Struggling to maintain a healthy weight? Dealing with low energy and mood? According to the proponents of the metabolic typing diet, eating for your metabolic type could help you address these problems and improve your overall well-being.
But before you embrace this diet, it’s important to understand what exactly it does and some of its potential limitations.
In today’s post, we explain metabolic typing diets and explore the pros and cons of the fat protein efficient diet.
So, what is a fat protein efficient diet? And should you follow one?
What Is the Fat Protein Efficient Diet?
Your body needs both macronutrients and micronutrients to function well and be healthy. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are the main sources of energy for your body and its building blocks.
The fat protein efficient diet is a kind of metabolic typing diet. As the name implies, it focuses on foods with a high fat and protein content.
If you’re wondering what a fat protein efficient body is, the short answer is one that digests and turns fat and protein into energy more effectively than carbohydrates.
Metabolic Typing Diet – What Is It?
The metabolic typing diet was first developed by dentist Weston Price in the 1930s. Price saw food as only one component of health, alongside environmental factors and genetics.
His initial research provided a foundation for the theory that metabolism varies from individual to individual. And that these variations have physical, behavioral, and biochemical correlates.
Put simply, metabolism is how your body digests food and turns it into energy. A cellular process largely determined by genes, metabolism happens continuously without our conscious awareness. More than creating energy, it dictates how this energy gets stored as glycogen or fat.
According to the metabolic typing diet concept, either your sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system predominates. These autonomous systems dictate how fast the body stores and burns energy.
A person with a fast-paced life is more likely to have a dominant sympathetic nervous system. By contrast, a person with a parasympathetic nervous system is more likely to be slower and more relaxed.
Customization is key to eating balanced meals, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. But how much customization does the metabolic typing diet allow? And is it healthy?
What Are the Three Metabolic Types?
The metabolic typing approach to dieting defines three metabolic types based on body type, genes, lifestyle, and sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance.
It may sound a tiny bit complicated, but it’s not. Let’s take the three types one at a time.
Carbohydrate efficient metabolism
If you have a carbohydrate efficient metabolism, you digest carbs more efficiently than fat or protein. You’re a sympathetic dominant slow oxidizer with a small appetite, and your weight tends to fluctuate.
The ratio: According to the metabolic typing diet, people with a carbohydrate efficient metabolism should get around 70% of their calories from carbs, 20% from protein, and 10% from fat.
Fat protein efficient metabolism
A fat and protein efficient metabolism is the opposite of a carbohydrate efficient metabolism. With this type of metabolism, you convert fat and protein into energy better than carbs.
The ratio: People with a fat and protein efficient metabolism should get around 50% of calories from protein, 30% from carbs, and 20% from fat.
Mixed metabolic type
The mixed metabolic type, meanwhile, is more balanced. With this type, your body metabolizes carbs, protein, and fat just about as efficiently. This calls for a more balanced ratio between carbs and protein in your diet.
The ratio: People with this type need around 50% calories from carbs, 40% from protein, and 10% from fat.
What’s the Benefit of Eating for Your Metabolic Type?
So, what exactly do you have to gain if you eat for your metabolic type?
The benefits of this approach to dieting are outlined in The Metabolic Typing Diet, a 2008 book written by science writer Trish Fahey and researcher William L. Wolcott.
According to the authors, your metabolism is unique, so no single diet works for everyone. Hence the advantage of following a diet that suits your metabolism.
Here are some of the key benefits of the metabolic typing diet:
- Get rid of extra pounds
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Reduce food cravings
- Have enough energy throughout the day
- Reduce mood fluctuations and boost mood
- Reduce your risk of developing diseases
- Improve overall well-being
Regardless of your metabolic type, this approach comes with one notable benefit. It encourages you to limit processed foods like refined carbs such as white rice and sugar, which can spike blood sugar levels.
Finding Your Metabolic Type
There’s no simple test when it comes to finding your metabolic type. But here are some general pointers that can help:
- Carbohydrate efficient – You don’t eat very often and don’t usually feel very hungry. Big portions are not for you. You have a sweet tooth and gain weight quickly.
