Metabolic Typing

by Ben Wilson

Metabolic typing is the buzz across the industry at the moment. Read on to find out why the science is dominating the headlines and how it should be used if your clients are trying to lose weight or improve their health.

Metabolic typing is the science of personalized nutrition. It is a highly accurate system of determining the foods and nutrients your body needs. Metabolic typing answers the foundational questions of nutrition by telling you:

  1. What to eat
  2. How much to eat
  3. What foods to specifically avoid
  4. All other aspects of nutrition including supplements, food quality, etc.

Before I discuss how metabolic typing answers these fundamentals, I must first explain to you why this science is necessary. The health of a food is not so much related to the qualities of the food but instead to the qualities of the food and it's relationship to your body. You've probably had clients who do not lose much weight despite sticking to a fairly "healthy" diet. The reason behind this is that the "healthy" diet they are following (or trying to follow!) is in fact unhealthy for them specifically. To label a food as "healthy," it must have a balancing effect on one's body chemistry (metabolic type).

The reasons healthy foods differ between individuals stems from the way humans have evolved into such unique individuals. To understand this, first ask yourself how many people look exactly the same as you in appearance? The answer is most likely no one, and yet all of us have the same features (i.e., nose, eyes, mouth, etc). Inside we are the same. We all have the same structures, organs, tissues and enzymes, and yet the size, efficiency and concentration of these varies greatly between individuals, just as our external appearance. The variety seen within us has occurred from thousands of years of evolution. As humans moved across the globe, they adapted to the foods before them through natural selection. This caused humans to adapt differently among the many international tribal groups. This was confirmed by Dr. Weston A. Price, who charted the vast differences seen in native tribes. The starkest contrast was between the Eskimos who ate a diet almost totally of protein and fat from seal and fish to the South American tribes who ate an almost totally carbohydrate diet from fruit and berries. Think how many fruits grow in the artic circle? Humans had to adapt to living off the other foods available, or they would have died. Despite this total contradiction of diets observed by Dr. Price, neither group showed any signs of cancer, heart disease, dental problems or mental illness.

The evidence showed that humans adapted to their natural environment just like any other animal. The problem today is that we cannot chart our genetic heritage. Natural selection happens over many generations. It is almost impossible and unwise to look at your family tree to discover what foods to eat. The answer is metabolic typing, designed to discover your unique nutritional needs as you function and live today.

To briefly review the scientific basis of metabolic typing, the theory analyzes 10 systems within the body thought to control all the behavior of the millions of chemicals reactions that occur in your body. To be truly healthy, you first need to discover where your 10 systems lie at the moment. You then need to consume the foods and nutrients that seek to balance these while avoiding any nutrients that will disrupt the systems. Using metabolic typing, we can answer the fundamental questions outlined previously.

What Should I Eat?

It is the role of the main two systems that provide the exact answer to this question. In order to know what you need to eat, you must be classified along your autonomic nervous system and oxidation system. In simple terms, the autonomic nervous system regulates involuntary action, as of the intestines, heart and glands. The oxidation system refers to how the body processes food to produce energy.

It is possible to classify people along these systems by looking at traits associated with different ends of the two systems. For example, if you have a client who has strong hunger, they are showing one sign of a fast oxidation rate. Those who do not want to eat very often are showing a slow oxidation trait. When you analyze a further 150 of these traits associated within each system, it is possible to build a picture of your body’s behavior and classify you along these two systems.

Your classification along these systems is what is known as your metabolic type. Further analysis of the other eight systems gives a more detailed look at your metabolic type, allowing higher levels of health to be attained.

Once your metabolic type is known, it is vital you eat the foods to balance your systems. For example, if your oxidation system was too fast, we would eat foods to slow your system down. Or if the fight or flight (sympathetic) branch of your nervous system was too strong, we would support the other rest and recovery branch (parasympathetic) by eating the appropriate, stimulating foods.

Putting the science of metabolic typing aside, the main thing you need to know is there is no one diet or food that will balance everyone’s body chemistry. Therefore, in order to be healthy, you must know exactly where you are at the moment and which foods are needed to balance your systems. For example, certain vegetables commonly believed to be "good for us" can in fact unbalance certain metabolic types.

