CICO Diet – Why Counting Calories for Weight Loss Won’t Work

Posted on
Ever heard of CICO? Though it’s hardly new, it is one of the hottest diets on the internet right now, thanks to online forums like Reddit. CICO stands for “calories in, calories out,” and pushes the idea that to lose weight, all you need to do is eat fewer calories than you burn each day. In other words, you can live off Cheetos and Twinkies and still lose weight as long as you burn them off. For dieters who turn their nose up at salads and fish, it sounds like a dream come true. After all, it takes all the guilt out of food choices and turns weight loss into simple math. Unfortunately, there’s much more to the equation. Here’s what the CICO diet gets drastically wrong.

When it comes to diet, quality matters

While weight loss does, to a large degree, come down to a caloric deficit, there are few major caveats to this rule. First, not all calories are created equal, because foods affect the body differently. For instance, a 400-calorie bagel eaten first thing in the morning spikes your insulin levels and causes a sugar crash a few hours later. Not only will you be dragging, you’ll also be famished—making it harder to adhere to your daily calorie goal. Never mind the fact that carbohydrates also get stored as fat.

Diets do not work all the same

If calories were all that mattered, all diets would work equally well. But different diets with the same calorie goals can lead to different weight loss results. For instance, a 1,500 calorie-a-day Paleo diet doesn’t necessarily yield the same effects as a 1,500 calorie-a-day Ornish diet.

As for low-carb diets (far fewer bagels), which are typically high in protein, you may lose a significant amount of weight then hit a wall and experience trouble meeting your long-term weight loss goals. The culprit? The onset of inflammation due to excess protein.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *