Why are people so hell bent on defending CICO

(Doug) #21

Oy, that doesn’t address what I said, Roberto. :slightly_smiling_face: Have we not done this many a time? :wink:

You said that CICO was a tautology, then said it’s a failed theory. I’m thinking those are pretty well mutually exclusive.

Put me down for ‘tautology’ or the like, because it’s just an accounting, it’s what’s going on. Somebody wants to lose weight - and we’re really talking about losing fat, right? Well good grief, then configure things so your body uses more fat than it stores.

Or just “keep things so you have a net loss.” So you have the right side bigger then the left. Make it so “CI” is smaller than “CO.” ‘You want to lose fat, well - use some of it up.’

(Doug) #22

Nonbelievers in what? ‘CICO’ says to lose weight, make the “Out” bigger than the 'In." “Decreasing calories” is obviously not necessarily necessary, given, for example, the situation where mitigating insulin resistance makes the “Out” larger.

Well now that is extraordinary, and extraordinarily good, Jennifer. :+1: :sunglasses: 120 lbs/54 kg :smile: That was literally a half-century ago for me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Somebody on Twitter… Well, the ‘bumper-sticker’ mentality does appeal to many; what can I say? :wink: And, as is so often the case, reality is more complicated than that.

(Doug) #23

Nonsense. CICO is what is happening. From the standpoint of scientific rationalism and ‘real world’ experience and observation ( for hundreds of years), it’s obviously correct.

(Doug) #24

I agree - people “get religion” about diet, in various ways, and there is enormous ‘talking past each other’ that goes on.

From the hard-number, physical point of view, then of course CICO is correct and operative. But that does not mean that ONLY reducing either the “In” or increasing the “Out” will suffice.

“The number” - well, for most of us, that really means losing fat. So, make it so. :slightly_smiling_face:

“Anyone who tells you weight loss isn’t as simple as"eat less, exercise more” is full of siht. It is that simple."

There are plenty of twits on Twitter; no argument there. If I was replying to that person, I would say that “first of all, what you say isn’t necessarily true,” and I think that applies even from the perspective of mathematics as even most 8 or 10 year olds would understand.

(Bob M) #25

It’s not. There’s no evidence to support it, and there never has been. Here’s a study they did with doubly-labeled water comparing calorie intakes of Hazda (hunter-gatherers who often walk for miles) with Westerners:

The result? The energy expenditure is the same. Even though the “calories out” of the Hazda are ostensibly way higher.

I’ve seen studies where they randomize two groups of kids. One has to exercise at school, one does not. The calories burnt are the same. Why? Because the kids that exercised at school went home and relaxed. The kids that did not exercise at school went home and freaked out.

There is so much evidence against CICO. And always has been, but those who believe in it simply – believe. Nothing will change their minds.

Now, you might say, the body decreased the calories burnt, so fewer calories were burnt. Not only is that a tautology, but it creates a rule that can never fail or be tested.

(Old Baconian) #26

From Eat Meat. Not Too Little. Mostly Fat, by L. Amber O’Hearn:

Weight loss is so badly misunderstood in the current world that most people confuse cause and effect. We are taught that weight is the result of a delicate balance between voluntary energy intake and voluntary energy expenditure. As it turns out, eating less and moving more doesn’t fix obesity, because obesity is the result of biochemical energy regulation signals telling the body to store more fat and not use it for energy, regardless of how much energy is coming in and how much the body could technically spare. If your diet does not affect these signals the right way, your fat loss efforts will either not work at all or will work only temporarily.

Since typical fat loss diets do not address energy regulation signals, they are temporary by design, and they’re inherently unsustainable. They can’t be sustained because as long as the signals are insisting on fat storage, the dieter will be fighting against stronger and stronger urges to eat more and move less, in the form of ravenous hunger and exhaustion. The more diligently he applies his will, the more damaging it is to his body. From the body’s perspective he is suffering malnutrition and starvation even if he is a hundred pounds overweight.

So when someone well versed in the workings (or non-workings, such as it is) of typical “calorie control” diets, makes an educated assumption that ketogenic diets can’t work any better than other diets, it’s because they recognise that fat loss diets they know about are stressful and unsustainable and assume this applies to ketogenic diets, too.

And then, just for fun:


I thought you were pulling my leg for a second.

Since calories are recycled and they’re more efficiently recycled based on the sufficient intake of micronutrients. How can calories be burnt at a steady rate when we’re all consuming different foods?

The production of prostaglandins from PUFA’s increase thermogenesis and therefore even less calories are required to be burnt for increasing body heat.

There’s so many factors.

(Doug) #28

Okay, is the “Out” higher or not?

