Veri Logo

Metabolic Myth Buster #2: Calories In, Calories Out

So, what we have for you below is the establishment’s plan for weight loss, written by the establishment. It’s really easy; so simple in fact that 73% of America is obese or overweight. [1]

The plan’s name?

Calories In Calories Out – or CICO, for short.

Here’s the concept:

·     if you eat 1000 calories,

·     and you burn 1500 calories through life and exercise,

·     you’re automatically losing 500 calories worth of fat forever no question (please don’t question)

Congratulations, you’re now supermodel skinny and have a weight loss Ph.D.!

And if you don’t actually end up losing weight and keeping it off with CaloriesIn Calories Out, then you’re just stupid and weak-willed. Defective, really.But please continue to eat our garbage foods with additives that are designed to make you fat and addicted to our trash products.

Love, The Establishment

Isn’t it a wonder that we ever listened to this myth in the first place?


One of the first problems with Calories In Calories Out is that it presumes your insanely complex, survival extraordinaire of a body is but a simple machine.Input = output. Hit the weight loss button, lose weight.

(Presses button frantically: Lose weight, stupid body – lose weight!!!)

We can see just how effective CICO is in this respect by looking at all the BiggestLoser winners. You know…the ones who gained back all the weight. [2] If you artificially suppress calories at length, your body’s resting metabolic rate will decrease so that you must gain back some fat. (No one can eat third grader portions their whole lives.)

In CICO land, there are no diet nuances that can influence weight loss and certainly no physiological processes that we have to be aware of or respond to.

That’s why it’s a myth. And that’s why it’s freakin’ BUSTED.

As Dr. Robert Lustig famously said in The Bittersweet Truth:

“A calorie is not a calorie. And the dietitians in this country are actually perpetrating this on us. Because the more you think a calorie is a calorie, the more you think, ‘well then if I ate less and exercised more it would work.’ It doesn’t.”

The fact is that sugars and carbs are metabolized much differently than proteins or fats. If you consume 200 calories of fruit juice or soda versus 200 calories of butter or eggs, your body will crank out insulin which triggers fat storage despite your calorie deficit.

Eating the wrong foods overall can only result in a metabolic slowdown and weight gain, even if you manage to eat like a bird for three weeks. [3]

So, long story short, CICO is totally busted, and we hope it dies. It’s simplistic and lacks perspective on how different foods can affect fat storage differently.

If CICO is Bogus, What Actually Works for Weight Loss and Metabolic Health?

Weight loss and metabolic health typically go hand in hand. Once you start focusing on metabolic health, as opposed to pure weight loss, you’ll find that shedding unwanted pounds is a natural side effect of the process.

We at team Veri share science journalist Gary Taubes’s view on insulin and weight loss. In his book Why We Get Fat, Taubes said that the one thing we all have to do to get leaner “is to lower our insulin levels and to secrete less insulin to begin with.”

And in order to do that, we have to control blood glucose.

Here are 5 quick tips on controlling blood glucose for weight loss:

1.    Cut out all sugared drinks. Even artificially sweetened drinks can spike insulin, so opt for sparkling water instead.

2.    Exercise frequently, and definitely after mealtime (check out this week’s challenge!).

3.    Eat two meals a day instead of three and cut out snacking. Fewer meals equal fewer glucose spikes and less insulin.

4.    Experiment with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to see which foods are spiking your glucose

5.    Aim to get the majority of your calories from healthy fats, as opposed to carbs. [4]

And this doesn’t technically count as a tip, but make sure to follow us on IG and through our newsletter to receive all kinds of metabolic health tips during our first official Metabolic Health Month!






Get started with Veri today


Further reading