If CICO doesn‘t work (as per Fung) why does IF work?

(Full Metal KETO AF) #21

Hey Shinita, Thanks for your clear and concise insight, you’ve convinced me that we should be following you instead of Dr. Fung because clearly you understand things so much better than a brilliant Nephrologist who’s cured tens of thousands of diabetics and helped morbidly obese people back to health. CLEARLY spoken and brilliant post from you as usual! :unamused:


Why would one’s metabolism get slower when eating and using up 2000 kcal? It simply becomes maintenance, I would think. Or the woman wants to lose fat and start eating 1800? But then she will continue to lose, at least for a short while…

I actually did something similar to the above. Of course, I can’t be sure my TDEE was that but looking at my weight-loss, I estimated 2300. About zero exercise, stable metabolism and weight in normal circumstances so I had good things to make experiments.
I ate 2000 kcal (or so. I had higher calorie day because I needed them but it might not matter as those easily might sped up my metabolism a bit). And started to lose. And continued to lose for several months, about the same pace (though it should have slowed down, whatever, I lost weight slowly so maybe it’s just the obvious lack of being able to figure out my actual, correct numbers).
And then I suddenly stopped, I presume my TDEE became 2000 kcal due to my fat-loss or whatever else. My body seems to LOVE this weight and this energy intake as well as I was just as hungry below 2000 kcal in the end as in the beginning, no matter my fat-loss.
Years passed, I stalled.
I started keto and ate 2000 kcal for months. I stalled as I don’t get extra bonus when I eat less carbs.
Stopped keto but lowered my calories to 1800 and lost fat for several weeks (I gained it back later, I can’t eat 1800-2000 kcal for long and my body loved my previous weight so if there were surplus calories, it went back and stayed there, some overeating - I mean less than 1000 kcal longer term - mattered little afterwards).
Smaller eating windows never helped unless they lowered my calorie intake but I couldn’t do OMAD long term. And I usually eat 2000 kcal for 2 meals, often more.
I tried things and this stupid number chases me as my body seemingly has an obsession with it. (It’s my comfortable maximum on carnivore, it seems but I can’t say that yet. It’s my comfortable maximum per meal too, since ages. And it’s my comfortable minimum longer term, usually. And my average TDEE is around that too I presume, since 8 years.)

I may focus on calories a bit too much but it’s how my body seem to work. I don’t force anything so it’s just some hobby, curiosity or whatever, it doesn’t harm me. Even my sanity is fine, it’s not a disorder for me.

It’s surely individual. Some people lowers CI a bit and instead of nice fat-loss, their CO diminishes right away and they get cold and have other problems even if they don’t lose any fat. Genetics do weird things sometimes, it’s the the same for all.

(Richard Hanson) #23

Good Morning Steka,

Dr. Jason Fung is awesome, even brilliant, but just like the both of us he is also human and what he knows about diet is dwarfed by what he does not know about diet.

Anyone can demonstrate that Dr. Fung is wrong about CICO when he makes rather bold statements about how it does not matter. Engage in a simple N=1 experiment: set your CI = 0 and you will eventually die, that is the result will be CO = 0.

In the long run CI will always equal CO.

When CI > CO you get fat with the exception of a few people who can not store any significant energy because of disease. When CI < CO you get skinny. The difficulty is that CO is not a constant, no more the CI, and what happens to the CO value is significantly impacted by a lot of variables such as the types of foods you eat, when you eat, and exercise, perhaps even the phase of the moon.

Science is learning more about this topic continually, and yet we still must eat, we can not wait for science to tell us what to eat or else eventually CO = 0. Eventually CO = 0 for everyone as we are mortal.

For myself, I think Dr. Fung is a great resource but if Dr. Ancel Keys has a lesson to teach it is to be skeptical, humble, to think, and perhaps to compare what we are told to eat to what people ate for hundreds of generations, largely disease free, before there where any scientists to tell us what, when and how much to eat.

I would assert the obvious, at least to any modestly skilled logician, self evident truth: if CICO does not work then there is both no reason to fast and no reason to eat.

Keto for Life,

(The crazy German guy) #24

Again a lot of dogmatic statements in this board as usual, implicating that one can only lose weight on Keto.
Well, here i am. I lost 10 kilos during a time when i was doing OMAD and had Pizza for lunch. I lost 10 kilos during a time when i was just CICO at 1.600-2.000 kcal per day incl. carbs. I lost weight doing Keto without fasting, and i lost weight doing Keto with fasting. Heck, i was even lifting weights at 800kcal per day - i didn‘t die and i felt brilliant.

I‘m not cold, not jittery, i still have my hair (well…) and my nails didn‘t stop growing.
I hate these absolute statements and in a sense Keto‘ers are a lot like Vegans in that perspective.

