Can someone tell me if my thoughts are correct on CICO

(John) #542

It does seem like we all agree on more then it seems like.

(Doug) #543

Well said. Weight set point is one of my favorite subjects, and one that seems most mysterious to me. I agree that it can be a minefield, especially for women. To an extent, I think we have a much more complete paradigm - here on this keto forum - and that we still get bogged down with generalizing from the particular, etc.

I think the same thing happens to lots of us who go keto. Or that the same beneficial process is at work even if we do alter how much we eat or burn.

I would argue that lowering insulin changes the calories out part. After eating, more calories are metabolized, rather than being stored as fat, thus accounting for the change in weight.

(Doug) #544

Yeah, it was oversimplified - in the real world it’s not like everything from a high carb meal gets stored as fat (usually), nor that eating healthy fats automatically means no fat storage at all.


I’d be hesitant to conflate your body burning your own fat during fasting after fat adaptation with a reduction of CI; to borrow Dr. Fung’s anology, both your checking account and savings account are CI. And there’s no good way to guess how much fat your body is burning other than that there seems to be a cap, so there’s no accurate way to gouge CI here.

More importantly, new people to Keto really shouldn’t make that mistake. I can’t tell you how many newbies are told right off the bat they need massive calories deficits (they’re eating 1200 calories or less) and that they should “burn their own fat instead of eating fat” right out of the gate, even tho their bodies aren’t in a position to do that. Off this forum, people teaching them about insulin resistance is still the exception, not the rule.

(John) #546

agreed. I would never advocate a massive cal restriction and definitely not look at cal in the beginning

(Pier) #547

I agree with this. Well and succinctly put.

(Pier) #548

This is pretty much what I was trying to say. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Pier) #549

Indeed. I agree. Here, a different switch needed to be flipped in order for the CICO to have a real impact on weightloss. I suspect that there are probably other hormones and, often, pharmaceuticals that have similar impacts.

If you all think this is difficult, imagine how hard it is to manage, or reverse insulin resistance in horses. We’ve done it to them with the foods we feed. But certain breeds are more prone to IR than others. For instance, ponies and draft horses are more likely to get IR than, say, a Thoroughbred. Some of it is CI-- usually type of energy – grain is a bad choice, PUFAs are bad, etc. Some of it is CO, i.e., movement. Some of it is metabolic derangement based on genetics. IR still leads to circulation problems, especially in hooves (which was my specialty). But just reducing calories and increasing movement ALONE, is rarely successful until the other factors have been resolved.

(Doug) #550

Agreed that when we burn fat, it’s coming “in” from either our fat stores or from food.

But things are not usually too opaque here - while there is variation by body size and amount of fat stored, the average person burns about half a pound of fat per day while fasting, per the Fungster himself. If we’re feeling decent, not super cold, etc., then I think it’s a safe assumption that said burning is taking place. (I’d hope so, too - another Fung-reported statistic is that the average person’s metabolism increases by 13% after 4 days of fasting.)

GAH! :rage: Okay, that is pretty sorry.

(Carbohydrate Denier ) #551

That is horrible. It should be known loud and wide, that insulin is the number one reason for fat gain, not over eating, and certainly not too many calories.

I still hold the belief, yes, I beleive because enough external data, hasn’t been provided to prove either way, as I’m referring to my own n=1 experiment. I still think/beleive that it’s not so much the number of calories as it is the type of calories. I can eat 3,000 calories a day and stay at a steady 195 pounds. The only fluctuation I see seems to be how much water I drink throughout the day, which usually settles itself out by the next morning, back at 195 pounds.

If I start eating less, 2,500 calories a day, I see no change in that pattern. 2,000 calories a day, same thing. One I get down to around 1,500 calories a day I start seeing changes. I feel cold. I feel lethargic, mental dexterity seems a bit off.

I will concede to the OVERALL CICO argument. My problem is, and always has been is CO is usually referred to as some kind of exercise. Usually in the form of walking, running, biking, weight lifting, swimming, et. al.

If saying I eat an additional 300 calories a day means I need to get up and ride my bike for an hour to burn that off or I will gain weight, that’s just plain wrong. It doesn’t. That extra 300 will get used. My body will increase its calories out WITHOUT the need to take action.

I think the biggest thing missing in nearly every argument in this thread is a definition of calories out. Most of the time, when someone says, calories out, they are referring only to physical exercise. That can matter in a SAD diet, but not in a ketogenic diet. Hence, eat until not hungry.

