Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) Debunked

Eat Less, Weigh Less? Eat More, Weigh More?

In a word, no. Especially if you’re talking about having less fat and fewer inches around your middle, vs. weighing ‘less’ because you now have less lean muscle mass. Though it’s true that these two concepts get mingled mangled daily. You can lose ‘weight’ instantly if you cut off a hand or foot, but even if you were crazy enough to do that, your body fat percentage would actually rise. Dying would give you fewer pounds and inches, but that takes dieting to new extremes (I hope most of you are thinking). Still, CICO remains a Zombie Myth; no matter how many times you kill it, it returns to eat your brains. Let’s see if we can’t lay this Zombie to rest once and for all.

Those who believe that you must exercise more in order to lose weight must also believe that you must take fewer calories in than you burn out to lose weight.

Here’s the first problem: unless we have a well-equipped laboratory in our basements, we have no idea how many actual calories we’re consuming for any given meal, let alone in a whole day. Here’s why: a ‘calorie’ is nothing more than a measure of the energy given off by burning edible (food) matter to ash. Once someone invented a calorimeter in the 1800’s, you could burn various foods in it and measure the energy they gave off. Thus individual foods were given calorie counts roughly rounded off to the numbers we use today: 4 calories for each gram of protein or carbohydrate, and 9 calories for each gram of fat.

Unfortunately, real food doesn’t work that way in the real world. The carbohydrate calories per gram of some foods is 3.7, or 4.0, or 4.5, etc. Ditto for the true calorie counts for proteins and fat. Thus, we may have eaten 1200 calories on a given day, or we may have eaten 1100 calories that day. Or 1300. Without either burning your food in a calorimeter first, or sitting down with a list of known calorimeter counts, we just don’t know. To make matters worse, the underlying assumptions about converting food to energy in a calorimeter and then applying those numbers to the human body is incorrect.

For one thing, we don’t set our food on fire to be burned to see what ash is left. We eat our food instead, whereupon our individual metabolisms convert the food to energy in ways that reflect our open human systems (our bodies), rather than the closed systems of an engine or oven. Those people who dismiss your very correct statement that “calories don’t matter” by citing the “First Law of Thermodynamics” are only parroting what they’ve heard others say without understanding a word of it. The First Law of Thermodynamics specifically states that it applies only to “closed” systems, like a car for example. You put fuel in, and depending on a set of known variables (speed, weight of car, efficiency of engine), you can drive a set distance within a narrow range until the fuel runs out. Human beings are not closed systems, they are open systems and therefore it is not the First, but the Second Law of Thermodynamics that applies to us. Each human body has its own set of unknown variables (leptin signaling, T4/T3 conversion signaling, insulin signaling, etc.).

Are you a Type I Diabetic and thus by definition insulin resistant? Carbohydrates will get converted to energy (burned) or stored (as fat) differently for the same amount of the same food ingested by an athlete in top physical condition. Ten grams of carbohydrates for the diabetic may translate into two grams burned and eight grams stored, vs. all ten grams burned and used by that athlete. And in science, when you base a conclusion upon an incorrect underlying assumption (all food is converted to energy precisely in the same way for all people), the conclusion that comes from that assumption must also be incorrect. In other words, if the underlying assumption behind CICO is false, than CICO itself must be false.

Ditto for the “all calories (fats, proteins and carbs) are equal” theory — another incorrect assumption. We now know that calories from foods that raise insulin (carbs for the most part, and protein under certain circumstances) are either burned for energy or stored differently than calories that come from fat. Another nail in the CICO coffin. If the correct underlying assumption is: “Human beings are not mechanical engines or ovens but open systems in which many individual variables operate,” then the only correct conclusion vis-a-vis calories is that we have no outside (mechanical), independent way of measuring them for anyone but ourselves. Thus CICO is once again proven false, because if you can’t independently measure a calorie in, you certainly can’t measure or match it against a calorie out.

That’s the second problem: we don’t really know how to mechanically or independently measure real calories out. The best we can do is guesstimate. The numbers that appear on the “control panel” when we use a treadmill in the gym, for instance, may tell us that we’ve ‘burned’ 300 calories in our sixty minute session. That is not only a made-up number, it is meaningless for estimating CICO.

When you first start that treadmill, you must input your age and weight. Why? Because the algorithm used by the computer inside the machine needs those numbers to calculate your supposed “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) — that is, the number of calories you would burn during the same hour if you did nothing but lay in bed and breathe. That number (which cannot be counted mathematically, since it’s clear that the RMR of a top, muscular athlete will be quite different from that of an out-of-shape diabetic who is the same age and weight) is then added to the number of calories supposedly burned by the exercise. Which number, of course, is impossible to actually calculate for the reasons given.

That means if your calculated RMR is 150 — what you would have burned by laying in bed for thirty minutes — your “real” number of calories burned is only half the number shown on the machine. We’re not told that by the gym of course, because we’d all immediately see what a complete waste of an hour (from a CICO viewpoint) that session had been, and for weight loss reasons, we’d stop going. Thus, we neither know how many real calories a day we eat, nor do we know how those calories are processed by our bodies, nor do we know how many real calories we’ve ‘burned’ in exercise by our bodies. But if that isn’t the final nail in the coffin for CICO for any reasonable, thinking person, here’s what is:

Science vs. Faith

Science “laws” are those facts that are facts because they are not only true for everyone (The Laws of Gravity on earth for example), but because they are able to be replicated by anyone, over and over again without exception.

Faith (belief in something whether or not you can prove it true or false, and often a belief in something already proven false) is not only not a fact, it’s not able to be replicated by everyone. Constant exceptions and excuses are given as to why faith didn’t ‘work’ — as in: you didn’t try hard enough, you didn’t exercise enough, or you ate too much, for instance. Or you’re not virtuous enough, or you don’t believe hard enough, or . . . The excuses for failure of faith are endless, but always couched in words that try to make you believe that the unproven theory is a fact, and you failed it, not the other way around.

Before a scientific thought can become a Law or Fact however, it must first be a hypothesis — that is, a belief that is at least reasonably based in science. Contrary to today’s ‘science studies’ funded by Big Pharma, for instance, where the study design is meant to help achieve a desired outcome, real science for the last few thousand years has followed the opposite method. You design a study that will try to disprove your hypothesis, not prove it. If you can’t disprove it, you have your peers try to disprove it. If no one can disprove it in any way, and if your outcome can then be replicated by other scientists using your data, your hypothesis becomes a Fact. At least until it can be (if ever) disproven by another hypothesis tested and proven by the scientific method.

Let’s take gravity on earth. Earth. Not Mars, the Moon or the interior of a Spaceship. Climb to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa with a watermelon, hold that melon over the side of the tower and let go. What will happen? The melon will fall to earth. Take another melon, maybe a honeydew. The same thing will happen. Take up a million times a million melons. All will fall to earth. Ditto computers, chickens, their feathers or your mother-in-law. Without exception, all will fall to earth. That’s a scientific fact; on earth, gravity is a Law that governs all mass, no matter the height, weight or shape of any object.

But wait. Let’s rewind the clock and climb those steps again, as if we didn’t know what would happen, as if the Law didn’t yet exist. Let’s say our first melon falls, but the second melon — maybe a seedless watermelon — floats in the air or even disappears up into the sky. Maybe the occasional cantaloupe does the same thing. Do we still have a Law of Gravity? We do not. We have the Law of Seeded Watermelons — maybe — but that’s all. Do we know why the seedless watermelons float in the air? We do not. Can we predict which melons or objects will float later that day or tomorrow? We do not. All do we know is that we need a new working hypothesis, and that once we have one that can explain the exception to the rule, we’ll have to try and disprove it the same way, and fail, and then be able to predict and replicate it, before we can call it a Fact.

In other words, one of the most important takeaways from science is: If there is even one exception to a Law not otherwise covered by that Law (like the Law of Gravity only applies to the planet called Earth) — it’s not a rule, it’s still just an unproven hypothesis. Which is nothing more than a Belief dressed up in a cap and gown.

Another example is to mistake effect for cause. As with Yellow Fever. Back in the 1700’s “everybody knew” that the “damp air” of swamps caused the disease. The damp air entered your body via your lungs and ‘sickened’ you. The air was dampest in the summer, so if you were wealthy you left the plantation in the summer and went up to a mountain resort. And guess what? Folks who did that didn’t get Yellow Fever. Some folks who stayed down in the swamps did get it. Thus, the cause of Yellow Fever was proven: damp air. But as we all know, getting or not getting Yellow Fever had nothing to do with the air, and everything to do with the mosquitoes that lived in the swamp and carried the virus. The virus carried by the mosquito, and not the location, was the true cause of the illness. The mountainous air, too cold for virus-carrying mosquitoes to survive in was the effect.

Maybe it’s easy in hindsight to see that, but I contend that for thinking people, it was possible to see it back then as well. Not to see the real cause perhaps: a virus carried by a mosquito, but to see that it could not have been the damp air that caused it. Why? Because not everyone who lived in damp air or the swamp got Yellow Fever. Thus, the cause, even if unknown, had to be something else.

In the same way, most people who claim to have lost weight by eating less and exercising more are showing us the effect of something else; something unknown working on and in their bodies. We don’t yet know what it is, though we now have clues: the types of food we’re eating versus the types of food we should be eating — and not the amount of that food. If CICO were a scientific Fact or Law, it would, like gravity, have to work for 100% of people, 100% of the time. And I can say absolutely, without fear of contradiction, that it does not. Thus, CICO is only a belief, and not a very educated one at that, given the facts we do know now about food and metabolism.

