What to Eat for Your Body Type
Eating for Your Body Type: A General Guideline
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know there are four basic body types - adrenal, ovary, liver and thyroid - and that getting healthy and losing weight depends upon eating for your body type rather than a cookie cutter plan.
But how do you know what you should be eating for your body type, and whether or not you’re eating for the right one?
Well, one easy way to find out which body type you are is to take the free quiz I’ve developed, which you can do right here. There’s also a more comprehensive quiz, which you can find in my book, The 7 Principles of Fat Burning. The results are usually pretty straightforward, and you’ll learn more toward one body type than the others.
Once you’ve figured out which body type you are, you can pretty much skip straight to that eating plan, customizing it to fit your preferences. But if you’re a mixed body type, or you feel like you’re all body types, then the best thing to do is start with the adrenal body type (which I’ll outline later on in this article along with the rest of the eating plans).
Why should I start with the adrenal plan?
Well, from working with some 40,000 patients over the past 25 years, I’ve found that around 80% of the people are adrenal, so it’s highly likely you fit into that category. The trick is that whichever eating plan you are on should feel right to you, so you can just start with the adrenal plan, and if it doesn’t feel good, or just doesn’t seem to click with you, you can just move straight on to a different plan.
If the adrenal plan doesn’t feel right to you, or if you don’t feel you’re losing as much weight as you should be, I’d recommend you skip over to the liver plan. The ovary and thyroid types have very specific symptoms, and you’ll usually know if you have that body type. So if you’re not sure, and adrenal doesn’t seem to be working out for you, I’d try the liver plan next and go from there. Chances are, though, you’re going to do very well with the adrenal plan right off the bat. But if you don’t, just keep trying the different ones until you find which plan works best for you.
Now, let’s get into what these different eating plans are!
The Adrenal Body Type
So, with the adrenal body type, these are the three main things you should be focusing on:
When I say high protein, I’m not talking about the typical standards recommended by the Food Pyramid. I think they suggest somewhere around 125
grams of protein a day, which is way too much! I recommend between 3-6 ounces of animal protein per meal for adrenal types, and I usually find that works very well.
Why does the adrenal body type need more protein? Well, the thing with adrenal types is that their bodies are breaking down more protein in their muscles, the collagen and skin, than the other body types. So you need to replace that protein, or you’re going to feel weaker.
Now, eating all that protein isn’t going to guarantee on its own that you’re going to grow back your hair, skin and nails. The whole point of this eating plan is to fix the hormonal imbalances that are causing your body to eat itself up, so that your body starts metabolizing those hormones and that protein you’re eating.
On that note, then, I’ve actually sometimes found that people do a bit better on the liver plan, because they clean out their liver and restore the proper balance of hormones in their body, and then suddenly their skin and hair and nails are healthy again!
But anyway, if you’re an adrenal type, you should be going for 3-6 ounces of animal protein per meal, preferably organic or free-range eggs, fish, chicken, stuff like that.
If you’re a vegetarian, you can do Spirulina, or try to find some other source of protein, some protein powder or something. Just make sure you’re getting those 3-6 ounces per meal, preferably in the early part of the day.
A lot of people have the misconception that high fat means deep-fried twinkies or something. But when I say high fat, I’m talking about nuts, avocados, cheese, plain yogurt, and so on. Healthy fats!
Why does the adrenal type need to eat more fats? Well, first of all, the adrenal stress hormones are made from cholesterol, which you can find only in animal fats. When a person’s stress levels are high, they develop high cholesterol in order to build more hormones.
This means that when they then try to lower their cholesterol with diet or medication, the body is unable to create enough adrenal hormones to keep up with the stress. So adding more animal fats to your diet handles this problem, so your body is able to produce adrenal hormones without developing high cholesterol.
Also, adrenal types typically have blood sugar issues, so if you don’t have enough fat in your diet you tend to crash and burn and don’t feel very satisfied. Therefore, it’s very important for adrenal types to have enough fats in their diet.
I don’t recommend cruciferous vegetables—kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts— because adrenal types usually experience bloating. Kale shakes in the exception and will be fine, but if you’re experiencing bloating, gas or stomach pain, then you should stop eating cruciferous vegetables.
Instead, you should consume other vegetables, like romaine lettuce, spinach, tomato, carrots, celery and so on—there’s a full list at the bottom of this post. You should have at least 7-10 cups of vegetables a day, because most of the vitamins you need are in these vegetables.
High protein, high fat, non-cruciferous vegetables. Pretty straightforward, right?
The Ovary Body Type
Alright, so if you’re an ovary body type, these are the guidelines you should follow:
High Protein and High fat
Like the adrenal type, the ovary body type should be consuming high amounts of protein—again, 3-6 ounces per meal. But unlike the adrenal type, ovary types should consume more dairy—keifer, yogurt, cheese—and it needs to be organic.
If you absolutely can’t afford to get organic, just look at the label and make sure it says no rBST. That means no hormones, and is very important when you’re shopping for dairy products.
The reason I say more dairy is that there are certain factors in dairy that support ovary types—in fact, ovary types crave dairy. But instead of ice cream, cream cheese and cheese cake, you’ll be eating keifer, yogurt, cheese, things like that instead.
This way, by consuming more dairy, you’ll be getting the high protein and high fat that ovary types need.
Now, unlike adrenal types, ovary types actually need cruciferous vegetables in their diet. Why? Because cruciferous vegetables are anti-estrogenic. The ovary type produces too much estrogen, and so eating cruciferous vegetables helps clean up the estrogen and balance out your hormones.
The kale shake is great for ovary types, as well as other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus and so on. These vegetables also happen to be cancer-fighting, so that’s an extra bonus for you!
I don’t recommend consuming soy in general, but if you’re an ovary type you should avoid soy completely. Soy products increase estrogen levels, which are already too high in ovary types. So eating soy will actually reverse what we’re trying to do, which is clean away all that excess estrogen that’s causing all that weight gain in your lower body.
It’s a funny thing, you know, because soy protein is found in all kinds of health bars, protein shakes and pre-packaged diet foods. So if you’ve been on any diets that require you to eat those things and wondering why you’re not losing any weight, that’s why! Plus, these companies usually use very low-quality soy, and eating too much of this stuff can actually cause tumors.
So, high protein, high fat, cruciferous vegetables, and no soy. Got that? Good.
The Liver Body Type
So, the liver body type is pretty different from the last two types we’ve gone over.
For this type, you should be consuming:
The thing about liver types is that the worse off your liver is, the harder it is for your body to digest protein. The liver is responsible for metabolizing protein, so if you’re a liver type and you eat too much, you’re going to end up with digestive issues.
I recommend consuming no more than 3 ounces of protein per meal if you’re a liver body type, and avoiding animal protein as much as possible.
Liver types don’t do very well on fat, so it’s best to cut down on it as much as possible. In fact, the way to destroy your liver is by consuming too many cooked meats and cooked or deep fried fats. One way you can tell if you have an unhealthy liver is if you have a low tolerance for red meat or fat.
The funny thing about the liver type, though, is they actually crave fat. So if you’re a liver type, you can have some, but you’re also going to have to add bile salts to your diet. My Gallbladder Support Formula has bile salts, and makes it so that you can digest more fat. It’s really great if you have issues with bloating, burping or belching.
If you’re a liver type, it’s very important for you to consume lots of cruciferous vegetables. Why? Because cruciferous vegetables have a ton of phytonutrients in them.
What the heck are phytonutrients? Well, “phyto” comes from a Greek word that means “plant”. So phytonutrients are plant nutrients, and they have unique properties that fight against many types of diseases. Some good examples include breast cancer, prostate cancer and macular degeneration.
Anyway, the reason I want you consuming these cruciferous vegetables is because a damaged liver needs these phytonutrients in order to heal. The liver is amazing, because it’s one of the only organs that can regenerate itself completely—BUT, it takes about three years of healthy eating to do it!
So that’s why I recommend eating lots of phytonutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables—7-10 cups a day.
I especially recommend kale, because it has over 600 carotenoids—a type of phytonutrient that gives vegetables their vivid colors and also has a lot of properties to help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
In contrast, iceberg lettuce has no phytonutrients at all! So if you’re a liver type I’d highly recommend switching it out for kale, and seeing what other noncruciferous vegetables you can switch out for cruciferous vegetables.
