Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
13 Oct

Dear Mark: Metabolic Typing

401449768 f0c0294576Dear Mark,

I’d love to see your take on the validity of the metabolic type diet. I have found that a primal-style eating plan similar to yours works wonders for me, but I have seen some people comment that they maintain lean bodies with a very different approach than you. One commenter even stated that he gains weight when he increased fat calories. It seems like people can react differently to certain foods.

Metabolic typing periodically gets a boost in press every once in a while. The premise of typing suggests that people have distinctive metabolisms that are best served by a corresponding nutrition profile. Presumably, these metabolic distinctions are genetic differences based on your ancestors’ geographic origin. For example, if your ancestors are from the South Pacific islands, your nutritional needs differ significantly from those of the Lapps in Scandinavia, etc.

(Metabolic typing is different from the “blood type diet” you might occasionally hear about, but some people try to emphasize what they see as the overlap between the two “theories.”)

Traditional metabolic typing uses three categories: protein type, carbo type, and mixed type. As you can probably guess, “protein types” are supposed to eat protein- (and fat-) rich diets. “Carb types,” according to this theory, do well with a high carb, low protein and fat diet. “Mixed types” are supposed to thrive on equal parts proteins, fats and carbs.

And it gets more intricate/convoluted from there. Your “type” theoretically shows if your sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system is “dominant” in your personality and physiology. Some of the tests and descriptions go into detail about everything from “fast/slow oxidation” to endocrine gland dominance. Supposedly, if you eat “according to your type,” you will finally be able to maintain good health and a normal weight. You can get long, exhaustive testing and reports that gives you this information, usually for a certain price. (Imagine that.)

What’s my estimation of this theory? Hooey, humbug, nonsense. But let me tell you why.

In last week’s post Did Grok Really Eat That Much Meat?, we cited research highlighting the substantial role that animal sources (fish/meat, fat/protein) played (and still play) in traditional hunter-gatherer diets. The study established a range of animal source intake between 45-65% of total energy intake. While the 20% difference isn’t exactly trivial, it’s still pretty minor in the grand picture.

It’s true people sometimes respond slightly differently to particular foods (like raw nuts, for example), and occasionally we find tolerance related patterns within particular ethnicities. An example of this pattern would be the fact that most of the world has a higher level of lactose intolerance than certain European ethnic groups. Nonetheless, we’re still talking about pretty targeted food sources. Despite these relatively minor patterns and individual issues, the fact is we all share the same biochemistry. (As in, our bodies all pump out insulin in response to carb intake….) Some people might be more sensitive to lectins, but lectins are still processed by those people’s bodies the same way they are by everyone else’s systems. The same goes for other food sensitivities, even those that may show a population-based pattern.

Let me say it this way. Having particular sensitivities to foods or preferences for foods doesn’t equate with the need for a different macronutrient composition in your diet. One size fits all may not be exactly right – there is a range. But that range is much narrower than the metabolic typing theorists want to suggest… We each might prefer to get our protein through a unique combination of meats and other foods (nuts, etc.), but we share the need for significant protein intake.

There are, indeed, other individual factors that influence our nutritional needs and sensitivities, but I’d argue that these don’t have anything to do with where Great-, Great-, Great-, Great- (and so on) Grandpa came from. They have to do with age, gender, personal medical condition and hormone balance, exposure to toxins and allergens, etc.

And then there’s the part about weight maintenance/loss. Sure, some people out there have a harder time gaining muscle mass despite their best efforts. Some people, while they’re perfectly healthy, have a harder time maintaining a “thin” physique. But a type report isn’t going to offer any new answers. Controlling your hormonal balance by minimizing carbs is the key. (And as for those people who eat carbs but look thin, they’re still throwing their body into hormonal havoc, despite their denial. Thin doesn’t necessarily equal health.)

Once again, within our individual ranges, we can all expect to achieve a healthy body by practicing what we know to be true over millions of years. At the end of the day, there’s undeniably a surprising consistency in our nutritional needs. A hunter-gatherer style diet (cornerstone of the Primal Blueprint) has held up time and time again as offering the best promise for true health and best protection against chronic disease.

Thanks, as always, for your questions and comments, and keep ‘em coming!

trp0 Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

No-Duh Study: Exercise is Good and Lowers Obesity

Dear Mark: What is a Healthy Body Weight?

Primal Blueprint for Men and Women?

Skinny Fat: Where Skinny Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Healthy

Art De Vany: Metabolic Shifting

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Thank you for adressing this Mark! I actually found the Primal Lifestyle partially because of internet researching after reading “Eat Right for your Blood Type”. I have often thought about asking you for your thoughts on this concept. I know that this post is about metabolic diets and not bloodtype diets, but I think that almost every one of your points could be applied to either so i will count this as an answer to my question too!

    My mother, who is a big proponent of the “eat right for your blood type” methhidoly constantly gives me a hard time for living primally when I have type A blood which means that i should be eating a lot of whole grains according to ER4YBT. Dropping whole grains was one of the greatestest things that I ever did for my health! Not only were grains wrecking havoc on my body but also on my moods, emotions and thinking!

