Staying healthy can be challenging; there is so much conflicting information regarding nutrition. Some health experts recommend not eating animal products and say that grains are okay while others suggest not eating any grains and herald meat and vegetables as the key components of an ideal diet. The recommendations are not consistent which often makes eating for health a guessing game.
Your body can tell you what it needs.
Over recent decades more information has come to light in the Western world to help eliminate the need to guess what is or is not right for you. We now know that different body shapes and sizes process foods differently. The science of biotypology, similar to the Ayurvedic concept of body types, presents a way for us to know what diet works best for the specific kind of body and digestion that we have.
The diet that is best for a tall, lean person with small bones is not the same diet that is healthy for a shorter, large-boned person. For example, Sandra Bullock and Jack Black have different body styles and their bodies actually absorb food differently. Additionally, the tall, lean person will have different motivations for eating than the large-boned person. One person may want to avoid stomach pain while the other wants to lose weight or gain more muscle. Working with your personal neurochemistry and motivation is the first step in dietary success.
So which diet is best for you?
The Low Fat, Low Carb, Paleo, and Mediterranean diets all claim that they are good for you, yet they are very different in what they recommend. Despite following these eating regimens regularly, Americans are less healthy than they’ve been, with statistics showing a continuing rise in heart disease and diabetes. Why are these diets not improving health? By and large, it’s because we are not eating according to our specific needs.
You can reach your optimal health – and weight – faster if you eat the foods that support your specific body type and needs. So let’s look at four popular diets and see who is likely to benefit the most from each one.
1. Low Carb Diet: This diet asks people to avoid carbohydrates and sugars. In this diet, one would avoid or limit grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils, peas), and simple carbohydrates found in many processed foods. Restricting this many food items is definitely not the best option for every body type.
Try if: If you are a mesomorph (medium-boned, muscular body type) and want a diet that helps you lose weight and allows you to enjoy the types of foods featured in low-carb diets this diet might work well for your body. If you are an endomorph (larger-boned body type with higher levels of body fat) this diet will suit your body’s needs well.
Skip if: If you have an ectomorph body type (small-boned with lower levels of muscle and body fat), you most likely stand to benefit from grains and high-calorie foods.
2. Low Fat Diet: This diet reduces overall intake of fats and is good for those who may need to control their cholesterol or who may have too much body fat.
Try if: If you have a mesomorph or endomorph body type, you are likely to benefit from eating lots of fresh foods, lean meats and a moderate amount of oils and other fat. If you have an endomorph body type, you may especially benefit from consuming limited amounts of fat.
Skip if: If you have an ectomorph body type, you may need high-calorie foods, especially if you tend to have a challenge with gaining weight. In this case, a low-fat diet wouldn’t support your needs very well.
3. Paleo: This diet is focused on only eating foods that one could hunt or gather naturally from the earth without farming. The diet restricts grains, is high in animal protein, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and is lower in fruit.
Try if: If you have a mesomorph body type, this is a great diet for you, especially if you focus on eating white meats. You have a strong digestive system when healthy and can break down animal proteins well. If you have the body type of an endomorph, you will do well on the Paleo Diet as well, as long as you eat more vegetables than meats.
Skip if: Paleo is not the best option for you if you have an ectomorph body type because you will do well with some grains and dairy in your diet.
4. Mediterranean: The traditional eating plan in Mediterranean countries is characterized by moderate consumption of protein, high consumption of vegetables, and lots of olive oil for fats instead of butter which is high in saturated fat.
Try if: You will benefit the most from this diet if you have an endomorph body type. You need large amounts of vegetables and not as much animal protein as others. You also do far better than other types with plant-based proteins.
Skip if: If you have a mesomorph body type and are an athlete or you work your body hard, this diet won’t necessarily provide all of the nutrients your body needs to keep up the demand on your muscles.
It’s not that these eating plans can’t lead people to be healthy. It’s just that some are great for some people and not great for other people. It is valuable to become aware of what works for us as individuals, to drop the generalized rules and advice we hear from magazines, practitioners and loved ones alike, and to discover what fits our bodies’ natural needs, wants, and motivations.
If you can accurately determine your body type, then you can have a better general sense of what is right for you to achieve your ideal health. And although this is a great way to begin to fine-tune your eating, it is just one important part that determines what types of foods and eating habits are best for you. To know exactly what’s right for you, try out the new technology ph360.me which accurately calculates your dietary and lifestyle requirements based on your body type and many other important facets of who you are.
The benefits to our health that we can anticipate when we eat according to our body’s natural preferences are immense. We hope you enjoy yours!