If you’ve ever tried a diet, you’ll know where I’m coming from. Once in a while, the diet just doesn’t work. Unlike all the great stories in the diet book you bought, you just don’t seem to have lost the 10 (or more!) pounds promised in the first week. You start to feel bad, start to stray from the diet, and soon enough you’re back where you were, but $24.95 poorer.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen people successful on a variety of nutrition plans. The unfortunate side note is there’s no consistent “success secret” common to all of these people. So we keep searching for the best way.
Somehow, in this search, I end up reading even the most ridiculous diet books. One of them was Eat Right For Your Blood Type, which is mostly a pile of poo based on pseudoscience. Not surprisingly, none of the “science” cited by the author has been backed up by any legitimate scientist anywhere. Add to this a list of diets such as the cabbage diet, the cottage cheese diet, and The Russian Air Force diet. Needless to say, when I heard Dr. John Berardi start to talk about eating right for your body type, I almost dismissed him altogether.
Before I quit listening, though, he described how a person’s body type, or somatotype, whether it be ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph, can steer the way one should eat. Naturally, not everyone falls neatly into one of these categories, but most of us will be able to find a best fit. Note that even though you might be carrying extra fat, you’re not automatically an endomorph. Likewise, just having a low body fat number does not make you an ectomorph.
The take-home here is that no diet is ideal for everyone, and you might very well need to eat differently than your spouse or best friend to see good results. What Dr. Berardi recommends is as follows:
Ectomorphs – or, those thin individuals characterized by smaller bone structures, and typically thinner limbs – think endurance athlete – tend to be thyroid and SNS dominant with either higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines – like epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Interestingly, this profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a higher carbohydrate tolerance.
As a result, ectomorphs do best on higher carb diets with moderate protein intake and lower fat in the diet. A typical ballpark for this type of athlete would be around 55% carbs in the diet, 25% protein, and 20% fat
Mesomorphs – or those individuals characterized by a medium sized bone structure and athletic bodies holding a significant amount of lean mass – think gymnasts – tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant.
This profile obviously leads to a propensity for muscle gain and the maintenance of a low body fat.
As a result, mesomorphs typically do best on a mixed diet, consisting of a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Indeed, in this type of individual, a zone-style diet works quite well. And this would consist of about 40% carbohydrate in the diet, 30% protein, and 30% fat.
Endomorphs – or those individuals characterized by a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass – think power lifters – tend to be insulin dominant.
This profile leads to a greater propensity to store energy – both in lean as well as fat compartments. It also leads to a lower carbohydrate tolerance.
As a result, endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrates being better controlled. A typical range for this type of athlete would be around 25% carbs in the diet, 35% protein, and 40% fat.
Dr. Berardi’s advice is not a fool-proof, perfect diet plan. It is a starting point to think through what you’re doing and how you might fix it. If you’re confused, I’m not surprised. I study this crap all the time and I still get mixed up. Bottom line: If you feel great and like the way you look, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not happy with your health and the way you look, make a change, but be smart about it.