The idea that those on the popular keto diet should be eating practically no carbohydrates actually isn't true and ketosis can be reached on a "relatively high amount of carbs", an expert has revealed.
Dr Cliff Harvey joined Newshub podcast Fierce Fitness this week to discuss the keto diet, which has been surging in popularity in recent years.
"The keto diet is any diet that elicits ketosis. To achieve ketosis we need to limit carbohydrates and use fat for fuel, to produce ketones," the clinical nutritionist and researcher told podcast host Nats Levi.
"Its often framed as this survival thing, but that limits the use of keto a little bit," he said.
"People believe that only in time of severe starvation we're going into ketosis. Back in the day, we used to think you had to limit your carbs to practically zero, then your body switches over to keto like flicking a switch."
But Dr Harvey said really "it's about the body being able to adapt to lower carbohydrate intake so it can fuel itself".
"It's a spectrum - there are different types of keto that will work for different people. It's not about having one type of diet that will work for everyone."
He said it's better to find a "carb appropriate" diet on a spectrum of very low carb ketogenic diets "to higher carb protocols".
"Even when it comes to keto, people will achieve ketosis on relatively high levels of carbohydrates. It's still a low-carb diet but people can achieve different things with different diets," he said.
He also added it's not the golden bullet for weight loss people think it is.
"Over an extended period of time, the result from a low-fat, high carb diet and a high-fat, low carb diet is actually pretty similar," he said.
"However, there will be differences, depending on the metabolic state someone has.
"So if someone is more insulin resistant, they're probably more likely to benefit from a low carb diet."
You can hear more about the keto diet by listening to the full episode.