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What Is YOUR Right Diet?
Diet Success – Know Your Nutritional Typing
Have you reached the realization that nutrition is important if you ever want to get well and stay well? But you may also have found the field of nutrition quite baffling. With more information available now than ever before, it is hard to find what’s really right for you or to decide just what you should do.
The information explosion has brought more confusion than clarity to your quest for health. As a result, you may have found yourself asking questions like:
- Why is it that my best friend’s nutritional supplements work absolute miracles, but make me feel lousy?
- How can one best selling book say one thing about nutrition, and the other bestseller say just the opposite?
- Why will a certain diet give my friend energy and help to lose weight but make me tired and gain weight?
- Why can’t I get rid of my candida overgrowth problem, even though I’ve followed an “anti-candida” diet?
- How can someone eat the best organic foods, take the finest nutritional supplements, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly… and still not feel well?
Or maybe your concern is with more serious issues like…
- Why are two thirds of Americans overweight?
- How can so many people be obese when people are more diet-, health- and exercise-conscious than ever before?
- Why is degenerative disease skyrocketing?
- Why are younger and younger people falling prey to diseases of the aged?
- Why are cancer, heart disease and diabetes increasing each year?
And if you’re a health professional working with nutrition, you may also be baffled by questions such as…
- Why does a low fat, low protein, high complex carbohydrate diet raise cholesterol in some people instead of lower it like it does in other people?
- Why does taking a nutritional product or protocol help one person with a problem but not another with the same problem?
- If nutrition is so important, why doesn’t it work for so many people?
Everywhere you look, there are contradictions. Your friend tells you one thing. You read about just the opposite in a health magazine. And a hot new bestseller at your local book store says something quite different altogether. In fact, that’s another problem – wall-to-wall books on health and nutrition, most of which just contradict each other.
And, maybe you’ve learned from your own experience that what works for one person, doesn’t help a second and can actually make a third person worse! Don’t worry, it’s not you. Even scientific researchers are confused by their findings because most studies on nutrients conclude that while helpful to a certain percentage of people with a certain condition, the studied nutrients don’t help or even worsen the same condition in other test subjects.
So how can there be so much confusion and contradiction about something that is supposed to be so good for you?
The unfortunate reason is that the majority of the people talking about nutrition know just enough to be dangerous. They know that nutrition can be the answer, but they don’t know how to use it properly. And, yes, it is a two-edged sword: If you use it properly, it can help make you well. But, make no mistake. If you use it improperly, it can help make you sick or keep you that way. You know. Take this nutrient for that condition. A magic bullet.One standard nutritional remedy for each problem or a universal diet that is supposed to work for everyone.
But, your own experience and all the contradictory books and articles that you’ve ever read, aside from making the field of nutrition confusing, frustrating and sometimes downright baffling, have already shown you that this approach doesn’t work. And your common sense agrees. You know that you are unique! You know one shoe size doesn’t fit all. You know that everyone is as unique as their fingerprints. So, why would anyone ever think that one diet is right for everyone? Or, that what works nutritionally for one person would work for another as well?
The fact is, you really can eat the best organic foods, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, get sufficient rest, take the finest supplements that money can buy… and still not feel well, or even start feeling worse than before! So, what is the answer? The answer is to find out what is right for you!
Not what some book says. Not what a friend says. Not what the latest fad says is right. You need to find out exactly what is right for YOU! A nutritional program that is tailored specifically for your kind of metabolism and that will meet the special and unique nutritional needs of the one and only you. Bottom line? Unless you match your nutrition to your metabolism, you’ll only be wasting your time and money!
So why is it so hard to find right answers? How do you know who to believe or who to trust?
The answer is to this universal dilemma is that for decades, the wrong questions have been asked. Ask wrong questions and you’re bound to get wrong answers to your needs. The problem is that the quest for the “holy grail” in nutrition has been to find that “right diet,” that “healthy diet” that is right for all people. And the quest has been to find the one right nutritional protocol for each condition.