My core question was: why does Fung say the body reacts quickly to the absence of calories, and then goes on to explain that intermittent fasting still works.

He brings hilarious questions like : if you don‘t eat, will you lose weight? Well, for sure.
If you don‘t eat, will your body kill itself by consuming muscle mass first and only then going to fat stores? Well, certainly not.

But here i am asking a follow up question: if we are reducing calories on a carb diet, why should our bodies do exactly what Fung uses as a pro-fasting argument and shut down body functions?
Our ancestors had berries that contained carbs. They surely were not high carb consumers, but also not „no carb“ consumers.

The only reason from my perspective why KETO + IF works better than Carbs + IF is that we‘re coming from a relatively low insulin level and surpass the border of „fat burning“ relatively quick, while on Carbs this will take some more hours.

I‘m not a doctor, Or some kind of bio engineer. This is just the way i can get it into my brain and make some sense out of it - without the usual „KETO is best, that‘s it“ dogma.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #25

It sounds counterintuitive, but it has been the result of dozens of studies, ever since we became able to measure REE&BMR about 100 years ago. You may choose to deny it, but that’s what science tells us in no uncertain term.

And were you able to maintain this loss? Then you’re among the few ones that do. There are actually studies quantifying this. About one third of the population will lose weight on a calorie reduced diet, and it’s exactly the third with the best insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately this third is the vocal one, telling us all that we’re simply cheating too much if we can’t lose weight.

About two thirds of the population can lose a lot of weight (10% or more of their weight) in a few month but they’ll gain it back unless they keep reducing the calorie intake or exercise a lot (several hours per day). Look at the “biggest loser” study, these people had a daily BMR reduction by 500 calories (and that’s a lot) weight-adjusted (!) after 6 years (or well over 700 calories if we don’t compensate for weight difference). Many of them had gained back all weight they lost, I think on average they gained back over 40kg (after losing 55kg on average, or something).

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #26

They had carbs for about 4 months a year, and they were not refined carbs. As always the amount matters, and the quality. Refined carbs like sugar, juice or white flour will overwhelm your liver and cells because they have to handle a lot of glucose in a very short time, while starchy vegetables produce a minimal load.

But the crucial thing to understand is that the metabolic syndrome changes the rules quite a lot. People may not get MetS if they avoid sugar and eat only 100g carbs a day, but once they have it, those 100g will make sure that it doesn’t go away and becomes worse with time. It’s a bit like an allergy, with time you’ll need smaller and smaller amounts of the agent to trigger a violent reaction.

As I have argued in another thread, I do believe it’s healthy to eat some (unrefined) carbs if you’re metabolically OK. But if you want to get out of MetS, keto is the only thing that will help you.

(The crazy German guy) #27

What is „good“ juice made from? And does it spike insulin more than other carbs?
What did people eat in the 40s and 50s and 60s, before all the junk food was available? Did they not eat bread? Well, i can tell you in Germany they ate a hell of a lot of bread.
The point is, they didn’t eat as much, they didn’t eat as refined and they didn’t eat as often.

And I’m sorry, keto is not the only thing that will help someone on a Metabolic Syndrome. What you mean to say is that ketosis can help. Ketosis can be achieved even while consuming carbs. For your daughter its a little easier, for you a little harder.

There is no excuse for willpower… and also keto requires willpower.

('Jackie P') #28

Actually CICO does work. I have done it - again and again and again and again and again…
I have proved it dozens of times.
I just know that this is the last ‘diet’ I will ever do.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #29

Juice = sugar. The difference between fruit and juice is just the lack of fiber, which fasttracks the sugar absorption in the gut.

We ate bread even 100 years ago, and that’s the reason why there was a spike in artherosclerosis and diabetes. Processed food and vegetable oils just accelerated the process, we used to stand the carb beating for a few decades, nowadays even children are sick. Years of hunger during the war however did a lot to offset that damage.

But we didn’t eat bread when we were hunter and gatherers, and we didn’t have t2d, artherosclerosis and other crap back then. Watch Mike Eades talk, it’s great. Bread is enough to cause severe damage, even in the absence of sugar.

Well, 25g of carbs a day for most of us. Fasting will help. If I eat a plate of pasta I’m out of ketosis for 24-48 hours.

There is a big difference between willpower and willpower. Hardly anyone is able to stick to a diet where hunger is a constant compagnion, while most people are able to walk past a shop without shoplifting. I’m sure we agree that these are two very different things. But so are sticking to a diet where you have restricted food choices but can eat as much as you like vs. a diet where you have restricted food choices and not only have to stay hungry, but the reward systems of your brain are activated just as they are from heavy drugs, and you aren’t allowed to satisfy them.

