[NOTE! I decided the original posting I wrote was a little hard to digest (pun intended). I’ve revised it to make the info more practical for everyone.]
Especially over the past two decades, a debate has been raging about the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat for humans to eat. It started with the “low fat” diets of the early 90s, and then switched to the more recent “low carb” and “high protein” diets. All of them have evidence to support their claims and you’ll find many scientists, nutritionists, trainers, athletes and regular people who will swear by one of them. Everyone’s got an opinion about what will make you fat or thin – but it’s usually based on a combination of their own and other people’s experience and ignorance. Don’t trust them.
You Are Unique
The problem is trying to find one diet to rule them all. The truth is that different people have different basic needs — as well as different needs in different situations. Your optimal diet depends on many factors, including these major ones:
- Metabolic Type: How your body is engineered to use food and energy.
- Lifestyle: Your activity type and level (eg, athlete) or sedentary (eg, potato).
- Age: You have different needs at different stages of life.
- Health: Whether you are healthy or sick, stressed, fatigued, or depressed.
Diesel, Unleaded & Hybrid: 3 Different Energy Bodytypes
About ten years ago, solid research about how different bodies use food became more public with the original book, The Metabolic Typing Diet, by William Wolcott.
There are three main types of bodies (“metabolic types”) that use nutrients differently. If your body doesn’t get the right balance of what it needs, it will have excesses and deficiencies. Whenever there is nutrient excess, then increased fat storage, fatigue and unhealthiness is likely. Whenever there is nutrient efficiency, then fatigue, muscle-loss, and poor health are likely. So this is why some people stay lean and energized on carbs while others don’t.
The 3 Metabolic Types are:
- Slow Oxidizers (“Carbo Types”) Need a high-carb diet.
- Fast Oxidizers (“Protein Types”) Need high-protein, high-fat.
- Mixed Oxidizers (“Mixed Types”) Need medium quantities of all.
Know Your Metabolic Type NOW!
Your metabolic type is mainly based on your genetics, but can change with training and aging. When I used to compete as an endurance athlete many years ago, I was a Carbo Type. Since then, I’ve gained much more muscle and am now a Mixed Type. With both diets, my bodyfat stayed between 6-8% — but I experimented with a high-protein diet, my bodyfat went up and my energy and health went down.
The quickest way to discover your Metabolic Type is either by taking the longer quiz in The Metabolic Typing Diet and other books, or a brief, free version online:
Once you’ve discovered your energy type, you can know the balance of calories you should be getting from carbs, protein and fat:
- Carbo Types: 70% Carbs – 15% Protein – 15% Fat
- Protein Types: 30% Cabs – 40% Protein – 30% Fat
- Mixed Types: 50% Carbs – 30% Protein – 20% Fat
World Class Proof: Different Eats for Different Athletes
Tour de France machine Lance Armstrong is ripped as a Carbo Type…
Read about his diet here.
(Sorry about the nudity, guys – try googling a pic of him without a yellow jersey…).
Buakaw: also ripped to the max — but on a Mixed Diet. From what I observed and ate while training in Thailand, the healthy Thai boxer’s diet is a good mix of meat and seafood, vegetables, plenty of red or white rice, and noodles.
This is your first and most important step to laying down a solid foundation of nutrition for your unique body. Next month, I’ll get into details about refining your diet for training, weight-loss, muscle-gain, and other goals.
Web Nutrition Resources
Here are some other online web resources for you to explore and use for your nutrition knowledge and tracking:
NutritionData.com An amazingly comprehensive database of food values
FitDay.com A simple way to log your foods and track your diet.
May this help you.