Again, we go back to the Laws of Gravity. If I leap off the tower of Pisa and, instead of falling to earth float above the tower unaided, I have just invalidated that Law. If a single human being takes in fewer calories than they burn and yet they still do not lose weight, — or even gain weight — then CICO has been forever invalidated as a Law. Have there been such cases, scientifically documented? There have. Forgetting the personal experiences of individuals like me, who grew morbidly obese eating between 1100-1200 high carb, low-fat calories a day, we also have many cases cited by the medical community of morbidly obese patients locked into hospital Metabolic Wards. The only food those patients received were given to them by doctors, and the calorie counts were about 800 calories per day — yet those patients actually gained fat every single week.

Worse for CICO: we also have documented cases where people have eaten calories far in excess of their RMR, done no exercise at all, and either gained no weight or fat at all, or even lost weight. Check out these amazing threads at Magic Bus:
*You may have to register on the site to see these; it’s free.

To prove how ridiculous CICO really is, two young, healthy male MagicBus members agree to eat excess thousands of high fat/low carb calories every day for a month, with no exercise. Their measured RMR was between 2300-2500 calories, so they agreed to try and eat double that amount, about 5000 calories a day. Eating that much is harder than it sounds; one of them (Jeff) resorted to drinking quarts of heavy cream daily to get there. Results after a month? One neither gained nor lost an ounce; the other lost weight.

Here are Jeff’s 30 day stats:

Day — Calories —– Total Calories
1 ——  4260 ——– 4260
2 —— 3101 ——— 7361
3 —— 6423 ——– 13784
4 —— 4606 ——– 18390
5 —— 4712 ——— 23102
6 —— 3884 ——— 26986
7 —— 3990 ——— 30976
8 —— 3375 ——— 34351
9 —— 4875 ——— 39226
10 —– 4827 ——— 44053
11 —– 3981 ——— 48034
12 —– 4772 ——— 52806
13 —– 3597 ——— 56403
14 —– 3504 ——— 59907
15 —– 3981 ——— 63888
16 —– 4967 ——— 68855
17 —– 4676 ——— 73531
18 —– 3386 ——— 76917
19 —– 4091 ——— 81008
20 —– 3635 ——— 84643
21 —– 3807 ——— 88450
22 —– 2849 ——— 91299
23 —– 3347 ——— 94646
24 —– 3293 ——— 97939
25 —– 3385 ——— 101324
26 —– 3143 ——— 104467
27 —– 2682 ——— 107149
28 —– 2275 ——— 109424
29 —– 2237 ——— 111661
30 —– 2998 ——— 114659

Jeff reports that on Day 30 he ate 2998 calories, of which 74% was fat. He ate sausage, cheese, ribeye steak, 2 glasses of chardonnay and 1 MGD Light. He writes:

“Well, there we have it. During the past 30 days I have over-consumed 48659 calories. At 2200 calories per day times 30 days, that’s 66,000 calories that my body would have required. I actually consumed 114,659 calories. That’s a difference of 48,659 calories. 48,659 divided by 3,500 is 13.9. So, I should have gained 13.9 pounds, or thereabouts. Tomorrow we will see the final results. For those interested, I drank about 4 gallons of heavy whipping cream.”

Jeff did post the next day. Here it is: “This morning I weigh 169 pounds. No change from 30 days ago.”

If CICO were a fact, if eating 3500 fewer calories a week than one ‘burns’ a week must result in the loss of a pound that week, and if eating 3500 more calories a week than one ‘burns’ must result in gaining a pound that week, then for every human under the sun, this must be true. If there is even one exception, than CICO is neither a Fact nor a Law. It is simply a belief that has been dis-proven in every single controlled study of the last five years, and for hundreds of thousands of year in human reality/experience before then. This is also why animals in the wild never get fat, no matter how much they eat in a given week or day, and no matter how much they gorge when food is plentiful in season.

Here’s a fact: Despite his eating nearly fifty thousand excess calories in a single month, Jeff didn’t gain so much as a single ounce. But if CICO is a fact, he must have gained weight. Since a fact cannot be both true and untrue at the same time, and Jeff did not gain weight, CICO cannot be a fact, but must be nothing more than an unproven belief. One may as well hold a feather in our mouths, and like Dumbo, be able to fly. Not just believe that we can fly, but actually fly. Any CICO believers out there willing to test this on themselves? Thought not.

To Summarize

We don’t know how many calories we really eat on a given day. We don’t know how many calories we really burn in a given exercise session. We do know that some people can eat far fewer calories than they ‘burn’ just by breathing (let alone by adding exercise) and still gain weight, and we know that some people can eat far more calories than they ‘burn’ just by breathing (and not exercising at all) and either not gain an ounce or even lose weight.
Thus CICO is worse than just an unprovable belief, it’s a fraud perpetrated on obese people by the Big Pharma/Gym Franchise/Diet Plan/Supplement/Diet Book/Medical-Industrial Complex to sell them two things: insecurity about their lives (if you’re fat it’s your fault; if our diet, book or pill doesn’t work, it’s your fault, not ours), and very expensive, ongoing ‘cures’ (in the form of food, books, gym memberships, advice, supplements, pills and injections and surgery) that cannot possibly cure them, except by coincidence.

