Dr. Abravanel's Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan
By Elliot D. Abravanel, M.D., Elizabeth King Morrison
There are certain basic guidelines for healthy, balanced eating that apply to all of the body types, and that you must understand whether you turn out to be a Gonadal, Adrenal, Thyroid, or Pituitary Type. These are the guidelines that all good nutritionists would give you, and which would be absolutely correct from a scientific point of view. Everything in the Body Type Diet supports these general truths.
Then, there are special guidelines for your particular body-type. These are guidelines that are yours alone, which will enable you to fine-tune the rules of good nutrition so that they are exactly right for your type of metabolism. Understanding the special rules of Body Type Dieting you will encounter in this chapter will enable you to appreciate your own Body Type Diet more fully, and to follow it more intelligently.
We'll start with the basic rules of healthy eating, then go on to the special Rules for Body Type Dieting.
Basic Rule #1: Always Eat A Balanced, Healthy Diet With Plenty of Variety
Experts agree: A balanced, healthy diet is based on whole, natural foods, and includes a wide variety of foods eaten in moderation. There is no place in a healthy diet for an extreme emphasis on one food or group of foods at the expense of balance and variety It should not ask you to eat grapefruit for a month.
It also necessarily meets the standard of low-fat eating, drawing 30 percent or less of its calories from fat, and only 10 percent or less of its calories from saturated fat. Along with this small amount of fat, a balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and lots of fresh produce.
As you go through the Body Type Diets, you'll see that each one more than meets these criteria for healthy balanced eating.
Basic Rule #2: When Dieting To Lose Weight, Never Lose Sight of Health and Balance
"Yes, a healthy diet is the main thing," people often think, "and I'll be very certain to eat that way after I've lost weight, but right now I'm going to go on the (cabbage soup, grapefruit-and-cottage-cheese, no-carbohydrate, etc.) diet. I've just got to get rid of these pounds!"
If you ever start to think this way, stop! Losing weight at the expense of balance and health will not do you any good in the long run. In fact, it won't even do you any good in the short run, because you will lose more energy than weight. Any weight that you do lose will not come off from the right places, and it will definitely not stay off for long.
The only way to reach and keep your best weight is to increase your balance with every pound you lose in weight. And you can only do this by beginning correctly with your Body Type Diet.
Basic Rule #3: When Thinking about Any Diet, Keep Your Body Type In Mind
If you keep up with current books and articles on dieting, you know that there are two major schools of thought in nutrition today. These are the "high-carbohydrate, low-fat, less protein" school and the "high-protein, lots of meat, carbohydrates make you fat" school.
The first is clearly the "official" position and the one with far more scientific backing. The government supports it and so does the
Food Guide Pyramid A Guide to Daily Food Choice
American Heart Association. It is clearly laid out in the U.S. Department: of Agriculture "Food Pyramid," published in 1992 (see above). The pyramid replaced the "four basic food groups" of 1956 as the government's official nutritional guidelines.
The American Heart Association states the same idea in terms of percentages; We are told to get 55-60 percent of our calories from carbohydrates, just 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent or less from fat.
The meat and dairy industries were rumored at the time of publication to be unhappy with the pyramid, and to have delayed its publication for about a year. You can see why this might be so. Meat and dairy foods and their products are demoted from equal status with fruits, vegetables, and grains, which they had tinder the old "food groups" plan, and given decidedly secondary status on the pyramid.
But other experts (for example, nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest) say that the pyramid does not go far enough to discourage consumption of meat and dairy foods. In their opinion, meat and dairy should be at the very top of the pyramid-the "use sparingly" level-or even removed from the pyramid completely But in general, the majority of nutritionists and dietitians support the Food Pyramid.
The competing view, by contrast, says that eating too much carbohydrates is not helpful and can even be harmful, leading to insulin resistance and other medical problems. However, the idea that the pyramid tells us to eat far too much grains and not enough protein has little official backing and is frequently denounced as unscientific and unsafe by mainstream nutritionists. Nevertheless, it is a popular view and has enthusiastic proponents.
Faced with these conflicting views, how do you decide which is correct? How do you keep from losing faith in any nutritional recommendations, if they can't even get closer together than that? And which view is actually in your long-term best interests? The underlying controversy, of which this is just today's version, is about what you should eat to give you sufficient protection from cardiovascular disease and cancer to maximize your longevity. However, these tendencies differ for each body type. Therefore, I believe that the only way to resolve this particular conflict is through a thorough understanding of the different metabolic needs of the body-types.
For two of the body types, I have found that the Food Pyramid does indeed put too much emphasis on carbohydrates. Thyroid and Pituitary Types do need to get a larger proportion of their calories from animal protein than is recommended in the pyramid (although the Atkins diet is not right for these body types, either-it's much too high in saturated fat). Adrenal and Gonadal Types, on the other hand, do better with even less protein than the pyramid recommends.
My view of the pyramid is that it is a good starting point, and certainly an improvement over the 1956 recommendations. But just as there isn't any one diet that is right for everyone, a single Food Pyramid won't work for everyone, either So I've worked out a Food Pyramid for each of the four body types (you'll find it in the chapter on your Body Type Diet).