Headaches, right shoulder pain, or bloating If you’re experiencing headaches, right shoulder pain, or bloating, that means you’re consuming too much fat. Your liver is on the right side of your body, so if it’s having trouble, you’re going to tend to have problems with the right side of
Liver types also don’t do very well on nuts or peanut butter (which are high in fat), and so eating too much of these can cause bloating. And nearly all headache issues come from liver or gallbladder problems.
It’s also interesting to note that if you’re having liver problems, you’re going to have a tougher time digesting fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A or vitamin E. So for example, if you’re eating a lot of kale (which is high in vitamin A), yet you still have dry skin, it’s just because your body is having trouble absorbing the fatsoluble nutrients that would otherwise handle your dry skin.
The solution to all of these is cut down on the fats that are aggravating your condition, and consume bile salts to make it easier for your body to digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
So, to summarize, if you’re a liver type, make sure you’re eating low protein, low fat, and lots of cruciferous vegetables, okay? Great.
The Thyroid Body Type
If you’re a thyroid body type, then you’re dealing with weight gain all over and a
very slow metabolism. Here’s what you should be eating to handle those things:
Thyroid types really don’t do very well with protein. So as with the liver type, I’d recommend no more than 3 ounces of protein per meal. Soy protein especially has been found to suppress thyroid function, so definitely stay away from soy too.
Like liver types, thyroid types also have issues with high-fat diets. If you have a weak thyroid, your body isn’t going to be able to digest fats properly. So make sure you stay away from fried foods or foods with high-fat content.
If you have a thyroid body type, I recommend avoiding cruciferous vegetables and eating the same types of vegetables as the adrenal type. This is because cruciferous vegetables tend to deplete iodine, and your thyroid needs iodine in order to function.
It probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if you had a healthy thyroid, but if you’re struggling with thyroid issues it’s best not to stress the thyroid by making sure it’s got enough iodine to work properly. Of course, if you absolutely can’t give up your asparagus, there’s a way around this—just add more iodine into your diet! Sea kelp or sea weed is a great way to do this, or you can also try my Cruciferous Foods Supplement, which I give to patients who don’t like sea weed.
None of this is set in stone
One key thing I’d like to bring up is that each of these eating plans are more like rules of thumb than strict guidelines. Rather than following these eating plans exactly, listen to your body and see how it responds, then adjust accordingly.
For example, let’s say you’re on one of these diets and you start feeling bloated. That could happen because you’ve got a gall bladder problem, or you’re consuming nuts and peanut butter and they aren’t agreeing you. If that happens, and you’ve got burping, belching or bloating, then you need to start adding bile salts to your diet.
On the other hand, the bloating, burping or belching could also be caused by eating too many cruciferous vegetables. Why? Because many people with adrenal or digestive issues can’t digest the heavy fibers from broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, and they experience stomach pain and bloating.
Usually that’s caused by an enzyme deficiency, but if you’re experiencing these symptoms, then you need to cut these things out of your diet. You can build up a tolerance to them as your system starts healing, but for now, it’s best to avoid them completely.
Now, if you’re experiencing fatigue on any one of these programs, you need to up your protein intake. Everyone’s body has different needs, so even if you’re on the liver plan, you should increase your protein until you stop experiencing fatigue.
The point is to do what feels right for YOUR body. If you happen to be craving sweets, then you need to increase your vegetable intake. Sugar cravings come about when your body isn’t getting enough nutrients. You’ll also start craving carbs if you’re low on potassium, so you should be able to handle that by adding more potassium-rich vegetables to your diet (acorn squash is a good one.)
So, as I’ve mentioned earlier, make sure you’re consuming 7-10 cups of vegetables per day. It’s not that hard if you do a kale shake and a couple of salads a day. As long as you’re consuming enough greens, your cravings should go away within a couple of days. Again, if you’re not sure which body type you fall into, you can take my free body type quiz here. And if you still can’t quite pin it down, just start with the adrenal type and go from there. Just make sure you listen to your body, and follow these general guidelines so you’ll know how to adjust according to your symptoms.
And if you have any questions about eating for your body type, or any successes you’d like to share, please let me know! I always love hearing from my readers
-Dr. Eric Berg DC
*Any comments on our blog or websites relating to weight loss results may or may not be typical and your results will vary depending on your diet and exercise habits.