Even worse, by continuing to insist that CICO is a fact rather than a belief (equivalent to continuing to insist that damp air causes illness), controlled studies on the real causes of obesity remain almost non-existent and woefully underfunded. Which virtually guarantees a continued income stream to the Complex as they remain able to prey on vulnerable people for decades to come. After all, where’s the profit in stating the real fact: stay in bed, eat a lot of animal fat, a little protein, no processed sugar and a small amount of carbs from vegetables, fruits and modest amounts of starch carbohydrates — and you will lose weight, cure your Type II diabetes and eliminate your hypertension. No profit there at all.

Better for the bottom line to continue to sell the CICO theory to the American people, along with their fat-free “healthy” foods that contain lots and lots of sugar. To see for yourselves what this does to you, watch this cute little four-minute video: Death By Sugar. And Maltitol and Agave syrups do exactly the same thing.

Happy Calorie Counting!

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26 Responses to Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) Debunked

  1. DaffyDills says:

    I love the article! Oh to be Jeff. 🙂
    For now, however, the only way Ive been able to control my weight is to put a cap on my healthy calories using one of the online calculators that determines via activity/height/weight (and use protein correction days when that doesn’t work). I have used only stevia as sweetener for 1-1/2 years. I rarely eat more than one fruit per day (1 small apple, 1/4 cup blueberries, or 1-2 dates per day). I eat no starchy veggies. No grains. Some dairy, very limited. It’s pretty crazy.

    • The caveat in the thread are the words “healthy metabolism.” Jeff’s was healthy. Yours is not, because by definition you are insulin resistant (more fat than you’d like, ‘capping’ calories, and especially limiting saturated fat, the surest way to damage metabolism). To turn that around you’ll need to diagnose your resistance, understand their level, and then fix them. I know all the answers aren’t in my threads … yet … but there’s a lot of useful information about how to start the healing process in them, and in the links on Welcome To My World.

      • DaffyDills says:

        oops, yes, I see that I failed to mention that eat plenty of fats — evoo, coconut in many forms, cream, and meat. My day is normally 40% fat-40% protein-20% carbs, unless my fats are higher, which is often the case.

  2. kermit says:

    So. . . . .what is a healthy level of daily sugar intake? And does this include fructose from fruits as well?

    • Quick answer? It depends. Seriously.

      Leaving the natural sugars (and fructose) of fruits and (some) vegetables aside for the moment, when it comes to processed sugar I believe in eating as little as possible, and always with a healthy dose of good saturated fats, like butter, cream, coconut oil, etc. So a treat for me (chocoholic that I am) would be a square or two of 85% Lindt, or some other really good chocolate bar every few days. Of course, I’m in a different position for the moment than most of of my readers. If I want something sweet (and you’ve read that I believe a sweet-tooth is hard-wired into our brains, so that’s usually daily) I can always whip up any one of my healthy, fat-filled sugar-free desserts, from cheesecake to brownies to ice-cream to cookies, etc. There are limited carbs in each serving, yes, but no measurable sugar. Hopefully that will change soon and everyone will be able to order these goodies. 🙂

      But it gets more complex than that very quickly when I take ‘me’ out your questions and put ‘you’ in. Where I’m going with the series is that there is no one answer for all this that will fit everyone, and that the sooner everyone stops looking for an answer and instead searches for the answers that will fit them, even if they fit no other, the healthier they will become. That’s why the fruit category is difficult.

      Depending on your level of insulin resistance, you may be able to eat more or less fruit than me, different types of fruit than me, and different amounts of fat with that fruit than me. So first, you need to find your level of insulin resistance. Then the flavor of it. Then what stage it’s in. Then with the tools I’ll discuss in Parts IV or V, you be able to become your own detective and sleuth out precisely what fruit, and when eaten, and with how much fat — your insulin load can handle.

      And more complex still: in order to digest processed sugar well, our bodies produce an enzyme, akin to the enzyme we produce to digest milk. Those who lose that enzyme after childhood are “lactose-intolerant” because they lack the enzyme needed to handle that lactose. Well, the body is a very parsimonious thing, and if it doesn’t need to produce something (which ‘costs energy’ after all), it doesn’t. Getting old and not fighting saber-tooth tigers any more cause the kids are handling them these days? Your body will let go of muscle mass, which costs precious resources to maintain. And your metabolism rate will soon go down as well. Weight-lift — fool the body into thinking you’re still wrestling those tigers — and it will be willing to devote the body’s resources into building and maintaining that muscle again. Even if you’re one hundred-years-old.

      Same with sugar. I haven’t eaten measurable sugar in so long my body no longer produces the enzyme I need to digest it. If I were to eat an entire slice of pie, for example, I’d not only have the same miserable cramps that the lactose intolerant get if they drink milk, my body would literally be hung over the entire next day. That’s why folks like me would need to ramp up and eat about 250 carbs a day for nearly a week before taking a glucose load test; otherwise we’d fail it completely. So if I began eating sugar again (perish the thought), after a week or two of feeling like death warmed over I’d start producing the enzyme again. Thus, your question about “what is a healthy level of daily sugar intake” isn’t as easy to answer as it might first appear. Where are you (the generic you) in terms of that enzyme, for example?

