects of keto. – She seems so dismissive. It’s like, okay, yeah, I don’t think anyone says “Don’t exercise.” – I just think a lot of these approaches are failing in our population nowadays. – Yeah, I think that everyone knows what common sense is, right? Everyone knows to go exercise more and eat a more “balanced” diet. And if you look at the
diabetes and obesity rates that’s up into the right. So I think if you go with the “common sense approach that
everyone already knows”, well, that is demonstratively failing. So there needs to be
some intervention here to change the paradigm. – And I think there’s no reason why you couldn’t combine exercise
with a ketogenic diet. There was a review published last year that talks about the
similarities and sort of metabolic benefits of
doing the two, you know, doing the two together. So I think– – Yeah, yeah, let’s continue
to see how she wraps up here. – And last thought on keto. We’re stripping our body of certain fruits (laughs) which have a ton of antioxidants
and polyphenols in them. So again, when we look at oxidative
stress and free radicals and how they’re aging us- – I think she’s making a fair point that if you are on a ketogenic diet you have to make sure that you include enough sources of micronutrients. And maybe first, outsiders
look at the keto diet would bacon and butter and steak and actually if you listen to doctors, Phinney and Volek talking about a well-formulated ketogenic diet, they really emphasize the
importance of leafy greens– – Yeah, a lot of the resources
that we write about, right? Yeah, you can have fibers, you can have leafy greens as you said. – And you know some berries and stuff as well.
– Yeah, low sugar berries. – And also nuts and other
sources of micronutrients. I think she’s raising an important point that you have to make a conscious effort to include sources of
micronutrients in a ketogenic diet and be careful with it. But again it’s not, The standard American is rich in all of these good things, anyway. It’s very heavily processed. – Yeah, I mean I think it’s like, okay, I get her point, let’s make the more
sensible but smart way to do a standard American diet, fine. We could also make the
same steel man argument of “Let’s make a sensible
well-formulated ketogenic diet”, with your leafy greens, with the nuts, with the appropriate meats and the fish to make sure you have
that micronutrient spread. I think a more smart debate would have steel man arguments on both sides, right? Don’t have the best possible
version of your debate arguing with the worst possible version of your opponent’s debate. If you’re really proud of your idea, then fight against the
best possible version of your opponent. – We need to look at antioxidant foods that
help to combat that. When you start cutting out digestive enzymes and papaya
and pineapple and mango and all of the beta carotene, which is one of the top things to help keep your telomeres long, something like keto is detrimental on so many different levels. – I’m interested as to why she’s linking antioxidants and fruits to longevity. And again you sort of mentioned that she’s picking arguments on one side and neglecting arguments on the keto side. Because there’s actually, in a couple of studies that have come out showing that calorie
restriction and ketosis and also ketogenic diets and cyclical ketogenic
diets in animal models can actually promote healthful aging. What was it, they call it? Health span and life span in mice. So I think the argument that
keto is killing you earlier in terms of, on a cellular level. Like, let’s leave aside that kind of – – There’s no data to suggest that. And, in fact, it’s the opposite data. You’re seeing longevity-expanding effects. And then I would say where’s the data on polyphenols sending life? That doesn’t exist, unless you’re talking
resveratrol or something, but, like, very small
– Yeah, there’s early stuff – Spotty stuff as well, maybe even less.
– It’s kind of much and much. – And the amount of benefit is so small, when we could take a
completely different path. Get all the benefit over here, none of the negatives over here, and all the benefits over there. – I guess we can give our
concluding thoughts here. Look, I get Jillian’s point, right? I think we gotta be controversial, gotta make some strong statements. I know it’s a four-minute video, can’t get into the nuance. I get where she’s coming from. Got a lot of hype in the keto land. You’re not necessarily gonna live forever, melt fat off your body instantly off of just eating bacon 24,7. – I think one thing to point out that she didn’t talk
about at all in the video is that keto is really, really useful for targeted clinical use cases. It’s one of the oldest treatments for drug-resistant pediatric epilepsy. There’s some really
interesting emerging data in a number of different areas, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer. To rule out keto as a really
valuable weapon in our toolkit is kind of a little short-sighted. – Yeah, and just to assuage the folks that care
about the nuance and science, keto is not going to kill you. Keto is not going to
shorten your lifespan, and there are very broad benefits for doing a properly formulated ketogenic diet. And one of the things that
I think was funny is that in the beginning she’s like, people are pushing keto
to sell you some stuff. But she’s basically
trying to sell her stuff, which is her diet book and her plan, which is kind of ironic to go ad hominem and do exactly the thing
that they’re saying. “Come “read “my strategy, my process, my book “and then that is the one true way.” That’s kind of amusing. – We’re kind of going against a tide of negative feeling towards fat that’s been around since the ’50s when Ancel Keys did the six nations, six countries, not six nations, six countries study and claimed to have found a link between saturated fat and heart disease. And ever since then, this fear of fat has been
enshrined in public policy, and the US was the first nation to publish dietary guidelines and advise that people cut back on fat. And that’s really been at the forefront of global consciousness since then. And so because a whole
generation of nutritionists and people who have studied food science have been trained with that as the lens. There are people who
don’t agree with that, but they’re in the minority. And they’re kind of seen as
kind of maybe progressive or a little bit weird and out there, but there are now people
who are starting to look at the physiology and look at the new stuff
that’s coming out around higher fat diets such as
the ketogenic diet and get away from the fact that
they’re dangerous or unhealthy. So it’s sort of, I think she’s probably
somewhat a product of her training and that generational training as well. And maybe in the future–
– But I would say that’s a discount to rational active scientists who we know that are much older than she is who are very (speaking quickly)
look at the data, right? Professor Tim Noakes who’s an older gentleman is out
there looking at the data, fighting the good fight around
the misconception there. One thing that our producer Zil flagged, I didn’t know about her background, was that she was actually a
judge on the Biggest Loser, and a coach on the Biggest Loser. So it’s funny to me, again, going ad hominem here
to make the controversy. You’re talking about selling a diet that you have monetary
ties to in your book, and you’ve been on TV shows which do weight loss strategies that just don’t work, right, if you actually look at the results, if these crash diets actually work. No, all these people
regain all their weight. So it’s hypocritical to come
out on your high platform critiquing other people to
make money off a keto diet or making false claims when you are selling a book and make money off of the Biggest Loser, which kind of makes clowns of people struggling with real weight
problems in a lot of ways. You’re telling them, “Hey, “we’re gonna make a competition “to see how much fat you can lose” so quickly, so unhealthily. And these guys pop right back
up to their normal weight after their show is over. – So I think it’s not helpful to scaremonger and to try and dissuade people for whom keto might be transformative and really really helping them lose weight and get to a place that
they’ve not ever been before. So I think it’s not necessarily for everyone, but if it works for some people, there’s absolutely no reason– – And there’s strong evidence suggesting it could work for a lot of people. Those are our thoughts
on Jillian Michaels’ Big Think video. If you like content like this, consider subscribing
to our YouTube channel. We also have a weekly
podcast called HVMN podcast where we discuss topics
like ketogenic diet and human performance broadly. Subscribe, give us your comment, give us your feedback. Thanks so much and see you guys next time. – [Brianna] Goodbye.