A guide to the CICO diet: Meaning, how it works, benefits and risks

If you are in the need to diet for weight loss with the least number of restraints, CICO diet is what you need. Having less calories than the amount we burn sounds like a fair deal. But the path forward requires our attention.

Image Source: BODi

Some might be hearing about the CICO diet recently as it trends, but those who attempted to lose a good amount of weight might have been familiar with it. CICO stands for “Calorie In, Calorie Out”. It can be assumed at first as being simply about burning calories for reducing one’s weight but according to many health experts, the CICO diet doesn’t ask for much and is not even related to the elements affecting a person’s weight.

CICO is not really a diet but a concept. It initiates with the aim of going calorie deficient. Our calorie intake should be less than the amount which we burn regularly. It causes loss of weight. If we act opposite to it, consume more calories than burning them, it leads to increase in weight.

Most of the times, diets for weight loss are created in such a way so that they lead to a rapid decrease in calories, many of them going to extreme lengths for the purpose. However, prominent diet trends advise to let go of certain food items and ingredients, for example added sugar, for all in all, achieving calorie deficiency.

According to CICO, what primarily matters for losing weight is less calorie intake than the amount burned. Going by the concept, a ketogenic or keto diet will lead to as much as weight loss as a high carb diet would, as long as the calorie deficiency remains constant.

How to start on CICO diet ?

Image Source: Health- Self Decode

The first step towards CICO is by making a calorie deficit. We need knowledge our body’s requirements of energy. There is a measure of basal metabolic rate or BMR, the amount of calories the body burns while at rest. It has to be calculated as one of the steps for starting on CICO. The calorie deficit is then easy to make once we are aware of how much calories our body requires.

Image Source: Lybrate

According to research, the body has to burn 3500 calories every week in order to shed a pound of fat. Going by it, if we consume 2000 calories and burn 2500, in a total, there will be a loss of 500 calories every day. If it is performed uniformly, then in a total 3500 calories will be burned and in terms of weeks, a pound of fat.

It gets important to talk about the limitations of the CICO diet. It cannot really determine how much weight we can lose. It is different from person to person, due to factors such as age, body and so on. For an adequate amount of weight loss, shedding atleast two pounds of fat per week is advisable. Weight loss will not happen all at once but, CICO is a good approach and dependable in the long-term.

Benefits of CICO diet

So many of us desire weight loss. While for most people, it is a matter of personality, it also proves beneficial to the health. A study performed on 72 obese individuals who had type-2 diabetes gave the result that by loss of ten percent of their weight, there was a good amount of decrease in their sugar levels. Weight loss also aids people with pain in their knee-joints, caused due to osteoarthritis. Weight loss is also useful to people suffering from sleep apnea or are at a potential risk of heart diseases.

The CICO diet is easy to incorporate into one’s routine and does not demand rigidity. It is free of restrictions to eating whatever we want.

Disadvantages of CICO diet

CICO diet does not take into account the significance of nutrition and solely revolves around calorie compositions.

The diet can concern the consumption of food items that lack essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, it can result into malnutrition. Ultra processed food increases the potential of diseases such as hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma in adolescents and likewise. The diet can jumble up the eating patterns of a person and he/she would concentrate more than enough on it.

The CICO diet is not as new a trend as one would think. One should not straightaway introduce it into the routine. Everything about the diet, what it aims to do, the advantages/disadvantages, how to initiate and so on has to be considered before deciding to go with it. Of course, it will not give the same result of a healthy weight loss to everyone. It is important to have efficient knowledge about it or consultations with a dietician for the same.

Leave a Comment