      Digression: We have, I fear, become a nation of silver bullet seekers, though I’m not singling you out, Kermit, I promise. The collective ‘we’ wants an answer, and we want it now. What to eat. How much of it. What not to eat. How much of it. When to eat it. When not to eat it. As if the answers to any of those questions could possibly apply to anyone but the one person we see in the mirror every morning. I am not a silver bullet supplier, nor do I aim to be. I’m debunking hcg and idiocies like CICO. I’m raising questions (and hopefully providing a few general scientific answers) to what is working in Simeons diet to release fat and stop hunger if it’s not hcg (and it’s not). I ask my readers to follow my train of thought and my logic … but not me, not blindly.

      Every reader should research what I say in medical journals and textbooks, to see and judge for themselves if what I say makes sense to them. If not, ignore it. It’s hard to find information on the net about how and why (precisely) eating very low calories for an extended period of time, or eating very low carbohydrates for an extended period of time causes hypothyroidism via thyroid hormone resistance, for example — but it’s explained in detail (with charts!) in every medical textbook written in the last fifty years or so. The metabolic processes by which this happens is fascinating. I hope to write a lengthy post on the topic when I have a chance. End digression. 🙂

      So I will answer your very good questions by saying this: eat the level of processed sugar and fructose in fruit to the extent that your metabolism (which you will have diagnosed first with blood tests and a good glucose meter used daily) can handle them, and thus to the extent to which you can remain healthy and slim.

      • kermit says:

        Thanks for the long response. Of COURSE I’m looking for the silver bullet! Who isn’t! : ) Having gotten a fasting blood glucose test that shows normal, what level would I need to be at for a daily glucose check? Do you do it before or after meals? First thing in the morning?? Not sure what I’m looking for. . . .

        • LOL — no doubt a silver bullet (or two) would come in handy from time to time. However…

          >Having gotten a fasting blood glucose test that shows normal….

          First, if by defining ‘normal’ as “in range” on your test results, you may not be ‘normal’ at all. In fact, without a fasting insulin test having been done at the same time, your FG can give you no information at all. Second, without other additional tests being done at the same time, there’s no real way to diagnose any metabolic issue like LR, IR, and especially any *type* of IR.

          > what level would I need to be at for a daily glucose check? Do you do it before or after meals? First thing in the morning?

          I’ll be discussing this in Part IV, and of course cannot provide any specific diagnosis publicly to any individual. I’m sure you understand. Please have patience; I believe Part IV will help you move in the right direction.

  3. Booklover says:


    You sure have given us a lot to think about. I am so grateful to have run across your posts and your website! You have raised so many good questions. I’m learning many new things.

    I started the HCG diet according to the Simeon’s protocol four weeks ago. I ditched the useless homeopathic drops, but continued the diet not being sure what to do next. It didn’t sink in that no fat would be harmful to my metabolism until your recent post. Fortunately I ate butter and eggs prior to beginning the diet. I’ve also used coconut oil a few times on the diet.

    I’ve been reading about the paleo diet from Mark’s Daily Apple as you referenced in a post. I had planned to finish the Simeons’ diet in 2 more weeks for a total of 6 weeks, but I wonder if I should get off it now.

    I have about 30 pounds I would still like to lose. If I change my diet to be more paleo, I need parameters with which to work. I’m good at personalizing things for myself once I have a starting place. And yes, I’m hoping to avoid the “silver bullet” of one size fits all : – ). As a starting place, does this sound reasonable? 50-100 carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits, high fat – butter and coconut oil, moderate protein, about 1500 calories, no sugar. Can I do that for as long as I need to until I lose all the weight? I walk 2 miles daily and have started to do minor weekly interval training.

    I understand that a blood test would give me useful information from which to personalize my diet. I plan to make an appointment to have that done. Would this be a complete list of what needs to be tested assuming no prior knowledge of metabolism or thyroid problems?

    Free T3
    Free T4
    Reverse T3
    Fasting Insulin
    Fasting Glucose
    Vitamin D

    What about TSH and all the cholesterol tests: Hdl Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Ldl Cholesterol? Also, what about sodium, magnesium and potassium? I don’t think I have thyroid problems so for now I don’t need the test for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

    I purchased a glucose monitor which should arrive this week. Is it necessary to test 3 times daily and what does one learn from all that testing? Could you say more about using a glucose monitor in a dieting situation?

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about how a low carbohydrate diet could cause hypothyroidism over an extended period of time as you mentioned. It sounds like that could cause problems for paleo dieters. In the end, I guess the watchword is “moderation in all things.”

    By the way, will you be using stevia in your sugarfree goodies?

