Eat For Your Body's Needs: The Metabolic Type Theory
Andreea Macoveiciuc | On 28, Nov 2013
As part of the nutrition and fitness online community, I spend lots of time interacting with people who are passionate about healthy eating and exercising as main ways of staying in shape. And what I’ve noticed is that although most people – men and women – dislike dieting, they still do it at a certain point, mainly because they think they have to diet in order to drop excess weight.
But let me ask you one thing: if you knew you can maintain a lean and healthy body while eating your favorite foods, would you still want to try those restrictive diets that cut off the tastiest dishes and only provide temporary results?
Look at the picture below. Which of these foods looks the most appealing to you?
If you picked the roasted chicken, you’re a protein person. If you chose the carrot, you’re the carbs type, and if you picked the cheese, you have a mixed type metabolism. Never heard of these terms before? Then let me explain them for you!
The three metabolic types
There’s a theory out there saying that each person is built differently and each stomach is different as well. You’re surely familiar with the term metabolism, but you probably don’t know how your metabolism can turn into your best friend and a trustful ally when it comes to maintaining your proper body weight.
The metabolic rate indicates how fast and how efficiently your body digests foods and turns them into usable energy. The typical source of energy for the human body is represented by carbohydrates. Carbs can be either simple or complex; simple carbs, such as those found in sugar, honey, candies and even in fruits and fruit juices, are digested faster and provide energy for immediate needs. This is why most of us feel tempted to grab a piece of chocolate when we’re tired and need a quick energy boost.
Complex carbs on the other hand are digested slower so the body produces usable energy over a longer time interval, after receiving complex carbohydrates. This is why nutritionists recommend eating a banana or a bowl of oatmeal if you want to feel energized for longer.
Then, proteins can also be an efficient source of energy, and some people prefer eating foods rich in proteins, such as meat, legumes or certain seeds and nuts. People who prefer proteins are more likely to pick a small sausage as a midday snack instead of a bowl of cereals for example.
And third, your body uses fats to produce energy, this being the last important category of nutrients you get from foods. If you’re the type who prefers fat-rich foods, you’re more likely to have a cup of milk and some yogurt for breakfast than a typical English meal for example.
Until recently, there was this unrealistic theory saying that the only effective diet is the one that’s low in carbs and fats, and high in proteins. However, studies have showed that people are indeed built differently and thus they have different nutritional needs. And this is how the metabolic type theory appeared.
What this theory says is that people are divided mainly in three categories: protein type, carbs type and mixed type.
Protein type people burn protein-rich foods more efficiently, so they should be eating mostly this type of products. Carbs people process carbohydrates in a more effective manner, so they’re recommended to eat mostly carbs, while mixed type people are suggested to eat equal amounts of foods rich in fats, carbs and proteins.
Why should you eat for your metabolic type?
At this point you might be asking yourself how is this piece of information going to help you. Let’s assume you’re happy with how your body looks like but you often feel tired, moody, lack energy and have cravings for unhealthy foods. The metabolic type theory isn’t designed only for people who want to drop extra pounds, but also for those who want to improve their overall health state by picking those foods their bodies were actually built to eat. Or in other words, finding that mix of nutrients that’s the best for your body.
So why should you be eating for your metabolic type? Lots of studies have been taken on the actual benefits of metabolic type dieting, and here are some of the effects found by scientists:
- more energy
- better mood
- better weight management in the long run
- feeling full and satisfied after meals
- less often food cravings
- better mental clarity
- free of fatigue and irritability
- better immunity
- lower risk for common health disorders
- decreased signs of aging
- normalized blood sugar levels
- better-quality sleep
- optimal inflammatory response
And the list could go on, so please take a moment to answer these questions: would you like to experience all those benefits and to take charge of your health without dramatic diet changes? Would you like to feel lighter, move easier, have plenty of energy and see your skin looking better day after day? Would you like to see your body transforming into its best version possible without giving up your favorite – and healthy! – foods?