    Son of Grok wrote on October 13th, 2008
    • the response to metabolic typing is extremely insubstantial and poorly responded to. If you know anything about metabolic typing it would make sense to point out all flaws and compare them with what you think is better than the thing you dislike about it, rather to sugar coating your paragraphs with insubstantial comments..keep your mind open listeners.. I’d like to see a more substantial response.

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 6th, 2011
  2. Son, dropping grains has been the single best thing I have ever done for myself healthwise. Too bad it took me nearly 50 years to figure out. Better late than never…

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 13th, 2008
  3. Yes, MT is a bunch of baloney. The similarities between one human and the next far outweigh any minor differences. And the methods they use to determine your “type” are pure nonsense. Great post, Mark.

    Jerry the Frog (of the Bull Variety) wrote on October 13th, 2008
  4. I second that opinion. I’ve seen hogwashier health theories before, but MT does reek of half-truth and shady guesswork.

    Gene wrote on October 13th, 2008
  5. Interesting perspective, as always, thanks!

    I only know, for sure, what works for myself and have often wondered how much truth was found by others in that ‘metabolic type’ plan. I never bought into it because as mom in a house of 7, I couldn’t fathom preparing meals that were right for each different type. “I prepare real food, you eat. Be thankful if you can.”

    I am doing quite well on the Primal Blueprint diet. I am still struggling to get 100% grain free, but I have come a long way and I feel sooo much better.

    I really love telling people that my 50 pound weight loss was achieved by eating HIGH FAT and protein and by avoiding grains as much as possible. This always leads into a lengthy discussion…sometimes a debate! The point is, PRIMAL WORKS! You don’t need to hand over your paycheque to some club so that you can follow their points system or exclusively eat their food or be told what type you are or……

    I have improved my health by applying common sense principles–which I had to LEARN! Isn’t it fascinating that humans are the only species that don’t inately KNOW what they should eat!?

    We need to learn to listen to our amazing bodies. That should be the first step in any journey towards improved health.

    Keep up the good common sense lessons, Mark. I’m learning a lot.

    new_me wrote on October 13th, 2008
  6. I must admit, I had been undecided about the metabolic type concept. I assumed that perhaps some people did have more of a tolerance to grain-type carbs than others, and that this explained why some people eat a lot of healthy grains but avoid getting fat whilst others do not. But your explanation has focused my mind a little and I see now that perhaps it is is, as you nicely put it, hooey.

    One thing I decided was hooey the moment I first heard about it was the blood type diet. That one seemed flawed at the most fundamental because it seemed to assume that if our blood type evolved at a certain time then out digestive functions also evolved at that time, which I can think of no logical reason for.

    I wonder if I could make a few bucks by writing a book called ‘The Hair Colour’ diet? Maybe ginger people have to eat carrots, oranges, tomatoes and pumpkins, whereas blonds stick to bananas, yellow peppers and egg yolks…

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on October 13th, 2008
  7. Ha ha… Methuselah, that book would probably make you a fortune! People are far too eager to believe anything. Too bad I have read your blog and know ou to be too ethical to jump on the scam wagon ;-)

    Son of Grok wrote on October 13th, 2008
  8. Awesome post, this is something I have always wondered about and it has even caused me to question my Primal Diet after hearing so much good stuff about eat right for your type. Posts like these are great for people at all levels, and help re-assure any doubters of the lifestyle, great stuff!

    Chris - Zen to Fitness wrote on October 13th, 2008
  9. Son of Grok – thanks for stopping by. Of course you are right that I would not stoop to profiteering from the weak and the hopeful, but on the other hand I am more than happy to ridicule those who do…so I think my next post might be a spoof along the lines of my proposed book. Thanks for giving me the idea! I just need to find a way of making sure no one thinks it’s for real…

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on October 13th, 2008
  10. Agree or disagree – you are always an insightful and fascinating read.

    Of course, I totally agree with you.

    Skip the diets; learn how to eat properly and live a healthy life and you will find so many challenges simply do not exist for you and you will be better equipped to deal with the ones that do pop up.

    There. Now you can skip the newest diet-of-the-month-book and save your money.

    Cheers!

    AlmostVegetarian.com wrote on October 13th, 2008
  11. I was interested to see this old saw of metabolic typing coming up again. Apes have blood type A and O and likely many other alleles. Only the most common one among many are used to type blood.

    What would be the reasoning behind the preference of type A for grains when apes have the same type? None whatsoever.

    Even if there were a preferred type for early farmers, and there isn’t, it would only be because it conferred some immune system advantage and have nothing to do with diet. Early farming, circa 11,000 years ago, exposed humans to new pathogens and expanded population size sufficiently to maintain diseases too lethal to exist among early humans living in small groups.

    Art De Vany wrote on October 13th, 2008
  12. Great post Mark!

