why don't the low carb folks believe in CICO?

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Replies

  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,534 Member
    edited March 2015
    While "the only thing that matters is calories" may be true in some narrowly-defined theoretical sense, for people dealing with nutrition and weight loss out in the real world, it is one of the useless-to-outright-harmful bits of "wisdom" posted on these boards.

    And it happens all. the. time.







  • tomatoey
    tomatoey Posts: 5,459 Member
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    While "the only thing that matters is calories" may be true in some narrowly-defined theoretical sense, for people dealing with nutrition and weight loss out in the real world, it is one of the useless-to-outright-harmful bits of "wisdom" posted on these boards.

    And it happens all. the. time.







    Agree. Forest lost for the trees
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,147 Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    MrM27 wrote: »
    Probably because you can't get over the fact that most of the time that people say CICO they are not saying ignore proper nutrition.

    it is frequently said that "the only thing that matters is calories" which is what I take CICO to mean. Otherwise we would be talking about food, or macronutrients, rather than units of energy which we don't measure.

    So in terms of the thread title the reason I am not enthusiastic about CICO dogma is that the biological effect of foods is variable and not purely a function of their energy value.

    most of the time when I am talking calories macros/micro goals always seem to come up ….
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited March 2015
    I don't agree (with Mr. Knight), and would seriously enjoy a truly sensible discussion on this point.

    The way I think of it is that correct information is necessary, because it helps people make sensible decisions. Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two. The reason step one is step one is (a) myths do not help--fear that you can't lose if you eat a chocolate or piece of pizza is not useful in any way; and (b) what is actually satiating is going to vary, as this discussion demonstrates. For example, on average it seems possible to argue that many benefit from eating every 2 hours, not eating after 7 pm, and eating no potatoes. None of those things would help me, and in fact all would make me less likely to succeed (the first two would have caused me to give up).

    Thus, I think it makes more sense to tell people what has worked for you in terms of being satiated (if they are struggling), but to let them figure it out. IME, it's quite common for people to incrementally move toward higher quality diets while doing this.

    What I don't think helps is to tell people who eat lots of fast food or the like that they must cut out processed foods and cook everything from scratch. I happen to prefer to cook from scratch and dislike fast food (and never eat it), but it's obvious that someone just starting out might do better trying some better quality ready made meals or semi homemade stuff or better menu items at McD's and the like. Why overwhelm them, especially when it does not actually matter for weight loss?

    Similarly, if I think I must eat skinless boneless chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice for every meal but breakfast (for which I have a smoothie), I'd quit now. People who are just starting out and have their heads filled with ideas from women's mags or who knows what on the internet may have all sorts of depressing ideas about what diet food is. I think it's best to stress that weight loss is just about calories--experiment and see where your diet can be cut (yes, it probably is sweets or fast food for many). And also to stress that you don't have to give up everything pleasurable about food. I was lucky because I like vegetables and like cooking and so find it easy to create low calorie healthy meals I like, but I think lots of people don't get to that point because they can't get over the "I must deprive myself and never have anything fun" when dieting.
  • tmauck4472
    tmauck4472 Posts: 1,783 Member
    Because I am a special snowflake and I like how I feel when I'm not eating all those carbs. I also crave less sweets when I'm low carbing it. Whatever to each his own and why you worried about what someone else does on "THEIR" lifestyle change it works for them and that's all that matters.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    I was going to write a blog post on this, but two somewhat recent approaches that strike me as just common sense and also likely to be very helpful to the right people are Josh Hillis in Fat Loss Happens on Mondays and Matt Fitzgerald in (most recently) Diet Cults. I'm more of a Michael Pollan person in terms of what inspired me, but what I liked about both of these books is that both of them clearly think that some ways of eating are healthier than others (but that the question is whether your overall diet is good, not a specific food item), both do think that on average some kinds of food contribute more than others to nutrition (while others might be psychologically beneficial), and--important!--that making food choice a moral issue is probably counterproductive for many or at least irrational and unnecessary.