    Thank you for all the helpful advice you have already given. I appreciate the time and energy you have put into the weight loss topic and your willingness to share what you have learned!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. They are truly appreciated, especially since when I began this blog I thought I’d end up being read by a few friends and the family I could guilt into it. 🙂 I never expected, in my wildest dreams, that so many people I don’t know would be interested in anything I had to say.

      To your questions:

      1: There’s no way to know how many carbs, etc. you should eat until you get the results of those tests. They will give you the answer to that. That’s my overall thesis to this blog in general.
      2: If by “getting off Simeons you mean stopping the hcg, then yes. If you read Part III (or was it Part II?) you saw the 2007 study that shows one of the important properties of hcg is how it signals proto-fat cells, ordering them to become full-fledged fat cells. So hcg does nothing good, and, unless you’re a pregnant woman, it does a lot that’s bad.
      3: Your initial list of tests is good, and lipids and B12 (along with calcium, potassium and sodium levels) should all be done annually.
      4: How often you need to use your glucose meter daily will depend on your test results and yes, I intend to discuss use for losing fat in Part IV.
      5: The problem with “moderation in all things” is that the word “moderation” is going to mean different things to different metabolisms.
      6: I rarely use stevia.

      Great questions — I hope I answered them all.

  4. Sade says:

    Lisa, I do remember that you said the Simeons protocol works because of the VLCD500 (not the Hcg), and you are experimenting with 500 calories, and you had said that you believe people can lose with 700-800 calories of protocol food. If calories don’t matter, why not put them on a diet that doesn’t count calories at all?

    Also, I came across this article, I believe this is probably close to the diet plan you are following (I’m guessing), what do you think about the loss of endurance experienced by a high fat diet plan like this?

    • > I remember you said the Simeons protocol works because of the VLCD500 (not the Hcg)…

      That’s not actually what I said.

      What I did say, and what I hope I demonstrated in my analysis of P&I (using Simeons own words and observations, brought up-to-date with current scientific knowledge) is that although Simeons states it is the HCG that “transitions adipose fat” and then “liberates the fat while it is in transition” — he was wrong. HCG does not set adipose fat ‘into transition’ nor does it “liberate” adipose fat.

      But Simeons went on to say that once fat was liberated, it floods the body with ‘fuel’ as if it had been ingested, thus abating hunger even on a VLCD. In this, he and I (and now many others) agree. Once stored adipose fat is unlocked from the cells where insulin has locked it away, that fat ‘feeds’ us, and makes us feel as if we’d ‘ingested’ a lot of calories even if we actually only eat a little food.

      The question is, if it isn’t HCG that is the ‘active factor’ in liberating that fat (and I hope I’ve showed it’s impossible for it to be HCG) — then what is it? I believe I have the answer to that, and I’ve outlined the beginning of that theory in Parts I, II and III. The rest will be shown in Part IV, and will be put to the test in the HCG Debunk Experiment #1 that will begin on April 25th.

      > you are experimenting with 500 calories

      I am not.

      > you believe people can lose with 700-800 calories of protocol food.

      Yes, but not Simeons’ protocol food. Rather with a slightly modified protocol that will not include any (useless) HCG, will not produce any hunger, and which will let users lose fat even more quickly than on the original protocol. Simeons’ was ahead of his time in many ways, but there was an awful lot of science simply not available to him at the time, and the last fifty years has taught us a lot.

      > I came across this article, I believe this is probably close to the diet plan you are following


      > what do you think about the loss of endurance experienced by a high fat diet plan like this?

      I love reading Junk Science so thanks for sending this. 🙂 There are too many things wrong with it to go into here, but I believe Peter (and his scientist friends) might have gleefully ripped it apart on Hyperlipid some time ago. If not this precise ‘study’ then one/s like it. They continue to pop up like Whack-A-Moles. Anyone who understands human biology understands that our bodies evolved to run on ketones, love to run on ketones, run most efficiently on ketones (especially our skeletal muscles and the one muscle we need the most: our heart), and that for the last few million years (last 50 years excepted) the entire human race ate nothing but a high fat diet. Since they also managed to build everything we know as ‘civilization’ I’d say their endurance was pretty darn good, wouldn’t you?

      • Sade says:

        – Each participant will eat 500 calories throughout the experiment.

        Sorry, I took this off the posts you had made about each experiment, I assumed it meant througout the experiement, but then you also said the participants would be on Hcg the entire time, is the entire part of that experiment only 2 days?

        you believe people can lose with 700-800 calories of protocol food.
        Yes, but not Simeons’ protocol food. Rather with a slightly modified protocol that will not include any (useless) HCG, will not produce any hunger, and which will let users lose fat even more quickly than on the original protocol. Simeons’ was ahead of his time in many ways, but there was an awful lot of science simply not available to him at the time, and the last fifty years has taught us a lot.

        but you are still saying that 700-800 calories will result in losses. Why not unlimited calories of the right kinds of fats/proteins/carbs?

        Are you still using Hcg, or have you now given that up?

