When Diets Don't Work

Are you still searching for that "right"diet? Or maybe you are feeling tired and frustratedbecause despite doing everything "right",eating "healthy foods - fruits and salads - drinkingfiltered water, and practising meditation or yoga youare still feel tired, spacey or just not right?

Perhaps you constantly crave sweets and sugars andyour willpower is not working? You are not alone inthis very common phenomenon of the 21st century wherebyour nutrition has become a science. And with so muchinformation overload about what is right and what iswrong, most people are confused and even overwhelmed.

As a nutritionist, the questions I most often get askedare, "How can I have more energy?" "Whatshould I be eating?" and "What is my idealbreakfast, lunch and dinner?" In each case, itdepends on who is doing the eating and their metabolicprofile.

This nutritional approach is based on individual biochemistryor your Metabolic Typing.

What is Metabolic Typing?

Metabolic Typing (MT) is unique as it doesn't promoteone right diet for all. Instead, its primary goal isto identify your biochemical individuality before nutritionalrecommendations are made.

Metabolic Typing is based on the fact that we are allunique, so totally individual that not even identicaltwins share the same fingerprints. Each of us is alsobiochemically, and thus, metabolically unique. For thisreason, food will behave differently, having differenteffects in different metabolic types. It's only logicalthat dietary recommendations will vary greatly froma protein type to a carbohydrate type individual.

For this reason it makes sense to identify your metabolicprofile and take the guesswork out of finding your idealnutrition for life.

This extract from an article by Nina Planck titled"Death by Veganism" (http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/articles/veganism.htmNew York Times; May 21 2007) gives an extreme exampleof the dangers of diagnostic nutritional approachesthat people impose upon others.

"When Crown Shakur died of starvation, he was sixweeks old and weighed 3.5 pounds. His vegan parents,who fed him mainly soy milk and apple juice, were convictedin Atlanta recently of murder, involuntary manslaughterand cruelty. This particular calamity - at least thethird such conviction of vegan parents in four years- may be largely due to ignorance. But it should promptfrank discussion about nutrition."

Indeed, and this article is not intended to criticiseveganism or any other diet for that matter. The emphasishere is on our biochemical individuality as a startingpoint in identifying what is right for us and what isnot. MT is very different because it simply confirmsthat what works well for one person - in terms of nutrition/supplements- can be completely ineffective or even harmful foranother. So the only so called "right nutrition"is the one that is based on your biochemical or metabolicprofile.

As Lucretius (c 99 BCE-c 55 BCE) summed it up eloquently:"What is food to one man may be fierce poison toothers."

The History of Metabolic Typing

What is interesting about this approach is that itis not a trend, a fad nor a diet based on one studyor experiment from one authority. Rather, it is a customisedsystem of nutrition put together as a result of over70 years of cumulative efforts and pioneering discoveriesby a series of doctors, researchers, physicians, biochemists,clinical nutritionists, dentists and psychologists.These contributors include Drs George Watson, WilliamDonald Kelley, Royal Lee, Weston Price of Weston PriceFoundation, and Roger Williams, all of whom were giantsin their respective fields, yet their contribution toMetabolic Typing was mainly ignored by the mainstreammedical and nutritional community.

As just one example, Dr Roger Williams, a professorat the University of Texas from 1939 to 1986, discoveredPantothenic Acid (Vitamin B 5), the stress vitamin,in 1933. He noticed that when, during a medical procedure,he was injected with morphine, instead of feeling drowsyas expected, his mind became quite racy. The doctorsgave him more morphine to sedate him, but Williams'mind became even racier. As a medical professor, Williamsdid not accept this episode as idiosyncratic. Instead,he put it down to "biochemical individuality",which became the title of his 1956 book that was largelyignored by his medical peers at the time.

Another significant contribution to Metabolic Typingcame from Dr William Kelley in the late 1960s. Diagnosedwith aggressive pancreatic cancer, Dr Kelley adheredto a vegetarian diet, including lots of enzymes/minerals,and adopted a more holistic lifestyle. At the time,Western medicine had no means of treating this typeof aggressive cancer. Fortunately for Dr Kelley, hecured himself and, soon after, stopped seeing patientsin his prominent dental practice and instead becamea highly sought after nutritional authority.

Some time later, his wife became extremely ill afterbeing exposed to toxic paint fumes and was literallywithering away despite her husband's efforts to saveher. Dr Kelley tried everything on his wife that hadseemed to work for him, with no positive results.

In his futility he asked himself, "What have Inot tried with her yet?" The answer astounded him.Meat! For someone who advocated and lectured on vegetarianism,he was open minded, or maybe desperate enough, to tryanything in order to save his ailing wife.

After sipping on some organic beef broth, Mrs Kelleysat up in bed within 24 hours after being almost comatose.This was the sign Dr Kelley had hoped for and he continuedto feed his wife small strips of organic beef. Withinjust a few days, she was well on her way towards recovery.

The Kelley's story ended on a happy note, as well asproviding a significant scientific contribution to MetabolicTyping, because Dr Kelley had discovered the importanceof autonomic types in nutrition, based on the AutonomicNervous System.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System type?

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is the master switchof your metabolism. It is divided into two branches:the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic. Each branchworks in opposition to the other, yet they work togetherto maintain metabolic balance and efficiency.

