Can someone tell me if my thoughts are correct on CICO

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #502

But Gary Taubes isn’t denying that more people came into the room than exited it. Surely you’re not arguing that he is?

Taubes also certainly doesn’t deny that, to lose weight, you have to be consuming less energy than you’re burning. Contrast this with what’s being claimed in this thread.

Completely agree with all this.

That doesn’t show that calories are irrelevant. That shows that the hormonal effects of different types of calories are also relevant. Why must it be either/or? I don’t understand the logic.

People are talking here as if we don’t know the energy inputs and outputs of the human body. But we do. You take in food as energy. (You aren’t photosynthesizing or getting energy in any other way.) And you’re burning energy to feed your cells, extra energy when some of those cells work extra hard (like your muscles when you pick up the remote control), respiration, body heat.

You can actually measure all of these inputs and outputs. Inputs by watching the calories that go into the body, outputs by using a calorimeter and watching the energy outputs of the body.

We know all of these inputs and outputs; that’s exactly how Ludwig did his study in November showing that low carbohydrate diets cause an increase in calories out (a study that was rightly celebrated by keto people, but that apparently the people arguing with me and @OldDoug would take issue with, because God forbid any scientist mention the word “calories.” And also, according to some people here, the laws of physics don’t apply to the human body, because it’s not a closed system, so the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply to it… or something!)

And now here’s Eric Westman again saying that you should lower your calorie intake if you’re not losing weight. “Calories matter. The amount you eat matters.” He’s obviously out of his mind and should be cast out from the keto community/church that he is largely responsible for creating:

Look, if you want to believe that the laws of physics don’t apply, then you’re really no different from a climate change denier or an anti-vaxxer. That’s fine but don’t pretend that you’re basing your diet on science. You’re basing it on faith. That may have little practical impact because you’ve accidentally stumbled upon believing in a science-based diet, but you’re not believing in it because it’s correct, you’re believing in it because you have faith in the gospel. Don’t expect sympathy when I find you arguing with a vegan, because they’re also faith-based eaters!

(Doug) #503

:slightly_smiling_face: Exactly. It bugs me when we generalize from the particular, don’t properly qualify statements, etc. If we’re saying something, let’s have it be true for all of us, unless we specify that it does not apply to all of us.

I think the world of Dr. Fung, and have read just about every blog post ever of his - which is a huge source of good information. He does overgeneralize at times, and that too bugs me. But he’s aiming at a wide audience and does have some need to keep things simple.

Nature is full of them - one of Nature’s most beautiful aspects, in my opinion. I’ve had computer programs that generate fractals, like the Mandelbrot Set. Talk about entrancing worlds within worlds…

(Scott) #504

I think when talking about keto and someone says “calories don’t matter” they are being very general and meaning you don’t have to focus on counting calories or limit them. If you just limit carbs to <20g the rest will likely workout. They also don’t say pound as many calories in as you can. I have done calorie restriction before and find keto very different. I don’t know if it’s the wasting of energy via exhaling or the ability to waste fat by burning or just passing fat through without burning or storing. It just flat out doesn’t feel "I am moving more and/or eating less especially at the start.

(Doug) #505

Paul, love your explanation of what Einstein said - that rings so massively true to me. Much of the beauty of Einstein’s theories is the simplicity therein. I certainly agree that CICO will often not be an adequate explanation.

Gabe, had a fairly long drive today, and was thinking about all this. I continue to be amazed at how much we - the people on this forum - argue about it; surely, if this website has a bugbear, this is it. :smile:

To a very large extent, I think much of the debate here stems from different people having different frames of reference, and wanting different things from the discussion. Almost none of us really disagree on what is happening, in a given situation, and there’s not even much arguing over explanations, but we still can’t approach it the same way.

(Pier) #506

Very cool!!!

(Pier) #507

It doesn’t have to be either/or. It is both/and, plus more. But the way you keep presenting your argument looks like either/or, so people have no choice but to respond to you in kind. It’s your argument style that lacks clarity about your full position that seems to lead to an inability to come to a meeting of the minds. You’ve done it again by leaving out reference to the impact of insulin on apparent calories out, even though I know from reading the thread that you know it’s part of it. I don’t think you’d have much disagreement if you kept that in your arguments. This style of discussion doesn’t make much sense.

(Take time to stop and eat the bacon!) #508

Still haven’t seen any comments on the article about CICO and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, so here’s a lecture by Zoë Harcombe that contains some of her comments on it. I’d love to hear comments on both the artcile and on Zoë’s remarks.

BTW, the video is well worth watching all they way to the end. She has lots to say that is relevant to this thread.


For me the highlights of the study (sorry took a while to read, ADHD vs walls of text and all):

It is important to understand that it is the second law that drives chemical reactions. The first law is a bookkeeping law and tells us that the total energy attributed to work, heat and changes in chemical composition will be constant. It does not tell us whether such a reaction will occur, or if it does, what the relative distributions of the forms of energy will be. To predict the tendency of the reaction to occur, we must employ the second law that says the entropy must increase.