        • A bit of a mix-up here about the experimentS. There are two of them, not one. Experiment #1 will set out to prove that HCG does absolutely nothing whatsoever to either ‘liberate’ fat, nor control hunger. That experiment will last 14 days, and each participant will eat 500 calories a day and take HCG throughout. As to the experiment’s design, and how it will unfold … you’ll have to follow the experiment. 🙂

          Experiment #2 will follow on the heels of #1. Once we’ve laid HCG to rest FOREVER, I hope, we’ll move on to demonstrate what in the original protocol does liberate fat and abate hunger, and will indeed show off the effects of the modified protocol, which will have a few more calories. The composition of those calories, however, will be key.

          Yes, I’m saying that 700-800 of the right calories will result in more losses than the current 500 calories of the protocol. As to why the number I’ve chosen and not others? Great question! All explained in Part IV. Which I’m still writing.

          As for my own use of HCG, I tried it once (using injections and following the diet part precisely) a few years ago during a stall, but since I was ketone-adapted, and since Simeons’ protocol provided many more sugar carbs per day than I usually ate in a week, and since of course hcg does nothing — lipolysis was not only prevented (the fruit spiked my insulin horribly!) — but within two weeks I gained fat and inches. And of course, without lipolysis taking place (releasing my stored adipose fat), I was starving. No matter how much hcg I took (I didn’t know then it did nothing), I was frantically hungry. That’s what high insulin (which drops your blood sugar) will do for you.

          So there I was, gaining weight (fat) on a diet that was ‘guaranteed’ to make me lose weight — exactly like all those morbidly obese patients in locked metabolic wards who, on ‘starvation’ calores — gain weight. Fat, that is.

          I Gained!After a year of near-constant losses. Well, that’s what you get when an erroneous underlying assumption comes up against actual human biology. In sum: The trial was a disaster. Since I wasn’t willing to regain all of my hard-won losses to date, I dropped it and moved on. I didn’t even think about it back then except as another of diet failure, but as I learned more about the science behind losing fat, and started bringing my metabolism back to health by using this knowledge, I went back to Simeons to see if an analysis would yield anything useful. And it has.

    • Ego vs Copernicus says:

      One glaring problem with the “study” as reported — what type of fat did they use? Saturated fat or PUFAs? I suspect they used PUFA which renders the results of the “study” void. Another problem, it’s mice…not humans. Those two notwithstanding, I have a hard time taking seriously any article written by somebody who doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than.”

      • Well-stated, E. v. C — you know they used PUFA. In fact, in a similar study Peter does mention (could have been this one, come to think of it), they used Crisco! He called the results Crisco Poisoning. 🙂

        I remember another study that came out last summer. The mass media headlines were “Looks Like Ice-Cream Can Give You Brain-Freeze (and maybe kill you, was the sub-text, with all that ‘artery-clogging’ fat). The article was all about the ‘link’ between eating ‘fatty ice-cream’ and of course CVD. Although the article didn’t mention it, the raw data revealed that the researchers were injecting the cream into the rats; can’t remember if it was into their brains or just their arteries.

        Then of course there was the “Seven Eggs A Week Seen Linked to CHD” scare last year in which men who ate only six eggs a week had a lower risk of heart disease than men who ate seven eggs a week. Raw Data revealed that the idiots … er, scientists who ‘uncovered’ this horrendous fact did so by distributing a questionnaire to 500 physicians. Who also smoked, were obese, and had diabetes — none of which variables were controlled for. Yeah, it sure was that 7th egg that killed them.

        Moral of the story? Don’t eat a can (or two) of Crisco a day, stop injecting ice-cream into your arms, and for heaven’s sake go through your fridge right now and toss out every 7th egg you can find! =cackle=

  5. Sade says:

    believe Peter (and his scientist friends) might have gleefully ripped it apart on Hyperlipid some time ago. If not this precise ‘study’ then one/s like it.

    I’m very, very new to all of this, so I have not read any studies on anything besides what you had already posted, and am just now trying to research a little so I can figure out what the heck it is that you are doing. :0)

  6. Booklover says:


    Thank you for your quick response to my last post. I see now that the beginning of the weight loss journey or diagnosing one’s metabolism begins with the initial blood test in order to make intelligent decisions. To reiterate, so that the blood test list is in one place, the full list of initial blood tests includes:

    Leptin Panel:
    Free T3 (not total)
    Free T4
    Reverse T3
    Fasting Insulin
    Fasting Glucose
    Vitamin D
    Lipids Panel:
    Total cholesterol

    I add these two:
    Magnesium – affects 300+ bodily processes
    Homocysteine – bone health / fractures

    I will get the blood test this week. Are you still making suggestions about blood test results understanding that they should not be construed as any type of medical advice?

    I found a fascinating article on the web discussing how bone health and metabolism are interrelated. It addresses many of the same issues you speak about from the angle of bone health. Here is the link if anyone cares to read it.