    At it’s simplest….
    If we believe this MT, then I guess a lot of groks went real hungry…because they couldn’t and wouldn’t eat what the rest of the tribe ate? OK then ;-)

    Marc wrote on October 14th, 2008
  13. …and here is the post…

    The Hair Colour Diet

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on October 16th, 2008
  14. Methusela’s post is great… .i recommend a read

    Son of Grok wrote on October 16th, 2008
  15. I’m surprised that Dr. Mercola pushes the MT diet so heavily. I generally trust Dr Mercola, and find his website to be full of great, paleo-friendly advice.

    I never wanted to jump to conclusions about MT, since at first glance it does seem that some people can simply handle grains/carbs/whatever much better than others (like myself).

    But it’s interesting to see you’re stance on the issue.

    Jeff wrote on October 23rd, 2008
    • I followed the MT diet for years and it’s by far the best thing I could have done for myself health-wise. It just so happens, that I’m a protein type, so my diet is high protein and fat – very low sugar, grain free. MT doesn’t advocate grains for anyone – no matter your metabolic type. Different macronutrient ratios, sure, but it never goes as far as to recommend grains and straight up, refined sugar. I can (and do) follow the MT diet and a Paleo diet at the same time because they are very, very compatible (for protein types anyway).

      JP wrote on May 17th, 2011
    • Dr Mercola does not advocate grains or sugar and minimal fruit no matter what metabolic type you are. The protein for carbon types is low purine protein vs high purine protein for protein types. I personally find Mercola’s metabolic types to make a lot of sense. I am a mixed type and have both types of protein paired with the appropriate vegetables and I feel better than I can remember feeling. Dr Mercola and Mr Sisson have very similar viewpoints on many topics ranging from essential supplements, sun exposure, going barefoot, etc. Both offer valuable information.

      wendy wrote on April 29th, 2012
      • I just started eating higher purine meats more often since I discovered I am a protein type and its made a huge difference in my satiety. before i felt starving all the time and now can go 5-6 hours without even thinking about food. and im a foodie.

        Max@flavortogofast wrote on May 22nd, 2012
      • Just wanted to add to this too. According to the Mercola test I’m a carb/veggie type. In Mercola’s defence even with carb type meal plans, he still recommends mostly above ground vegetables, avoidance of gluten (good for me as I have celiac) and inclusion of animal protein with most meals. I find that if I follow his advice to start a meal by eating some of the vegetables before the protein, I feel a lot better in terms of energy and digestion. I also feel best if I avoid the “high purine” proteins he suggests are not so good for carb/veggie types. I don’t follow the recommendation to drink vegetable juice though, mostly out of laziness but also because I’d rather eat a salad than drink one :)

        Bonita wrote on October 29th, 2012
        • p.s. just wanted to add, I get why some would criticise the metabolic type theory, stating that it doesn’t make sense in a community for some people to eat differently to others in the group, but perhaps it is not unusual for some people to choose different ratios of the available food according to their natural preferences (I’m reminded of how I used to trade with my sister at meal times, giving her the fat of my lamb chops in exchange for more potatoes and veg!).

          Bonita wrote on October 29th, 2012
  16. Yeah your right. The eskimos don’t have a hereditary need for a certain diet just like the quechua indians in south america. Really? Really? Really? You mean living in the arctic is no different then living in a jungle? Your logic needs some logic. Read Biochemical Individuality by Roger Williams. Your the quack pal.

    Daniel Rold wrote on November 30th, 2008
    • thats right!!!

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 6th, 2011
  17. Lets see: World with many different habitats, extremely diverse ecosystems, and a species that has adapted to almost every one of them. Look at Dr. Price’s Nutritional and Physical Degeneration. He found people living off the land as their ancestors did were extremely healthy. On wildly diverse diets based off available food sources. Argue that. You don’t see a difference in their needs? Metabolic Typing is the most successful diet plan I have used in my ten years of personal training. I have finally found something that can consistently work from one person to the next. Quacks? Researchers like Roger Williams, William Kelley, George Watson, Francis Pottenger, and Weston Price developed Metabolic Typing. These pioneers and scientists were far superior to the real ‘quacks’ of allopathic one size fits all medicine today which is based off money more then helping people. Every client I see needs a specifically tailored diet as well as exercise program.

    Daniel Rold wrote on November 30th, 2008
    • “Your ancestors’ place of origin may determine how your body burns calories, according to a recent study.

      In the study, researchers analyzed gene sequences from the mitochondria of 104 people. Mitochondria, present in all cells, produce energy and play a role in regulating metabolism. The DNA in mitochondria, which is inherited maternally, varies greatly by geographic region.

      People whose relatives came from cold, arctic climates have gene adaptations that allow their bodies to produce more heat while burning calories. On the contrary, those whose ancestors came from warmer climates tend to produce little extra heat and use calories more efficiently. Researchers say that these adaptations are evidence of natural selection in which genes evolved to account for environmental stresses.