Your body will change over time. Your body might actually find a good use for the extra 1,000 calories it’s signaling you to eat. We don’t have a way to measure what energy usage is going to other than exercise. At least not the average person. I’m sure we could use something akin to an MRI to watch this, or some related medical device, but I’m pretty sure most of us do not have access to that to see what goes where when. So the argument about Thermodynamics is irrelevant. Energy out must be greater than energy in, or it’s going to get stored doesn’t address the use of energy. Just saying CICO equates to eat less and move more. Fourteen months ago I would have agreed. But after seeing what happened to myself once my insulin was kept very low by abstaining from carbs, I began to change my opinion.

We need to stop and consider these things. I’ll be first to admit, I used to be the guy that often jumps in with his opinions as facts to later regret it, but then apologize for it. Took me a few years to change that habit. I try (I really do) to stay out of an argument or discussion long enough to get the perspective of both sides. Sometimes one or both sides seem to assume the other knows what they mean. And frustration is the result. Just like when I say “it’s irrelevant”. I should clear up why with a clear and concise reason for it. Try not to leave things open to interpretation. Which many of you probably guessed by now might be the reason I get so long winded. :cowboy_hat_face: There was this time in the Air Force, a weapons trailer was delivered to me and the weapons weren’t properly safed. So I…


[quote=“kandescent, post:527, topic:67917, full:true”]

You have DEFINATELY misunderstood. No one has said it’s CICO and only CICO that matters.
@Gabe, myself and others are saying that CICO matters… … … NOT that it’s the ONLY thing that matters.


So far this suggests to me your equilibrium calories are 3000 (obviously the macros matter but let’s now go there now…

If you eat 2500, 2000 or even 1500 your body can find the rest from adipose or visceral tissue, even the leanest fittest athlete has a few weeks worth of fat, so I’m not surprised you don’t notice any issues. If you did this for months or years and then finally hit rock bottom your body will probably demand and force a bounce back (it really does not want to burn muscle or vital organs for food … but that’s another story…) so we go into “maintenance” by eating more (or at least that’s what all the gurus say)

I reckon you could probably eat 300 calories extra and hardly notice it - BUT - are you saying you could eat a full double, 6000 calories of what you eat now and still get away with it? Because maybe your metabolism will increase so much it’ll burn everything off not matter how much you eat?

(Adam Kirby) #554

It did for this guy.

Now, will everyone have this response? Doubtful. This probably requires a healthy post-prandial insulin response and low basal insulin to pull it off.

There’s the other caveat that doubling your caloric intake usually isn’t very pleasant or fun.

(Doug) #555

Paul, a good read - definitely makes one think.

The principle of “a calorie is a calorie,” that weight change in hypocaloric diets is independent of macronutrient composition, is widely held in the popular and technical literature, and is frequently justified by appeal to the laws of thermodynamics.

If I was arguing with the speaker, I’d stipulate to the fact that not all calories are the same, there. We know that the metabolism of the different macronutrients has substantially different energy costs, and that differing hormonal responses to the macronutrients can make for changes in metabolic level and fat storage, and thus in weight.

The title - " “A calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics."

Here too, I’d agree. “CICO” is really the First Law, i.e. all energy is accounted for, no magical loss or gain being present (nor assumed or postulated).

The Second Law talks about things going from a more ordered state to a less ordered state, that no machine can be 100% efficient, that chemical reactions proceed from a state of higher available potential energy to a lower state. We know that changes take place during digestion and metabolism - chemical reactions occur, and that those reactions involve changes in energy states.

Breaking chemical bonds takes energy. It takes 3 to 5 times as much energy to digest proteins as it does to digest carbohydrates. In this respect those macronutrients are not equal. The way the digestive reactions proceed is in line with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and the results are different - so to state that “a calorie is a calorie,” as simply as that, is not true.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #556

The metabolic slowdown and hormonal effects influence energy in and energy out, they don’t circumvent the laws of physics. That’s all that’s being said. Nobody here is arguing in favour of CICO "eat less exercise more."

Nobody has!

Nobody is pushing simply cutting calories. But the implication of “keto circumvents the laws of physics” is that you can eat as much fat as you want. That’s simply not the case, as demonstrated by my 2 year stall.

They’re not saying this. They are saying calories don’t matter because keto “breaks the laws of physics.” (Direct quote from someone in this thread.)


