By William Wolcott
Founder of The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing and author of The
Metabolic Typing Diet (Doubleday)
Part 1 of 2
As a reader of this web site, it is likely that you've reached the point where you think or even know that nutrition is important if you ever want to get well and stay well. It's just common sense, right?
But you may also have come to feel that the field of nutrition is quite baffling. And that even though there is more information available today than ever before, that it's also become harder to find what's really right for you or to decide just what you should do.
In a very real sense, the information explosion over the last 10 years has quite possibly brought more confusion than clarity to your quest for health. As a result, you may have found yourself asking questions like:
- Why is it that my best friend's nutritional supplements work absolute miracles, but make me feel lousy?
- How can one bestselling book say one thing about nutrition, and the other bestseller say just the opposite?
- Why will a certain diet give my friend energy and help to lose weight but make me tired and gain weight?
- Why can't I get rid of my candida overgrowth problem, even though I've followed an "anti-candida" diet?
- How can someone eat the best organic foods, take the finest nutritional supplements that money can buy, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly... and still not feel well?
Or maybe your concern is with more serious issues like...
- Why are two thirds of Americans overweight?
- How can so many people be obese when people are more diet-, health-, and exercise-conscious than ever before?
- Why is degenerative disease skyrocketing?
- Why are younger and younger people falling prey to diseases of the aged?
- Why are cancer, heart disease, and diabetes increasing each year?
And if you're a health professional working with nutrition, you may also be baffled by questions such as...
- Why does a low fat, low protein, high complex carbohydrate diet raise cholesterol in some people instead of lower it like it does in other people?
- Why does taking a nutritional product or protocol help one person with a problem but not another with the same problem?
- If nutrition is so important, why doesn't it work for so many people?
Everywhere you look, there are contradictions. Your friend tells you one thing. You read about just the opposite in a health magazine. And a hot new bestseller at your local book store says something quite different altogether. In fact, that's another problem -- wall-to-wall books on health and nutrition, most of which just contradict each other.
And, maybe you've learned from your own experience that what works for one person, doesn't help a second and can actually make a third person worse! Don't worry, it's not you. Even scientific researchers are confused by their findings because most studies on nutrients conclude that while helpful to a certain percentage of people with a certain condition, the studied nutrients don't help or even worsen the same condition in other test subjects.
So how can there be so much confusion and contradiction about something that is supposed to be so good for you?
The unfortunate reason is that the majority of the people talking about nutrition know just enough to be dangerous. They know that nutrition can be the answer, but they don't know how to use it properly. And, yes, it is a two-edged sword: If you use it properly, it can help make you well. But, make no mistake. If you use it improperly, it can help make you sick or keep you that way.
You know. Take this nutrient for that condition. A magic bullet. One standard nutritional remedy for each problem or a universal diet that is supposed to work for everyone.
But, your own experience and all the contradictory books and articles that you've ever read, aside from making the field of nutrition confusing, frustrating, and sometimes downright baffling, have already shown you that this approach doesn't work. And your common sense agrees. You know that you are unique! You know one shoe size doesn't fit all. You know that everyone is as unique as their fingerprints. So, why would anyone ever think that one diet is right for everyone? Or, that what works nutritionally for one person would work for another as well?
The fact is, you really can eat the best organic foods, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, get sufficient rest, take the finest supplements that money can buy... and still not feel well, or even start feeling worse than before!
So, what is the answer? The answer is to find out what is right for you!
Not what some book says. Not what a friend says. Not what the latest fad says is right. You need to find out exactly what is right for YOU! A nutritional program that is tailored specifically for your kind of metabolism and that will meet the special and unique nutritional needs of the one and only you.
Bottom line? Unless you match your nutrition to your metabolism, you'll only be wasting your time and money!
So why is it so hard to find right answers? How do you know who to believe or who to trust?
The answer to this universal dilemma is that for decades, the wrong questions have been asked. Ask wrong questions and you're bound to get wrong answers to your needs.
The problem is that the quest for the "holy grail" in nutrition has been to find that "right diet," that "healthy diet" that is right for all people. And the quest has been to find the one right nutritional protocol for each condition.
But what has been missed is the undeniable fact that on a biochemical level each of us is as unique as we are in our fingerprints. Actually our uniqueness extends far beyond just our fingerprints and encompasses virtually every aspect of ourselves -- personality, behavior, temperament, external physical traits, internal size, shape, placement, and efficiency of all of our organs and glands, and rates of our cellular metabolism. Simply put, our DNA is unique.
Standardized nutritional approaches fail to recognize that, for genetic reasons, people are all very different from one another on a biochemical or metabolic level. Due to widely varying hereditary influences, we all process or utilize foods and nutrients very differently. Thus, the very same nutritional protocol that enables one person to lead a long healthy life full of robust health can cause serious illness in someone else. As the ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius once said, "One man's food is another's poison." It turns out, his statement is quite literally true.
