You may have heard of the newest diet fad called CICO, short for “Calories In, Calories Out.” The premise is that you can eat whatever you want, junk food included, as long as you expend more calories than you consume. This simplified diet approach does not take into account the nutritional value of the food one consumes and only focuses on the total caloric intake. Unfortunately, a fad approach to dieting, such as CICO, often backfires in the long run and is generally difficult to maintain.
Being healthy isn’t about calories alone. It is important to consider the whole package of the foods you are eating. Essentially, 100 calories of fresh fruit and vegetables is not the same nutritionally as 100 calories of candy. By following a CICO diet, you may lose weight, however, it is possible that your diet may be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.
The bottom line is that it is important to look at more than just calories. In order to provide optimal health benefit and prevent chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease, it is necessary to include a variety of foods from all of the food groups. If essential nutrients are missing from your diet, overall health can be compromised.
If CICO isn’t the answer to weight loss, what is? Rather than choosing a fad diet, embrace the idea of long-term nutritious eating and exercise. When we shift our focus to an overall healthier lifestyle, we are more likely to achieve and maintain an appropriate weight. Focus on being healthy rather than being thin and remember that well-being is