Ever heard of the CICO diet? This type of diet is claimed to be able to lose weight by paying attention to calories in and calories out, is it really effective?

Before trying it, consider the following reviews about the benefits, possible side effects, and how to do the CICO diet.

What is the CICO diet?

CICO means calories in calories out. The CICO diet is a weight loss method by keeping the number of calories in is not greater than the number of calories out.

In other words, the CICO diet uses the concept of a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Calories in refers to the calories of the food you eat, while calories out are the number of calories you burn. The body burns calories in 3 ways, namely:

  • Basic metabolism. The body burns most calories from food to maintain basic body functions, heart rate, and breathing for example. This is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
  • Digestion. As much as 10-15% of calories from food are burned by the body to facilitate digestion. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).
  • Physical activity. The rest of the calories from food will be burned through physical activity, such as sports or other daily activities.

Basically, after meeting the body’s energy needs, excess calories will be stored for future use in the form of glycogen in the muscles and most of it is stored as fat.

If the calories in are more than the calories you burn, this will lead to obesity.

How to do the CICO diet

The main principle of doing the CICO diet is to count calories in and calories out to achieve a calorie deficit.

First, you need to calculate your energy requirements, which is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), plus the calories used for digestion and physical activity.

Next, you must reduce the number of calories to create weight loss. This value is the benchmark for your consumption in a day.

For example, your daily calorie requirement is 2,300 calories per day so you need to eat less than 2,300 calories per day to lose weight.

The CICO diet also has no dietary restrictions or prohibits certain types of food. You can eat anything you want, as long as the calories aren’t greater than the calories you burn, or you can burn more calories than you eat.

So, is the CICO diet effective for weight loss?

The CICO diet may be effective for weight loss in some people in the short term. In theory, a calorie deficit can indeed help you lose weight.

However, some experts state that this diet is considered unhealthy for a long period of time.

The reason is, weight loss should not only be concerned with the number of calories, but also the type and nutrition of the food you eat. When losing weight, you should still pay attention to your overall health.

Keep in mind that the type of food with the same calories can affect the body in different ways, such as hunger and satiety, hormones, and metabolism.

For example, eating 100 calories of candy is different from eating 100 calories of nuts. Eating nuts is more effective at making you full faster and healthier because of the protein and fiber content in them.

In contrast, sweets tend to be low in fiber and protein. That’s why, eating sweets will not cause a feeling of fullness and will actually lead to overeating afterwards.

Another example, eating fruit, of course, will be more beneficial for health than processed foods, such as soda, ice cream, or cookies. The reason, fruit is richer in nutrients that can help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Meanwhile, the journal BMJ states that processed foods high in saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease.

From the example above, it can be understood that the type of food is not only important in maintaining an ideal body weight, but also reducing the risk of health problems.