Can someone tell me if my thoughts are correct on CICO

(John) #642

True but his routine I’m sure was different to bulk up like that. So if he stopped working out it is possible that the extra was being used up by muscle to help maintain. To me it’s not really comparing bacon to bacon. I could be wrong though. Also as a question. Doesn’t your body take something like 21 days to start getting use to changes you make. If that’s true then these experiments are ending just as the body might just start to react

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #643

I’m stunned we’re still having this discussion.

If you follow a ketogenic diet, you can gain weight by eating too much. I know because it’s happened to me. And I also know because logic. You only burn a finite amount of energy. If you eat more energy than you burn, you’ll put on fat.

I’m amazed this is even a contentious issue.

If you gain fat whilst eating a low carb diet, you’r;e not a “CICOer.” You’re just a person who’s gaining weight because your CI>CO. Physics. That’s all we’re saying here.


Great discussion! I have excess belly fat, and would like to burn it off. If I become fat adapted, then my body’s preferred choice of energy is fat. If I have an overabundance of fat intake, then why would my body burn the belly fat?

If it takes 2200 cal to run my body, and my intake is 2000 calories, then my body will take the deficit from my fat deposits, right? Thanks!

(Cindy) #645

See, when you phrase it that way, I agree with you. It’s when it’s phrased in terms of the calorie that I think there’s a problem because then people fixate on the calories counters, the calories in food (vs the nutrients and where the calories come from), thinking the need to eat more or less based upon those numbers, etc.

And because everything ELSE matters so much (hormones, exercise levels, genetics, the type of food they eat), the “calorie” is the completely wrong thing to focus on, but that’s what society has done for the last umpteen years…so we need to make an effort to undo that damage by being very precise that it’s NOT the calorie that matters.

(Cindy) #646

Tacoduck, see my reply to @gabe. Yes, certainly, you want to be eating LESS fat than your body needs so you burn belly fat instead of dietary fat.

But please don’t base that energy need on your calorie “needs” per day. You’re not a machine. You don’t need the same amount of food everything day. You should instead listen to what your body is telling you. Extra hungry one day? Eat! Not very hungry at all one day? Then don’t eat.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #647

Yep I agree with all this, which means that, after >600 comments, we’ve found agreement! I suspect there’s still some folks who think otherwise, but I’m guessing the majority of people on these forums would probably agree too.

Look, the word “calorie” is just a unit of energy. I understand that it’s become a loaded term, but it doesn’t belong to the sugar industry. Low carb folks should take the term back and we shouldn’t be afraid of talking about the calories contained in this or that food. Westman and Phinney both discuss calorie intake and calorie density – and indeed my biggest challenge personally is high calorie density foods like cream and cheese and dark choc. Westman, in his guide to patients which is extracted in the appendix to Taubes’s “Why We Get Fat,” specifically limits these kinds of foods.

(So much bacon, so little time) #648

If you are eating to satiety, that is, eating when you’re hungry and stopping eating when you stop being hungry, your body will set your appetite to a level that will allow it to burn both the fat you eat and any excess stored fat you may have hanging around. The requirement for moving fat out of your adipose tissue is that your blood insulin level be low, which is taken care of by not eating carbohydrate. Fat, especially when compared with carbohydrate, barely stimulates insulin secretion at all (we require some insulin, after all, or we will starve to death), which makes fat the “safe” macro to eat for the energy our body needs. So paradoxically, we eat fat in order to lose fat, since even in the absence of dietary carbohydrate, the body will still hang on to its fat stores if it isn’t getting enough calories in. If it gets enough, or sometimes even too much, energy in the diet, the body has plenty of things it can do with it.

(So much bacon, so little time) #649

In the CICO, a-calorie-is-a-calorie, eat-less-move-more model, how does the body decide where to take a caloric deficit from, or where to add an excess to? I mean, how does eating less not cause our bones to lose density and our muscles to start wasting, as opposed to taking off fat? And likewise, in the CICO model, how does the body know what to turn all those just-a-calories into? How does it decide to turn them into fat, instead of adding muscle or increasing bone density?

In the hormonal model, these questions are easily answered, but if a calorie is a calorie, then the body has no mechanism for distinguishing among them, right?

(John) #650

Sorry paul but I thought everyone was on board that a calorie isn’t just a calorie. We established a clear difference between cal from fat and those from carbs. This thread is not about weather or not you can eat the same amount of sugar as you can fat and have the same outcome. Its about if the long term overeating of ketogenic foods will cause weight gain or not. At least that is how I am reading the OP post. They are under the impression that as long as what they are over eating is fat then they don’t have to worry about weight gain.

(So much bacon, so little time) #651

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that more than one post in this thread talks about excess calories being necessarily and automatically turned into fat. What I am not clear on, is why any caloric excess automatically becomes fat, instead of, say, muscle or bone. What is to stop my body from taking all the protein I eat and using it for those purposes, and just using the fat as energy, instead of counting the protein calories toward an excess of energy? The whole issue under discussion involves one side saying that if we eat “too much,” the excess will be turned into fat, whereas the other side (the right side, naturally :smile:) is saying “not necessarily.”

What I am trying to get at is that saying any excess energy automatically gets turned into fat is backward. It assumes that energy balance determines what happens. I am more and more convinced that’s not an accurate description of what happens. What the body does is what determines energy balance. Energy balance just is not a handle that we can use to manipulate the body, no matter how tempting it is to say, “If you eat too much food, you will get fat.” Something else is going on, and food composition is relevant. Highly relevant. Extremely relevant.