      Mitochondrial gene variants helped natives to survive in their original environment; however, these adaptations may not be beneficial when people relocate to different climates. For example, those with ancestors from arctic climates have gene variants that allow their bodies to put out less energy, therefore keeping them warm more efficiently. However, if they move to a warmer climate this variant is no longer necessary.

      Researchers say that these variants, which were once beneficial, may now be contributing to present day disorders such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases as people adopt different lifestyles than their ancestors.”

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2002;10.1073/pnas.0136972100

      rarebird wrote on February 17th, 2012
  18. It’s of course also interesting to note that the people who lived off the land ate what agreed with them. They were able to intuitively eat that which made them feel better and were never exposed to the varying “health viewpoints” that exsist today. They were not peer pressured into eating one way or the other, but in fact chose what was best for them.

    If one follows the primal blueprint (which is excellent), they would have a positive spin on this post by Mark.

    They follow Mark = they eat according to the primal blueprint = the follow mark = they have a positive spin on this article.

    conversely, a vegetarian, high carb low fat person would not be following Mark and probably not even be reading this post.

    In my experience, being a protein type while living with a carb type, and me being 2.5 times her weight, if she eats what I eat, she feels like crap and gains fat. IF she eats high carbs, grains, fruits and sugars, she drops weight and feels great.

    I think there is something to be said about individual needs.

    and again, I eat primal.

    Rob - Former Fat Guy wrote on May 29th, 2009
  19. Being an MT advisor, I think some of the value of MT is going unrecognized and I’d like to mention a few things.

    Even though all MT diet plans include whole grains and dairy, I believe that one of the main reasons why MT enjoys such great success is that it gets people eating whole foods instead of processed crap. I think that’s something we can all agree on.

    In my opinion, MT is not a contradicting alternative to the primal diet, but instead a more advanced implementation of it. I’m living proof of this because I follow both a primal and a MT diet. In fact, my diet is probably more primal than many of the people here!

    Sure, if you want to improve your health without getting too involved with your diet, just focusing on the primal principles will get you bye without MT. But if you want to maximize your results, I think MT has a lot of value.

    Mark mentions a range of 45% – 65% of animal food in hunter-gatherer diets. This is pretty close to the range for MT. 40% is recommended for the carb types (slow oxidizer or sympathetic dominant), 55% is recommended for the mixed types (mixed oxidative or autonomic balanced), and 70% is recommended for the protein types (fast oxidizer, parasympathetic dominant).

    MT is also not just based on genetics. It inherently does takes into consideration the “age, gender, personal medical condition and hormone balance, exposure to toxins and allergens” that Mark mentions. This is the difference between a “functional” type and a “genetic” type. It’s also why people who are ill often transition to different types as they recover.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a “fast oxidizer” and my meals consist of mostly meat and fat with a smaller portion of vegetables and/or fruit. (no, I don’t measure it out exactly, and that’s not recommended either) With less meat and fat than this, the meal doesn’t hold me over as well. (Yes, I know, Grok sometimes had to go extended periods without food). My wife is the opposite of me and neither of us would do as well if we swapped diets. In fact, my wife couldn’t even bring herself to eat the ratio of meat that I eat.

    I’ll be a believer in MT until someone proves to me that an Eskimo can do just as well with half of their meat and fat intake being replaced by fruit. I doubt that’s the case, but I’m open minded to the possibility.

    Similarly, why are Native Americans more susceptible to blood sugar problems when they eat modern food? Not only is this a potential indication that their metabolism is geared towards less carbohydrate, but it also shows that minor differences in metabolism can have significant effects.

    Regarding the dominance of the sympathetic or parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, either dominance is usually pretty obvious in someone’s behavior. Sympathetic dominants are usually intense and parasympathetics are usually laid back. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that different foods will stimulate either side of the ANS for better or worse depending on a person’s dominance. My dominance is sympathetic and I definitely believe that following my diet balances my sympathetic tendencies.

    It seems to me that the only significant argument against MT is that it’s too elaborate. That’s understandable, but what’s wrong with someone going the extra mile with their diet if they want to? While some people may not want to deal with the structured nature of MT, I think it deserves more credit than “hooey, humbug, and nonsense.”

    If anyone can refute the validity of MT with a logical explanation, I’d be happy to hear it. :)

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • “I’ll be a believer in MT until someone proves to me that an Eskimo can do just as well with half of their meat and fat intake being replaced by fruit.”

      Show me anyone that can do well on a diet that is ~45% simple carbs, which is what that poor Inuit would be eating. There is no society in the world that consumes sugar at that level and remains healthy.

      “Similarly, why are Native Americans more susceptible to blood sugar problems when they eat modern food?”

      I dunno, why are Asians, Africans, Europeans, Aboriginals, Polynesians and Arabs also more suceptible to blood sugar problems on modern diets? What you call the ‘modern’ diet is bad for any human, regardless of ethnic background.

      apollonius wrote on August 8th, 2009
    • well done very true and humble..Note to the author..

