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A while ago I picked up a book called "Eat right for your metabolic type". The book discussed the effects of the endocrine system on the overall shape and the speed of metabolism.

The book outlined few major metabolic types:

  • Adrenal
  • Thyroid (hypo/hyper)
  • Muscular

The book proceeded to discuss the overall shape of the body, including shape of fingers to help identify the metabolic type and give suggestions on which foods to avoid for a particular type.

The book then gave examples of effects of foods on metabolic types - for example an Adrenal type who eats too much sugar would crash and compensate for this by sleeping.

Since I can no longer find that book in print, I'm interested if there's really such a thing as a metabolic type that can be easily identified ? Are there indeed some foods that people should avoid eating?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

In general the answer is yes. However, the degree in which this is true and the degree in which the human body can adjust and adapt to new food types is larger misjudged. I am of the opinion that metabolism is largely controlled by the microbiome. It is largely recognized that the gut biome does adjust depending on diet and will also vary depending on drug intake. From previous meta-analyses, it has been noted that there are three subtypes of microbiomes. In a particularly famous study, it has been noted that Japanese and only Japanese people have the microbiome to digest seaweed due to the remarkable volumes of sushi that they eat.

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Very interesting article! – Alex Stone Apr 27 '12 at 2:13

That book was likely crap, but in short the answer is yes, probably there is a genetic basis in the metabolism, with human 'types' that could benefit from a personalized nutrition. The discipline studying these relationship is called nutrigenomics, and the main concept is similar to what is being told for personalized medicine. The bad news is that unfortunately this is not easy to identify, surely not from the form of your finger.

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Not from your finger … but possibly from metagenomics. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 26 '12 at 23:11

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