The Body Type Diet - Hype or Help?

The Body Type Diet
Hype or Help?

Body Type Metabolic Type - You've heard the diet hype . . . 

You really can't go anywhere without seeing and hearing ads for the latest greatest diet.  Celebrities, influencers, your friend, that guy on Insta with a six pack - we are inundated with diet marketing.  And the truth is - it works! The diet industry is a $70 BILLION industry so clearly we're buying what they're selling.  Which is why from time to time I like to do an episode like this to help you be a more discerning customer out there in the wild wild west of the diet world.  

In this episode we're talking about the "body type" diet or the "metabolic type" diet.  They go by many names and are promoted by different celebrities, but the gist is that in order to lose weight you should be eating or exercising according to your specific body or metabolic type.  It generally involves some sort of quiz to tell you your specific type and "personalizes" a meal plan just for you! (I hope you read that in your sarcastic voice 😉)

If you've listened to this podcast for longer than 5 seconds you know I have some pretty strong feelings about diets in general, and this one is no different.  Body type and metabolic type diets are tricky because it sounds logical.  I mean you can look around you and see that yes, indeed it DOES seem like people fit into some general body type categories, you've probably even categorized yourself before.  So if I can see that there seems to be types, it's not much of a mental leap to buy into the idea that perhaps those types should be on different diets.  Then they hit you with some fancy sounding pseudo science and it's game over, we're in, take my money! And so begins our next failed diet.  

In this episode I'm going to give you the REAL science - both in support and against a body type and metabolic type diet.  Who it might be for, who it's not for, and how much it REALLY matters to achieving your goals - and you, armed with real information, can decide for yourself.


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Full transcription available at the bottom of this post

Show Notes: 

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Full Transcript: 
Welcome back to the No Nonsense Wellness Podcast. I'm so happy you're here. From time to time, I like to do a diet review on the show. To give you a more measured science based review of different diet approaches, no hype, no sales, just the good, bad and the ugly of what you're actually getting. In this episode, we're going to be talking about the body type diet, or you may have heard things called a metabolic type diet, it goes by different names and different brands. But you've probably seen versions of this kind of diet advertised on social media, including by some of those famous case sisters and others. The gist of this diet is based on your body shape, you're classified as a certain body type or a certain metabolic type. And that type defines how your metabolism works and how each body type has to eat a different way to get weight loss results. That's sort of the premise. But does it work? Is it real? Is it actually supported by a science does it live up to the hype? Let's find out.

Welcome back to the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life at the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach,

a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you take back control of your mind health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you. I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health, find food freedom, and finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend are powerful, and the world 

needs you to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward.

So let's pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes, let's walk and talk. 

I enjoy doing these episodes as much for you guys. As for me, because what goes on in your head is the same thing that goes on in my head too. Let me paint a picture for you. You get to that point where you think I'm done. I need to lose weight like I've had enough of this, I need to take some of this weight off. It's been creeping up, let's do this thing. How am I going to do it this time? What diet is going to be the magic diet, this time that's finally going to work? So you've been scrolling through Instagram and you've seen ads and videos about this particular diet. And then you see that oh, well, that one celebrity who did this diet? Well, she lost a lot of weight, she looks really good. And then you see oh, well, here's this before and after. And here's these amazing claims about how I'm gonna get shredded, and I'm gonna lose weight so fast that it's going to be so great, right? We all fall victim to these kind of marketing schemes. So we click on it. And then we go through a quiz. And the quiz result tells me this diet is going to be perfect for me because my body type is this and my metabolic type is that. And if I just do these few simple things, I'm going to lose weight so fast. And we're thinking I'm in finally this sounds like something that's going to work this sounds like science, this sounds like they know what they're talking about. And then around 10,000 of my new diet ensues only to end in ultimate failure, like all the rest. Does that sound familiar to you? It does to me because I have literally done this, probably more than once. 
The body type diet is one of those things for me, I took the quizzes, I read the claims, I almost pushed the buy button, but I do something that they're banking on most of you not doing and that is researching it before you pay for it. Not clicking on the buy button, but actually pausing and going and doing some research before you decide that that's the thing you're going to do. So when you actually look at the science, it tells a much different story than all of those hypey marketing ads. 

