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If one thing is certain in this world, it’s that no two people are the same. We have different likes, different genetic structures, different goals and most certainly different metabolisms.
So why is it that when we see a friend who’s lost weight, we automatically ask them how we can adopt their diet with the hope of achieving their level of success? This approach is like reading two different books and expecting the endings to be the same.
In today’s society, this behavior occurs more frequently thanks to social media and the internet. You see a friend’s progress picture or a popular social media influencer and immediately send them a message asking them to share their secret recipe.
What if I told you that it’s not that simple? What if I told you that each body is so unique that what works for one person might not work for the next?
The metabolism of one person may me completely opposite to the next person. Where one person may see results with a keto diet, another may see results with a high-carbohydrate diet.
It’s important to understand how today’s different diet trends may or may not work for you based on your metabolism.
Your rate of metabolism is based on how you convert food into energy through a process known as oxidation. Which diet works best for you will be dependent on whether you are a fast, slow or balanced oxidizer.
Fast oxidizers are people who do well with heavy protein and fatty foods because they are able to convert protein and fats into energy more efficiently than slow oxidizers. They have strong appetites and eat frequently in order to avoid energy crashes. And unlike slow oxidizers, they usually require a heavy breakfast to get going.
Slow oxidizers are the exact opposite. Because of their slower rate of oxidation, they are unable to get adequate energy from fats and don’t do well with high-fat meals. They require more carbohydrates than fast oxidizers in order to maintain their energy levels. But in contrast to their counterparts, they have poor appetites and don’t require frequent meals.
Balanced oxidizers are as the name implies. They are able to oxidize food into energy equally from all sources. They can consume all three types of macronutrients without depending on any specific one for energy.
So which diets work best based on your metabolism?
The keto diet is very popular nowadays. It’s highly advocated within the CrossFit world, and many social media influencers praise it as the best way to lose weight and decrease body fat. Keto diets are based on the consumption of protein and high fats with little (less than 50 grams per day) to no consumption of carbohydrates. But the truth is that the keto diet is not for everyone and that many people do not follow it properly.
The biggest mistake most people make is they increase their fat intake disproportionately and consume high amounts of saturated fats such as bacon and lots of red meats when they should be consuming unsaturated fats such as avocados, red fish, olive oil and nuts. Even more important is your type of metabolism. This diet is particularly useful for people who are considered to have a fast-oxidizing metabolism but not as helpful for slow oxidizers.
Not to be confused with the keto diet, the Paleo diet is based on the idea that one should consume foods that were found during the Paleolithic period. Basically, no processed foods or foods that are a result of the agricultural boom. This means no starches, dairy, breads, grains, legumes or pasta to name a few. The Paleo diet can be adapted to most metabolic types. However, it works best with fast oxidizers because of its limited carbohydrate sources, and in many cases, it can become limiting and isn’t necessarily feasible long term.
Possibly the best option for slow oxidizers, intermittent fasting is based on consuming all your daily calories within an eight-hour window during the day. Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting does not limit the types of food you can consume but rather the time in which you consume them. One should still eat foods with a high nutritional value such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes and complex carbohydrates with very minimal processed or refined foods. This is ideal for slow oxidizers because they take longer to convert the food into energy and can go for longer periods without food intake.
The word diet shouldn’t really be applied when one decides to follow this eating habit because the Mediterranean diet is not restrictive in what you eat but rather encourages the consumption of heart-healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, legumes and olive oil while limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods. Balanced oxidizers do very well on this type of nutritional plan because of their ability to use different nutrients as potential fuel sources.