A final point to note is the difference between this and the traditional protein, carbohydrate and mixed metabolic typing protocol. This is an easy to use but less specific analysis. This more simplistic test often does not reveal the true metabolic type of many people and does not classify people along the two major systems. The reason it works is that the fast oxidizers and parasympathetics have similar needs as do sympathetic and slow oxidizers. However, there are many real and significant differences between the classifications. It is a question of how far you want to take your health. Do you want to use the general guide, or do you want to find out the specific foods that will make you and your clients truly healthy?

How Much Should I Eat?

When you are eating the right foods, you will go a long way towards achieving your goals. To complement this, you must also eat these foods in the right amounts. This is important because, to ensure metabolic typing is successful and allow the body to be healthy, the cells must be able to effectively utilize energy. This can occur only when the cells receive everything they need in the right amounts. This depends very much on the type of food you eat (as determined above) but also the relative ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fat consumed.

We do not all need to consume the same amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat at each meal. Each metabolic type will have a ball park amount that should be explored based on what the body needs. This can vary greatly between individuals, even those of the same metabolic type. It also varies during different times of the day.

When the right amounts are consumed, the body effectively can produce energy within the cells. This gives off a series of positive body language signals (e.g., high energy, low food cravings, etc). When the wrong proportions are eaten, negative reactions occur such as sugar cravings, hunger pangs soon after eating, energy dips, etc. These are all signs that the meal was miscalculated and in need of further investigation. This is central to metabolic typing programs and ensures clients achieve long term results.

What Foods Should I Avoid?

Metabolic typing looks closely at the issues of what foods to avoid, as this can upset the balance in one or more of the body’s 10 systems. Primary to the theory is avoiding non metabolically correct foods. Remember, this includes certain vegetables and fruits.

Isolating intolerances to certain foods is vital to success. A food intolerance is the negative reactions of the body to a certain food source. It occurs because the body has difficulty in handling the food for a variety of reasons. Any food can become intolerant to your body, but it is usually the most commonly eaten foods that develop into intolerances, especially those with certain properties, making them more difficult to handle. Some very common food intolerances include pasteurized dairy, wheat (gluten) and oats. Any health attempt will be totally undermined if you are eating foods to which you are intolerant.

To lose weight, it is essential you allow your endocrine glands to be at their optimal health. This fundamental system looks at which one gland is more active in comparison to others. These glands (adrenal, thyroid, pituitary and ovaries) will influence the pattern in which you store your body fat. Look at your clients. Do they store most of their fat below the waist? On their stomachs? All over their bodies? These are clues about the internal body chemistry of the endocrine glands. It is believed over reliance on the specific foods that excite your dominant gland can play a major role in fat storage. To lose fat, we therefore restrict the specific foods that stimulate your dominant gland, allowing balance to be restored to this system.

Blood type influences are dependent on the blood type interactions with specific proteins called lectins. In certain individuals, this can cause food intolerances, immune responses and agglutination of the blood, leading to many negative health complaints. Therefore, the blood type recommendations refer to which foods to avoid within the nutrition plan.

Other Issues

Food quality and preparation technique are a foundation of any metabolic typing regime. Eating inferior food products can completely undermine the effect of that food on your metabolic type. In addition to this, metabolic typing looks at the issues of supplements and tailors a few specific supplements to increase metabolism, restore and maintain digestive function and make up for the short fall of current nutrition practices.

In summary, metabolic typing allows you to discover exactly what foods to eat, how much of them to eat and what foods to avoid. It covers all aspects of nutrition and supplements. It is rapidly growing because it is the most sophisticated and accurate system of finding out your individual needs. Its rise in popularity is because it gets amazing results with all types of clients.

References:

  1. Abravanel. The Body Typing Diet. Bantam.
  2. Chek, Paul. How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  3. Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. ProMotion Publishing, 1995.
  4. Power, Laura. Dietary Lectins: Food Intolerances and Blood Type.
  5. Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Price-Pottenger Foundation.
  6. Wolcott, William and Fahey, Trish. The Metabolic Typing Diet. Doubleday.
  7. Williams, Roger. Biochemical Individuality. Keats.
  8. Watson, George. Nutrition and Your Mind. Bantam.