Eat Right For Your Metabolism

By Jim F

i-c10b9bd87e60933c382aacb872cddaa1-eatrightforyour.jpgEat Right for Your Metabolism – by Felicia Drury Kliment – is about choosing a diet based on your metabolic type. Rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach, Kliment offers a number of approaches to improve health and to lose weight.At the beginning, this book seems fascinating. It is no “lose 8 pounds in 2 weeks” quick-fix. Kliment argues that by looking at our ancestral diet, we can get a clue as to which proteins digest with ease. If a food fails to digest properly, it stays in the digestive tract, and can deteriorate into highly acidic debris.

This situation can lead to a multitude of health issues. In this regard, Kliment is expanding on her previous work – The Acid-Alkaline Balance Diet, and the emphasis of Eat Right is all about improving health.

There is certainly merit in this concept, and the author makes an interesting statement:

Symptoms that are assumed to be caused by food allergens quite often turn out to be the result of eating protein foods that aren’t digested well.

If you experience health problems – then any information that may help alleviate symptoms is welcome – and I approached this book with an eagerness to find some answers.

Unfortunately as the book went on, I became increasingly confused by the many pieces of information that failed provide a cohesive answer.

Meat Eater or Grain Eater?

Kliment suggests two primary kinds of diet – based on how easily certain protein foods are digested. A meat eater tends to be better at digesting red meat proteins. The grain eater tends to digest grains better, along with poultry and seafood.

The two diets are not mutually exclusive, and a third metabolic type is given – the omnivore – a mixture of grain and meat eater.

Much of the remainder of the book is devoted to dietary advice (including many meal plans and some recipes) for each of these primary “metabolic types”.

So Which Are You?

A consultation with a specialist rarely translates well into a self-help book. Sadly this is where much ‘alternative’ medical or nutritional advice can fall apart. Self-diagnosis is always difficult, and the author of Eat Right offers a number of very subjective ‘tests’ to determine your type.

For example: “When you have a grain-eating metabolism, your heart beats faster than usual, your breath comes more quickly…” (p 39). I would argue that this has more to do with cardiovascular fitness, than having an abundance of ‘grain-friendly’ digestive enzymes.

Not Low Fat, Not Low Carb

The “grain or meat” paradigm has nothing to do with macro-nutrient ratios – and the author devotes a fair chunk of space to dismissing both low-fat and low-carb diets.

Eat Right argues that saturated fat is not as evil as we’ve been told – and she provides some convincing well-researched arguments. Kliment also warns against high-protein diets – claiming that a highly acidic environment will increase tissue inflammation. There may be truth in this, but unfortunately Kliment goes against her mantra of individualism by prescribing a precise macro nutrient ratio for everyone (60% carb, 15% protein, 25% fat).

Final Take

I finished this book feeling somewhat bewildered. I believe there are some genuine kernels of truth in the book. Nutrition is individualistic – and different foods affect people differently – without necessarily being classified as allergens.

However determining these foods is very difficult, and may well need to be done in consultation with someone who is knowledgeable in this area.

The line of thought that Kliment is presenting deserves some attention, but we need better methods of determining exactly which foods digest well – and which ones cause problems.

Eat Right For Your Metabolism, by Felicia Kliment. 312 pages. Available at Amazon.

20 Comments

  1. Novelette

    I suppose one can eat whatever one chooses. With that type of attitude no wonder obesity has become an epidemic.In 1940 Dr. Roger Williams discovered that each person has a unique metabolism. I cannot understand how complacent some individuals can be towards their health. Don’t allow Dr.Williams’s work to go in vain.

    http://bioinst.cm.utexas.edu/williams/

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  2. Art Konstantino

    James, I need to know more of your GREAT insight. Where can I go to get it? Please let me know. Art
    eatraw@aol.com

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  3. Ryan

    I believe there may be some truth in this book. I’ve always had a natural tendency towards eating meat, eggs, and milk. When most kids wanted the sugar in candy, soda, or white bread, I wanted the flavor of steak. Steak has been my favorite food since I was a little child. Raw milk and eggs take a very close second. Grain was always “filler” to me, and sugar was just plain crap. I feel great after eating a steak or eggs or drinking a glass of milk. I feel so-so after eating starches, even those I’ve found I respond best to.

    Apart from taste and feeling, I’ve experimented with different types of diet over the years in order to get better athletic performance. Even well-constructed and well-supplemented vegan diets completely failed with me. Despite being hypocaloric, I was still gaining fat weight. I also started feeling sick or beat down all the time. Adding in eggs, milk, or meat stopped the fat gain and restored my sense of well-being, and adding two or three of them resulted in increasingly better results. At this point, I tried reducing my grains and legumes. As I ate less of them and more animal products, I started feeling better until I hit about 80 grams of carbohydrates, at which point I started to suffer in anaerobic exercise. I found 120 grams to be a safe number to shoot for. I believe this is what I need to stay out of keitosis. Finally, in all things, cutting out fruits and vegetables was just a bad idea.

    So, what I finally settled on was mostly meat, eggs, and milk; some nuts; few starches; and fruits and vegetables in unregulated amounts. Even with a diet consisting almost entirely of animal foods, my cholesterol has never crept above 180.

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  4. TheBumbler

    Wieners
    Mayonnaise
    Butter
    Pork Rinds
    Bacon
    Cheese
    Cream
    Ribs

    Brown Rice
    Oatmeal
    Quinoa
    Wild Rice
    Barley
    Flax

    What do these two lists NOT have in common? The first is comprised of foods that do not contain grains – that is all.

    My lists are as illogical as yours in terms of determining the overall value of limiting or eradicating an entire food group. You could take any list of different kinds of foods, pick out the best and the worst, and posit the same question – what’s missing. It won’t actually prove anything aside from the fact that some foods in a particular food group are better choices than others. Of course your second list contains foods that are more nutritious and lower in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and preservatives than your first list. But that doesn’t prove your hypothesis that grains are bad.

    Please, continue eating the way that you do. I’m sure that you feel great, enjoy excellent health and receive the nutrients that your body needs to perform the activities you require of it. However, please remember that your way is not the only way and there are those who require their bodies to do different activities than yours or many have different sensitivities than yours and, therefore, may have different nutritional needs. This kind of sounds like what the book this post was initially about speaks to(at least initially – I thumbed through it over the last couple of days and ended up completely confused in the end – it’s too bad, as I think some of the content was quite interesting).

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  5. James

    OK, Everyone. What’s in common in all these junk foods:

    Pizza
    Hamburgers
    Potato Chips
    Coca Cola
    Kellogs Whole Grain Frosted Flakes
    French Fries
    Pop Tarts
    Honey Nut Cherrios

    Now, Let’s look at these healthy foods, and shows what it does NOT contain:

    Apple
    Orange
    Celery
    Grass-fed Steak
    Wal-nuts
    Salmon
    Brockley
    Blueberries
    Dark Chocolate
    Cucumbers
    Black Beans
    Grass-fed Milk
    Grass-fed Bison
    Carrots
    Coconuts
    Watermelon
    Açaí berries
    Apricots
    Avacados
    Pears
    Grass-fed Yogurt

    What do they NOT have in it?

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  6. Ross

    Great post Jim and thanks for the shout out to my site – it is much appreciated!

    I am certainly surprised to see an author who has previously written about the acid/alkaline balance come out with a ‘…right for your type’ style book, particularly one that emphasises the inclusion of meats and grains in our diet – so I am definitely going to pick up a copy this afternoon and see how this book incorporates that way of thinking about health!

    …and while I don’t particularly want to get drawn into this debate, in James’ defence I have run a marathon without grains and certainly without the aid of carbs and sports drinks on the day.

    Still, I think it is fruitless (no pun intended!) to ever preach that any dietary choice is right or wrong for everyone. For some people grains work, for others they don’t. C’est la vie!

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  7. Spectra

    Exactly, katy. I HAVE run a marathon before and I can tell you that it would have been impossible without grains, namely oats and whole wheat. Also, plenty of simple carbs the day of the race. Grains are not “toxic”…please, give me a break. The argument that they are a “last resort” food option doesn’t quite make sense either. Why would you put effort into cultivating a crop if there was no payoff for you? It’s not that it’s a last resort, it’s just that it’s cheaper than raising bison. Not that bison is a bad meat, but there are others as well. What about ostrich or fresh venison? The thing is, we aren’t cave people and we don’t have to eat like cave people anymore…that’s the great thing about having a brain. We can evolve beyond our ancestors and discover new foods that are also nutritious.

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  8. katy

    James, Honey,

    Try to run a marathon without eating bread, pasta or cereal (without added sugar, of course). You’re funny. What do you think, how far you would get?

    If grains were “toxic”, Europe would not have any inhabitants left.

    And I am not bashing you….:-)

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  9. TheBumbler

    The funny thing is we did not even evolve from Neanderthals. Peer reviewed scientific research has proven this. We’re two different species from the same family. To base our diet on that of a Neanderthal as they were “healthier” and expect our bodies to respond similarly is based on faulty logic (it may still be true, but your logic is not).

    Neanderthals had the physical advantage of being genetically designed stronger, bigger and badder than ourselves and displayed an average longer lifespan due to this. We had the advantage of the placement of our larynx that allowed us to make vowel sounds, which lead to the development of spoken language. Anthropologists believe they died out during the ice age because they couldn’t communicate with each other during a period of time when food was scarce. We didn’t because we could chat. Regardless, we’re different species.

    James, you’re getting a lot of flack, here. I don’t think it’s what you’re saying; it’s how you’re saying it. Your theories are just that – theories. Yet you state them as fact and then berate us for not blindly following your advice. Maybe you should mellow out with the fear mongering, cut back on the dogma and maybe rethink how you put forward your ideas.

    For example…
    Instead of “Everyone must eat organic, grass fed bison as grain fed meat is TOXIC DEATH” try “I like organic, grass fed bison as it is raised responsibly and is low in fat and high in protein and iron” or “I eat organic meat because I’m concerned of the health impact of eating meat coming from animals that may have received hormones or antibiotics.”

    See the difference?

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  10. Nic

    Look, no offense, but…
    Whole grains are TOXIC?
    You keep saying this word….I do not think it means what you think it means.
    Poison is toxic. Refined grains certainly are not great for you, but they are not toxic. There is nothing wrong with whole grains. There is going to have to be some really reliable research that tells me otherwise before I change my mind on this.

    Deja Vu all over again, for sure.

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  11. Frangelita

    You go Rheanna. It’s funny, when I come here and read James posts I seem to get the worst sense of deja vu like I’m reading EXACTLY the same post every time.

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  12. Helena

    Jim, you are right, the categories are broad and there are a lot of differences between individual grains and meats. If you only look at acid/alkalinity: quinoa is neutral and much better than for example wheat in this regard. I think the groups are useful enough though, because they are easy to remember. I think a healthy diet for most people should not be a difficult diet.

    Rheanna, I agree with you that grains are not evil (I wrote about this too, actually: Grains: health food or cause of all disease), but I wouldn’t say so based on individual anecdotes. There are many people who lived in their nineties while smoking, but that does not mean smoking is good for you. I think a better argument is that there are entire societies that eat grains and are healthy. The Okinawans for example, are the longest living people on earth, and they include whole grains in their diet. All large thriving civilizations used some form of grains and people there were MUCH healthier than people here. Clearly, if grains were poison, that wouldn’t be true. Nevertheless, if you are looking for optimal health, I would emphasize fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, and make grains a smaller portion of the diet.

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  13. rheanna

    James, well get this — there are lots of people in the world who have lived to a ripe old healthy age eating (gasp!) both meat and grains. Today. The guy downstairs from me was keeping his garden in great shape until last year when the pain in his hip finally made him stop. Last week he went in for a hip replacement operation. At the age of 94. I sent him photos of flowering plants his garden so he’d know that his garden is waiting for him. This week he’s gone away for 3 weeks of rehab. I expect that he’ll get at least some gardening in this year, and next year — watch him go! As for his diet, he makes his own bread, and his wife cooks meat for them every day. Gosh! Meat AND grains.

    Too bad you’re so obsessed with Neanderthals and their diet. You could lighten up a bit and find a hobby (like gardening?) that doesn’t include harranging people about the ONE and ONLY diet according to James.

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  14. James

    Well, get this. Thousands of years ago, people had a life expentancy of only 20 to 25 years. Neandrathauls had a life expentancy of 45 to 60 years, and their death was caused by acidents and even some starvation. Cro-Magnons who ate even sprouted grains soaked in water still sufficated diseases, and sadly, the antinutrients and proteins even resisted the soaking.

    So, I think that the only way to go along with good health is, no grains at all, no matter how it was prepaired. No bread, no cereal, no pasta, no nadda.

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  15. Leslie

    James:

    I think this might be a good read for you.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/be_kind.html

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  16. Jim

    It was very difficult to try and summarise this book. Helena – your post makes a lot of sense – although I’m not if it so easy to come up with broad categores (i.e. grain vs meat). I tend to think there are a myriad shades of grey.

    I also wonder that many of our possible health issues only begin to emerge as we go on in life.

    In your teens you gobble down anything – and generally things are ok. Your twenties may be the same. But as you get on in age, health issues begin to show. And some of these concepts (acid/alkalinity) can seem interesting.

    Of course we do base our views on our own experiences – but the experience maybe helpful for someone else.

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  17. Helena

    Sometimes I think you read my mind when it comes to blog topics. I just wrote an article about the acid/alkaline connection to health. My conclusion is similar to that of the author: you can eat either meat and lots of vegetables, or grains and lots of vegetables, but you should not eat both generous servings of meat and large servings of grains, because meat and grains are very acidic.

    Like you, I don’t think my current low heart rate means I am predisposed to eating meat: it just means I exercise daily.

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  18. James

    BINGO! I think that this diet is going to hit the notch for what humans are. It’s another step in the right track.

    BUT, there’s a few flaw in the book. It’s the grains for the carbohydrate and how the meat was raised the flaws are.

    Carbohydrate-type people eat more vegtables and some more fruits than protein, but grains must still be eliminated.

    Protein-type people eat more grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, fish, and free-range foul and wild game meat. Fish should include half their protein intake.

    Grains-type people? There ain’t no grain-type people. Grains are toxic. Even whole grains are toxic. Period.

    And they need to take another close line. Trans fats = bad. Also take in plenty of Omega 3s in your diet.

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  19. Yan

    it definitely reminds me of the Ayurvedic approach to health and diet… blood type however I find to be a crock of bull and frankly this makes -if only a modicum- more sense than that.
    it’s got merit, I know I personally have a hard time digesting animal proteins and milk so it keeps me from losing weight.

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  20. Nic

    Does this remind anyone else of the “blood type” diet and the ayurvedic way of eating and various other kinds of things like that? I pretty much doubt that it would work. But I could be wrong- it has happened on occasion;)

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