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 7th, 2011
  20. Come on. Do you really believe that every person needs the same diet? Why does Atkins work for some and the Mediterranean work for others? Do you really believe that humans have not adapted over time to diverse environments? Are we not the most successful species adapting to nearly every environment on the planet? Didn’t Darwin come up with his theory of evolution based off birds in different islands that adapted different traits? Do you see different skin colors in people? Why? Latitude and sun exposure. Pretty simple. Would not not agree that different ecosystems have different foods available? Primal to what and who? To what ecosystem? Of course Primal is right on the idea of needing our ancestors food, but very wrong in the idea that primal man all ate the same thing. Don’t be ignorant. This is ridiculous to even argue. Metabolic Typing is amazing and the only scientific way of looking at diverse human food requirements. I’ve had tremendous success with my clients with metabolic typing and a Chek Practitioner. It works in every case I’ve had.

    Daniel Rold wrote on September 22nd, 2009
  21. Would it be possible that in ten thousand years of agriculture, some people have become grain-tolerant and less protein-tolerant? And that thus for some people eating carbs is not a health problem? Especially given that humans are pretty flexible, evidenced by existing in nearly all ecosystems. A smaller time span was sufficient to make most Europeans lactose-tolerant.

    Victor wrote on January 3rd, 2010
  22. What happened here? No refute to the metabolic typing arguments! I feel like the proponents of the MT diets brought up great points and I would love to hear a response in favor of PB. In fact, I think it is necessary to have a response in this case.

    Mat wrote on January 24th, 2010
    • here here

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 7th, 2011
  23. Mark, I came across your site while researching P90x vs. Crossfit and found it so interesting that I bought your book and am now reading it. I am really enjoying your book and will reserve judgment until I’m done and perhaps have applied it, but my background is of the Weston A Price Foundation and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. I noticed you had praise for both but at the same time still seem to promote a “one diet fits all” idea. NPD itself is evidence that several agricultural cultures lived completely healthily while using grains (Gaelic use of oats and Swiss use of rye off the top of my head). Price found healthy hunter-gatherer AND agricultural cultures. The real key was they didn’t eat the processed foods of modern civiliation, and they all had an source of the fat soluble vitamins A/D/K (fish, dairy or animal organs).

    Also Dr Nicolas Gonzalez treats cancer with pancreatic enzymes and metabolic typing. I listened to him tell the fascinating two-hour story of the protocol he uses at the last WAPF Conference (audio is available for purchase). He says “patients with solid epithelial tumors, such as tumors of the lung, pancreas, colon, prostate, uterus, etc. do best on a largely plant-based diet. . . On the other hand, patients with the blood or immune based malignancies such as leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma do best on a high-animal protein, high-fat diet.” This is directly related to the sympathic/parasympathic dominance. Depending on which one is determines which kind of cancer one gets.

    I agree with many things you say. I find it hard to believe though that they apply to everyone. Even Dr Wolfgang Lutz in his book Life Without Bread, prescribing low-carb diets to thousands of his patients decades before it became popular here, found that yes, it worked to reduce weight, cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, etc., for 70 – 80% of his patients, as shown by his clinical studies. But he had no explanation for the other 20 – 30%.

    Do you claim that the Primal Blueprint works for 100% of the people who honestly apply it? If not, then I feel you are to some degree pushing theory a little bit, just like raw vegans or vegetarians will stand by their theories, when contradicting evidence exists.

    Jason wrote on April 20th, 2010
    • nice comments

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 7th, 2011
    • Great comments

      Bibi wrote on September 18th, 2012
  24. I really don’t understand why Mark is bashing the MT diet because I sat down and read the entire MT book yesterday and came away with the conclusion “this is pretty much the same as Paleo (Primal)”.

    I loved the book and I would describe it as recommending Paleo eating with tweaks to allow grains, legumes, and dairy only if you can tolerate them and they are BENEFICIAL for your specific genetic type.

    Even for “carbo types” they suggest limiting grains and beans and only eating them after soaking them overnight to remove phytates.
    Almost everyone is encouraged to eliminate wheat entirely and eating white flour is never allowed.

    As far as dairy goes, they say to eliminate it if it gives you any problems whatsoever and to never use dairy to replace real meat as a protein.

    It is not a vegan or vegetarian diet and they recommend all types eat meat and fish. It does not bash or discourage saturated fat at all.

    It recommends minimizing or eliminating sugar.

    I do disagree with them allowing some vegetable oils but keep in mind that this book came out in 1999 and we know a lot more than we did then.

    I’m not going to sit here and type all day to defend the book. I suggest you get a used copy of the hardback from Amazon. It’s dirt cheap. I’m recommending it to others, just like I did with The Primal Blueprint, because I believe they are both great nutrition books. They compliment each other quite well actually.

    The bottom line is the MT diet recommends that you eat primally (the “Protein Type”) unless it’s not quite right for you and in that case, tweak it slightly so that it’s right for your specific biochemistry. The book gives examples of people who were just not healthy eating strictly primal and got better when they ate differently AND vice-versa. They give an excellent example on page 81 of a guy who switched to primal eating (which is, of course, the opposite of what his doctor recommended) and dropped 80 pounds of fat in a year and had his blood pressure and cholesterol come down to the perfect range in just four months. The MT diet is pro-Primal!