Masochist much? :slight_smile:

Exactly. Which is precisely why I’m still here. The “other side” keeps saying “who cares? Why are you still arguing about energy balance?” Well, the error of the Keto Church is that you can eat as much fat as you want. This is patent nonsense, as demonstrated in this video I posted earlier that nobody acknowledged because it directly contradicts their position:

Actually, I think most people are taught ad libitum eating on keto. I’ve never heard anyone say you should calorie restrict when starting keto – like, never!

If everyone here could agree with what @barns said, we’d have no contention at all!

You take in energy as food. You burn energy by sitting on the couch doing nothing all day (that’s your resting metabolic rate) because your body has to keep itself alive. This includes your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, peristalsis, body heat, the inefficiencies involved in these processes, etc. Beyond this, moving your arm to pick up the remote control, or any other activity beyond lying still, will require additional energy. All of this, taken together – everything, including heat and breathing and your increased metabolic rate from eating low carb – all of this is energy out.

If this energy out is smaller than your energy in, you’re going to put on weight.

If he didn’t put on weight when he ate 5000 calories, then he wasn’t taking in more energy than he burned. Either his body found a way to burn off that energy, or he exercised more. It didn’t magically disappear. Either his muscles burned it, or his internal body processes became more inefficient, or it left his body as heat or breath.

Physics matters.

People keep mentioning the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Nobody here has really demonstrated its relevance. They’re just obfuscating because they don’t, for some reason, like the First Law.



(Pier) #558

Again, no I haven’t. You have misunderstood and simplified what I’m saying. It’s clear that neither side is saying weightloss is attributable to just one thing. There are obvious points of agreement that are not being settled. And, indeed, both sides are saying similar things, perhaps with different emphasis. And yet the disagreement continues, though both sides agree more than not (except for a few outliers). However, the way you, et al, keep overlooking the points of agreement and framing your argument as CICO is all that matters is exactly what makes it LOOK LIKE that’s what you’re saying.

Since you think I’m misunderstanding, I ask again, state the remaining points of contention, point by point. And state the points of relevant agreement. Then we can see what remains to be fleshed out.

I say that the disagreement is in the point of emphasis and not on whether it’s CICO or hormones. Though the ongoing discussion makes it seem like the latter.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #559

Um, with respect: the disagreement is not whether it’s CICO or hormones. It’s whether it’s hormones OR “energy balance+hormones.” Nobody is arguing for “CICO.” But Taubes, Westman, and every low carb scientist out there agree that calories matter.

Again: “our side” is saying that hormones matter and calories matter. We are saying what Taubes and Westman and Phinney and Volek have all said from the start: of course calories in and calories out matter. The question is, why are we driven to eat so much on the SAD? And the answer is sugars and starches which drive insulin consistently high.

The other side has said that “keto breaks the laws of physics.” That’s the ongoing controversy, and I’ve been called mentally ill for maintaining my line of argument, but I won’t back down on the notion that keto doesn’t break the laws of physics. And by the way, it’s completely unnecessary to believe that keto breaks physical laws; and yet this basic, stubborn misunderstanding is the reason why so many people stall out and stay much more overweight than they would like.

(Doug) #560

The First Law is really just accounting for the energy. It cannot be gotten around. Counting calories goes toward this, but the results aren’t necessarily predictable with a simplistic view of things.

If we look at the digestion and metabolism of fats, proteins and carbs from the perspective of the Second Law, things act just like they’re supposed to, but it’s also then demonstrably incorrect to make the unqualified statement that “a calorie is a calorie,” and the like. Here too, we can count the calories. This time around, it’s not just that we may end up with unpredictable results, it’s that the caloric count, alone, will necessarily give bad predictions.

Totally agree with the first two sentences. As far as “eat less and move more” - we all know how prevalently bad that advice is for people who are insulin-resistant, etc. That said, even there we should qualify things. “Eat less and move more” works for a lot of people…

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #561

Well this is where I am right now. Low carb and gaining fat. So I now need to consciously eat less and move more.

The difference is that I know I’m eating past satiety. Last night I had some whipped cream with allulose and a couple of raspberries for dessert… after I was already full of steak and shiratake noodles and keto butter chicken sauce. The dessert added probably 1000 calories to my daily intake. No wonder I’m stalled/gaining. Which is sort of my point in this thread: it’s no mystery why people stall out on keto, unless you think it “breaks the laws of physics.”