First, let's talk about what actually is the sort of body type and metabolic type diet basically is dividing men and women into three body types categories. You may have heard of these before. You've probably taken a body type quiz before to figure out your own body type ectomorph mesomorph endomorph. So an ectomorph would be discussed Right as sort of tending towards more thin, narrow, kind of straight up and down. Usually not a lot of muscle might have a hard time putting on muscle generally eats a lot doesn't matter what they eat, they don't really put on a lot of weight. That's an ectomorph. An endomorph generally tends to have kind of a softer, more round body. As a woman, you might be called more curvy as a man, you might be called more stocky, generally carry a little bit extra weight generally have a harder time taking off weight, you're gonna hear me say, generally a lot, because these are generalizations, no one fits exactly any of these. And the third category mesomorph mesomorph, would be sort of that more athletic build broader shoulders narrower waist, a little more muscular, a little more athletic tends to be able to put muscle on a little bit easier, maybe then the other two types. Interestingly, this idea of these three body types was not started by a doctor or a nutritionist or anyone in that field. It was actually started in the 1940s, from a psychologist named Dr. William Sheldon, he theorized that body type would be able to predict behavior and personality type, he thought there was going to be a correlation between your personality type and how your body looked, he was wrong, there is no correlation that was never proven, he was never able to draw any conclusive links between body type and psychology. But the idea of body type stuck. 
Dr. Sheldon, back in the 40s, used photographs to determine body type, which was, of course grossly inaccurate and totally subjective. Just by looking at someone, he would classify them, right, more modern scientists have used sort of a basis of 10 different measurements throughout your body to give a more accurate description of what your body type might be. And what this did is then create more classification. So now instead of falling into like one of those three, this kind of generalization, everyone is one of these three types. Now they've kind of like got combined type. So you might hear someone say, Well, I'm more of a endomorphic, mesomorph. Right. That's technically where I would fall, I tend to have an athletic build with wider shoulders, but I also tend to carry extra weight, especially in the hips and thighs, which would put me in that endomorphic mesomorph category. By the way, estimates are something like 70% of us fit in that endomorphic mesomorph characteristics category. So why then I would ask, would we need a body type diet if approximately 70% of us are in the same body type. So I digress, we'll get down to the nitty gritty in a second. But I just want to throw that out there for you. Because when we're getting so general, it's really not that helpful to be that general. So if you don't know what your body type might be, there's like a million quizzes online that you could take. But if you just think of yourself visually as a teenager, what you look like, then that's probably a better gauge of what your body type would be more than right now, right? Like we're sitting here, right now we're kind of overweight. And we're like, Well, I'm obviously an endomorph. Because I'm soft and round right now, well, maybe, but you might just be an overweight ectomorph. So think about what you were sort of in your high school days. And that might give you a better gauge of what your body type might be. 

If you look around, like it's not hard to notice that there does seem to be different body types, some sort of general types that we kind of mostly fit into write, I would say, for sure, my body type is different than my husband's body type. We look different, they operate different, we're better at different things. He's better at endurance sports, I'm better at short burst things like strength, and Sprint's we're different. And that's okay. And that's good. We're all humans, what we like to do as humans, we like to classify and organize things. And so it's interesting to us to be able to classify ourselves as something and then say, well, because I'm this, then I must do these things. We do this not just in body type. We do this everywhere, right? We like to do this with personality types. I took a personality type, and I am a blue, yellow. And because I'm a blue, yellow, I enjoy these things. I tend towards these things. And I don't like these things, right? We like to classify ourselves. That's why the marketing for these diets works. It's something that we just have a natural tendency to do what I'm going to tell you personality type, body type metabolic type, most of it's BS, and it's putting you in a box that you don't need to be in. So okay, off my soapbox. Let's continue. The question really then becomes does body type predict how your metabolism works? Does it predict your health? Does it predict your ability or inability to gain or lose weight? What does body type actually scientifically mean about you? 