For example, my scale says I am ten pounds lighter than I was yesterday. I’m not actually sure that’s correct, but I did experience a 20-lb. whoosh once, so a 10-lb. one is not out of the question. But why did it happen after eight or nine days of eating more food than usual? Now obviously, I somehow ate less than I expended, that’s not in question, but just how did I manage to expend so much more while eating so much more? I assure you that my routine never changed, and I’ve been just as sedentary these past eight or nine days as I’ve always been. How does eating more and weighing less jibe with all the posts in this thread saying that we have to eat less in order to weigh less?

(Queen of Weirdness ) #652

Because I went from 2000 calories to 1000 and am at maintenance.

(Queen of Weirdness ) #653

Keto kills your appetite.

(Queen of Weirdness ) #654

No scales show ten pounds lighter in one day.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #655

Good to hear you use the words “excess calories,” because indeed, after all the body’s processes’ energy needs are satisfied with calorie intake (or burning body fat, which can only be liberated at a limited amount each day), the rest of the calories are “excess.”

Building bone and muscle are bodily processes. By definition the energy used to do these things are not “excess calories.”

Yes, hormones are relevant, and hormones are influenced by many things, including macronutrients. That’s why we all eat low carb.

All anyone is saying here is that you can eat too much. It’s possible. Not only is it possible, but many of us are doing it. It’s why Eric Westman and Stephen Phinney and many others say that if you’ve stalled (or, unspoken but a reality for many of us, if you’ve gained) then you may need to start cutting back on calorie intake. Yes, it is keto to cut back on calories.

That’s all we’re saying.

If you lost fat, then over a period of time you burned more calories than you consumed. Again, that’s all we’re saying. No idea about the daily variations in your weight; 10 pounds is a large variation but it’s happened to me before. Lots of things can explain it but I’d be more interested in your weekly/monthly average weight. Better still, DEXA. Either way, it’s not magic, and I can pretty much assure you categorically that 10 pounds of fat wasn’t burned in a single day. I’m no biochemist but it seems highly unlikely to me.


All good questions.

Excess protein is not a good idea for many reasons:- people often feel sick, drowsy and weak, mTor pathway issues and there is no additional muscle protein synthesise, …

Let’s not answer “why the body stops”, just use the observations that it does stop absorption of excess protein.

Investigations show absorption of protein by muscles is linear up until about 20g then it levels off, the curve is then virtually parallel to the x-axis. You could have double the dose at 40g but the additional protein will not be synthathised.

The surplus cannot remain in the blood, it needs to find a new home. The familiar insulin pathway is followed, it applies not only to excess carbohydrates but also to excess protein. Insulin is followed by novo de lipogenesis (and suppression of lipolysis). Fat burning stops, fat storage starts.

[Edit: granted excess protein is not converted to fat immediately, automatically or even directly. The excess first undo goes gloconeogensis. After conversion to glucose it may well be taken up and consumed, but we rarely need more glucose, and this is a scenario of abundant eating so I jumped to the end-game. Excess protein first becomes glucose and then becomes fat].

This process is not bypassed by a ketogenic diet. Excess protein is excess protein. Sorry no free keto pass.

I can provide you some links to papers if you want them. Need I say (obviously) Phinney and Volek also speak of these things as well, “The Art and Science … Living” Chapter 16 is probably the best explanation of theirs.

Interestingly in Chapter 16 they say “you need to eat a lot more to reach maintenance (CI=CO)”. I was surprised by this, I thought only a little bit extra was required, but in their example, Mr “big loser” as they call him, needs 1600 Cals for weight loss but requires 3200 Calls for weight maintenance. That is a fair doubling! No wonder people think you can eat virtually “all you want” and still not gain weight.

If you normally eat about 1600 Cals and now you “only” have 2999 on a few days you would still lose a tiny amount of fat - but probably feel like you can eat unlimited piles of gut busting food quantities.

The numbers for the female are 1400 for losing and 2000 for maintenance, this isn’t as striking but it is still a lot more butter!

Hmm, okay, it seems to mean “you can virtually eat as much as you want and still not gain”. which is what one camp was saying.

It’s all a case of “half a dozen of one verus six of the other”.

At the end of the day - all the laws of physics apply. CICO applies (yes we know the carb/hormone factors). Eat to satiety (for weight loss). Eat a lot more fat to arrest loss and enter weight maintenance, yes that is CI=CO. It’s hard to overeat protein and fat, but it can be done for example by people who love food (too much) or eat for comfort, medicine, faulty glads … Have CI > CO to often and you will be fat and lazy. Complaining about CICO not applying won’t save you.

There is room to define what “a lot” really means, so don’t go eating entire pigs every day and then complain to me that I misread Phinney and Volek. YMMV. Everyone is different.

Should noobs be encouraged to eat more fat? No. But people wanting to enter maintenance need to get a handle on all this. That’s a lot of extra butter to sort out.

The book has both the male and female calculations but I could only find the female example on-line. Notice the 1400 Cals at “Induction” (that’s Atkins speak for Keto Diet) and then 2000 Cals for “Maintenance”

If you’re still reading thanks. See, you were right all along, on both sides, no wonder people argued so vehemently.

Now I have to work out how to find these extra Calories. Gulp.


Maybe not with just food adjustment, but I can vouch that it’s definitely possible with fasting.

(Doug) #658

Agreed - especially if one was eating a relatively lot of salt. The water loss from fasting, aided perhaps by coffee or tea, can be profound.

(Robert C) #659

Depending on your level of fluid retention just prior - could also be done with a double foot amputation. :grinning: