What is Metabolic Typing?

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  • Written By: Erin Oxendine
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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Metabolic typing is a way of eating based on the body’s individual metabolic rate and nutritional needs. Doctors William Wolcott and Harold Kristal devoted years of research to the effects of metabolic typing. According to the doctors’ theories, metabolic typing can help improve circulation, mood, and weight control, among other health issues. Their research showed that people who did not eat the right foods had slow metabolisms resulting in weight gain and certain medical problems.

The metabolic type takes two main components into consideration. The two components are food oxidation and the autonomic nervous system. Oxidizing food involves how fast or slow a person turns nutrients into energy. The autonomic nervous system comes into play because it balances out certain processes in the body including burning fat and using glucose.

To do the metabolic type diet, people should eat from one of three metabolic types based on their metabolic profile, consisting of protein type, carbohydrate type and mixed type. The protein type consists of high amounts of protein and fat with fewer carbohydrates. The carbohydrate type has a higher amount of carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains with less protein and fats. The mixed type is a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.


The two doctors concluded that a metabolic diet would offer numerous benefits to people if they ate from the correct type. These benefits include losing sugar cravings, having less hunger and better oxidation. Proponents of the diet also believe it helps improve resistance to colds and viruses as well as slow down aging. Doctors suggest it can aid digestion and even prevent certain diseases such as cancer.

Many nutrition centers now offer metabolic typing as part of their diet and nutrition plans. In order for the individual to get a custom-designed diet, the person has to take a metabolic typing test. The unique test is composed of questions that the user has to answer regarding meal preferences, tastes, caffeine intake and cravings. Other questions on the questionnaire relate to skin type, weight and energy levels.

In addition to the questionnaire, doctors use results from a metabolic panel test. This test is done by collecting a sample of the individual’s blood and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The lab runs tests for sugar and electrolyte abnormalities as well as problems with kidney and liver functions. Doctors can also check for vitamin deficiencies that would interfere with metabolic processes.

Even though most people are proponents of metabolic typing and its benefits, some doctors believe that depriving the body of a group of nutrients or foods is not beneficial. People against metabolic typing caution that if someone were to eat considerably less carbohydrates or fats and then later added them back into the diet, the individual would gain back some or all of the lost weight. They argue that metabolic typing would not result in long-term weight loss or health benefits.


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