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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Is there a connection between body type and diet?

Hello Kelly

I am wondering what my body type I am. I am very proportionate shape wise and when I gain weight I gain everywhere equally and the same when I lose weight: like a layer of me comes off. I have a strong bone structure and lower body/leg muscle definitions ( I am a cyclist ).

How does my body type affect my diet? or Does it even make a diference?


Our expert says...


This is a great question because this area is very popular at the momment and there is a lot of debate as well as confusion! There are now many suggested ways to classify body types, for example, Dr. Abravanel's Body Type System suggets there are 4 types and your body type is determined by your dominant gland. This means that it depends on which of your body's four major glands dominates or controls your metabolism. I have even seen research classifying 25 body types...so its not a black and white subject!

The most commonly used classification system and rationale is that body types are determined by gentically-based physical characteristics. However, although genetics impact our body shape from birth to adulthood, it is well supported (by me included) that although we cannot change our 'body type' we can make the most of what mother nature gave us through our diet and exercise regimen. Plus, despite different genetic body types, you CAN make each body type do what you want it to do. You just need to tailor your diet and workout appropriately.

There are 3 basic categories of body types that are well researched and supported:

Endomorph - is genetically predisposed to be "big boned" and has what some people might describe as a body that is roundly shaped. The endomorph has the slowest metabolism of the three different body types and can therefore gain weight the quickest and easiest. This is great for gaining muscle and strength, but terrible for losing and keeping off fat. It's basically the complete opposite of the ectomorph.

Ectomorph -the naturally skinny body type of the three different body types. The ectomorph is the person that has probably been very skinny their entire life and not neccesarily because of a great diet or workout, but because they are born with a super fast metabolism. This gives them the "ability" to eat pretty much whatever they want, pretty much whenever they want, and pretty much never get fat and never gain weight. Everyone knows someone who just stays slim and eats rubbish..well, they could class themselves as an ectomorph!

Mesomorph- the luckiest body type of the three different body types. The prototypical athlete, fitness model and bodybuilder. Where the ectomorph and the endomorph both have a positive and negative side, the mesomorph has pretty much the best of both worlds. They gain muscle almost as well as an endomorph, yet can lose fat almost as well as an ectomorph.

It is important to note that it is extremely rare for an individual to be 100% Endomorph, Ectomorph or Mesomorph body typing. We all display some characteristics from each body type although one type will usually dominate. To classify yourself you need to judge how easily you can lose weight as this will help you see into which catergory you would best fit!

After all that, my suggestion is not to get caught up in the confusion of 'body type diets' which do exist, but just follow the basic, simple principles! So, start with the simplest plan as it makes the best sense. In the case of weight loss and health: Protein from the best sources you can find; vegetables, in (mostly) unlimited amounts; high-fiber, low-sugar fruit in moderation; and good quality, naturally occurring, traditional fats like butter, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds.

The outlined principles above are a recipe for success and will work well for just about any metabolism and body type. Hope this helps.


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