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Rating Alternative Diets for Seniors


The Metabolic Typing Diet for Seniors

This diet is based on the belief that there is no diet that will work for everyone. Rather, you must identify your metabolic type in order to choose the diet that will make you healthy and allow you to lose weight.

Quick Take

  • A complex diet system based on identifying your metabolic type
  • Promises to alleviate health problems commonly associated with aging by regulating metabolism, stabilizing blood sugar, and balancing hormones
  • Offers a detailed system of supplementation that depends on your metabolic type and current health status

The Diet Is Best For

No one. The diet is not based on what we know about weight loss and metabolism, and it is complex and confusing to boot.

Who Should Not Try This Diet

Everyone should steer clear of this one. There's nothing here that will bring you better health or easy weight loss. The apparently arbitrary restrictions placed on certain fruits and vegetables are not healthy for seniors.

Now that you're 50+, you need your diet to be as nutrient-dense as possible. Limiting the variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables won't help you meet that goal.

The Premise

The authors say that the USDA Food Guide Pyramid is mass-market nutrition, and they claim that our poor health, especially as we age, is a direct result of serious dietary deficiencies or imbalances that exist simply because we don't know what our individual nutrition needs are.

Customized nutrition is the answer, they say, and they have devised a complicated system for identifying each person's metabolic type. Metabolic types are divided into three main categories according to the speed with which your body burns energy: slow oxidizers, fast oxidizers, and mixed oxidizers.

According to the authors' theory, you can eat all of the best and highest quality organic foods, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, get sufficient rest, and take the finest supplements money can buy, but you're still not going to feel well or enjoy optimum health unless you regularly obtain the nutrient balance that's right for you.

By sticking to the correct metabolic diet plan, the authors promise relief from allergies, arthritis, headaches, low blood sugar, indigestion, cardiovascular problems, depression, and recurrent infections.

The Rationale

Their motto is, "One man's food is another man's poison." By identifying each person's metabolic type, the authors say you can address chronic health problems at their causative level, prevent illness, and rebuild long-lasting health.

According to the plan, any given food or nutrient can have virtually opposite biochemical effects on different metabolic types. In keeping with that, lists of allowed and forbidden foods are provided for each metabolic type.

Eating on the Metabolic Typing Diet

What you're allowed to eat depends on your metabolic type. Fast oxidizers are given a diet made up of 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent carbohydrate. Slow oxidizers are prescribed a diet consisting of 25 percent protein, 15 percent fat, and 60 percent carbohydrate. Mixed oxidizers are given a diet with 30 percent of calories from protein, 20 percent from fat, and 50 percent from carbohydrate.

But there's more to the diet than these three basic plans. You are supposed to "fine tune" the basic metabolic diets according to your circadian rhythm and blood type, as well as the glycemic index of the foods you eat and how you combine foods in your diet. As a result, there actually are an infinite number of diet styles, and the book attempts to instruct dieters on how to accommodate them.

Overall, the diet encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and discourages eating fatty foods and sugar. Five-day sample menus are provided for each of the three main metabolic types.

What the Experts Say

This diet book has thrown in just about everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. While futurists predict a day in the not-too-distant future when we will be able to prescribe diets truly tailored to individual needs, taking into account genetics as well as lifestyle, that day has not yet arrived.

All the talk about metabolic typing is premature, and the excruciatingly detailed plan laid out in this book is based on nothing more than conjecture. Overall, most of what's recommended in terms of actual food intake is not bad, but the diet for "fast oxidizers" is too high in protein and the carbohydrate diet is too low in fat for most people to stick with.

Following any of the diet plans outlined in this book would likely result in weight loss, since many sources of excess fat and calories are reduced and eating fruits and vegetables is encouraged. The disadvantage to these diet plans is their complexity.

With so many do's and don'ts, they are confusing, and it would be easy to find yourself falling short of certain nutrients. The mixed oxidizer diet appears to be the most balanced of the bunch. Dairy is generally discouraged, making it tough for most people to get enough calcium and vitamin D -- two nutrients of particular importance to seniors -- without supplements.

Calorie quota: There are no calorie counts, only proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrate for each diet type. If the overall guidelines are followed, however, any one of the three basic diet plans would likely result in cutting calories.

Yes: Depends on your metabolic type. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are allowed and fluid and fiber intake encouraged.

No: Forbidden foods vary depending on your metabolic classification.

Other similar diets: Eat Right 4 Your Type

Continue to the next page to read about another popular alternative diet for seniors -- Slim Fast for Seniors.

To learn more about senior health, see: