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Metabolic Typing and its Role in Weight Loss

By John M. Burgstiner

Diets, diets everywhere!  Diet pills, diet drinks (uggh!), diet plans... some of which are dangerous (especially the pills), all of which are confusing and contradictory.  Why does one diet give tremendous results to your neighbor and make you feel like death warmed over?  Or as the ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius asked, why is it that one man's medicine is another man's poison?  According to Metabolic Typing experts like Bill Walcott, the answer lies in your genes.
What is Metabolic Typing?

Metabolic Typing is a system of analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting one s inherited patterns of metabolism that dictate his or her individual responses to foods and nutrients.  We all inherit specific patterns of biochemical and neurological strengths and weaknesses that determine our individual nutritional requirements.

There is no objective blood test that will identify your metabolic type.  Blood tests can tell you if you are over-consuming proteins, carbs or fats in general, but they can't tell you which ones to eat or avoid or in what amounts.

Different metabolic types have specific patterns of metabolism (like a constellation) that are identified through computer analysis of a weighted questionnaire (Health Excel). Once your metabolic type is identified, careful study of your reactions to types and combinations of food is needed to rebalance and fine tune your metabolism.

There are three distinct Metabolic Types: Protein, Mixed and Carb.  According to researchers, each is equally represented in the population.

Not a New Idea   

Five thousand years ago, the concept of Metabolic Typing was proposed in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. In 1919, Francis Pottenger published "Symptoms of Visceral Disease - Food and the Autonomic Nervous System, the first modern paper to discuss the merits of Metabolic Typing. He embarked on an exhaustive study of different cultures in order to investigate his theory.            

In the 1930's, another great pioneer of nutrition in medicine, Weston Price linked diet and genes studying 14 indigenous cultures in which there appeared to be no degenerative illness. The work of these pioneers showed us what we already instinctively know: There is no such thing as a one size fits all diet!

There are Two Major Homeostatic Control Sytems in the Body:

1. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) - Serves as the master regulator of metabolism. Autonomic nerve fibers go to every cell of the body, controlling subliminal body functions such as breathing, heart rate, and basal metabolism. The ANS is made up of two complementary but opposing systems: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.

    The Sympathetic System (think of Fight or Flight) involves activities where energy is being consumed. The sympathetic dominant person has stronger organs (anterior pituitary, thyroid, adrenal medulla, heart, kidneys) and is characterized by an increased metabolic rate. Their body type is tall, lean, large pupils, pale skin, weak digestion, acid body pH, dry skin, and slow healing.

    The Parasympathetic System (think Digest & Repair) involves regeneration of the body (generally more active at night). The parasympathetic person has weaker organs and is characterized by a decreased metabolic rate. Their body type is short, wide, gains weight easily, small pupils, ruddy complexion, alkaline body pH, sweats easily, oily moist skin, and fast healing.

Dominance: There is a constant interplay between sympathetic and parasympathetic systems in which glands and organs are stimulated or inhibited by each (Examples: heart rate, digestion).  The strength or weaknesses of those responses determines your metabolic type.  Dominance of either system indicates a fundamental metabolic imbalance.

Balanced or Mixed Type - Neither system is dominant (no fundamental imbalances exist).

2. The Oxidative System- (George Watson) - Nutrition and the Mind

The Oxidative System controls how efficiently carbohydrates are converted into energy in the cells. It is made up of two types - Fast Oxidizers and Slow Oxidizers.

Fast Oxidizers (Parasympathetic Dominant) are Protein types. They produce and consume energy faster, so protein (which breaks down slower) is needed to maintain level insulin and blood sugar levels. They are most susceptible to damage from refined sugar and grains. The faster you burn fuel, the more wastes are created, which means more aches, pains and inflammation. Protein types are sometimes called purine types because they need meats that contain purines (dark, rich meats).

Slow Oxidizers (Sympathetic Dominant) are Carb types. They produce energy slower, so carbs (which break down faster) are needed to maintain level insulin and blood sugar levels.

Metabolic Typing Theory holds that by eating the right kinds of foods in the right order (eat the food that most pushes you toward metabolic balance first), you can balance your metabolic strengths and weaknesses to improve the efficiency of your cellular energy production. Cellular energy is the key to metabolic typing theory because:

Happy cells make happy tissues; happy tissues make happy organs and glands which make happy metabolic control systems, and happy metabolic control systems means a happy you!

The Result: Metabolic Balance

Proponents of Metabolic Typing claim that by simply identifying your particular metabolic profile, you can have more peaceful energy, relaxed alertness, emotional poise, mental clarity, and positive mood.  Because your cells have balanced nutrition, cravings disappear and ideal weight is eventually achieved.

What about Blood Type (Dr. D Adamo)?

Blood type has a role to play in understanding biochemical individuality, but it is secondary to metabolic typing because it has nothing to do with the autonomic nervous system (master regulator of metabolism) or the oxidative system (which controls energy production in the body). 

Knowing your blood type tells you a few foods that should be eliminated from your diet, but it doesn't help with the right foods or ascertaining the proper protein/carb/fat ratio for an individual.  According to Mercola's clinical findings, metabolic types are evenly distributed among different blood types.

Seven Steps to Vibrant Health and Natural Weight Loss

   1. Take the Metabolic Typing Health Excel Intermediate Questionnaire (
   2. Eat the right foods for your MT in the right order, and in a relaxed environment.
   3. Chew thoroughly and don t overeat!
   4. Take your supplements!
   5. Get regular exercise (mandatory for happy cells!)
   6. Plan and prepare your meals.  Avoid refined or processed foods.
   7. Before you can eat right for your MT, you must shop right for your MT!

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