But what has been missed is the undeniable fact that on a biochemical level each of us is as unique as we are in our fingerprints. Actually our uniqueness extends far beyond just our fingerprints and encompasses virtually every aspect of ourselves – personality, behavior, temperament, external physical traits, internal size, shape, placement and efficiency of all of our organs and glands, and rates of our cellular metabolism. Simply put, our DNA is unique.
Standardized nutritional approaches fail to recognize that, for genetic reasons, people are all very different from one another on a biochemical or metabolic level. Due to widely varying hereditary influences, we all process or utilize foods and nutrients very differently. Thus, the very same nutritional protocol that enables one person to lead a long healthy life full of robust health can cause serious illness in someone else. As the ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius once said, “One man’s food is another’s poison.” It turns out, his statement is quite literally true.
What accounts for all this metabolic individuality?
At any given point in time, there are a number of factors that determine peoples’ unique nutritional requirements, but none is more significant than a person’s ancestral heritage. It’s a matter of classic Darwinian principles of evolution and adaptation, natural selection, genetic mutation and survival of the fittest. Over thousands of years of evolutionary history, people in different parts of the world developed very specific dietary needs as an adaptation mechanism, in response to many unique aspects of their habitats and lifestyles – including climate, geography, vegetation, and naturally occurring food supplies.
As an example, people from cold northern regions of the world have historically relied very heavily on animal protein, simply because that’s the primary food source available in wintry climates. Thus they have radically different nutritional needs than people from tropical regions, where the environment is rich in vegetative diversity year round.
In the early part of the 20th century, a brilliant scientist by the name of Weston Price, DDS, demonstrated this in no uncertain terms. He traveled all over the world and sought out all the indigenous populations to study their diet and their health. His discoveries were remarkable and extremely important. What he discovered was that:
The diets of all the indigenous peoples were tremendously varied (being dependent on geography, climate and the food stuffs naturally available) Yet those indigenous people who followed their ancestral diets were robustly healthy. But those who moved away or for other reasons strayed from their ancestral diet developed degenerative processes.
What can we learn from this?
First and foremost, there is no one diet that is right for everyone, i.e., there never has been and there never will be a universally healthy diet.
Second, the only healthy diet is the one that meets one’s genetically-based requirements – not what some book or diet expert says is right. Eat a diet that is right for your metabolic type and not only can you stay healthy but you can reverse degenerative conditions as well.
Third, there are no good foods and there are no bad foods, except in terms of foods that are right or wrong for your genetic makeup.
Think meat is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Inuit (Eskimo) who eats up to 10 pounds of meat a day, yet there isn’t even a word in their language for cancer or heart disease. Think a high carb diet is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Quetchus of South America or the East Indians who have lived for countless generations on a near vegetarian diet? Think dairy is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Swiss whose ancestral diet was largely based on dairy and rye?
Your body is designed to be healthy. Good health is your birthright. The ability to experience radiant health is part of the genetic code built into every cell in your body. What you need to do in order to reclaim your birthright is to understand what your body needs as opposed to someone else’s, in order to function the way it was intended it to. In short, you need to eat right for your metabolic type.
In a previous era, before the age of modern transportation, cultures were isolated and peoples’ metabolic makeup and corresponding dietary needs were very clear. But in today’s day and age, due to extensive intermingling of cultures, we’ve become a true “genetic melting pot.” In the U.S. in particular, most of us have many different ethnic and hereditary influences. As a result, few of us have a distinct ancestral heritage or readily identifiable dietary needs.
Fortunately, however, through the research that has been done over the past 25 years, there is available a systematic, testable, repeatable and verifiable advanced nutritional technology that enables people to discover their own unique dietary needs with a very high degree of precision. This technology is known as Metabolic Typing. Through metabolic typing those often mysterious, seemingly unanswerable questions become perfectly clear and answerable indeed.