I inserted “healthy” here because it’s essential, at this point, to understand that the metabolic type diet doesn’t say one can eat dozens of doughnuts weekly and get the body of a model. This theory is built around healthy foods, just like any other diet plan out there.
So if you answered “yes” to these questions, keep reading to learn how to identify your metabolic type!
How to identify your metabolic type
Some people crave for fatty, salty foods and prefer eating a plate of chicken, fish, pork or liver instead of a bowl of pasta. Others have a sweet tooth and would rather grab a freshly baked chocolate croissant and a cup of black coffee than an omelet with bacon.
Cravings are usually the main culprit behind weight gain, so if you manage to find those foods that can satisfy your cravings without putting your weigh and health at risk, you can get rid of the extra pounds and build a lean and attractive body without having to struggle with restrictive diets!
The easiest way to identify your metabolic type is to take one of the tests that can be find online, as these are pretty accurate. However, these general guidelines are useful as well:
You’re the protein type if you feel hungry frequently, can’t follow low-calorie diets, you’re often tired, crave for fatty foods and feel anxious and nervous when you’re hungry. Unless your snacks provide some qualitative proteins, you’re usually not satisfied and still feel hungry after grabbing a quick snack. When you eat sweet foods, your appetite for sugar increases even if your stomach doesn’t tolerate sweets well and you’re not usually into carbs. In fact, eating lots of sweets makes your energy levels drop.
The protein type burns proteins more efficiently than carbs so if you’re this type, you should eat 50% proteins, 30% fats and 20% carbs. Eat plenty of fish, chicken, lean beef and pork, enjoy cream, eggs and cheese in moderate amounts and have some fresh fruits and veggies as well, but limit the intake of refined grains, bread, cereals and other carb-rich foods, and your body will be forever thankful.
You’re the carbs type if you don’t struggle with hunger pangs and have an overall weak appetite, but find it difficult to say no to sweet desserts. Your organism tolerates sweets well, meaning that your stomach doesn’t get upset when you have a piece of cake. You tend to drink coffee in very large amounts and find it more efficiently to boost your energy levels with a cup of coffee than with a snack.
In fact, you can go for extended periods without eating and without feeling hungry. You’re often so absorbed by your work that you “forget to eat” and skip meals when your schedule is too busy, without feeling hunger pangs. But your metabolic rate is lower and you’re more likely to have problems with your weight than the protein type persons.
The carbs type processes carbohydrates better, so if you’re this type you should eat 70% carbs, 20% proteins and 10% fats. Your meals should consist in plenty of vegetables, grains, cereals and fruits as well as in low amounts of fish, chicken, red meat and eggs. You should limit the intake of dairy, nuts and seeds, oils and butter.
You’re the mixed type if you love all food! I’m not kidding, mixed type persons crave for sweets just as they crave for pickles, so you’re this type if you do feel hungry when your eating hour approaches, but don’t struggle with hunger pangs in between meals, and if you usually incorporate all groups of foods in your dishes.
The mixed type burns proteins just as efficiently as carbs and fats, so you can enjoy mixed meals, made of cheese, whole grains, lean meat, olive oil and fresh foods at the same time. Still, keep in mind that a basic nutrition principle says the simpler the meal is, the easier the stomach digests it, so avoid mixing more than 3 types of foods in the same dish.
If you opt for a tuna salad, you have proteins and carbs and it’s more than enough to keep you satisfied, so avoid adding bread crumbs and feta as well. Your stomach will enjoy and digest it, but it will take more time for the entire meal to be processed and this may cause fatigue, as your body will use its energy mainly for digesting the foods.
Diet is an ugly word and I’m pretty sure it stands for “Do I (really have to) Eat That?”, so forget about the myth saying that you HAVE to diet if you want to look and feel better. You don’t need to punish your body when you have the alternative of looking great while eating the foods that you actually enjoy. Identifying your metabolic type and eating accordingly can be the key, so why not giving it a try?
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