    • Jennifer, that’s a perfect list for anyone to get a base reading of what is happening inside their bodies. It’s a list that everyone reading this blog should print out and take to their doctors, and they should insist on having all of these tests done at least once. Any doctor who says “most of this stuff isn’t necessary” is a doctor that needs to be replaced, because it is clear that they are not treating their patients or their symptoms, but instead are treating only numbers. Numbers that is, on ‘standard’ tests, which are the ones developed by Big Pharma for the sole reason of selling their products.

      > Are you still making suggestions about blood test results understanding that they should not be construed as any type of medical advice?

      I neither ‘make suggestions’ nor give medical advice. After having done years of research (research available to anyone who cares to spend the same time on it) on the interpretations of these tests, I offer the results of that research to anyone who would like it. With the caveat that I will not do individual interpretations publicly, except in a general way. If you have low HDL and high Triglycerides, for instance, I can explain the importance of that ratio in terms of increased risk for heart disease. I can tell you what that ratio is so you can do the math. I can tell you what studies have shown to be the “lowest risk number” so you can compare that number to your own. And I can tell you the things you can do, which studies have shown will raise your HDL while lowering your triglycerides, after which you must decide if you will follow the studies’ advice, or not.

      The study you’ve listed is very interesting, thank you.

  7. Kristen says:

    Hi SugarFree – I just stumbled upon this thread and felt compelled to ask for a bit of advice that I hope won’t take up too much of your time.

    I started HCG back in March and I lost maybe 10 pounds at most and then ‘failed’ during P3, this lead to gaining back the weight and more, but what I did notice was that I had gained back so much fat, filled out in areas that had never been ‘fat’ before and the shape of my face is completely changed. I hit the panic button and started a second round the beginning of May of HCG but immediately stopped after 10 days when I realized even following the protocol I had only lost about 2 pounds and was trying my best to include light exercise.

    Since then I’ve been steadily gaining and I’m so scared that I’ll never be able to lose weight without HCG again – I’ve tried the whole CICO idea, which has also failed. I did that all last week eating a good diet and have gained another two pounds. I’m genuinely worried that I’ll never stop gaining because of this awful hormone that has done so much more damage to my body than I ever thought.

    And last week I had burned close to 3000 calories eating about 2,000 or less a day. How do I lose weight again? I’ve been diligently trying my best to cut out refined sugars and focus on eating protein but now I’m genuinely terrified of putting more fat into my body.

    I’m so lost. I’ve gained a ton of inches and I can’t seem to do anything about them. Please, please can you recommend a good protocol to recover, I’m desperate to just go back to before HCG.

  8. Diane says:

    I am so frustrated. Somehow while on an HCG forum your study was referred to, and I was able to begin reading your blog. But I can’t find where the final evaluation is or a summary or information that might give me some guidance.

    [NOTE: There is no ‘final evaluation’ or summary. The participation in my Protocol is ongoing. The best way to really understand all the information on this blog — which is a LOT — is to go to the March Archives, scroll down to the bottom, click on Welcome To My World (my first post) and read your way from there through all the archives and posts. Then go to the HCG Experiment and SugarFree Protocol threads to read all the posts/progress of the participants. Including the almost steady lowering of their blood sugar numbers.]

    I KNOW I am insulin resistant. My fasting glucose is usually in the 100’s, with no sugar included in diet.

    [NOTE: A early warning sign of diabetes in the earliest stages.]

    I have a history of bouncing around from sugar free/gluten free/dairy free/ yeast free to various mutations of that. I’ve done two complete rounds of Homeopathic HCG, losing avg .5lb / day.

    [NOTE: Luckily for you, homeopathic HCG is an oxymoron, as there is no usable HCG anywhere to be found in that substance. Any weight you’ve lost has been through starvation level calories and possible lipolysis.]

    And discovered I’d misread or interpreted for my own comfort (I am blood type O, and am convinced I have high protein requirements to be comfortable in my own skin), what ever the reason, I did my HCG rounds with three meat/veggie meals not two. I am currently on day six of round three. And I’m eating only two meals a day.

    Where can I find your website? I have the idea there are now guidelines there on how to formulate a weight-loss protocol for myself that will help me lose fat, without hunger, after which I can move to a maintenance protocol that will help me sustain the loss. I am a retired R.N. Conventional medicine holds no sway in the choices I make for my own health. As far as I’m concerned, except for emergent care, allopathic disciplines are DEAD wrong. Literally. So, I have little hope of a doctor providing any help for me.

    [NOTE: This is my ‘website’ and all my information is right here in the blog’s pages. If you would like to become a Protocol Participant, please check your email for a note from me.]

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    • SugarFree says:

      Mike, doctors don’t ‘know all this’ because they never studied obesity, nutrition or much about diabetes either in Med School. And because doctors are not scientists, though we tend to think of them that way. If they were scientists, and had a theory about obesity that failed in 99% of their patients, they would quickly conclude it was their theory that was wrong, not their patients. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, so I’m glad you’ve decided to research, think and act for yourself to improve your health. Best of luck, and give yourself a break from that treadmill! 🙂


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