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CICO Diet Popular On Reddit, Nutritionists Disagree

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Reddit, a popular website for any and all discussions, has numerous posts about the benefits of the CICO diet on its weight-loss forums. But nutritionists are less than happy about this diet that Reddit members keep hyping as an effective method to shed some pounds.

The CICO diet stands for “calories in, calories out,” and is based on the premise that a person can eat anything they want, as long as they consume fewer calories than they expend throughout the day, Fox News reports.

One Reddit user claims to have followed the CICO diet for two months and has lost 20 pounds, saying, “For years I actually thought that [losing weight] required vigorous exercise, and eating nothing but tilapia, broccoli, and spinach. How wrong I was.” A separate thread has another user saying, “CICO will work regardless of what you’re eating. Junk food, healthy food, fancy food, cheap food. It doesn’t matter. CICO is essentially the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss.”

However, nutritionists challenge this diet as an old, ineffective way to lose weight. Not all calories are created equal, they state, and relying on a calorie count for weight loss has a negative impact on the human body, in the long run. People must consider how food choices affect their health beyond merely dropping a few kilos.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, and author of “The Superfood Swap,” said, “Eating all junk, but keeping it low-calorie, will still wreak havoc on things like your skin, your mood, your gastrointestinal functions. At the core of it, it’s true that calories will rule things when it comes to weight loss; that is [only] true in the most crude, raw possible way.”

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD and Health’s contributing nutrition editor told Yahoo, “We now know that the quality of the calories you consume—as well as the macronutrient balance and timing—all impact metabolism, satiety, and how your body utilizes calories.” She emphasizes,

It’s not as simple as a math equation.

Mira Ilic, a clinical dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, stresses that the body needs a well-balanced diet. While people can lose weight with CICO, she says, “But would I recommend this to my patients? Definitely not.”

Blatner recommends that people who want to lose weight take a closer look at their diets and recommends a balanced, healthy meal with portions of protein, vegetables and whole grains.

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