- Fat protein efficient – You often feel hungry and eat until you are full. Meals high in protein and fat fill you up. Carb-rich foods like white rice or pasta make you drowsy.
- Mixed metabolic type – You have a healthy appetite and don’t struggle to maintain your weight. You’re not crazy about sweets and enjoy eating most things.
Should You Try a Fat Protein Efficient Diet?
According to a 2020 article published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, personalized nutrition plans may benefit some people.
A fat protein efficient diet can encourage you to make healthier food choices and cut back on processed foods. Unhealthy carbs are linked with hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk for diabetes.
If you have an unhealthy weight because of eating too many carbs and/or have low energy levels and low mood, you could give the fat-protein efficient diet a chance. It will help you cut on processed foods, which research shows increases calorie intake and weight.
That said, currently, there is no body of research to support the benefits of the fat protein efficient diet. Or of any of the metabolic type diets for that matter.
The bottom line is that the fat-protein efficient diet may be healthier than other fad diets for some people. However, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist before following it in the long term.
Is the fat protein efficient diet a fad?
As we’ve seen, the fat protein efficient diet has roots that go back almost 100 years. However, it’s currently being marketed as a new approach to popular diets like the Paleo or keto diets. In other words, it is a fad diet.
More research is needed to fully understand its effects. There’s currently not enough evidence to back the unreasonable claims that some of its proponents make.
The bottom line is that while the fat protein efficient diet may help with weight loss, it’s not a magical solution to it, nor is it necessarily healthy in the long run.
Is there any downside to eating for your metabolic type?
Any of the metabolic type diets can be limiting if they prevent you from getting the minimum recommended nutrients.
Any diet that limits your intake of macronutrients may lead to nutritional deficiencies. All the more so if you follow it long-term.
Another drawback of the fat-protein efficient diet is that it’s rich in saturated fats that can increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
It’s also rich in purines. Found in meat, fish, and alcoholic beverages, purines are compound cells used to make DNA and RNA.
Eating foods high in purines can cause a buildup of uric acid in your body, leading to kidney stones, gout, and other diseases.
Examples of Fat Protein Efficient Diet
So, if you want to try this diet, how can you eat fat protein efficient meals? The focus is on foods that are slow to digest, like fat and protein. But bear in mind that some fats are healthier than others.
At the same time, a fat protein efficient diet plan for female vegans or vegetarians should include complete protein sources. These are foods that have all the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot make, like quinoa, tofu, and buckwheat.
Food combinations that provide the necessary amino acids also work, like lentils and brown rice or peanut butter and whole-grain bread.
Here are some ideas for a fat protein efficient diet plan:
- Breakfast – Hard-boiled eggs, omelet with cheese, Greek yogurt with blueberries, steamed salmon with cream cheese
- Lunch – Broiled salmon with leafy greens, tuna with broccoli, leafy green salad with feta cheese, chicken thighs with leafy greens
- Dinner – Broiled chicken with asparagus, steak with a bit of quinoa, roasted fish with a small serving of brown rice, bread-free vegan hamburger
Good to know: Fat protein efficient diet recipes should provide around 50% calories from protein, 30% from carbs, and 20% from fat.
A fat and protein efficient metabolism food list includes eggs, cheese, full-fat yogurt, fatty fish, meat, poultry, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds. Don’t forget to add in some leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, and salads.
Idea: You can also adapt low-carb, high-fat recipes into fat protein efficient diet recipes.
Here are a few things to remember:
- The fat protein efficient diet isn’t a magical solution to weight loss.
- Following a fat protein efficient diet may help you cut back on refined carbs and other potentially unhealthy foods.
- Metabolic typing diets may offer more personalized plans than other fad diets. But they can still be limiting.
- You still need to eat carbs even on a fat protein efficient diet. Only not so many.
- If you plan on trying the fat protein efficient diet, you need to watch your nutrient intake. Or you may develop nutritional deficiencies.
In the end, keep in mind that according to dietary guidelines, to stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced and varied diet.