The first thing you need to know is that whatever you decide your body type is whatever the quiz tells you that it is, does not mean that you are stuck in that shape or in that body type you through what you eat, and how you exercise and how you live your life are ultimately in the driver's seat, you are the one in control about how your body looks and functions. Let's give you an example. When you look out in the world, you might see someone who looks super fit, right six pack abs muscles right there, cut whatever, they make it look super easy. And you're just going to assume well, they're a mesomorph, it's easy for them, right? They put on muscle really easy. That's just their body type. What you actually might be looking at is a super curvy endomorph, who works really, really hard through diet and exercise to create that physique that you're seeing. Now, ultimately, it's not your body type that determines how you look, it's you it's your lifestyle, your diet, your exercise, okay, I want to make that super clear. And what body type is just like weight, just like BMI. body type is just a tool that is used to describe someone's body it is not used and should not be used to prescribe a certain plan or eating or anything of the sort. It is a tool to describe how you look and how your body may or may not function, it is just a classification. And even if your genetic predisposition to a body type might not change your actual body absolutely can change. Does that make sense? 

So based on actual science and research, let's talk about how body type classifications are and are not useful to you. based on studies that look at identical twins, we know that mesomorph and ectomorph are both highly linked to genetics, endomorph is less so or so remember, endo Murphy would be like kind of the we keep extra weight on a little bit mesomorph kind of the more muscular build, right? And ectomorph of kind of that real kind of long, straight skinny build. Those are both highly linked to your genetics, just like your height would be highly linked to genetics. So for example, your height is about 80% determined by genetics, mesomorph and ectomorph are about 70% linked to genetics, endomorph, much less so only about 30%. So there is a genetic component to what your body type looks like physically. Okay, that's real. And you know, that's real, you can just look around you and see that that's true. 

How does this maybe affect athletes, studies have shown that different body types do show a variation in the type of fast twitch muscle fibers that they have. So mesomorphs are more likely to have a certain gene that creates more fast twitch muscle fibers. That's why most sprinters would be classified as a mesomorph. marathon runners tend to be more ectomorphs member think of a marathon runner, they're very long, very lean, pretty thin. Sumo wrestlers imagine now a sumo wrestler tend to be endomorphs. Right? So your body type sort of lends itself more to a different athletic endeavor. Does that say that an endomorph could not be a marathon runner. Of course not. That's ridiculous. If you trained to be a marathon runner, you can be a marathon runner, your body type does not determine what you are able to do. But in terms of athletics, it does sort of inform the things that you might be more easily good at and might have a more difficult time trading for Does that make sense? 

There has been some links made between body type and cardiovascular disease. But if you really look at the actual studies in the science, what they're really linking is a fat to muscle ratio being related to cardiovascular disease. So those body types with lower muscle and more fat being at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. But again, you are actually the one who is in control of this. So you might be in terms of body type, a mesomorph, who is overweight, who now has a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, because even though as a mesomorph, you put on muscle maybe a little more easily, if you are overweight, it doesn't matter because you are now having a higher fat to muscle ratio. Does that make sense? So it can inform us, but it is not a determiner in any way. 

And now let's talk about metabolism. Because these two things get compounded all the time that if you have a certain body type, you also have a certain metabolism type. There is no definitive science that links these two things. It's just not true. We all are. We are all humans. We all have a metabolism and all of our metabolisms work in the exact same way. Intuitively, you know that if you're some One who struggles to put on muscle, if you're more of that ectomorph type, and you have a hard time putting on muscle, this, my husband would fall into this category, you know that you're gonna have to eat a lot more protein, you're gonna have to eat a lot more calories, you're gonna have to lift a lot more weights in the gym, in order to put on muscle, you probably already know that about yourself, my husband certainly did. That's what he did in college, right? If you know that, you tend to be more of an endomorph type, you already know, you're going to have a different approach to getting that same physique look than someone who is an ectomorph, right? If I tend to carry extra weight, but I don't have a lot of trouble putting on muscle, I'm gonna have a very different approach to trying to get that you know, super lean cut, look, whatever, in the gym, and in my diet, and instead of a calorie surplus, right, I'm gonna want to probably have a calorie deficit in order to get that look. So. So again, you don't have to be a scientist to understand these things. To know that there's some correlations here, right? Like, well, my body tends to operate this way. So I know that I'm going to probably need to do these types of things. Even though there's not a lot of science that backs that just intuitively, we can see that about ourselves. 