Once you know your metabolic type and you know what foods are right for you and what foods are wrong for you, then you need a simple to follow, step-by-step plan to help you transition into a healthy lifestyle that you can follow for the rest of your life. Whether a given food or a particular diet is good for you or bad for you is a matter of your genes – not whim, appetite, preference, philosophy, belief or even “expert” opinion.
It is important to realize that the idea of metabolic typing is not new. The roots of the concept of metabolic individuality can be traced to antiquity. The 5,000 year old East Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda was based on the interaction of the 5 elements and the 7 energy centers in the individual and primary treatment addressed one’s dosha (one’s metabolic type) before it addressed the symptom or disease.
Similarly, the ancient system of Chinese medicine recognized 5 elemental, constitutional types. Diagnosis and treatment in ancient Egyptian medicine was based on the 7 organ systems in the body. Greek physicians were concerned, as Hippocrates stated, with the patient who has the disease instead of the disease that has the patient, and evaluated the 4 humors (liver-bile metabolic types). And I already mentioned the saying, “One man’s food is another man’s poison” attributed to the ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius.
The modern background of metabolic typing
In modern times, there have been some well-known and many not so well-known medical researchers who recognized the value of addressing biochemical individuality. In 1919, Frances Pottenger, M.D., published his Symptoms Of Visceral Disease, where he established the autonomic nervous system as the basis of metabolic individuality and correlated the influence of various nutrients on the autonomic nervous system.
Dr. W.H. Sheldon, in the 1940s, published his famous Varieties Of Human Physique, providing photographic illustrations of his somatotypes (ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph metabolic types). In the 1950s, Dr. Melvin Page and Dr. Henry Bieler concurrently developed concepts of endocrine types and their relationship to various foods. Dr. George Watson, also in the 1950s, in his astounding book, Nutrition And The Mind, published his research on the variable influences of oxidation (glycolysis, beta oxidation, citric acid cycle) in different individuals he classified as fast, mixed or slow oxidizers.
In 1956, the noted biochemist, Dr. Roger Williams, published his genetotrophic theory on biochemical individuality, based on his research which suggested that every human being has, because of his genetic makeup, distinctive nutritional needs that must be met in order to achieve optimum health and well-being. Dr. Royal Lee’s extensive writings in the 1950s and 1960s correlated nutritional influences of the autonomic and endocrine systems.
Dr. Emanuel Revici, in the 1960s, recognized the critical necessity to address biochemical individuality and devoted his life’s work to the development of an entirely new system of medicine based upon the variances between individuals in their catabolic and anabolic influences.
Dr. James D’Adamo, in the 1970s, put forth a system of individual classification based upon ABO blood types. In the mid 1970s, Dr. William D. Kelley met Dr. Roger Williams’ call for “metabolic profiling” by becoming the first to apply Williams’ concept of nutritional individuality to computer science in identifying the autonomic types, sympathetic, balanced and parasympathetic.
Further efforts to address metabolic individuality can be seen in current works of numerous other pioneers. Among the more recent who have joined the ranks are Dr. Elliot Abravanel, Dr. Paul Eck, Dr. David Watts, Dr. Rudolph Wiley, and the insightful founder of Nutri-Spec, Dr. Guy Schenker, to name a few.
What exactly is metabolic typing and why is it important?
Metabolic typing is a systematic, testable, repeatable, and verifiable methodology based on research and extensive clinical experience over the last 25 years that combines the wisdom of the ancient systems of medicine with our modern scientific understanding of physiology and biochemistry.
Metabolic typing analyzes, evaluates, and interprets objective physiological and biochemical indicators along with symptomatology in order to define one’s metabolic type – the specific, individualized, genetically-based patterns of biochemical metabolic individuality that dictate one’s physiological and neurological “design limits” and requirements for nutritional substances.
