It is becoming more apparent every day that difficult words are being used to confuse people more and more. What is a metabolic typing diet? Ignore the difficult name, because in simple terms this is a diet that is tailored to your body type. We will go into more depth about these in just a moment. We’d just like to say that if you want to know if metabolic typing is legitimate, we strongly suggest reading the full article.
Let’s firstly discuss what is metabolism?
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is our body’s ability to convert calories into energy. In other words, it is our body’s ability to burn a number of calories at rest. For example, if you are sleeping, your metabolism will use up a number of calories for when you fiddle about, turn on different sides or even talk in your sleep.
Depending on the rate of your metabolism, will determine how easy it is for you to gain or lose weight.
What is your metabolic type?
Metabolic types are referring to your body types, and there are 3 body types, these are also known as metabolic type ID:
The autonomic nervous system, which is divided into sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, is responsible for the most important variations between these body types.
The sympathetic nervous system influences thermogenesis and energy balance.
The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, reduces respiration and heart rate while increasing digestion. As a result, the body’s metabolism slows down.
Some people may be sympathetic dominant and others can be mixed types.
The aim of the metabolic typing diet is to consume foods that are appropriate for your metabolic type. This can improve your overall health and even prevent certain diseases.
Whether you are a female or male, you will fall into this category if your body is tall and lean. You may struggle to build muscle or gain body fat. Even if you manage to gain any weight, you can drop it within a very short period.
This type of body type is also known as fat-protein efficient or fast oxidizers. A fat-protein efficient body is more parasympathetic dominant. Therefore, your eating plan should consist of mostly carbohydrates, medium-intake of protein, and limited fats.
We would say that this is probably the best body type, also known as mixed oxidizers because their bodies are a mixture between an endomorph and an ectomorph. If you are a mesomorph, you may be well-built or naturally muscular since your muscles are easily stimulated and responsive. Also, you may have a high metabolism. Your eating plan should consist of a moderate intake of all macronutrients.
Can mesomorphs build muscle easier than other body types?
There was a study done by Ryan-Stewart et al (2018) which looked into mesomorphs and ectomorphs abilities to build muscle. Whilst understanding that the way to build muscle is progressive overload, power output plays a major part in this too. The more power you can exert, the heavier weights you can lift.
This study tested the power exertion of mesomorphs and ectomorphs in back squats and bench press. These are the two main methods to test upper and lower body power.
The study demonstrated that mesomorphs performed better in squats and bench press compared to ectomorphs. This will be due to their genetics, their muscle tissues are very responsive and naturally quite strong.
If you are an endomorph, you may have noticed that you have a high tendency to gain weight. Your body may look pear-shaped but different people store fat in different areas. For example, women store body fat in hips and thighs due to genetics whereas some men may store body fat in hips or stomach. So, your body might not necessarily be pear-shaped.
However, if you feel like you gain weight quite easily and building muscle feels quite easy too then you might fall under this metabolic type id. This means that your body is opposite to being fat-efficient, you are more carbohydrate-efficient. With this type of body, you will most benefits from a low-carbohydrate, medium-protein to a high-fat diet. However, if you’re looking to gain weight, you should focus on strengthening the parasympathetic nervous system by eating a diet with moderate to high carbs (it really depends on what you’d like to achieve).
You can take a look at a proper diet breakdown below.
Are endomorphs at a disadvantage when losing weight or building muscle?
Some of the strongest people in the world are endomorphs. For example, Evan Centopani is an endomorph and you see nobody fat on him!
Thanks to their slow metabolisms, the calories they eat can contribute greatly to their muscle growth. Power output and strength are definitely in favour of endomorphs. However, they may struggle during long-term cardio exercises.
It is suspected that in a 600m sprint, an endomorph will start ahead of other racers thanks to the power exertion at the start, but by the time it gets to the finish line, they may struggle to keep up their endurance.
There was a study done by Busko et al (2017) which examined all 3 body types against their strength and power output in Basketball. The study reported that both ectomorphs and mesomorphs performed better in jump and maximum cycle speed trials compared to endomorphs. However, this study simply looked at basketball techniques, no weights were used. Therefore, endomorphs would not be in their best environment to perform better.
What is a metabolic typing diet?
We believe that the way this is worded is VERY misleading. However, we will try to leave our disappointment to the side.
The metabolic typing diet is based on people’s metabolisms. This means that, depending on what your body type is, you should consume more specific macronutrients compared to other macronutrients. Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and fats. Weston Price Foundation does an incredible job researching the relationship between nutrition and metabolism if you’re interested in taking a more in-depth look.
However, below we’ve summarised meal plans for each of the metabolic types.
The breakdown of macros for an ectomorph are as follows:
- 25% Protein
- 55% Carbohydrates
- 20% Fats
As we have explained before, ectomorphs are tall and slim which means their metabolisms are generally quite fast. Due to the fast metabolisms, they will require more carbohydrates if they are looking to gain any weight or muscle. Aside from that, they should consume a moderate amount of protein and fat.