In Keys starvation experiments, those healthy young men, selected for willpower because the scientists expected trouble, literally broke down after a couple of months of a diet that had 1600 calories, more than we recommend today for losing weight. They got serious psychiatric issues, a lot of them dropped out, the rest fantasized over food and recipes for most of the time.

Evolution just didn’t equip us for a situation where our hormones say “plenty of food, now fatten up” (high insulin) but we eat a starvation diet. You can put diesel in a gasoline car, you might be able to drive it for a while, but you should expect problems fairly soon. Exactly the same happens if there is a mismatch between our hormones and the food we get. It may not be noticable right away, but problems will creep up with time.

(Jack Bennett) #30

You’re right insofar as in keto you can’t literally eat anything according to whim. Some foods are severely constrained or off limits. It’s important to be honest about that, with ourselves and with potential future keto-ers.

On the other hand, when I was a vegan, I was constantly hungry and would often google search “vegan motivation” so I could stick to my vegan diet and maintain my ~20% body weight loss. That called for a lot of willpower, eating all the time, and eventually fell apart.

On keto I find I am eating enough protein, staying full for a long time, and not really interested in eating things that are off the plan. Compared to my vegan experience, it’s like night and day.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #31

Sure, it works. For 33% of the population. You may be one of them, but this doesn’t mean that your experience has any relevance for me.

Mind you, 20% of obese people are metabolically healthy too, while 40% of thin people are metabolically ill. Context is everything.

(bulkbiker) #32

I think you are missing @CrackerJax point.
Almost everyone can lose weight short term by restricting what they eat. It’s maintaining that loss that is key.
I had lost and gained the same pounds in weight many times. Not until IF and keto did I manage to lose a far greater amount but also 4 years down the line maintain the loss. CICO is fatally flawed IF helps but eating the food that provides satiety and utilises hormonal responses is key to loss and maintaining that loss

(It's all about the bacon, baby!) #33

Dr. Fung is actually not wrong. The resolution to the difficulty lies in taking into account the hormonal response of our bodies to the foods we eat, and the other piece of the puzzle is to revise our preconception about the direction of causality when we take the laws of thermodynamics into account.

A well-formulated ketogenic diet is a low-insulin diet, for the most part. Whether we fast or not is not always to the point; the key to a ketogenic diet is getting our carbohydrate intake low enough to avoid stimulating excessive insulin secretion. Adjusting the frequency of eating can also help, by increasing the number of hours a day in which insulin secretion is not being stimulated, insulin being the primary hormone that traps excess fat in our adipose tissue. But low carbohydrate intake is key, because it is the glucose of which every carbohydrate is composed that stimulates insulin secretion the most.

Protein also has an effect on insulin secretion, that is true. In a high-carbohydrate diet, that effect is about half the effect of carbohydrate, but in a low-carbohydrate, the rise in insulin is compensated for by a rise in glucagon secretion as well, with the net effect that the insulin/glucagon ratio (which is the real key) remains at the same low value. So protein consumption becomes much less of a concern, when we are on a well-formulated ketogenic diet.

That leaves fat, the third macronutrient, and whether our carbohydrate intake is high or low, its effect on insulin and glucagon is so minimal as to be completely negligible. This is why a moderate-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrate way of eating has all its beneficial effects; we can safely replace the calories we are no longer getting from carbohydrate with calories from fat. Once we are fat-adapted again (we are born in ketosis, as you may know), our bodies can metabolise glucose and fatty acids with equal facility. Amino acids (protein) are not so easily metabolised, which is why the body prefers to safe them for building muscle, bone, and other tissues, and why it only metabolises amino acids in situations of dire need.

Since we evolved primarily as meat-eaters, and since there were no refrigerators available on the veldt for most of the past 2,000,000 years, we evolved to function best on a pattern of feasting and fasting, gorging after a kill and then not eating until after the next kill. It makes sense, then, that most of our hunting would have been done while fasting, so it stands to reason that we would not have evolved to let our metabolisms drop just at the point where we would need to be functioning at full capacity. Restricted food intake, on the other hand, would signal famine conditions, and our bodies therefore developed mechanisms for hanging on to our reserves for as long as possible, to tide us over during the famine.

The upshot is that all of this does not negate the First Law of Thermodynamics—it cannot—but it rather tells us that our energy intake and our energy expenditure get out of balance because of our hormonal situation. In other words, we eat more food than we metabolise under conditions when we are growing (whether vertically or horizontally), and we eat less food than we metabolise under conditions where the body can draw on its reserves to make up the difference. As Dr. Fung likes to point out, gaining or losing excess stored fat is not a one-compartment problem, but rather a two-compartment problem.