The question really becomes does it actually matter? Does it truly matter for most of us what body type we are, and should that actually be informing what we're doing or not doing to lose weight, gain weight, whatever it is, our goal is, eating or dieting, according to body type is really where all of this kind of gets into the weeds. And really, we're all of this starts to be a little bit like this is kind of BS, this is not real, we shouldn't really give a lot of credence to this. For 90% of us, we do not and should not be concerned with our body type, or eating for our body type, or our metabolic type, it is not a thing that's going to make a difference for you. Let me repeat that. Okay, for 90% of us and probably 100% of us who are listening to this podcast, body type, metabolic type, none of that is going to matter for you to get the results that you are after, okay, the people that this might matter for would be an elite athlete, or someone who is seeking a very specific physique goal, like a body fat percentage for a competition, someone who wants to get on stage, something like that. Those people who have a very specific performance goal, they are the ones who might want to have a specific macronutrient ratio and calorie ratio that becomes important for them. Okay, in order to reach that very specific goal for 90% of us, and probably zero of you listening to this podcast, we don't have those things, we are not trying to get to a specific body fat percentage, we are trying to just lose weight, we are trying to get to that healthy weight, we're not trying to get onstage in a bikini, we are not trying to get into the Olympics, right? That's not us. 

So for us, the whole idea of a metabolic type or a body type really is doesn't matter. But it's not something that we need to pay any attention to at all. Because really, what it really boils down to is that eating for your body type, literally what every single one of these diets is, is just tracking, weighing and measuring your food to meet a prescribed macronutrient ratio of carbs, protein and fat. It's literally just math, macro counting. It's literally just macro counting with a fancy name. So whenever you see all the fancy advertising and marketing for body type diet, find the diet that's right for you, metabolic type diet, all of it is crap. You don't need any of it. All it is, is macro counting. And there is a trillion quote unquote, nutrition coaches online that you probably follow, and they'll teach you the exact same thing. They'll teach you how to count your dang macros. If you haven't listened to that episode, I did an episode about macro counting if you don't really know what I'm talking about. And the bottom line for that episode is it's not good or bad. It's a strategy. But it's a strategy that 90% of us don't actually need. And it's not a strategy that any of us are going to stick to unless we have a very specific goal again, for physique, body fat percentage performance, something like that. Most of us listening to this show do not need a specific macro counting plan in order to get the results that we are after. It's not a sustainable strategy. For us. It's an advanced strategy, and it's not going to work unless you have the fundamentals down. So instead of falling for the marketing for a body type diet or a metabolic type diet, or honestly any sort of macro counting diet where you're weighing and measuring and tracking your food. You need to first focus on the fundamentals you need to get the fundamentals down. If any of that kind of advanced strategy stuff is going to work. 

What are the fundamental does well you need to change how you're eating first? Are you eating only when you're hungry? Are you stopping before you're full? Are you overeating ever? are you overcoming emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, if you're still doing these things, if you're still struggling these things, counting your macros is not going to help you because you're not going to stick to it. Overcoming self sabotage, have you overcome all the ways that you get in your own way? Have you overcome all the reasons that you start diets and stop diets, and they don't work? Have you overcome your destructive thought and behavior patterns that you're probably stuck in right now? Like, if you haven't done these things, counting your macros and and which is basically what a metabolic or body type diet is, it's not going to work and it's not gonna work cuz you won't stick to it. Are you being planful? About what you're eating? Have you been paying attention to what you're eating? Do you plan it out in advance? Are you always making last minute food decisions? When you're stressed out? Or when your brain is tired? Or are you planning your day in advance? Right? These are fundamental strategies that, again, most of us are not doing. have you addressed what you're eating? Have you moved towards progressing towards eating more whole foods and less processed foods? are you optimizing protein at every meal? are you optimizing nutrient intake at every meal? AKA, eat more vegetables? Are you understanding how food affects your body, how it affects your metabolism, how it affects your gut? How it affects your health? Do you understand how your body works and how food works in your body? If you don't understand these things, it doesn't matter what kind of prescribed eat this diet I'm gonna give you or someone's gonna give you I'm not gonna give it to you. But if someone gives you a meal plan, right, and you have no idea what that foods actually doing your body or how how your body reacts to it, it's not going to help you. 