A simple example is the inefficiency of low-test gasoline in high compression gasoline engines. If a “calorie is a calorie” were true, nobody would pay extra for high test gasoline. (The calorimeter values of a gasoline will be the same whether or not it contains an antiknock compound). In weight loss diets, of course, inefficiency is desirable and is tied to hormonal levels and enzyme activities.

Tho like I said in a post way back, the First Law is completely unhelpful with regards to calorie-restriction, because CO will always eventually match CI, fulfilling the First Law. Nobody is saying the First Law doesn’t apply, that we’re above it, that we’re breaking the laws of physics. It’s only people who think CO is independent of CI who break the First Law.

(Doug) #510

Well… :slightly_smiling_face: CO is often independent of CI - you’re gonna be burning something even if you take in zero, as long as you’re alive. The physics is always going to be satisfied, no matter what.


Except when you’re fasting, you’re consuming your stored fat, which is where the calories are coming from. Those are still calories-in, I didn’t say when you provided the CI.

(Doug) #512

Indeed, they do have to come from somewhere - looking at it that way, ‘CICO’ is then all we need.

(John) #513

I dont know if this has been an informative thread or not. The OP was asking if his thoughts were correct and I still think the answer is no. Untill long term studies are done on slightly overeating every day on a ketogenic we cant say for sure. There is nobody on this thread that has done this. We are all right to some degree. Insulin and other hormones are the major factor but that doesn’t mean you cant gain weight by the overeating of fat over a long time. I and probly every member of this forum understand that all calories are not created equal but that doesnt make them irreverent. Even Carl touched on this in this weeks show but did not get into the Plateau. He did say he would get to it later but who knows when. I understand that for those that are t2 or just very heavy that for the first who knows how long they shouldnt worry about counting calories but that doesnt mean they never should. Also CI will end up different for everyone. i might need 2500 ketogenic calories to maintain whereas you may need 2600 to maintain even though we might be similar in size. Also I know we eat to satiety but is that signal internally set to keep the body going? If so who is to say that you cant knock 200 cal off your daily intake and over time your body will not have a lower weight and new satiety set point. Also curious about those that have lost alot of weight. When you first went keto were you eating more then what you are now or has the diet stayed exactly the same? Do you get fuller quicker now? I was never that far over weight but I know I seemed to eat more at first but later realized i was eating less just cause It wasnt taking as much to make me feel full.

(Take time to stop and eat the bacon!) #514

Yeah it does, the low-class calories go to church every Sunday, but the high-class ones stay home and read the New York Times in bed.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #515

Paul, I don’t have the time to read the article and watch a whole hour of video – will try maybe over the weekend. I watched the first few minutes, and I think I have enough data to reply pretty succinctly.

There is nobody with any scientific authority who would claim that a human can ingest more energy than they expend without gaining weight. The expenditure of that energy may well be heat, but one way or the other, to lose fat, you’ve gotta be ingesting less energy than you’re expending.

Happy to reply further later, but I can’t see her proving otherwise. Nor can I see the relevance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which Lord Kelvin stated as: “It is impossible, by means of inanimate material agency, to derive mechanical effect from any portion of matter by cooling it below the temperature of the coldest of the surrounding objects.”

(Scott) #516

I just marvel at the way the body can manipulate the system. I think about the Ansel Keys semi starvation experiment where male subjects were fed a 1500 calorie diet for many weeks. It was described that the men felt extremely cold in the summer. So the body can manipulate the CO side of the equation to suit it’s needs. This makes me wonder if it can also manipulate the CI side like whether to store or waste CI. Somewhere in the middle the keto WOE would seem to have an effect that is different than a simple calorie deficit.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #517

I was with you until the end there. There’s plenty of ways for energy consumption to be manipulated by the body in response to lots of variables, including the types of macronutrients (and probably micronutrients!) we’re feeding it. But in the end you still need a calorie surfeit to put on weight, and vice versa.


Yes!!! I’ve been trying to (mostly) stay out of this thread, but I wanted to give this ^ a big thumbs-up. Generally, CICO = very simplistic advice that has done a lot of damage.

If we get into the more complex hormonal pathways as part of the equation, if you can account for innumerable other variables that affect CO, then of course it’s correct.

But that’s just not how “CICO” is generally used.

(John) #519

How it’s used and if it has realavince are 2 separate things. Just because it has a high failure rate on the sad diet does not mean it shouldn’t be looked at. N=1 is all over this forum so I don’t think it’s right to tell anyone not to try different things when you hit that long term wall. It just cracks me up that everyone is willing to try and change all kinds things just not eating a bit less overall for awhile. Remember not everyone is the same and what might not work for some may just be what someone else needs to do

(Adam Kirby) #520

Oh man this thread is legendary.


Is there a single person on this forum that hasn’t tried CICO? Pretty sure that’s what brought most people to Keto for weight-loss purposes. But by all means, keep implying that people’s problem is that they’re gluttonous sloths, haven’t heard that tune for the past five minutes. I don’t know why CICOers think they’re in the minority, when the vast majority of diet pushers repeat their message.