The breakdown of macros for a mesomorph are as follows:
- 30% Protein
- 40% Carbs
- 30% Fats
Mesomorphs require a balanced diet to get the most out of their body type. This will allow them to grow muscle, without gaining as much body fat. Although their metabolisms may be fast, it doesn’t necessary mean that they do magic. If they overeat, they can still gain fat if regular exercise is not involved.
The breakdown of macros for an endomorph are as follows (Protein type):
- 35% protein
- 25% Carbs
- 40% Fats
Endomorphs have slow metabolisms which set them up at a disadvantage whenever they want to lose weight. As a result, they should limit the number of refined carbs they eat. Once carbs are digested, our body releases insulin which inhibits fats loss to a certain extent. Normally, this only occurs in small amounts. However, due to the slow metabolisms, endomorphs should limit carbs to help them burn fat more efficiently.
Healthy sources of macros
Healthy sources of protein
Protein sources that are low in saturated fat.
- Cottage cheese
- Eggs, especially egg whites
- Chicken breast (bones and skinless)
- Turkey Breast ( boneless and skinless)
- Lean beef
- Low fat or not fat cheese
- Low fat pork
- Milk protein isolate
- Whey protein
- Soy protein
Healthy sources of carbohydrates
Stay away from any refined grains or products where packaging states enriched or high fructose corn syrup.
- Sweet potato
- Oat meal and oat bran cereal
- Bran cereal
- Brown rice
- Wheat bread
- Low fat popcorn
Healthy sources of fats
- Omega 3 fish oils or capsules
- Flax seed oil
- Primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Olive oil
- Nuts, peanut butter
- Egg yolks
- Fish, especially salmon
In conclusion, we have established at the beginning that all 3 body types have different genes. The earlier stated studies report that body types are limited in strength and power output due to certain genes. However, there are NO studies to say that diet composition will help them become better or make them worst in ANY way.
You also need to understand, that metabolism and metabolic rate changes over time. If you are an endomorph, it does not mean that you will have a slow metabolism for the rest of your life. You just need to speed it up.
We know you must’ve heard about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Despite him being a mesomorph which is supposedly given him magic abilities to grow muscles, he STILL CANNOT grow his ankle muscles. Why? Simply because no matter how hard he trained, those ankles did not reflect that due to his genes. Of course, in the end he used steroids, but naturally, he wasn’t able to grow them in size.
You can’t trick your genes, you need to accept your body for the way it is and work with it. Going by the above diet composition won’t do any damage. However, it can create an imbalance between your macronutrients. This can lead to some issues in the future. For example, minimising certain macronutrients will also limit your access to some micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), which can lead to bouts of depression, exhaustion and even reduced motivation.
So what does this mean?
Whether you are an endomorph, mesomorph or an ectomorph, you can eat WHATEVER you want to in moderation.
If you eat at a caloric deficit, you will lose weight whether you eat carbohydrates or not. As long as you eat fewer calories than what your body requires to maintain weight, you will still lose weight.
If you eat at a caloric surplus, you will gain weight no matter of what your macro nutrient breakdown is.
What can you do?
If you are an endomorph or a mesomorph wanting to lose weight, you need to focus on speeding up your metabolism. There are various ways of doing this, check out our article on what metabolism is and how to speed it up.
If you are an ectomorph wanting to gain weight, you need to eat at a caloric surplus.
At the end of the day, the biggest driver of weight loss or weight gain are CALORIES. No matter where they come from.
You should read Fat Loss Forever book written by Dr. Layne Norton and Dr Patel. They dive into EVERYTHING you need to know about fat burning. It is very science based but the structure and tone throughout the book make it really easy to read. We read this book about 3 times already and nowhere, do they mention metabolic typing. This is because diet composition will not hinder your progress no matter what your body type is. Simply, calories in vs calories out.
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Buśko, K., Pastuszak, A., Lipinska, M. and Gryko, K. (2019). Somatotype variables related to strength and power output in male basketball players. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28869627 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].
doctoroz.com. (2019). Eat Right for Your Metabolism Type. [online] Available at: https://www.doctoroz.com/article/your-metabolism-type-diet [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].
Ibáñez-Zamacona, M., Poveda, A. and Rebato, E. (2019). Contribution of obesity associated genetic variants to anthropometric somatotype components. [online] 76(2). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30907917 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].
Ryan-Stewart, H., Faulkner, J. and Jobson, S. (2018). The influence of somatotype on anaerobic performance. [online] 13(5). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29787610 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].
Wong, C. (2019). Should You Try the Metabolic Typing Diet?. [online] Verywell Fit. Available at: https://www.verywellfit.com/the-metabolic-typing-diet-89876 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].