So much of what I see is people with a philosophical, rather than rational/scientific, bent against things here.

CICO is saying, “You want to lose weight, keep the Out more than the In.”

Like 1 is less than 2, or 1.9 is less than 2, etc.

And then someone has an example where on the right side, it’s not 2 (for example), but some number less than on the left. And all of a sudden, they’re giving CICO the bad rap. :smile:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #29

@OldDoug This has been linked above twice already once each by Paul and myself. Read it. Misunderstanding thermodynamic energy balance is not why CICO is bollocks.

(Old Baconian) #30

A further complication in the CICO story is that “calories in” always includes protein, which is not normally used as an energy source. So “calories in” doesn’t necessarily all go to storage as fat, it can also be used to build muscle and increase bone density. This affects “weight” but has no effect on fat gain or loss.

Remember, the concern with calories is all a hold-over from the days, a century-and-a-half ago, when the heat content of food was all that scientists could measure. At that point, they knew nothing about amino acids, they knew nothing (or very little) about glucose, they knew nothing about ATP and how food gets metabolised, and they certainly knew nothing about insulin and the other relevant hormones. To my mind, a much more informative measure would be the ATP yield of our food in comparison with the ATP consumption of our metabolism. That, at least, would be comparing apples with apples.

And of course, the body responds in all sorts of ways to the food we eat. One of them is to increase CO to match an increase in CI. Which is another reason not to worry about calories. I certainly find that when I eat past the point of satiation, I perspire a great deal at night, which I don’t do when I eat more moderately.

(Doug) #31

:slightly_smiling_face: No. I think a good bit of the argument stems from people perceiving that insulin resistance, for example, is often not included in the discussion. I agree that it’s not, thusly, and that that is erroneous, and I’m sold on the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis. But that doesn’t mean that “CICO is wrong.” That just means that the “Out” can be changed by one’s insulin level. I’ll state that not only is that true, but also that it can be a profound thing - it certainly was and is for me.

So, high insulin levels can essentially “lock” the body into fat-storage mode, and lock it out of fat-burning mode. Nothing new here from a “keto diet” perspective. And this can greatly affect the “Out.”

Perhaps a less-than-totally recognizant person on Twitter, likely not insulin resistant (or at least not yet) makes an over-simplified and potentially incorrect statement… Okay, but how does that alter the basic physical laws of the universe? :wink: And it’s hardly a rational reason to argue against them.

(:stuck_out_tongue:) We’re talking about In and Out. “Recycled” - hardly at all, i.e. energy extraction is really efficient with the human body (frustratingly so, often, when weight loss is the desire :wink:)

Same for “steady rate” - why would that matter? We’re talking about weight loss or gain or staying the same, over time. Nobody is telling you that energy usage will “always be the same” - obviously, it’s not going to be, what with exercise or not, being awake or not, etc. Come on… :wink:

Speaking of “pulling legs…” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::smile:

Thermogenesis does not happen by magic. Do you think that the heat/energy of what you mention appears out of the ‘aether,’ rather than involving what a person puts in their mouth? :wink: :smile_cat:

(Doug) #32

Michael, same old, same old. If you’ve read it, then tell us why CICO is ‘bollocks.’

We really have been here numerous times.

Anyway, here’s the Sex Pistols… :slightly_smiling_face:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #33

I’ll let Richard Feinman respond:

A review of simple thermodynamic principles shows that weight change on isocaloric diets is not expected to be independent of path (metabolism of macronutrients) and indeed such a general principle would be a violation of the second law. Homeostatic mechanisms are able to insure that, a good deal of the time, weight does not fluctuate much with changes in diet – this might be said to be the true “miraculous metabolic effect” – but it is subject to many exceptions. The idea that this is theoretically required in all cases is mistakenly based on equilibrium, reversible conditions that do not hold for living organisms and an insufficient appreciation of the second law. The second law of thermodynamics says that variation of efficiency for different metabolic pathways is to be expected . Thus, ironically the dictum that a “calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics , as a matter of principle.

(Doug) #34

Dude. :slightly_smiling_face:

It doesn’t all go to storage as fat, anyway, regardless, no matter what… The body has to keep operating, unless death. :smile: And at that point, fat storage/not ain’t gonna be all that important, nor the normally-not-used-for-energy status of protein, as you note.

I certainly agree that there are potentially different destinations for matter entering the body, and that ‘weight’ can be other things than fat. But really, fat is what we’re talking about, overwhelmingly. And anyway - whether stored as fat, or as increased muscle or bone density, the same ‘can’t-get-around-them’ physical laws apply.