    Saying that the strategy part of it should acknowledge both that nutrition matters and that overall diet matters AND that for weight loss it's ultimately about calories are NOT contradictory at all. They encourage people to be logical about matters where we are often not logical and that lack of logic usually is harmful.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,147 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I don't agree, and would seriously enjoy a truly sensible discussion on this point.

    The way I think of it is that correct information is necessary, because it helps people make sensible decisions. Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two. The reason step one is step one is (a) myths do not help--fear that you can't lose if you eat a chocolate or piece of pizza is not useful in any way; and (b) what is actually satiating is going to vary, as this discussion demonstrates. For example, on average it seems possible to argue that many benefit from eating every 2 hours, not eating after 7 pm, and eating no potatoes. None of those things would help me, and in fact all would make me less likely to succeed (the first two would have caused me to give up).

    Thus, I think it makes more sense to tell people what has worked for you in terms of being satiated (if they are struggling), but to let them figure it out. IME, it's quite common for people to incrementally move toward higher quality diets while doing this.

    What I don't think helps is to tell people who eat lots of fast food or the like that they must cut out processed foods and cook everything from scratch. I happen to prefer to cook from scratch and dislike fast food (and never eat it), but it's obvious that someone just starting out might do better trying some better quality ready made meals or semi homemade stuff or better menu items at McD's and the like. Why overwhelm them, especially when it does not actually matter for weight loss?

    Similarly, if I think I must eat skinless boneless chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice for every meal but breakfast (for which I have a smoothie), I'd quit now. People who are just starting out and have their heads filled with ideas from women's mags or who knows what on the internet may have all sorts of depressing ideas about what diet food is. I think it's best to stress that weight loss is just about calories--experiment and see where your diet can be cut (yes, it probably is sweets or fast food for many). And also to stress that you don't have to give up everything pleasurable about food. I was lucky because I like vegetables and like cooking and so find it easy to create low calorie healthy meals I like, but I think lots of people don't get to that point because they can't get over the "I must deprive myself and never have anything fun" when dieting.

    I would agree with this..

    My advice to people is usually that they need to set MFP to x amount per week loss, eat to that number, get afoot scale, weigh all solids, and then find some kind of exercise they like.

    As far as eating/nutrition goes. I like to stress the point that there are no "bad" foods and that as long as one hits calorie/micro/macro goals they can meet their individual goals. However, that does not mean 100% ice cream, cookies, bagels etc; what it does mean is have your eggs, whole grains, vegetables, fish, chicken, etc but also have some things that you like, like pizza, steak, bagels, pasta, ice cream, etc….

  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,147 Member
    tmauck4472 wrote: »
    Because I am a special snowflake and I like how I feel when I'm not eating all those carbs. I also crave less sweets when I'm low carbing it. Whatever to each his own and why you worried about what someone else does on "THEIR" lifestyle change it works for them and that's all that matters.

    bless your heart, aren't you a peach…

    I could care less what people do, but don't come on the threads and say that low carb is not low calorie.

    I started the thread to have an honest and open debate, which if you take the time to read this thread you will see that we had.

    you can believe what you want but at the end of the day you are putting yourself into a calorie deficit.
  • tomatoey
    tomatoey Posts: 5,459 Member
    edited March 2015
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I don't agree (with Mr. Knight), and would seriously enjoy a truly sensible discussion on this point.

    The way I think of it is that correct information is necessary, because it helps people make sensible decisions. Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two. The reason step one is step one is (a) myths do not help--fear that you can't lose if you eat a chocolate or piece of pizza is not useful in any way; and (b) what is actually satiating is going to vary, as this discussion demonstrates. For example, on average it seems possible to argue that many benefit from eating every 2 hours, not eating after 7 pm, and eating no potatoes. None of those things would help me, and in fact all would make me less likely to succeed (the first two would have caused me to give up).

    Thus, I think it makes more sense to tell people what has worked for you in terms of being satiated (if they are struggling), but to let them figure it out. IME, it's quite common for people to incrementally move toward higher quality diets while doing this.

