Metabolic typing diet: truth or lie?

The metabolic typing diet is based on the ability of each to break down macronutrients. It works? We discuss it in this space.

Last update: 03 February, 2022

Each person inherits a type of metabolism according to their genetics. This explains why some diets work well for some but not for others. The metabolic typing diet is based on the higher or lower intake of certain nutrientsaccording to the metabolic response of the body.

This eating model was developed by metabolic research specialists William Walcott and Trish Fahey. It was introduced in 2001 as a method for weight loss. Since then, it has had a few variations and has gained fans all over the world. It works? Here we tell you.

What is metabolism?

To begin with, it is important to remember that metabolism is the “route map” of the thousands of chemical reactions that occur in the cells of the body. It is directed by enzymes, which are the ones that use macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) to keep cells alive and, in this way, fulfill its functions. Vitamins and minerals collaborate with these enzymes.

Metabolic pathways produce and release energy by breaking down very complex molecules like starch. In turn, other pathways use that energy to build compounds needed for bodily function. However, if too much energy is produced and not used, fat storage and weight gain occur.

The functioning of the metabolism is decisive for weight loss. If this is slow, it tends to accumulate fat.

What is the metabolic typing diet based on?

The metabolic typing diet is based on individual differences in the degradation of macronutrients once they are absorbed. According to this, a personalized eating plan is made that takes into account the type of metabolism of each one. For example, it could be a high-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet.

The faster a person’s metabolism, the less time it takes to convert nutrients into energy. But if the metabolism is slow, then it stores the nutrients as fat instead of using it. According to Walcott and Fahey’s book, variations in metabolism are due to 2 hereditary factors.

1. Functioning of the autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system of the body is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. These oppose each other in a variety of bodily functions. For example, the sympathetic helps the body respond to stress, while stimulating the production of adrenaline and the burning of energy.

For its part, the parasympathetic controls elements of the body at rest, such as rest and digestion. It is believed that one of the systems is more dominant than the other and, therefore, the functioning of the metabolism tends to vary.

2. Rate of cell oxidation

Food oxidation involves how quickly or how slowly a person converts nutrients into energy. Thus, those who do it quickly require eating nutrients that are slower to break down.

For example, due to the structure and type of protein bonds, their digestive process and oxidation is very slow. Meanwhile, there are people who oxidize food slowly, so they should eat carbohydrates, as these are quickly digested and oxidized.

Types of Metabolic Typing Diets

There are 3 types of diets according to the type of metabolism of the person. How are they identified? The authors of the book evaluate a series of characteristics related to the domain of the nervous system and the rate of oxidation.

Blood sugar, electrolytes, and liver and kidney function tests are also done.. Blood and urine tests may be included for a more complete diagnosis.

1. Protein diet

This type of diet is designed for those who are fast oxidizers or parasympathetic dominant. These are often people who experience constant hunger and who tend to eat salty and fatty foods. In addition, they often fail low-calorie diets and are nervous, anxious and lethargic.

Through this feeding model an intake of up to 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 30% fat is proposed. Recommended foods include the following options:

  • Poultry meat.
  • Viscera.
  • Beef.
  • Fish and shellfish.
  • Whole milk.
  • Cream.
  • Eggs.
  • Cheese.


2. Carb diet

The carbo diet is indicated for people who are slow oxidizers and sympathetic dominant. Those in this group are thought to be dependent on caffeine and have a weakness for sweet foods. What’s more, their appetite is reduced and they have trouble controlling their weight.

In this case, an intake of around 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fat is suggested. However, the consumption of refined carbohydrates is limited. Instead, some indicated foods are the following:

  • Fruit.
  • Vegetables.
  • Vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish (as a source of protein).

3. Mixed diet

The mixed diet It is indicated in those who do not have a fast metabolism, but not a slow one either. There is a tendency to consume sweet foods and their appetite is moderate. In addition, they tend to be anxious, nervous and tire easily.

In general, a consumption of equal parts of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins is proposed. However, proteins and fats may predominate.



What do the experts think about the metabolic typing diet?

The creators and followers of the metabolic typing diet claim a weight loss of 10 kilos in a month. However, there are no studies to support this claim. Up to now, there is only anecdotal data on its supposed effects.

The foregoing without counting that health professionals agree that such a rapid weight loss is unsustainable and of care. Other experts also say that when you lose weight quickly, your metabolism slows down. Therefore, the recovery of lost weight occurs in a short time.

Now, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggested an amplitude in the ranges of macronutrients, so that they are as follows:

  • Proteins: from 10 to 35%.
  • Fats: from 20 to 35%.
  • carbohydrates: 45 to 65% for carbohydrates.

According to this, great differences can be noticed with the protein diet of the metabolic typing plan. Meanwhile, the carbohydrate type diet is within the recommended limits, while the mixed type is in a higher percentage for proteins and fats.

The USDA also recommends a calorie count to promote weight loss. This is contrary to what is recommended by Dr. Wolcott, who sees an advantage in not counting calories. The author of the metabolism typing ensures that the person will not be hungry between meals. But is this totally true?

It must be considered that if there are special health conditions, it is essential to consult a doctor first before starting this feeding model.

In particular, diabetic patients should be careful, as diet is key to controlling blood sugar levels. In this regard, a team of scientists determined that low-carbohydrate diets favor blood sugar control in type 1 diabetes.

There are several types of metabolic typing diet. These differ in the distribution of macronutrients.

Benefits of the Metabolic Typing Diet

The metabolic typing diet is a personalized dietary plan that takes into account the preferences and needs of the person. Likewise, it limits the consumption of those sources of carbohydrates that have high caloric values ​​and almost no contribution of vitamins and minerals.

  • In summary, your benefits include the following:
  • Weightloss.
  • Control of high glucose levels (depending on the type of diet chosen).
  • Prevention of chronic diseases.

Cons of the Metabolic Typing Diet

Despite being a dietary model that promotes a healthy lifestyle, much scientific support is still lacking to corroborate its effectiveness and safety. A study that compared the results of the questionnaire applied in this diet with laboratory tests related to metabolism, did not find any relationship.

On the other hand, the protein diet plan can increase the consumption of saturated fat linked to the risks of heart disease and cardiovascular accidents. A lack of balance is also observed in the carb and mixed diets. Some dietary imbalances can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity.

True or false?

It is true that the metabolic typing diet is one of the most personalized when it comes to indicating the consumption of certain foods according to the type of metabolism. It is also true that it evaluates some personality characteristics related to the dominant nervous system and that can affect the results of the diet.

However, the scientific literature does not offer further studies that show the optimization of this type of diet to lose weight without any risk. People with certain health conditions should consult their doctor and seek advice from a nutritionist before applying it. More research needs to be done in this regard.

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