Shattering the CICO Myth: Top 5 videos explaining why Calories In – Calories Out is WRONG (and why fasting is different)

Written By Claire C

We know the Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) methodology is deeply rooted in our culture. But, it is WRONG. We need to help wake the world up to the fact that our body is not a simple calorie tally machine, but rather an incredibly complex organism with hormones regulating our fat storage just like hormones regulate almost every other system of the body.

Here are 5 of our favorite videos for explaining WHY CICO is such an inaccurate understanding of how our amazing bodies work. Just in case someone in your life needs a little help awakening to the truth.



#5 Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique, Cynthia Thurlow

  • It is equally, if not more, important to focus on when your eating rather than what you’re eating
  • Believes that the traditional method of “exercise more, eat less” is often ineffective
  • Discusses the problem of eating all day long, no matter how few calories we’re eating
  • Eating too frequently can overtax our body, preventing us from properly burning the calories we consume
  • Explains the role of fasting periods in decreasing insulin levels, allowing us to tap into fat sources for energy
  • Describes the 16:8 timeframe, which means fasting for 16 hours with an 8-hour feeding window

#4 Fasting vs. Eating Less: What’s the Difference? (Science of Fasting), What I’ve Learned

  • Mentions the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which aimed to look at the effects of caloric restriction on the body
  • The men experienced negative effects on their body temperature, physical strength, indurance, and mental health 
  • They became obsessed with food and experienced constant hunger
  • They then compared this to Angus Barbieri, who fasted for over 385 days in 1965
  • He lost over 200 pounds without any of the negative symptoms noted in the Minnesota experiment 
  • Discusses Upton Sinclair’s narratives about his lack of hunger while fasting
  • Compares this to people who don’t feel hungry in the morning, despite not having eaten overnight
  • This phenomenon is caused by ghrelin levels, a hormone responsible for hunger, which can spontaneously decrease during fasting
  • May also be caused by your body entering ketosis

#3 Intermittent Fasting or Cutting Calories? (Explaining the advantage), Jason Fung

  • Explains how reducing the number of calories consumed causes your basal metabolism to decrease
  • When we eat, our body can either store those calories as body fat or burn them through metabolism
  • If we eat 2000 calories over the course of 12 hours, those calories will initially be split half and half between storing and burning
    • When not eating for an extended period of time, these stored calories can be burned
    • In order to reduce the ratio of calories stored, we can increase the period of fasting
    • However, when we eat too frequently, our body is unable to burn as many calories through metabolism, causing more storage as fat

#2 Fasting Vs Eating Less | What is the difference?, Dr. Nick Zyrowski

  • Breaks down many of the myths that lead to the belief that calorie restriction is better than fasting
  • Muscle mass: fasting retains muscle mass, calorie restriction can lead to a decrease in muscle mass
  • Metabolism: short-term/intermittent fasting improves (increases) metabolism, calorie restriction causes a slow decline in metabolism
  • Weight Loss: fasting and calorie restriction lead to similar amounts of weight loss, but fasting leads to increased loss of visceral (“dangerous”) fat
  • Hunger: calorie restriction can lead to issues with hunger, whereas fasting leads to decreased hunger levels

#1 Fasting vs Eating Less For Weight Loss and Fat Burn, Dr. Sten Ekberg

  • The calories in vs. calories out model often ignores the role of biology in weight loss (such as behavior, survival instincts, hunger, metabolism, and hormones)
    • When we continuously limit the number of calories in, our metabolism will slow down, reducing the calories out
  • He also goes through the concept of a set point weight, which explains the pathway our hormones use to maintain our weight
    • Frequent eating can desensitize this pathway and eventually raise our set point
    • When we have shorter feeding periods during intermittent fasting, we allow our insulin levels to drop, preventing distortion of our hormonal set point
  • In summary, intermittent fasting is more effective because it allows for
    • Decreased insulin levels for longer periods
    • Decreased insulin resistance
    • Decreased leptin resistance
    • A lower set point
    • Higher HGH levels


Interested in better understanding why fasting is so different, this video is one of our absolute favorites:


What do you think? Do you agree with the ordering of these videos? Got a better one? Please share below!


Cover Photo by Marika Vinkmann on Unsplash

Do you have content that fits with this blog and would like to share it?

All Topics

fasting flamingo

Read more content like this

Fasting Safely – Here’s what to know

Fasting Safely – Here’s what to know

In this article, Dr. Jason Fung discusses some of the most important things to keep in mind in order to fast in the safest way possible. He discusses some of the most common dangers associated with improper fasting and gives advice on how to prevent these. Most importantly, he discusses the importance of fasting with knowledge and experience and the power of easing into fasting. If you ever feel concerned about your own fasting practices, remember we’re here to help and provide you with advice and resources to make sure you have a positive experience with fasting!

read more
Eat, Fast, Feast

Eat, Fast, Feast

Eat, Fast, Feast – Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul – A Christian Guide to Fasting :: Why did most Christians stop fasting? And, is this ancient practice something your should consider adopting to strengthen your connection to God?

read more
The Joy of Fasting – Rumi Poem

The Joy of Fasting – Rumi Poem

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
 run up the steps in front of you.

read more
My favorite Intermittent Fasting Books – The 37 Best & Most Useful

My favorite Intermittent Fasting Books – The 37 Best & Most Useful

In the early 1900s there were a number of book published on fasting, but then there were very few new books on fasting or intermittent fasting until 2002 when Ori Hofmekler came out with The Warrior Diet. Then and starting in 2016 Intermittent Fasting books started popping up everywhere…

read more

Share this post with a friend

fasting flamingo

Leave a message


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.