    What I don't think helps is to tell people who eat lots of fast food or the like that they must cut out processed foods and cook everything from scratch. I happen to prefer to cook from scratch and dislike fast food (and never eat it), but it's obvious that someone just starting out might do better trying some better quality ready made meals or semi homemade stuff or better menu items at McD's and the like. Why overwhelm them, especially when it does not actually matter for weight loss?

    Similarly, if I think I must eat skinless boneless chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice for every meal but breakfast (for which I have a smoothie), I'd quit now. People who are just starting out and have their heads filled with ideas from women's mags or who knows what on the internet may have all sorts of depressing ideas about what diet food is. I think it's best to stress that weight loss is just about calories--experiment and see where your diet can be cut (yes, it probably is sweets or fast food for many). And also to stress that you don't have to give up everything pleasurable about food. I was lucky because I like vegetables and like cooking and so find it easy to create low calorie healthy meals I like, but I think lots of people don't get to that point because they can't get over the "I must deprive myself and never have anything fun" when dieting.

    I hear you, and no, no one should feel forced to churn butter at home (and I too would die on skinless chicken breast & broccoli, awful). People have busy lives, and no one needs to be made to feel horrible about just trying to get by in a way that makes life feel tolerable.

    However, it would be a disservice, in my view, not to share information that may help people achieve their goals (as well as support their health). There are some people trying to make CICO work on low-value foods, and finding compliance very hard; I feel like if there's knowledge that can help them, they should hear it.
  • tomatoey
    tomatoey Posts: 5,459 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I was going to write a blog post on this, but two somewhat recent approaches that strike me as just common sense and also likely to be very helpful to the right people are Josh Hillis in Fat Loss Happens on Mondays and Matt Fitzgerald in (most recently) Diet Cults. I'm more of a Michael Pollan person in terms of what inspired me, but what I liked about both of these books is that both of them clearly think that some ways of eating are healthier than others (but that the question is whether your overall diet is good, not a specific food item), both do think that on average some kinds of food contribute more than others to nutrition (while others might be psychologically beneficial), and--important!--that making food choice a moral issue is probably counterproductive for many or at least irrational and unnecessary.

    Saying that the strategy part of it should acknowledge both that nutrition matters and that overall diet matters AND that for weight loss it's ultimately about calories are NOT contradictory at all. They encourage people to be logical about matters where we are often not logical and that lack of logic usually is harmful.

    agree, agree
  • tomatoey
    tomatoey Posts: 5,459 Member
    edited March 2015
    the thing is, people may be prone to take a bit of information (e.g. you can have cake, just fit it in) and distort it. or they may lack the experience to budget wisely, find themselves going over or binging, or just not feeling great, and interpret that as a personal failing (or, they may just fail)
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,993 Member
    tmauck4472 wrote: »
    Because I am a special snowflake and I like how I feel when I'm not eating all those carbs. I also crave less sweets when I'm low carbing it. Whatever to each his own and why you worried about what someone else does on "THEIR" lifestyle change it works for them and that's all that matters.

    do legumes make you crave sweets?
  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
    I've been using MFP for awhile. This is my 3rd attempt to lose weight. I finally feel like this time it's going to happen. What OP said in the original post he's said before. The turning point for me was not feeling bad for what I had eaten. I logged it, I noticed how I felt the next day and decided for myself if I could have made a better choice. If I have to option to choose for myself, with no guilt, I don't feel like a failure. Like the time I had peanut M&M's and 4 beers for dinner. I didn't fail. Calories fit. Did I learn from it, yes. But I'm not a failure, I just learned I don't want peanut M&M's for dinner anymore. Saying you can eat what you want so long as the calories fit empowers us Noobs. I'm not failing I'm learning about my needs. Does anybody really like to be told what to do? Or is it maybe more empowering to figure it out for ourselves?
  • MrM27 wrote: »
    Weight loss and optimal health/proper nutrition are in on the surface able to be 2 separate things. In reality they should be, need to be intertwined.

    Absolutely this - I think this sums up the issue perfectly. I think that research and empirical evidence support that input quality/type and calories consumed both play a role in overall weight.