What Accounts for All This Metabolic Individuality?
At any given point in time, there are a number of factors that determine peoples' unique nutritional requirements, but none is more significant than a person's ancestral heritage. It's a matter of classic Darwinian principles of evolution and adaptation, natural selection, genetic mutation, and survival of the fittest. Over thousands of years of evolutionary history, people in different parts of the world developed very specific dietary needs as an adaptation mechanism, in response to many unique aspects of their habitats and lifestyles -- including climate, geography, vegetation, and naturally occurring food supplies.
As an example, people from cold northern regions of the world have historically relied very heavily on animal protein, simply because that's the primary food source available in wintry climates. Thus they have radically different nutritional needs than people from tropical regions, where the environment is rich in vegetative diversity year round.
In the early part of the 20th century, a brilliant scientist by the name of Weston Price, DDS, demonstrated this in no uncertain terms. He traveled all over the world and sought out all the indigenous populations to study their diet and their health. His discoveries were remarkable and extremely important. What he discovered was that:
- The diets of all the indigenous peoples were tremendously varied (being dependent on geography, climate, and the foodstuff naturally available)
- Yet those indigenous people who followed their ancestral diets were robustly healthy.
- But those who moved away or for other reasons strayed from their ancestral diet developed degenerative processes.
What Can We Learn from This?
- First and foremost, there is no one diet that is right for everyone, i.e., there never has been and there never will be a universally healthy diet.
- Second, the only healthy diet is the one that meets one's genetically-based requirements -- not what some book or diet expert says is right. Eat a diet that is right for your metabolic type and not only can you stay healthy but you can reverse degenerative conditions as well.
- Third, there are no good foods and there are no bad foods, except in terms of foods that are right or wrong for your genetic makeup. Think meat is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Inuit (Eskimo) who eats up to 10 pounds of meat a day, yet there isn't even a word in their language for cancer or heart disease. Think a high carb diet is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Quetchus of South America or the East Indians who have lived for countless generations on a near vegetarian diet? Think dairy is bad for you? Then how do you explain the Swiss whose ancestral diet was largely based on dairy and rye?
Your body is designed to be healthy. Good health is your birthright. The ability to experience radiant health is part of the genetic code built into every cell in your body. What you need to do in order to reclaim your birthright is to understand what your body needs as opposed to someone else's, in order to function the way it was intended it to. In short, you need to eat right for your metabolic type.
In a previous era, before the age of modern transportation, cultures were isolated and peoples' metabolic makeup and corresponding dietary needs were very clear. But in today's day and age, due to extensive intermingling of cultures, we've become a true "genetic melting pot." In the U.S. in particular, most of us have many different ethnic and hereditary influences. As a result, few of us have a distinct ancestral heritage or readily identifiable dietary needs.
Fortunately, however, through the research that has been done over the past 25 years, there is an available systematic, testable, repeatable, and verifiable advanced nutritional technology that enables people to discover their own unique dietary needs with a very high degree of precision. This technology is known as Metabolic Typing. Through metabolic typing those often mysterious, seemingly unanswerable questions become perfectly clear and answerable indeed.
Once you know your metabolic type and you know what foods are right for you and what foods are wrong for you, then you need a simple to follow, step-by-step plan to help you transition into a healthy lifestyle that you can follow for the rest of your life. You'll find none better than Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan.
[Continue to Part 2]
Nutritional typing is foundational to my entire dietary and health program, provided for you in detail in my book Take Control of Your Health. There are different metabolic types of people, as William Wolcott points out in the article above, and each body type demands more of certain types of food and less of another. This is why you may respond well to a low-carb diet while, say, your best friend, on the same exact diet, may not. This understanding of the different nutritional types is built into my nutrition plan, because nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.
My Nutrition Plan provides a deeper understanding of typing and a free test to assess your nutritional type. William Wolcott, who contributed the article above, is the author of The Metabolic Typing Diet; this book gives you a comprehensive overview of metabolic typing, and is a perfect companion book to mine.
I have developed a total nutrition plan based on decades of experience in which I have researched extensively, conferred with my professional colleagues, and most importantly, successfully treated tens of thousands of patients. Eating a diet that is tailored to you will result in your achieving your optimal weight without feeling hungry, while optimizing your insulin levels and increasing your overall level of wellness. You will learn how to increase your consumption of fresh vegetables, lean organic meats from grass-pastured animals, raw organic dairy products, farm fresh eggs, nuts, and seeds. My plan involves a return to whole foods, as close to nature as possible, and avoidance of chemicals, over-processed packaged foods, and excess sugar and grain.
Please check out my optimized nutrition plan, as well as my complete fitness program, which is another important aspect of health and longevity that you should not overlook.