Is there a diet that works for your body type?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Body type diet highlighted on Dr. Oz show.
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Finding ways to lose weight is a challenge for everyone. Fad diets are never shown to work, except in the short-term. The secret to weight loss remains making total lifestyle changes that incorporate eating fewer calories than you burn. Is there a diet that really works for your body type?

In February, 2012, Dr. Oz aired a show suggesting eating for your body type, claiming eating for health can be accomplished through consuming an Ayurvedic diet.

This week’s show focused on yet another way of eating that suggests letting hunger be your guide. Dr. Oz’s guest even says it’s okay not to eat breakfast, which Dr. Oz found “shocking”, and that ice cream is a good choice for dessert.

With so much information – from eating an Ayurvedic diet for optimal health to consuming what you want and when you want it, the question remains, should a diet be individualized?

Dr. Oz’s guest, Mark Liponis, MD is author of “The Hunter/FarmerDiet Solution”, which is what the diet is all about. He says finding the right diet is all about your genes and whether you have the metabolism of a hunter or a farmer.

Hunter or farmer body type highlighted

To give an example, the Atkins diet is most like the hunter and Dr. Dean Ornish’s plan is akin to the farmer diet. Hunters keep fat in their chest and belly (apple shape), putting them at higher risk for metabolic disorders that lead to stroke, heart disease and other chronic illness. Belly fat is the most dangerous type.

Liponis bases his dietary advice on the Stanford University’s A to Z Weight Loss Study that compared various diets.

Dr. Oz’s guest says you just need to know what you weighed at birth to figure out your body type. If you were less than 7 pounds, you have the body type of the hunter. If you weighed 7 to 10 pounds, your type is the farmer.

If you have a big ‘hunter’ belly (and butt), he claims you should eat a lot of protein, like our ancestors did. Skip the pasta, rice and other starches. Focus on fish, chicken, berries and for instance, cauliflower instead of a side of mashed potatoes. “Hunter” body types should skip breakfast, he says, because eating in the morning is only extra calories.

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Since ‘hunters’ crave desserts, go ahead and indulge. Liponis claims sweets raise serotonin levels and make people with a hunter body type feel good. He recommends ‘a little’ double-churned ice cream over sorbet, cookies or yogurt.

To melt belly fat and get rid of a big butt, follow your meal with a glass of pomegranate juice.

Avoid milk and dairy altogether if you’re a farmer body type, claims Liponis. If you want to keep your hips, thighs and butt slim, avoid full-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, butter or ice cream, drink soy milk and snack at night on peanut butter, popcorn or whole grain toast to stabilize night time blood sugars. He says it will make you sleep better too.

If your body type consists of belly fat and a big butt, walk at night and stretch to relieve stress on the back from having a larger mid-section. To accomplish, lie flat on the floor with your arms in the air and then flatten your back against the floor and hold it for ten to fifteen seconds. Then bring your knees to your chest and hold 10 to 15 seconds and repeat the exercise.

Another butt burning exercise is the “Power Pretzel”. You sit on the floor and bend one leg over the other then twist your upper body, using your opposing arm to push on your knee. The goal is to see behind you, but never force a stretch. Hold the pose for ten seconds, and then twist to the other side.

Big belly, big butt body types should avoid unbleached coffee filters and wear compression stockings. Liponis says unbleached coffee filters flush out a compound in coffee called cafestol that is linked to high cholesterol. Compression stockings improve circulation to get rid of extra body fluid for weight loss.

Dr Liponis isn’t the first to propose weight loss by focusing on body type. The Body Type Diet by Dr. Eric Berg DC, founder of the Berg Institute for Health and Wellness proposes it’s not just genes that determine how we should eat for optimal health. He says it’s important to get control of hormones to maximize weight loss and burn calories.

There are a lot of individualized diet proposals on the market. From Ayurveda, “Body Type Diet”’ eating for your blood type and this week on the Dr. Oz show, “The Hunter/FarmerDiet Solution”. If there is really a diet for your body type, share your story.

For now, the only proven way to lose weight is by taking in fewer calories than you burn, focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a diet rich in unsaturated fats and maintaining an active lifestyle. According to the CDC, you should eat breakfast every day, monitor your diet and activity, enlist the support of friends and engage in 60 to 90 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each day. Diet success is more about lifestyle than body type.

Resources:
CDC.gov
"Healthy Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!"
"Improving your Eating Habits"

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

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