P.S.–A high level of serum insulin not only requires the adipose tissue to store fatty acids to the extent possible (and prevents the fat from leaving the adipose once stored), it also interferes with the brain’s reception of satiety hormones. Once chronic insulin levels drop low enough, the hormones that regulate appetite begin to function properly again, making eating to hunger a reliable guide for proper food intake.

(The crazy German guy) #34

People need to stop pretending that KETO is the only answer to everything diet.
And most of all, stop pretending that people can stuff their faces with oils and fats and nuts and beef and still lose weight. In fact is literally supposed to fly off of them.
Didn‘t los any weight other than water drop in your first month of keto? Don‘t worry. Your body is adjusting to fats. In 2 weeks it will all fly off of you.

The fact of the matter is that Keto, as much as any other diet only works in an environment where more energy is spent than consumed.

Constant hunger? I damn well remember my first weeks on Keto and IF.
But of course we can compare willpower on a diet with the „willpower“ to not commit crimes.

My body adjusted in a way that my brain adjusted. I got used to IF by my body not expecting to get food anymore at dinner time. When i changed the pattern, my body needed adjustment to not expect food anymore at breakfast time.
After a week or so the hunger feelings, or even growling stomach, went away completely. With and without carbs, it completely doesn‘t matter.

Don’t get me wrong, i love keto and i think it’s a great way for a lot of people to stop eating crap. Probably works best for Americans.

This „keto is the only answer, nothing else works“ makes me want to run away as fast as i can from this board.

The answer to me, in order to lose 100 lbs to this day, was „Eat less, move more“. Crazy, right?

(bulkbiker) #35

Yep because I didn’t do either and have so far lost 120 pounds…?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #36

Not the only answer, but for most people probably the best answer. Depends on the question. A lot of us are here for the health benefits of ketosis, not because of weight. There are multiple health benefits gained from being in ketosis consistently that otherwise are not.

PS: Thermodynamics applies strictly only to a closed system. We are not closed systems. CICO theory ignores inputs/outputs that are messy and don’t equal a zero sum.

(It's all about the bacon, baby!) #37

This is true, but not in the way you probably mean it. When insulin is low, fatty acids are free to leave the adipose tissue, and the body is free to meet its energy demands from its reserves as well as from food intake. Studies using radio-labeled food intake show that dietary fat gets metabolised for energy, whereas excessive carbohydrate intake gets converted into fatty acids by the liver and these fatty acids are then stored in adipose tissue under the influence of insulin. When carbohydrate is not excessive, there is no such conversion, insulin remains low, and fatty acids are free to leave the adipose. The result is that the energy imbalance that obtains (whether an excess or a shortfall) is controlled by the hormonal response to the food intake. The quantity of food eaten is, to a surprising extent, irrelevant. The reason is, of course, that (within certain very broad limits) our metabolic rate can rise or fall to compensate for the amount of food ingested.

Various published studies have demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can involve quite a high level of food intake and still permit the loss of excess stored fat. Interestingly, the same is true of a diet very high in carbohydrate and extremely low in fat—I am thinking of the Kempner rice diet, here—but the key is that the fat consumption must be restricted to an almost negligible amount. (Most people find such a diet very difficult to adhere to, but it does work.) Overfeeding people works almost to the same extent as underfeeding does, as far as the metabolic response is concerned, but at some point the body resists further manipulation and the subject becomes either irresistibly hungry or disgusted at the thought of further eating, depending on circumstances. (One participant in a famous overfeeding study reportedly broke down in tears at the thought of having to eat another pork chop.)

(bulkbiker) #38

Nicely explained by Amber @amber

('Jackie P') #39

@PaulL, thank you. That was a beautifully written post, detailing all the things I have learnt in a concise and coherent manner :hugs::hugs:


I don’t choose to deny it, I wasn’t sure I understand it correctly so I asked. I was uncertain because it makes no sense to me and it surely doesn’t happen for many people including me. Why would a body restrict its energy need without any reason for it? Maybe I still don’t understand if it’s really your statement… But nevermind, I was just curious.

I only know fat-loss not on keto and keeping it but it’s even a smaller N than in the studies… But I really pity humans if it’s a common thing to mess up metabolism with some calorie restriction. Even starvation doesn’t do that long term for a healthy person as far as I know. In my family, metabolism is better than that. But I believe there are very unlucky ones, of course, I’ve heard about such cases too.

I just like to focus on the wonderful variety among humans. And argue with generalization as it’s almost always wrong. Statistics and common things are different. We are individiuals so we just can talk about probabilities but our own experiences are better if we have them. I don’t like to follow statistics and guesstimations in my decisions but as I am far from the average (and a hedonist), it’s a very good idea.
I undetrstand statistics and studies may be useful for others.