Fat Loss

Low Carb VS Low Calorie: What’s Best Way to Lose Fat, Scientists Explain

by Mike Mutzel


When it comes to weight loss, there's two primary models to explain the best strategy: The carbohydrates-insulin model and the calorie imbalance, also known as the CICO model. In this show we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these models and how to best approach fat loss.





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Studies Mentioned:

Ludwig, D. S., Aronne, L. J., Astrup, A., de Cabo, R., Cantley, L. C., Friedman, M. I., et al. (2021). The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic, 1–13.

Time Stamps:


01:35 Physicians are taught that weight loss is only triggered by caloric restriction. It is the traditional energy balance model.

02:00 The traditional energy balance model does not consider your circadian rhythm or phenotypes, like those of us who over-excrete insulin, have epigenetic factors, or have adaptive thermogenesis.

02:20 Cyclical dieting down regulates your resting metabolic rate, adaptive thermogenesis.

03:20 The carbohydrate/insulin model of obesity is centered around insulin. Hyperpalatable ultra-processed high glycemic foods increase the energy circulating in your blood, causing a compensatory hyperinsulinemic physiologic state. This causes a decrease in the amount of nutrients in your bloodstream after you eat. Your blood energy reduces to levels below before you ate, causing hunger and over-eating at the next meal.

05:35 Cellular semi-starvation: In a high sugar/high insulin state, fat cells accumulate energy intended for the now insulin resistant muscles, they undergo lipogenesis, storing lots of energy. Therefore, there is a lack of energy in the bloodstream. Your brain believes that your critical tissues are starving.

06:40 Hormones surge in this state of cellular semi-starvation; there is a surge of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.

07:10 In drugs that increase insulin, insulin signaling caused fat gain of up to 5 pounds in a 2-month period.

07:35 The energy balance model considers all calories as metabolically equal.

08:05 Hyperpalatable ultra-processed high glycemic foods lend themselves to overconsumption and hormone alteration.

08:20 Energy intake is regulated by insulin, hunger satiety cues from the brain, leptin, ghrelin, and habits. A few nights of poor sleep increases hunger.

09:00 The more lean muscle mass you have, the more you increase your resting metabolic rate.

10:00 Insulin is pleiotropic, meaning it does many different things within your body.

13:50 Biggest Loser 6 year follow up study revealed that many participants continued to gain wait after their participation in the program’s rapid weight loss. When they regained their weight, their resting metabolic rates were depressed lower than when they started.

15:45 The energy balance model works best for young fitness competitors and bodybuilders.  

16:40 A high glycemic diet increases levels of glucose in the blood, causing alterations in gut hormones and the insulin to glucagon ratio.

17:10 To get into a fat burning physiologic state, you need low glucose, low insulin and elevated glucagon. The insulin to glucagon ratio helps to unlock stored fat, increases your liver’s synthesis of ketones, and helps your white fat behave more like brown fat, increasing your resting metabolic rate.

20:00 Weight centered approaches to weight loss does not lead to lasting improvements in muscle mass or cardio-respiratory or favorable changes in overall health risk.

20:43 Sustainable changes are made when focusing on improving fitness, strength, muscle mass, sleep quality, HRV lead, independent of weight loss.

21:00 Physically fit people, no matter their weight, have a significant reduction in all-cause mortality compared to unfit individuals of the same body weight category.

22:34 Weightlifting and interval training are better ways to reduce all-cause mortality and risk for severe COVID, improve cardio-respiratory fitness and better way to help with fat loss.

26:20 Eating less causes adaptive thermogenesis. Instead, you could practice time restricted feeding and eat higher quality food.

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