Your Sympathetic branch speeds up your heart rate soyou can run away from a dinosaur and other dangeroussituations, while the Parasympathetic branch slows downyour heart rate, so you can enjoy that candlelight dinnerand savour the experience.

As an example, Dr Kelley was a Sympathetic type andcould benefit from a more vegetarian diet, whereas hiswife was a Parasympathetic protein type and needed redmeat and animal protein daily for health and longevity.

Isn't animal protein too acidic?

This leads the metabolic typing discussion into oneof the most misunderstood topics in the area of nutritionto date, the Acid/Alkaline myth.

Many nutrition books, articles and authorities todate advocate a diet based on 20/80 Acid/Alkaline intakeof foods. Put simply, this translates into avoidingacidic foods such as meat, cheese, eggs, and fish andincreasing alkaline foods, like vegetables, fruits andjuices. This approach does not apply to everyone andwill lead to severe metabolic imbalances in some metabolicprofiles. Let's examine why.

The "assumptions" that animal protein causespeople to become more acidic and vegetables more alkalinewere scientifically shattered by Dr Rudolph A Wiley.In his book "Biobalance", Wiley concludesthat some people become more alkaline after eating meatand more acidic after eating vegetables.

The ongoing misunderstanding related to acid/alkalineis probably due to the fact that most books do not addressour unique biochemistry as the factor that determineswhat happens to food in our body. It is really importantto understand the fact that any food - meat or vegetables- can cause different reactions in different metabolictypes. Either meat or vegetables can shift a person'spH levels towards acid or alkaline depending on themetabolic type of the person, not the food itself.

For example, John, a carbohydrate type, and Mary, aprotein type, eat the same tomato/ cucumber salad withlemon juice dressing for lunch. Soon after eating it,John's metabolic profile shifts alkaline, while Mary'sshifts towards acid. This is what Metabolic Typing helpsyou to understand, that any food can have the oppositeeffect in different metabolic types.

In his groundbreaking book, "The Metabolic TypingDiet", Bill Wolcott, universally recognised asthe authority in developing the concept of MetabolicTyping, explains the acid/alkaline connection further.Wolcott was Dr Kelley's researcher for many years andwas thus able to put the final link of the nutritionalpuzzle together by identifying what is called the "dominantfactor" of your metabolic profile.

In identifying your "dominant factor", thissystem allows you to balance your complete metabolicprofile. This factor is the key to understanding yourbiochemical weaknesses, and how to use food to balancethese weaknesses. This does not happen overnight, butit does happen over time.

Another important reason for knowing your "dominantfactor" is that when it is nutritionally balanced,the other fundamental biochemical systems will balancein turn, over a period of time. Yet, if your "dominantfactor" is not biochemically addressed, your bodyand brain chemistry will be out balance, resulting insymptoms such as tiredness, sweet/sugar cravings, fogginessand feeling mentally scattered. This is because everythingwe eat and drink affects our brain chemistry.

How many types are there?

There are three distinct categories, Protein, Carband Mixed, and they each have three possible types withineach category, making nine possible combinations. Wehave room here for a brief outline.

"Protein types" are very sensitive to carbohydratesand require specific protein requirement daily, especiallyat breakfast. Cereal for brekky will not work for thesepeople as it literally turns them into a "fat factory"or Insulin Resistant. Hence, the obesity epidemic.

"Carb types" normally feel best when 50 percent of their diet comes from vegetables and very leansources of protein. They need to be careful with theamount of fat and sugars in their diet as somethinglike nuts could slow them down and make them feel heavy.

Some Carb types benefit greatly from a little vegetablejuice first thing before their meals to get their digestiongoing. This is not your typical apple, celery and carrotor beetroot, more like cucumber/tomato or zucchini/tomato.Please note, that if a classic protein type followedthis nutritional plan they would become acidic or feelravenously hungry, even shaky, with strong cravingsfor salty and or fatty foods.

"Mixed types" really need to eat like a proteinand carb type combined, as they can vacillate betweenthe two groups and shift out of biochemical balanceif their diet is not broad enough.

For each person and metabolic profile, the typicalnutritional recommendations go into more specificationsand finetuning over time and the above basic outlineis a starting point to give you an idea of how differentwe really are even at a glance.

In summary, we are all biochemically unique and forthis reason there cannot be just one diet that wouldsuit everyone. Identifying your metabolic type takesthe guesswork out of searching for the "right nutritionalplan" for life. In essence, this becomes your biochemicalplatform upon which optimum health and longevity isbuilt.

In Wellness,

Teya Skae
Nutritionist/Kinesiologist/Health Coach
MA, BA, Dip Health Science,
Dip Clinical Nutrition.

References :
The Metabolic Typing Diet, Wolcott, William and Fahey,Trish. Broadway Books, 2002
One Answer to Cancer, Kelley William D. Kelley Foundation,1969
The Metabolic Types, Kelley William D. Kelley Foundation,1976
Biochemical Individuality, Roger Williams, Wiley andSons 1956
BioBalance, Wiley, Rudolph. Life Sciences Press, 1989.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this column arethose of the writer and are intended as an informedcontribution to people seeking to pursue holistic healthand lifestyle. For medical advice, always be guidedby your own healthcare professionals