The food that we eat is intended as the “fuel” for our body’s cells, our engines of metabolism. Our cells in turn convert the fuel to energy to be used in all the life-supporting processes of metabolism that keep us alive and healthy. But like any engine, our body needs a certain kind of fuel to function optimally. A gasoline engine requires gasoline for fuel. A diesel engine is designed to run on diesel for fuel. But try to run a gas engine on diesel or a diesel engine on gas and not only will the energy output be deficient, but using the wrong fuel for the engine will cause real problems for the engine itself.
Similarly, our bodies have genetically-based requirements for specific kinds of foods and balances of nutrients in order to produce optimal energy and function in a state of optimal health. If we meet these “design requirements,” we can expect to be healthy, energetic, fit and trim. Failure to obtain on a regular basis the kinds of foods our body’s are designed to utilize will initially produce sub-clinical health complaints such as fatigue, aches and pains, headaches, indigestion, weight gain, constipation, rashes, dry skin, low blood sugar, etc.
But long-term deficiency of the right foods for the metabolic type will lead to degenerative conditions like asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc. In other words, it’s not just that the Eskimos can eat up to 10 pounds of meat and huge amounts of fat and almost no carbohydrate, they need to eat that way in order to be healthy because that’s what their metabolisms are genetically programmed to utilize as fuel. Similarly, each of us has very specific requirements for nutrients that must be met in order to obtain and maintain good health, energy and well-being for a lifetime.
Without metabolic typing, there is no way to discern one’s “medicine” from one’s “poison.” Without metabolic typing, there is no way to know how nutrients behave in one person as opposed to another. In essence, without metabolic typing, no rational basis exists from which to select proper diet and nutritional supplementation because one’s metabolic type dictates individual responses to nutrients.
This gets to the heart of some core premises of metabolic typing that have not only great significance for each individual in identification of a proper diet, but also have profound implications for scientific research. Let’s look at two of these core premises of our system of metabolic typing. Here’s the first one:
Any Nutrient and Any Food Can Have Virtually Opposite Biochemical Influences in Different Metabolic Types
The metabolic type defines the way in which the body reacts to nutrients. Different metabolic types react differently to the same nutrient. For example, in one metabolic type 100 milligrams of potassium or eating, say, an orange (also high in potassium), will cause the body’s pH to shift alkaline and produce a sedating effect. But in a different metabolic type, the same amount of potassium or an orange will produce an acid shift and a stimulating response. This has been observed tens of thousands of times through both objective metabolic type testing as well as through changes in symptomatology.
Now the second core premise:
Any Adverse Symptom or Degenerative Condition Can Arise Due to Virtually Opposite Biochemical Imbalances
This same principle applies to any adverse health complaint, from simple to complex, from cramps to cardiovascular disease (CVD), from rashes to rheumatoid arthritis. For example, we have seen just as many cases of high cholesterol and CVD resolve through a high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet as we have seen resolve through the opposite low carb, high protein, high fat diet. Match the diet to the metabolic type and any degenerative condition has a chance to reverse. But eat the wrong foods for the metabolic type, even high quality, organic foods, and degenerative processes will only worsen.
The implications of these premises are staggering.
If they are true, then allopathic nutrition has no rational basis. Seeking a common therapy for all people for every condition is a wild goose chase and is doomed to failure. Any success with that approach has been and will continue to be by chance – not systematic, reliable predictability. If any nutrient or food can have totally opposite influences, biochemically speaking, in different people, how can there be a treatment, for any condition, that can work for all people?
The answer is that there can’t be only one treatment. This is precisely why what works for one person can worsen the same condition in another person. This is why what makes your friend thin can make you fat. This is why what improves energy and performance for one person can worsen it in another. As it turns out, metabolic typing explains why Lucretius’ adage, “One man’s food is another man’s poison,” is literally true.
And, if it is true that two people with the same degenerative disease can have virtually opposite biochemical imbalances, and that when two opposite biochemical protocols are administered the problem resolves, then this clearly means that it’s not the diseases that should be treated but the underlying metabolic type imbalances that have caused the diseases that need be addressed.
