I’ve been asked 3 times this week what I think of “metabolic typing” diets.
I’m not an expert on this, but always apply my usual brand of scepticism to anything that requires you to pay a hefty consultation fee to begin with, and haven’t as yet been able to find anyone offering to do the consultation without asking for upwards of £200 for the privilege.
From the perspective of a working Personal Trainer I can see why many are looking for some individual USP (unique Selling Point) or “edge” over their competition, and often go to great length & cost to get themselves certified in something other trainers don’t have. To me this would appear to be one of those scenarios.
In principle, as with so many fad type diets it sounds reasonable enough. in practise however a few things ring alarm bells about this with me. Firstly please have a look at the wikipaedia entry for it, shown in the link, and below http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_typing as always I have highlighted what I feel to be the important factors to consider as well as their “evidence” in red.
Metabolic typing – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Metabolic typing is the term for a diet based upon the concept that people have unique metabolisms, and that therefore the nutrients and their balance which are appropriate for one person may be inappropriate for a second, and detrimental for a third.
Proponents of metabolic typing claim that different populations have different types of metabolism, and that diets should be tailored to reflect these purported differences. Metabolic typing claims to use common visible symptoms related to the skin, eyes, and other superficial parts of the body to assess different aspects of a persons metabolism and categorize them into broad metabolic types. In addition, some proponents of metabolic typing use controversial or unproven tests such as hair analysis to determine a person’s “metabolic type”.
A number of somewhat different “metabolic typing” diet plans are currently marketed by a number of entrepreneurs. The validity and effectiveness of metabolic typing have not been established.
Metabolic typing was introduced by William Donald Kelly, a dentist, in the 1960′s. Kelley advocated basing dietary choices on the activity of one’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. In 1970, Kelley was convicted of practicing medicine without a license, as he had diagnosed a patient with lung cancer based on a fingerstick blood test and prescribed nutritional therapy. He continued to promote a metabolic typing diet through the 1980′s.
Although metabolic typing diets have been promoted to patients with cancer, the American Cancer Society states that:
There is no convincing clinical evidence that supports the claims made for metabolic therapy or any of its components. Some aspects of metabolic therapy may in fact be harmful.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website notes that “…retrospective reviews of the Gerson, Kelley, and Contreras metabolic therapies show no evidence of efficacy.“
Some metabolic typing companies use a battery of established blood and urine tests performed by reputable laboratories, but interpret the results in an unconventional and medically unsound fashion. During a 1985 investigation into one such firm, an investigator sent 2 separate samples of blood and urine for analysis; he received 2 drastically different “metabolic typing” reports and dietary plans. Both plans involved the purchase of dietary supplements costing several dollars per day.
So clearly, with this, and anything else that involves special tests costing lots of money, skeptisicm would appear to be the healthy way forwards, for both your body & your wallet.
As always, few Trainers looking for some edge over their competition will jump in head-first and start spouting it as fact, ..from the website of one, and stated as such…
“The Benefits of Metabolic Typing:
- Achieve and maintain your ideal weight
- Eliminate sugar cravings
- Enjoy sustained energy and endurance
- Conquer indigestion, fatigue and allergies
- Bolster your immune system
- Overcome anxiety, depression and mood swings”
a) The same tired old fad diet promises you get with every new book or system trying to sell their product. It must also be remembered that this is not new, but was once. These diests tend to swing in and out of fashion and can re-emerge decades later for another go at your money.
b) The tests are based on “an online-questionaire” which then generates a 25 page report about your metabolism and requires several coaching sessions to then explain to you the results of the software.
c) this particular trainer only appears to offer the service as part of a course of treatments costing £130 per month, for a minimum of 6 months.
hmm. 3 distinct warnings to me. my skeptical nature sounds warnings whenever I hear something proposed as the magical answer to all your problems, both perceived and real, as rarely in life is this the case. Very occasionally t’is true, but rarely in practice. An online questionaire. …hmm. no blood tests, and results based purely on subjective answers given by client. not exactly reliable? High cost.
In summary I would advise that as with all faddy type approaches, a healthy suspicion and /or wide berth is required. These things always sound reasonable enough, but I always think you have to look at the motives behind them, and although it may sound like it could be grounded in common sense, so many of the fad diets do, what would make this one any more correct than the Blood Type Diet for example? similar principles and reasoning?
You always have to remember that in order to make themselves stand out and have a strong new sales point for their gimmick, they have to make it sound reasonable in order to get your money off you.
If anyone has had amazing success with this, when all other approaches have failed, please do let me know? ..And if you could also let me know why in your opinion the other approaches have failed where this one succeeded, I would be very grateful.
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