How to rethink your metabolism based on your body type

Bestselling author, The Carb Sensitivity Program and The Hormone Diet, Dr. Natasha Turner, outlines how to rethink your metabolism based on your body type.

What are the top things that help rev up your metabolism?

Bump up your protein: If we don’t get enough protein in our diet, we can experience mood disorders, memory loss, increased appetite and cravings, decreased metabolism, sleep disruption, muscle loss and weight gain. In fact, I find that many patients are eating too little protein and too many carbs when they initially come for assessment. Protein packs a punch because it stimulates the activity of many of our fat-burning and appetite-controlling hormones when we consume it in the right amounts.

Your serving should be the size and width of your palm (at least three times a day and half of that amount for snacks). I recommend that you consume the protein on your plate first to help speed the signal to the brain that you are full — this simple change can make a huge difference.

Balance your meals: Although we hear this all the time, it is truly an important step in calming cravings, curbing appetite and shedding body fat. You should enjoy low-glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats at each meal and snack. Non-starchy vegetables should occupy two-thirds of your plate at lunch and dinner. Healthy fats, like olive oil, nuts, and avocados help us feel full and satisfied because of their effects on our appetite-controlling hormones. This not only prevents cravings, but helps us to lose weight when we consume them in the right forms and amounts.

Enjoy carbs later in the day: You should enjoy a serving of starchy carbohydrates the size of your fist, once a day for women or twice a day for men, in general. Highly active people may need to increase by another serving. Select lower glycemic carbs such as squash, beans, sweet potatoes or quinoa. Be sure to eat your starchy carbs at lunch or dinner, rather than breakfast, for better appetite control.

For breakfast, stick to a protein-rich breakfast of eggs or whey-protein smoothies. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers found that participants who consumed eggs for breakfast had greater feelings of satiety, and consumed significantly less energy, grams of protein, carbohydrate, and fat for lunch. With this simple trick, you will encourage the hormonal balance that will lead you to eat less throughout the day and stay free of food cravings.

Time your meals: Aim to eat every three to four hours and enjoy your meals at the same times daily. Remember that the body likes structure and responds very well when it sticks to a schedule. And you are also less likely to binge if you are eating in regular intervals. Some people may prefer three larger meals and two snacks, while others may like four or five smaller, equally-sized meals.

Break your fast: Eat within one hour of rising and avoid eating within the three-hour period before bedtime. If you must eat before bed, opt for a lighter meal or snack that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat, such as Greek yogurt, a protein shake made with berries, almond butter and water, salad with grilled chicken, or shrimp and veggie stir-fry.

Modify your pre- and post-workout nutrition: To maximize fat-burning, never consume high-sugar foods before your workouts and always eat within 45 minutes of finishing an exercise session. Your post-workout meal or snack is the only one of the day that should limit fat and can be higher in carbohydrates. For example, try a whey-protein smoothie made with a small amount of juice, fruit and protein powder — but no almond butter or flaxseed oil. This will help fill your muscles with lost glycogen from your workout. Even better, opt for a high-quality post-workout drink such as Clear Recovery added to whey protein isolate.

Boost your fibre: Fibre slows the flow of sugar into our bloodstream; this causes less insulin release and thereby provides us with a steady supply of energy. It also aids the removal of toxic estrogen from the body. In men and women, too much estrogen, a condition called estrogen dominance, causes toxic fat gain, water retention, bloating and a host of other health issues. I recommend that you consume 35 to 40 grams of fibre per day for optimal digestion, and use a fibre supplement if necessary to help you reach this amount. 

Prioritize your sleep: Most sleep experts agree that seven to eight hours a night is optimal. Some people may, however, require more or less sleep than others. When your sleep is insufficient, your cortisol and hunger hormones both surge, causing a corresponding increase in insulin, which packs on belly fat. You also experience decreases in the fat-burning and appetite controlling hormones. If you wake without an alarm and feel refreshed when you get up, you’re likely getting the right amount of sleep for you.

Get to bed earlier: More than half the respondents to a National Sleep survey reported they are morning people with higher energy earlier in the day, while 41 percent considered themselves night owls. Evening people were more likely than morning people to experience symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, enjoy less sleep than they felt they needed and take longer to fall asleep. Staying awake into the wee hours causes hormonal imbalance because it increases cortisol, decreases leptin and depletes growth hormone. This causes us to eat more and wreaks havoc with our metabolism. Cortisol naturally begins to increase during the second half of your sleep — a small boost at 2am, another at 4am and the peak at around 6am. If you’re just getting to bed immediately beforehand, you’re missing out on your most restful period of sleep. I advocate getting to bed between 10 -11pm for this reason
Why is eating for your body type gaining in popularity?

There isn’t a one size fits all diet because everyone’s hormonal state is different – in turn, where you carry your fat may be quite different than where your friend or even family member carries fat. We are also learning that stubborn fat pockets such as belly fat, love handles and hips are indicative of certain hormonal imbalances. Adjusting out diet to reflect these imbalances allow us to shed fat faster, and keep it off.

The Pear Shaped Body

Someone with a pear shaped body often suffers from an excess of estrogen. In men and premenopausal women, too much estrogen, a condition called estrogen dominance causes toxic fat gain, water retention, bloating and a host of other health and wellness issues. Pre-menopausal women with too much estrogen tend to have the pear-shape body type with more weight at the hips.

The top 5 foods you should avoid if you are a PEAR SHAPE:

  • Tofu/Soy: unfermented soy products can increase estrogen in the body
  • Excess coffee: Too much coffee can in some people increase estrogen levels.
  • Pasta/White carbs: High glycemic carbs will contribute to water retention and lower body fat. Like the apple type – where these foods are an issue because of their high carb content that raises insulin, they are also low in fiber, which is needed for removal of estrogen from the body.  
  • Processed meats and luncheon meats. These are high in salt and will cause water retention, not to mention full of hormones that increase estrogen levels.
  • Alcohol increases harmful estrogen production – This is not only bad for pear shaped women but ingreases a women's risk of breast cancer.
  • Harmful Fats: This includes any hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, shortenings, margarines and unhealthy, inflammatory fats, including most vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower), cotton seed oil and palm oil. High fat consumption is known to increase estrogen levels in the body.

The top foods you should eat if you are a PEAR SHAPE:

  • Flaxseeds: weak phytoestrogenic food and assists with elimination of excess bad estrogen
  • Cruciferous vegetables: They contain high amounts of phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, particularly two isothiocyanates called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol which helps to lower estrogen.
  • Organic dairy/meat products: To reduce your hormone exposure.
  • Rapini,Artichoke Hearts, Beets: these high fiber veggies assist in elimination of excess bad estrogen and it includes 3g of fiber and 3.6g of protein for a 4 ounce serving. Artichoke and beets support healthy liver function involved in estrogen detoxifcation.
  • Brocolli Sprouts: Broccoli sprouts, the immature seedlings of the broccoli plant, contain more sulforaphane than any other vegetables, including full grown broccoli. This nutrient is anti-cancer and lowers harmful estrogen. Research has found that they contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times more of the compound than broccoli.
  • Bean sprouts: Contain a high amount of glucaric acid (350mg/100g) which interferes with the reabsorption of estrogen from the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, more estrogen is eliminated and less stays in the blood. It is also extremely high in fiber (8g per 100 gram serving) and a good source of protein.

The Apple Shaped Body

An apple shaped body often suffers from an excess of insulin and cortisol with fat storage around the abdomen and love handles. Insulin is an essential substance whose main function is to process sugar in the bloodstream and carry it into cells to be used as fuel or stored as fat.  A primary cause is excess intake of sugar or carbohydrates typical of many diets today. This includes nutrient-poor carbohydrates such as processed foods, sugary drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods, along with insufficient protein intake, inadequate fat intake and deficient fibre consumption. Insulin resistance may also be attributed to lack of exercise, overindulging in alcohol, stress, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excess body fat, especially around the abdomen. Chronically high levels of insulin can also lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome (or insulin resistance) and type 2 diabetes, which only furthers weight gain. It is currently estimated that one out of every four North Americans has insulin resistance.

Persistently elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are very detrimental to your health as well as to your body composition. If you suffer from a mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or exhaustion, or if you have a digestive issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, you can bet your body is cranking up your cortisol. Not only does it increase your appetite and cravings, it causes a loss of muscle mass, libido and bone density and also contributes to depression and memory loss. In other words, chronic stress makes us soft, flabby and much older than we truly are! Study after study shows that stress causes abdominal fat—even in people who are otherwise thin. Researchers at Yale University, for example, found slender women who had high cortisol also had more ab fat. More results published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000 established a link between cortisol and increased storage of abdominal fat.

The top 5 foods you should avoid if you have an APPLE SHAPE Body

  • Artificial sweeteners: Foods containing aspartame and artificial sweeteners raise insulin and contribute to cravings and weight gain.
  • Fructose-sweetened foods or high fructose corn syrup: Increases appetite and cravings and High-sugar foods (donuts, cookies, cakes): to lose belly fat you have to keep your insulin as low as possible which involves eliminating these belly-fat offenders.
  • Carb sensitivities – even the healthy carbs like chick peas, sweet potato, brown rice can cause belly fat and weight gain for some APPLE shapes.  The more damanged your metabolism -- the less of these foods an APPLE shape can eat.
  • High sugar content foods like fruits (grapes, mango, pineapple), flavoured yogurts, Granola bars, energy drinks, packaged smoothies, high suragr foods that are processed because most of the fiber has been removed and take out food are harmful foods for an APPLE shaped body because they are low in fiber which results in a bigger increase in insulin following a mean. This leads to hight insulin release.
  • Potato chips, pizza and related fast food: These foods are high in both fat and carbs, making them a double whammy for your waistline.

The top foods you should eat as an APPLE SHAPE:

  • Fenugreek seeds, chia seeds, oat brand and flaxseeds assist with blood sugar balance.
  • Blueberries: a daily dose of the bioactive ingredients from blueberries also increases sensitivity to insulin and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Nuts (almonds and Walnuts): when properly balanced with carbohydrates, nuts can help to slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which leads to less insulin release. A review of 31 studies on nut consumption found that those who added nuts to their diets lost more weight and reduced their waist size. EAT a tbsp of nuts 5 TIMES PER WEEK IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR INSULIN BALANCE TO BEAT FELLY FAT.
  • Olive oil: encourages the release of our appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, which helps reduces belly fat and assists with insulin balance.
  • Eggs have been shown to assist with appetite control, reduce post-meal insulin response and balance glucose/insulin levels.
  • Organic apples: In a study of healthy, middle-aged adults, consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL -- low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol Fuji. Similar research from Florida State University found that daily apple consumption dropped LDL levels by 23% over six month along with C-reactive protein levels in women. Not to mention, the women lost an average of 3.3lbs despite the extra calories. Fuji apples contain 6.26mg of the fat-burning compound EGCG per 100g of apple.
  • White Beans is a really great power combo food because it is a natural source of phosphadylserine, which lowers cortisol, and it is packed with fiber to stabilizes insulin.
  • Dark chocolate (70% or higher) or Cocoa powder: The cocoa inhibits an enzyme in the body that is known to raise blood pressure.  Other studies have shown that cocoa has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. It also boosts serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant and helps to lower cortisol. Whey is also proven to reduce cortisol – so greek yogurt or a whey protein smoothie with cocoa added is a fab idea.

The Box Shaped Body

Someone with a box shaped body may suffer from low thyroid hormone, and in turn, overall weight gain. Without enough thyroid hormone, every system in the body slows down. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired, tend to sleep a lot, experience constipation and typically experience weight gain. Extremely dry skin, hair loss, slower mental processes, feeling cold, brittle hair, splitting nails, diminished ability to sweat during exercise, infertility, poor memory, depression, decreased libido or an inability to lose weight are also symptoms to watch for. If you suspect you have a thyroid condition, make sure your doctor assesses you and your full range of symptoms, not just your blood work. Even levels of TSH (an indicator of thyroid function) within the normal range has been proven to accelerate weight gain and to interfere with a healthy metabolic rate in both men and women.

The top 5 foods you should avoid if you are a BOX SHAPE

  • Unfermented soy: can boost estrogen levels, which block the thyroid from functioning properly
  • Flouride and chlorinated water – inhibits thyroid function and is associated with elevated TSH concentrations, increased goiter prevalence, and altered T4 and T3 concentrations.
  • Excess goitrogens: Some foods can interfere with healthy thyroid hormone synthesis and cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, known as goitrogens and include: rapeseed (used to make canola oil), brassica vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower), corn, sweet potatoes, lima beans, soy products and millet.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter: This common legume is very acidic, inflammatory and a known goitrogen. They are frequently contaminated in aflatoxin, a poison produced by a fungus called Aspergillus flavus. They are also of the most contaminated crops by pesticides, which have been shown to inhibit thyroid function in excess. Non-organic varieties often have hidden sugars.
  • High-mercury fish: Mercury is a known thyroid disruptor. The worst offenders are swordfish, king mackerel, shark and most tuna (except skipjack).

The top foods you should eat as a BOX SHAPE

  • Grass fed beef: A natural source of iodine, you get 25 micrograms per serving. It also packs a powerful fatty acid that been linked to long-term weight management - conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. Previous studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue, and may also boost your metabolism. It’s also high in iron which boosts energy.
  • Greek yogurt: High in protein, low in carbs and fat. Researchers at McMaster University found that participants who consumed a high protein, high dairy diet while engaging in a strength training program experienced greater whole body weight loss  - particularly in the stubborn abdominal area. Consume away from thyroid medication.
  • Seaweed/Kelp: Iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function because it helps the thyroid gland produce the hormone thyroxin. Thyroxin is used by the thyroid to regulate metabolism. Good sources of iodine include sea vegetables such as kelp and seaweed. You can get 200-400mcg per serving.
  • Coconut oil. Not only do many people notice a boost in energy, but it has recently been shown to lower abdominal fat in two studies.
  • Brazilian nuts: High in selenium which is excellent for the thyroid and improves T4 to T3 conversion.