Are you drinking enough water? I mean, so basic, but I can't tell you, almost everyone I talked to you is not drinking enough water? Are you moving your body regularly? Are you getting enough steps in? are you increasing your movement? Are you exercising? Are you sleeping every single night? Do you have a solid stress management strategy? Now you want to talk about metabolism. One of the things that is going to affect that metabolism the most is not your body type. But it is stress and hormones. That's the thing that we need to pay attention to. And stress, by the way, is a hormone stress there, you have a stress hormone called cortisol. And that's one of the things that we really need to look at. Do you understand how cortisol is affecting your body? Do you understand how cortisol might be keeping weight on your body? Do you understand the things in your life that are increasing or decreasing that cortisol, right? These are the things that you need to know these are the fundamentals? Are you creating healthy lifestyle habits, and getting rid of bad habits? Do you know how to create a new habit and get rid of a bad habit? These things are fundamental to your long term success, a body type diet, a metabolic type diet, a macro counting diet is not addressing these things, these fundamentals. 

So let's say you have mastered all of these things. And now you want to get onstage in a bikini in a competition cool, you're gonna need to count macros for that. And you're probably going to want your body type to inform your macro ratio, the ratio between carbs, protein and fat, that then does become informative for you. For again, 90% of us, we are not trying to get onstage in a bikini, we are trying to look good in our shorts, we're trying to be healthy or trying to keep up with our kids, or trying to live a life where we don't feel stuck in a body that we hate. We're trying to get to the place where we feel healthy, energetic, vibrant, we can run around if we want to. We don't feel like we're juggling all the time, but we feel strong and fit. That's where most of us are going to go. We don't need to count macros to get there. Okay, I feel like I've said it 1000 times, but I just really want you to hear me. And every single body type diet and metabolic type diet that you're seeing advertised out there is literally just fancy macro counting. 

Okay, so here's the bottom line, let's just bottom line, this thing for you. Eating for your body type is not totally crazy. Okay, there is a place where that can inform what you're doing. There's not a ton of science, but there's enough observational data, right to show that there is some commonalities and how different body types may be operating. Again, it's not necessarily how your metabolism is operating, but just how your body in general is operating. That said, most of us don't need to worry about it. We don't need to pay any attention to it. We don't need to know our body type. It doesn't need to be on your radar. The first thing you need to do is get the basics down. You need to consistently get a handle on all those things that we teach in healthy mind Healthy Body program first and nine times out of 10 You don't need a more complicated or advanced strategy than that you don't need to count and track and weigh and measure your food to get the results you want, if you get the fundamentals down first. So overall, I hope that when you see these kind of marketing messages about losing weight fast, and this is how you do it, and this is this is going to be the thing for you. And this is finally going to be the way I want you to just pause, just take a beat, okay? Just pause and think, Wait a sec, is this just another of the same diet that I've already done 100 times packaged in a different way, because I can almost guarantee you that it is. Now that's not to say there are lots of people on social media who are extremely intelligent in nutrition and fitness and mobility. I follow a lot of people who are very smart and very educated and very helpful and put a lot of really good information out there. Unfortunately, those people are the minority. So you need to just look with a discerning eye and understand what they're really selling you and understand is what they're selling me addressing any of these fundamentals that I know I need to get a handle on before I start a more advanced type strategy. Does that make sense? So I hope that was helpful to you if you have a friend who has been trying these things, share this episode with them, put it on your stories, tag me in it, I would love for you to be able to spread the word and help me kind of get a good message out there that ultimately you're in control and it's not as hard as you think it is. You have to put in the work no doubt but the work that you're putting in might be counterproductive. So let's get you on the right track.

Okay. Until we talk again, my friends be well. 

Friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and help other people find the show. And I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram I'm @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there.

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