    Like the book says, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” nutritional protocol, even though mainstream doctors continue to believe that and force it on patients, even with everyone getting sicker, more unhealthy and dropping dead all around them.

    And really, how can anyone disagree with that? There’s over six billion people on the planet, all evolved over millions of years from ancestors from all over the globe with different climates, food sources, and ethnicity. And they all should be expected to eat exactly the same?

    Come on now.

    Rob wrote on November 14th, 2010
    • good point

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 7th, 2011
  25. Rob brings up MANY good points.
    I have come to really value Mark’s take on things, and was also really disappointed to hear his view on typing.

    I’ve read pretty extensively about the blood type diet (as well as the updated Genotype system), and after looking at the research published on D’Adamo’s site – based on an enormously sophisticated synthesis of medical anthropology, epigenetics, naturopathic medicine, and statistical analysis, I came away with the impression that while the idea is new, different, and yes, controversial – D’Adamo is not one to be mocked. In my opinion, he’s got the mind of a supercomputer along with an admiral intellectual modesty.

    The idea of typing is not new either. It’s interesting, too, that the 4000 year old medicinal traditions of Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine (which also focus on prevention and the importance of diet in health maintenance) are based on typing patterns as well.

    Look at modern information on food allergy/intolerances, too. It makes it incredibly clear that we do not all do well on the same foods. Soy, Corn, red meat, gluten, dairy, eggs are several of the top intolerances that are due – not surprisingly – to genetic inheritance patterns. Brushing off typing as hooey is foolish and disappointing. I say reconsider.

    J. wrote on February 2nd, 2011
  26. Waiting for a primal reply to metabolic typing. To be honest I think they are very close in philosophy. I love the idea of a paleolithic diet. But I have to realize that natural selection has made many changes in human DNA. We are not all the same. Strong evidence was given by Roger Williams, PhD (nobel prize for discovering vitamin B5 pantothenic acid) in his book biochemical individuality. To all you paleolithic diet followers out there – your on it. Take it to the next step. Metabolic Typing is the future. If you really want to get deep look at Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. It doesn’t get more precise and more life changing then the combination of MT and FDN.

    Daniel Rold wrote on February 2nd, 2011
  27. Its indeed very interesting and revealing that no “MT Basher” has responded with an intelligent retort since being presented with some substantiated reasoning. The initial arguments against MT clearly lacked the necessary research and understanding to make such statements and I hope those that seemed so convinced of the ridiculousness of MT will look into it a bit further. Its essentially just a bit more of a sophisticated progression on from something like the Paleo/Primal Diet anyway…and it works.

    Steve wrote on March 23rd, 2011
  28. It is funny I always ask the question when bashing one school of thought – if there is a vested interest in protecting one diet over the other – I usually say follow the money.
    Do my way because the other does not work – I am not defending anyone diet – I am an MT Advisor and find faults here to (and am moving away from using) – but all this Paleo/Liberation – whatever the plan is – the authors are saying thiers is the best because they earn $$$$. Ahh ego and money, ego and money. Read Ray Peat PhD

    Linda DeFever wrote on March 27th, 2011
    • interesting.. if i send you my email can you highlight some faults??

      1naturalman1 wrote on April 7th, 2011
  29. Wow, you just lost your credibility in my eyes. To say there’s no validity in something that has powerfully changed (and saved) so many people’s lives is absurd. Open your eyes, do your research and give credit where credit is due. Every client I see is SO different than the next. It is impossible to say ‘one diet can fit all’. Ha. Ignorance. I’ve found this same thing true with doctors. If they don’t know what something is or haven’t heard or experienced a certain disease/lab test/etc before, they bash it or discredit it so that they still look like the expert and so you look like the ‘un-intelligent’ one. Nice job. You’ve really showed us that you have no idea what you’re talking about. The people that can significantly change other people’s lives, and the one’s that will have the most success are those that can openly say that there are many methods out there that work. And our job, as a professional, is to discover what is best for that person. When you can’t do that, you become a fraud and a very close-minded practitioner who is only limiting your own success. Stop being driven by your own ego and use your brain and intuition. In other words, open your eyes. Step out of your own little box and you will go much further. Remember, everything you do should be for your clients and finding what it is that works for them. The trouble comes when you can’t recognize that maybe the tool you use is not the only answer out there.

    Sara wrote on March 27th, 2011
    • Exactly and that’s exactly what MT is about. Finding out what works for you. Not me, you.