From this viewpoint, the diseases are not the problems; they are the symptoms, the manifestations, the expressions of the underlying, foundational imbalances. The reality of metabolic individuality demands that the person who has the disease – not the disease that has the person – be treated!
These premises of metabolic typing also explain why scientific research on nutrition is usually so inconclusive and produces such inconsistent results. For example, researchers have been confounded why calcium can lower blood pressure in some but raise it in others. Similar findings occurred with the effect of potassium. Until research on the effect of a given nutrient on a given condition is performed on a like metabolic type subject population, you will always see variable results.
Biochemical individuality is responsible for the fact that nutrients behave differently in different metabolic types. The variable influences of nutrients on different metabolisms along with the same condition arising from totally different biochemical imbalances make it impossible to treat conditions with a standardized treatment protocol. Successful, predictable, reliable therapy can only be chosen once you know the metabolic type because only then will you know how nutrients behave in that person’s metabolism.
Degenerative conditions account for well over 80% of all of the adverse conditions that afflict the peoples of our country. This means that only a little over 1 out of every 10 people that go to doctors has crises or infectious conditions that require and respond to allopathic treatments. More and more people every year fall prey to degenerative conditions and, sadly, at younger and younger ages. Diseases once viewed as accompaniments to old age are now commonplace in our children. Yet, currently, there is no orthodox cure for nearly any degenerative disease.
So-called alternative practitioners, as a group, fare little better. Even those who meet with “success” often find that when the therapy is stopped, the condition returns and no real, lasting healing has taken place. Or they are baffled by the universal phenomena of failing to help the next patient with the same condition with the very same protocol that worked so well for the former patient.
We find ourselves, practitioners and lay people alike, trying futilely to absorb the avalanche of information and research in nutrition that has descended upon us and only promises to gain speed with ever-increasing volume. We’re bombarded with seemingly endless newspaper and magazine articles, health books, interviews on radio and television, internet sites, all touting opposing points of view. What are we to do with the blessing/curse of this information explosion?
The problem is that there hasn’t been a reference point or a framework in which to organize and understand the thousands upon thousands of research findings, many of which are outright contradictory in nature. It’s like an enormous jigsaw puzzle that arrives without the picture on the box. How do the pieces fit together? How can we possibly make sense and make use of this research? A PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) of nutrition?
Even if it was possible to know the effects of every single vitamin, mineral, fatty acid, herb, etc., and then to organize them item by item, of what practical use would that be? How would we be any further along? We would still have 100’s or even 1000’s of choices to make for each nutrient. And every day more and more effects are being found for every nutrient known to us.
Even so, it is every practitioner’s experience that what works for one patient does not work for another with the same condition. The total body of scientific research is one gigantic pool of randomized information that is only growing in complexity. And yet, this is precisely the path that researchers and practitioners are following. The wrong path was chosen and it is leading us deeper and deeper into the dark forest of confusion. The more that research uncovers, the less clear the picture becomes.
The wrong questions have been and are still being asked. Instead of seeking answers to the effects of biochemical substances on diseases, we need to turn our attention to understanding how nutrients effect individual metabolisms. Instead of thinking in terms of treating disease, we must learn to think in terms of building health and meeting and optimizing genetic functional capacity by addressing the needs of each individual’s metabolic type.
The adverse influences in the environment will continue to increase in the years ahead. In order to survive and live a full, productive life in the current millennium, especially if one wants to live a healthy life, it is becoming increasingly important that each individual take responsibility for his own health and address the inescapable requirements of his biochemical individuality, for it is only in so doing that the body will adapt and maintain its defenses against the adversities of the environment and that the joy and exuberance of true good health can be known.
William Wolcott, Founder of The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing and the author of the pioneering book, The Metabolic Typing Diet. Reading Wolcott’s book is an excellent way to begin, as it gives you a good background into why there is NO one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition.