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What To Eat For Your Body Type

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Are you struggling to maintain a healthy weight? Today, I will talk about what to eat for your body type to keep you healthy and in shape. 

RELATED: Adrenal Body Type and Adrenal Hormones

In this article:

  1. The Four Basic Body Types

  2. Why Should I Start with the Adrenal Plan?

    1. The Adrenal Body Type

    2. The Ovary Body Type

    3. The Liver Body Type

    4. The Thyroid Body Type

  3. None of These Eating Plans Is Set in Stone

A General Guide on Eating for Your Body Type


The Four Basic Body Types

Dr. Berg's body types | What To Eat For Your Body Type

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably already know there are four basic body types—adrenal, ovary, liver, and thyroid—and that getting healthy and losing weight will depend on eating for what your specific body type needs, rather than relying on a cookie cutter plan.

So how do you know what to eat 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 have is to take the free quiz I’ve developed. You can do it right here. There are also more comprehensive quizzes, which you can find in my book, The 7 Principles of Fat Burning. The results are usually pretty straightforward, and you’ll lean more toward one body type than the others.

Once you’ve figured out which body type you have, you can pretty much skip straight to the “what to eat” eating plan, customizing it to fit your preferences. But if you’re a mixed body type or you feel like you’re under all the 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 whichever eating plan you are on should feel right to you. If it doesn’t feel good or just doesn’t seem to click with you, you can 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 try the liver plan. The ovary and thyroid types have very specific symptoms, and you’ll usually know if you have those body types.

If you’re not sure and the 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 on trying the different ones until you find which eating plan works best for you.

Now, let’s get into what these different eating plans are!


1. The Adrenal Body Type

Young sporty woman is standing on light kitchen | What To Eat For Your Body Type

With the adrenal body type, here’s what to eat or the three main things you should be focusing on:  

  • High protein

  • High fat

  • Non-cruciferous vegetables

High Protein

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! Instead, I recommend between 3-6 ounces of animal protein from your total calories per meal for adrenal types, and I usually find that works very well.

Why does the adrenal body type need more protein? The thing with adrenal types is their bodies are breaking down more protein in their muscles, in the collagen, and in the skin than with the other body types. So, you need to replace that protein or you’re going to feel weak. 

Now, eating all that protein can’t 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 causing your body to eat itself up so your body starts metabolizing those hormones and the protein you’re eating.

On that note, I’ve sometimes found out 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, hair, and nails become healthy again! But anyway, if you’re the adrenal type, you should be going for 3-6 ounces of animal protein per meal, preferably organic or free-range eggs, fish, and chicken, stuff like that.

If you’re a vegetarian, you can do Spirulina or try to find some other sources of protein like protein powder. Just make sure you’re getting those 3-6 ounces per meal, preferably in the early part of the day. 

Spirulina Definition: An organism that thrives in saltwater and freshwater that has plenty of nutrients like protein, B vitamins, and iron that the body needs.


High Fat

A lot of people have the misconception that high fat means deep-fried Twinkies or something similar. When I say high fat, I’m talking about nuts, avocados, cheese, plain yogurt, and so on. These are healthy fats! Why does the adrenal type need to eat more fatty foods?

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 to build more hormones.

This means that when they try to lower their cholesterol with diet or medication, the body is unable to create enough adrenal hormones to keep up with the stress. Adding more animal fats to your diet handles this problem, so your body will be able to produce adrenal hormones without developing high cholesterol. In some cases going through a normal amount of stress can make you stronger.

Also, adrenal types typically have blood sugar issues. This is why if you don’t have enough fat in your ketogenic diet (if you are following this meal plan), you tend to crash and burn and feel unsatisfied. Therefore, it’s very important for adrenal types to have enough fat in their diet. 

Non-Cruciferous Vegetables

I don’t recommend cruciferous vegetables — kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts — because adrenal types usually experience bloating. Kale shakes are 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 nutritious vegetables like romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and celery. There’s a full list at the bottom of this post to help you out. You should have at least 7-10 cups of vegetables a day because most of the vitamins you need are in these vegetables.
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2. The Ovary Body Type

Healthy eating food low carb keto ketogenic diet meal plan protein fat | What To Eat For Your Body Type

Alright, if you’re the ovary body type, here’s what to eat:

  • High protein

  • High fat

  • Cruciferous vegetables 

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. Unlike the adrenal type, ovary types should consume more dairy and they need 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.

What is rBST? Short for recombinant bovine somatotropin, this is an artificial growth hormone injected into cows for increased milk production. 

The reason I say more dairy is because there are certain factors in dairy that support ovary types — in fact, ovary types crave dairy. But instead of ice cream, cream cheese, by consuming more dairy, you’ll be getting the high protein and high fat the ovary type needs. 

Cruciferous Vegetables

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, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and asparagus. These vegetables also happen to be cancer-fighting, so that’s an extra bonus for you! You can cook them for dinner, too, to enjoy a healthy and nutritious evening meal. 

No Soy

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. Eating soy will actually reverse what we’re trying to do, which is to clean away all that excess estrogen that’s causing the weight gain in your lower body.

It’s a funny thing, you know, because soy protein is found in all kinds of health or energy 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. 

Butts | What To Eat For Your Body Type


3. The Liver Body Type

Cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower,broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale in wooden bowl | What To Eat For Your Body Type

The liver body type is pretty different from the last two types we’ve gone over.

For this type, here’s what to eat: 

  • Low protein

  • Low fat

  • Cruciferous vegetables 

Low Protein

The thing about liver types is 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 the 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.


Low Fat

Liver types don’t do very well with 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 meat 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 (sodium) to your diet.

My Gallbladder Support Formula has bile salts and makes it so you can digest more fat. It can be really great if you have issues with bloating, burping, or belching.


Cruciferous Vegetables

If you’re the liver type, it’s very important for you to consume lots of cruciferous vegetables. Why? It is because cruciferous vegetables have a ton of phytonutrients in them.

What are phytonutrients? “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 to consume these cruciferous vegetables is because a damaged liver needs these phytonutrients 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!

That’s why I recommend eating lots of phytonutrients — 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! If you’re the liver type, I’d highly recommend switching it out for kale and seeing what other non-cruciferous vegetables you can switch out for cruciferous vegetables.

To add, 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 your body.

Liver types also don’t do very well on nuts or peanut butter (which are high in fat), and eating too much of these can cause bloating. 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.

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 fat-soluble nutrients that would otherwise handle your dry skin. The solution to all of these is to 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 and minerals.


4. The Thyroid Body Type

African american woman eating | What To Eat For Your Body Type

If you’re the thyroid body type, then you’re dealing with weight gain all over and very slow metabolism. Here’s what to eat to handle those things:

  • Low protein

  • Low fat

  • Non-cruciferous vegetables 

Low Protein

Thyroid types really don’t do very well with protein. 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. 

Low Fat

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. Stay away from fried foods or foods with high-fat content. 

Non-Cruciferous Vegetables

If you have the 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 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 has 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 to your diet! Taking sea kelp or seaweed is a great way to do this, or you can also try my Cruciferous Foods Supplements, which I give to patients who don’t like seaweed.

Metabolic Body Types vs. Adrenal Body Types

Metabolic body types, also known as somatotypes, categorize individuals based on their distinctive metabolic traits and physical characteristics. The three primary metabolic body types are ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs possess a fast metabolism and lean physique, making it challenging for them to gain muscle or body fat.

Mesomorphs naturally have an athletic build and moderate metabolism, making muscle development and weight management relatively easier.

Endomorphs have a slower metabolism and a tendency to store excess body fat, making it more difficult for them to achieve and maintain a lean body.

In contrast, adrenal body types focus on the influence of adrenal gland function and stress response on body composition. These body types, such as the "ovary body type" and "thyroid type," are determined by the impact of stress hormones, like cortisol, on weight distribution, particularly in the abdominal area.

Adrenal body types primarily center on the effects of stress and hormonal imbalances on weight gain.

On the other hand, metabolic body types provide a broader perspective, considering factors such as genetics, metabolism, and inherent body composition tendencies.

To summarize, metabolic body types classify individuals based on their unique metabolic traits and physical characteristics, including ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs, focusing on metabolism and body composition tendencies.

Adrenal body types, in contrast, concentrate on the influence of stress and hormonal imbalances on body shape, especially related to the adrenal glands.

Although both concepts consider individual variations in body composition, they differ in terms of underlying factors and primary areas of emphasis.


None of These Eating Plans Is Set in Stone

One key thing I’d like to bring up is each of these eating plans are more like rules of thumb than strict guidelines. Rather than following these eating plans to the tee, listen to your body and see how it responds and 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 gallbladder problem, or you’re consuming nuts and peanut butter and they aren’t agreeing with 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, bloating, burping, or belching can also be caused by eating too many cruciferous vegetables.

Why? This is 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 to increase energy. 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 intake of fruits and vegetables. 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, make sure you’re consuming 7-10 cups of vegetable ingredients per day and don’t forget to drink a lot of water as well. As long as you’re consuming enough leafy 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. 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.

Understand burning fat and see more diet advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.

Now that you’ve learned what to eat for a certain body type, it’s time to discover which body type you have. From there, you can follow our guidelines and start your eating plan and your workout routine to achieve your body goals.

Is your diet plan working for you? How is your experience? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer:  Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy. 

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