      Daniel Rold wrote on July 1st, 2012
  30. I have read about how so many have done so well and loosing weight going carb free. I decided to try it and couldn’t get through one day without carbs. I was literally shaking by the end of the day. I had such terrible brain fog, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I wanted to lye down and take a nap. I had been eating plenty of protein that day but felt like I hadn’t eaten all day. I tried fasting for 24 hrs one day and couldn’t make it the whole day. I was so weak, blood sugar so low, I thought I was going to go into a coma. I had to drag myself across the floor to get myself some orange juice. It’s as if my body is unable to convert protein/fat into glucose or use fat from my body for glucose. I suspect I am hypoglycemic. I have to eat frequently. I feel best when I eat a bowl of steel cut oats that have been soaked in sourdough starter overnight with cherries and raw milk or a bowl of chili. I find I feel better if I have complex carbs with protein and fat. I can’t handle refined carbs like pasta or white rice or fruit without protein it makes me jittery and my blood sugar crashes. So I got to thinking about checking out MT for me. Maybe a true primal diet isn’t for me. A meal full of meat would sit like a rock in my gut. I don’t have problems with grains that have been soaked and I find they give me the sustainable energy I need as long as I eat it with a combination of protein and fat. But for me to not have any carbs makes me so weak; almost nauseous. I wonder if there is some way to change my biochemistry so that my body uses the protein/fat for glucose so I could loose weight easier. My raw food friend is convinced that 80% of our diet should be in the form of plant based carbs,10% protein and 10% fat. Also grass fed meat is 3-4 times more expensive than the meat at the local grocery. With a family of 8, this is not feasible for us. Legumes and grains are very inexpensive. Maybe I am one of those persons who needs a little carbs, (unprocessed that is). I am also a physically active person.

    Julia wrote on April 30th, 2011
    • You need to be tested for blood sugar problems. Look for a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist (FDN). You can contact me through email if you want performancetraining@yahoo.com

      Daniel Rold wrote on July 1st, 2012
    • I’m sorry but when I read that you had to drag yourself across the floor to grab some OJ I lost it-that was hilarious….lol. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be eating low carb, that could just mean that you’re so addicted to carbs that’s what happens when you stop eating them. The same way a heroin addict would feel terrible after giving up heroin-they would feel horrible initially but that doesn’t mean heroin is good for you.

      Daniel wrote on July 28th, 2014
  31. Julia,

    FYI, Mark doesn’t say to go carb free, he says to limit them. Low carb proponents I’ve seen recommend anywhere from 70 – 150 grams/day. Also you may have not gotten enough fat. You can’t eat all lean protein without fat. That’s “rabbit starvation.” You could eat 10 lbs of lean meat a day and still starve.

    Jason wrote on April 30th, 2011
  32. Eleven years and 100 pounds later I can say that metabolic typing works! I lost weight very slowly and my appetite and tastes changed. I have no problem keeping my weight stable now. I am a protein type.

    Several years ago my son was deployed to Kuwait and had serious low energy problems. He called home and after much questioning found that the ice cream he was getting everyday was too much fat and probably also too much protein for his mixed metabolic type. He stopped the daily ice cream and had one only once a week. His energy was back and he was feeling in top form.

    The system works! Also for several friends as well.

    fbl wrote on May 6th, 2011
    • So he was eating ice cream everyday and from that you blamed protein and fat for his issue? How about the fact that it’s sugar? Processed junk food! Of course he would feel better when he stopped eating crap so often. This doesn’t prove any way of eating is better our have anything to do with MT. Its kind of irrelevant since nobody is saying junk food is healthy for anyone ever.

      Aisa wrote on March 7th, 2014
  33. I don’t think Metabolic Typing is baloney. In fact, as a medical student, I know oncologists use it all the time for their patients. YES, western practitioners advocating MT because they know it works, and they don’t have time for 30yrs of hard evidence.

    As an Asian, most of my friends who go on low-carb diets not only suffer short-term brain fog but they never seem to get over that lack of energy. While they should eat an all-natural, lower carb diet than the SAD diet, you’re being too dogmatic if you believe EVERYONE needs a Paleo diet. societies have evolved to eat differently, are u telling me someone from the equator should be eating the same diet as say, an Alaskan?

    entire societies evolved based on rice alone, why do you think they can’t eat brown rice and have to eat steak/vegs? This is coming from someone who is of Mongolian descent, and I do eat a Paleo diet of lamb/raw milk/vegs

    Dan wrote on July 5th, 2011
  34. Bottom line is, anything that is ONE-SIZE-FITS ALL including the Paleo Diet, can never be universal, even if the Paleo Diet is very good for obese/diabetic people.