(Doug) #35

In no way does that argue against CICO. That just affirms it - changing the metabolism, and ‘homeostatic mechanisms,’ etc., involve changing the “Out.”

Per what you quoted, if the discussion is to change to the possibly variable effect of the different macronutrients, the “different metabolic pathways” that may involve the different macronutrients - and as far as I know, you and I are on the same page, there - then fine, but that’s not going to change CICO.

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


…Here it is demonstrated, however, that weight stability coexists with a persistent energy imbalance. Such unexpected result emerges as a consequence of the answers to three fundamental problems: 1. Is it possible to model body weight fluctuations without the energy balance theory? And if so, what are the benefits over the energy balance strategy? 2. During energy balance, how the oxidized macronutrient distribution that underlies the average energy expenditure is related to the macronutrient distribution of the average energy intake? 3. Is energy balance possible under a low-fat diet that simultaneously satisfies the following conditions? (a) The fat fraction of the absorbed energy intake is always less than the oxidized fat fraction of the energy expenditure. (b) The carbohydrate fraction of the absorbed energy intake is always greater or equal to the oxidized carbohydrate fraction of the energy expenditure…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #37


The scientific study of obesity has been dominated throughout the twentieth century by the concept of energy balance… As we review below, this model cannot explain why weight accumulates persistently in individuals, rather than reaching a plateau when weight gain re-establishes the balance between energy intake and expenditure. The energy balance approach also underplays the effect of particular dietary components (for example, carbohydrates, amino-acids and fatty acids) on energy metabolism and fuel oxidation.


Isn’t glucose urinated out instead of converted into fat when someone is insulin resistant and/or diabetic?

The energy used by human cells in an adult requires the hydrolysis of 100 to 150 mol/L of ATP daily, which means a human will typically use their body weight worth of ATP over the course of the day.[27] Each equivalent of ATP is recycled 1000–1500 times during a single day (150 / 0.1 = 1500),[26] at approximately 9×1020 molecules/s.[26]

NAD+(Vitamin B3) deficiency leads to impaired ATP recycling.

Since NAD+ levels within the cell can be limiting, both glycolysis in the cytoplasm and the TCA cycle in the mitochondria can influence metabolic homeostasis by altering cytosolic/nuclear NAD+ and NADH levels. In addition, following DNA damage, NAD+ levels can drop low enough that glycolysis and substrate flux to the mitochondria is blocked, leading to cell death, despite having an excess of available glucose. This finding highlights the need to understand the mechanisms interconnecting subcellular NAD+ pools, as their homeostasis and interactions are essential for the preservation of cell viability and ATP levels.

Beta oxidation also requires NAD+ to recycle ATP.

Thermogenesis on a low PUFA diet requires many more calories. Burning PUFA’s produces thermogenesis as a by product. Hence less calories are required.

Carbs on the other hand are thermocooling because they need water for their storage and require thermogenesis to keep the water in the cells from freezing during cold days.

I always felt cold on a carbohydrate diet.

(Doug) #39

He’s not arguing against CICO. He’s saying, essentially, that ‘not all calories are the same, at least in some cases.’

He’s talking about the difference that may exist for different ratios of macronutrient intake. He says that mass balance, rather than an assumed equivalence between energy intake and output, is what makes for weight stability.

Well, no kidding - this forum is pretty much predicated on that fact. :slightly_smiling_face:

Calories don’t have to have the exact same effect on the body, no matter what, for CICO to apply.

What he describes is the difference between predicted weight change or stability, based on energy intake, versus observed weight. One of his axioms is that “Body weight stability occurs when, on average, the daily mass input equals daily mass output” - Ha! Imagine that…

He’s saying you can’t necessarily expect a certain weight state - change or no change, based on “Caories In,” alone, and I think we all agree with that.

He doesn’t say that “for multiple subjects, CICO was the same, while different weight results were achieved.” In essence, he says, “A low carb diet made for higher energy expenditure and greater weight loss, versus a low fat diet.” He observed the “Calories Out” changing, which is perfectly in line with CICO.

(Doug) #40

I think so, sometimes - it’s not total, though, and I’d say it’s more of a Type 1 diabetic thing than for Type 2s…?

Sounds like a good thing for those of us who want to lose weight. :+1:

Sure, as far as heating the body, that makes sense. But that doesn’t argue against “CICO.” That’s just referring to the body having different fuel sources for the heat production.

Energy, especially on a more transient level, does not have to directly and linearly equate to weight. A person gets into a tub of hot water, or they get into a tub of cold water. Their energy state changes while their mass/weight does not.

And CICO is just fine with that. Joe Blow got into the tub of hot water. He had some ‘calories in’ right then, and later on old Joe will radiate them back out into the environment.