If losing and maintaining weight loss is exclusively about calories consumed and calories burned, can you eat anything you like if it’s within a caloric limit?
A new fad diet called Calories In, Calories Out - or CICO - is founded on the premise of being able to consume anything so long as you fall within a daily calorie limit.
Individuals following the CICO diet must burn more than they consume calorie-wise, and all calories are perceived as being equal: healthy foods like veggies and fruits are on the same level with junk food and candy, all that matters is how many calories each food item contains.
Nutritional experts disagree with the CICO’s approach to dieting, stating that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not inextricably linked with weight loss. Just because an individual can lose weight, does not necessarily mean he or she is healthy.
Weight loss is not the only factor to consider, nutritionists say
Clinical nutrition professor Lona Sandon admitted that CICO-followers may indeed lose weight over time through restricting calories, but may also be at a risk for serious nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition.
Nutritionist Samantha Heller agrees with Sandon’s statement, saying that most people are so determined to lose weight and maintain a slim, lean figure that they disregard the importance of general health.
Heller adds that it is crucial to eat things of nutritional value to maintain the body’s health: on the CICO diet, an individual could eat exclusively chocolate and candy bars for their daily calorie allotment and still lose weight, but would eventually suffer from malnutrition.
Heller went on to say that research reveals pursuing fad diets that are unsustainable in the long term (heavily restrictive or avoiding too many key food groups) may actually result in serious long-term issues, such as heart disease and a higher risk for obesity.