    There's a ton of evidence that CICO is a good measure. There's also a ton of evidence that CI has a lot to do with how much your body can physically absorb and process, and CO has a lot to do with to what extent your body processes input and excretes the rest. So the evidence shows that CICO is also very nuanced and can be hard to use - especially in specialized diets.

    It worries me that so many people treat the discussion as an argument to be won or lost - they pick apart nuances in the evidence while ignoring anything that does not support their view. The major arguments for and against CICO's effectiveness both have merit, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,534 Member
    edited March 2015
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two.

    That's what worked for you. And it works for others, as well. But for many, many others, that path will not work. Not because they're special snowflakes that violate the laws of physics, but because that's not how they go about things.

    As but one example, many need to get hold of the choices they make eating (ie, restrict some/many foods) *before* they start thinking about calories or (or, god forbid, logging).

    So great - offer this as the path you walked and succeeded on - nothing wrong with that. But writing tl;dr polemnics about what "is" step one and what "is" step two isn't going to help much, and it will, in reality, send a lot of struggling people down the wrong path, if they listen to it.

    I'm *sure* your intentions are awesomely positive, but knowingly or not, you are in effect trying to put people in your particular box. The advice may be consistent with the theory of CICO - but people don't live inside theoretical constructs.
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 7,844 Member
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two.

    That's what worked for you. And it works for others, as well. But for many, many others, that path will not work. As but one example, many need to get hold of the choices they make eating (ie, restrict some/many foods) *before* they start thinking about calories (or, god forbid, logging).

    So great - offer this as advice for the path you walked and succeeded on - nothing wrong with that. But writing tl;dr polemnics about what "is" step one and what "is" step two isn't going to help much, and it will, in reality, lead a lot of struggling people down the wrong path, if they listen to it.

    lol.

  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two.

    That's what worked for you. And it works for others, as well. But for many, many others, that path will not work. As but one example, many need to get hold of the choices they make eating (ie, restrict some/many foods) *before* they start thinking about calories (or, god forbid, logging).

    So great - offer this as advice for the path you walked and succeeded on - nothing wrong with that. But writing tl;dr polemnics about what "is" step one and what "is" step two isn't going to help much, and it will, in reality, lead a lot of struggling people down the wrong path, if they listen to it.

    lol.

    Mr_Knight, I'm sorry but we are talking to people on MyFitnessPal. A calorie counting site right? I'm still learning, so are you saying I shouldn't log because I haven't cut out certain foods?

  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,147 Member
    MrM27 wrote: »
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two.

    That's what worked for you. And it works for others, as well. But for many, many others, that path will not work. As but one example, many need to get hold of the choices they make eating (ie, restrict some/many foods) *before* they start thinking about calories (or, god forbid, logging).

    So great - offer this as advice for the path you walked and succeeded on - nothing wrong with that. But writing tl;dr polemnics about what "is" step one and what "is" step two isn't going to help much, and it will, in reality, lead a lot of struggling people down the wrong path, if they listen to it.

    lol.

    That's what I was thinking. :)

    I'll third that
  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
    See now I'm confused again, could someone please explain?
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Knowing that calories are what matter for weight loss is step one. Figuring out how to eat an appropriate number of calories in a way that makes you satisfied is step two.

    That's what worked for you. And it works for others, as well. But for many, many others, that path will not work. Not because they're special snowflakes that violate the laws of physics, but because that's not how they go about things.

    As but one example, many need to get hold of the choices they make eating (ie, restrict some/many foods) *before* they start thinking about calories or (or, god forbid, logging).

    So great - offer this as the path you walked and succeeded on - nothing wrong with that. But writing tl;dr polemnics about what "is" step one and what "is" step two isn't going to help much, and it will, in reality, send a lot of struggling people down the wrong path, if they listen to it.

    I'm *sure* your intentions are awesomely positive, but knowingly or not, you are in effect trying to put people in your particular box. The advice may be consistent with the theory of CICO - but people don't live inside theoretical constructs.

    To me what Lemurcat made sense. And I don't understand the * around *before* and *sure* in Mr_knight's post meant. I'm not kidding, I really don't get it. This may have nothing to do with losing weight but more to do with understanding forums. It's tough getting old.