New diet trends are rarely innovative. The latest weight-loss fads only appear different with their individual set of rules, banned foods or food groups, and daily caps on certain nutrients. The truth is that most diets operate upon roughly the same mechanism: cutting calories.
Whether it’s Whole30, Paleo, or Keto, the goal of these diet plans is to urge you to eat less food overall, thereby losing weight.
Now an emerging diet trend called “Calories In, Calories Out” (CICO), is putting the calorie-counting method of weight loss front and centre.
The CICO plan operates under the premise that you’ll lose weight by consuming fewer calories than your body uses to perform its daily functions. It makes sense, right?
“The idea of calories in and calories out is absolutely the backbone of weight loss,” says Bethany Doerfler, M.S., R.D.N., Clinical Dietitian at Northwestern University. “But metabolism and weight loss are so much more complex than that.”
So before you jump on the CICO bandwagon, it’s important to understand a few key elements of how your metabolism and your body works when it comes to dieting and weight loss.
There’s a healthy way to do CICO and there’s a way that can create some issues.
It’s important to know that counting calories doesn’t always translate into long-term weight management. Even worse, the strategy could leave you feeling deprived and lead to (gulp) disordered eating.
Here’s what you should consider when it comes to health, happiness, and satisfaction, before you adopt the CICO approach to losing weight.
What Is the CICO Diet?
Calories are units of energy, found in food, that fuel your activities – everything from breathing to hitting the gym.
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Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns to stay alive. This figure is individual specific and determined by a number of factors including height, weight, and age. Online calculators offer an estimate, and some doctors use breathing machines that deliver more precise and customised BMRs.
Then lifestyle factors like physical activity need …….