New nutritional trends are rarely innovative. The latest trends appear differently depending on which rules, prohibited foods or daily amounts consumed. However, most diets use roughly the same mechanism: reducing calories.
People often lose weight through keto because they eat less total food. The same applies to low-fat dieters. The latest health trend, Calories In, Calories Out (CICO), is actually just a new name for an old idea. The plan assumes that you consume fewer calories than your body needs for daily functions. It makes sense, right?
"The idea of calorie intake and intake is absolutely the backbone of weight loss," says Bethany Doerfler, MS, RDN, clinical nutrition assistant at Northwestern University. "But metabolism and weight loss are so much more complex than that."
Calorie counting does not always mean long-term weight control. Worse, the strategy could penalize you and lead to eating disorders. What should be considered before applying the CICO approach?
Let's start with the basics of calorie counting.
Calories are energy units found in foods that fuel everyday activities. Breathing? Yes, it burns calories ̵
The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns to stay alive. This number is individually specific and is determined by a number of factors including size, weight, and age. Online calculators offer an estimate, and some physicians use respirators that deliver more accurate and customized BMRs.
Then lifestyle factors such as physical activity must be taken into account as you are unlikely to lie in bed all day. Again, online calculators and formulas provide rough estimates of how many calories your body consumes.
Losing weight requires less calories than your body needs to maintain its activity.
Not all calories are equal
It is generally accepted that most diets work because of a calorie deficit, says Abby Langer, RD
] "But calories as we know them are so arbitrary," she explains Men's Health . "The calorie was invented a very long time ago and is not necessarily exactly how our body metabolizes every single food."
US Department of Agriculture research revealed that people only consume about 75 percent of the calories they found in almonds, according to an article published in 2016 Food & Function . (For what it's worth, the study was funded by the Almond Board of California.)
"We learn so much more about how calories are absorbed," says Langer.
Your body absorbs more calories from processed or broken-out foods, she explains.
"So if you have a smoothie, you'll be eating a significant portion of those calories compared to eating raw or cooked food," says Langer.
Recent research has shown that our bodies deal with processed objects such as chips or twinkies differently than with kale or bananas.
"These [packaged snacks] are seen very differently at the cellular level," says Doerfler.
The National Institute of Health found that ghrelin, a starvation hormone, is higher when people consume ultra-processed foods than when they eat a well-balanced diet].
High-processed foods high in sugar, fat and salt can increase insulin levels and cause your body to store more fat, Doerfler explains.
Then you have to consider the advantages of a fiber.
"High-fiber foods provide a degree of satiety and fullness," says Doerfler. The nutrient also promotes healthy intestinal bacteria, which scientists believe can help determine a person's weight.