    Dan wrote on July 5th, 2011
  35. I have an argument/rebuttal in favor of paleo for anyone who cares to listen. It is based mainly in speculation. Here it goes…I don’t doubt that Some people may have a better disposition for eating higher carbohydrate loads based off of their specific ancestors background (people closer to the equator, asians, etc) but that is because of some degree of genetic drift. Humans are incredibly gifted in the sense of adapting to practically anything and thus when the agrarian era hit and cultures had to eat more carbs to survive, they obviously did. After about 10,000 years of higher carb loads then that of the paleolithic era I do believe that lead to more people being able to tolerate higher carbs. I still don’t think that makes higher carb diets ideal. You have to think about it this way, the human metabolism was based off of the paleolithic era (high fat) and so I believe all “carb types” on the metabolic typing scale COULD convert to becoming fat efficient again eating primal blueprint style for 3-6 weeks or up to 2 months max and being able to use fat as the primary fuel source again without problems. If you are a “protein type”on the metabolic scale you are essentially stuck though because it takes humans a lot longer to even Somewhat adapt to higher carb loads because again the default metabolism was based off of high fat because the paleolithic era came before the neolithic era obviously. If the carb types feel fine on a higher carb diet prescribed by metabolic typing advisers then great, but I feel that it still isn’t optimal as we have been fat dependent for the majority of our existence on the planet. In summary, “carb types” can convert to fat types, however, “protein types” should remain protein types and truly will feel like shit on any other style of eating because their ancestors never quite broke away from their paleolithic dietary habits. I hope that made reasonable sense. We must consider which era came first and which fuel source was preferred by that era when talking about these things.

    Tyler wrote on August 6th, 2011
  36. *”carb types” can convert to protein types. sry typo (no such thing as a fat type)

    Tyler wrote on August 6th, 2011
  37. Let me revise my argument a bit.

    Examples of different macro-nutrient diets based on geography: (and on metabolic typing diet logic)

    ex:
    Inuits- high fat diet “protein types”

    Mediterranean- moderate fat diet “mixed type”

    Asian- low fat diet “carb type”

    Note: The default human metabolism is from the paleolithic era or “protein type” and fat efficient. Which is why Inuits eating high carb would obviously suffer diseases because they have never diverted from the original “primal blueprint” metabolism. (my rebuttal to vin)

    The Mediterranean style eaters or “mixed type” can convert back to fat efficient after following PB style eating for about a month in my estimate.

    Asian style eaters or “carb types” can still convert to fat efficient although, because the genetic drift is most prevalent in this diet it would be a little more uncomfortable at first and probably take PB style eating for 2 months in my estimate to become fat efficient again.

    I believe primal/paleo style of eating would realistically work for about 70-80% of the population given sufficient time to adapt back (as referenced by you Jason in Dr Wolfgang Lutz’ book Life Without Bread). The other 20% could be a variance in toxic load, infectious burden, food allergies, intolerance, and sensitivities or general lifestyle habits as Mark pointed out.

    To Daniel Rold and Linda deFever I would just like to say as far as I know you can be 100% primal/paleo and not pay a dime to mark or anyone else for that matter. Follow the money trail? Really? So that would mean metabolic typing advisers! I just looked up functional diagnostic nutrition programs and it came out to around $400 without even all the testing costs which are around $100 each. No thanks. I strongly believe, and from others research nearly 80% of the population can live and THRIVE on low carb without problems. However, I will admit it wouldn’t work 100% of the time for 100% of the human population and that if you happen to be in the minority and primal/paleo doesn’t work for you then by all means go throw 500 dollars down and get a metabolic typing test. Still think everyone should give primal a legitimate shot first because it is again free and works for nearly everyone. Even if you come out as a “carb type” and eat accordingly and feel reasonably well, I still think that you cannot deny that we as a species have been running on higher fat/lower carb eating for nearly our entire existence on the planet so further down the line running on high carb isn’t beneficial to anyone in my opinion. So again, unless you are in that strange minority or a high class world athlete primal works for the most amount of people at the best price, oh wait actually NO price I take that back. I rest my case.

    Tyler wrote on August 6th, 2011
    • I like your insight but I disagree. I have carb types and tried higher proteins and they felt like crap. I’ve had four carb types lose over 50 lbs and two over 75 lbs. None of them has regained their weight and its been over three years for all of them. And I’m one MT adviser. Out of the hundreds of us there no doubt there are many many that leave me in the dust. Functional Diagnostic Nutrition of course is going to be expensive. But for the people that need it (multiple system imbalances) we may be the only thing that keeps them from becoming a statistic of the medical paradigm.

      You don’t have to spend a dime more then the $11 book, Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott to follow an MT diet. There are three programs the basic (book $11), intermediate at metabolictypingonline.com for $40 or you can hire an Advanced Adviser who will take you every step of the way. If someone hires me and requires my time, well, I have to eat and pay bills. So follow the money. If I was I wouldn’t be a metabolic typing adviser. I would do sales for a defense contractor or run for congress.

      PS. For those who don’t have the time, effort, or prerogative for the best of the best I send them to Paleo. I personally use Paleo recipes all the time and love the foundational principles which MT shares with Paleo. We just take it to the full extent of the philosophy by which we are both founded: natural selection and adaptation. There is no one-size-fits-all. No if-ands-or-buts

      I rest your case. ;)

      Daniel Rold wrote on July 1st, 2012
  38. This keeps popping up on my site as well. Just going on record: 100% in agreement with Mark on this.

    Robb Wolf wrote on August 15th, 2011
  39. I would advise all MT advisors to stop replying to this post and website because this website has become the first site on a google search for metabolic typing…

    Kinda sad :/

    Bob wrote on August 24th, 2011
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