Food For Thought
My last blog post discussed using Precision Nutrition’s approach to determine your caloric needs, how to break that down into percentages of macronutrients based on body type, and then translating that into a food menu (the yum part).
This week I’m following up with a little more detail on the macronutrient profiles for our body type (somatotype).
First, a quick disclaimer – if you don’t track your calories or eat in any particular way, and your food choices make sense to you, and you feel good in your body – then good, keep doing that!
This is one way to look at nutrition and healthy diet. This approach can help you if you want to make changes to your body composition, or want to lose weight, or dial it in for performance goals.
Our somatotypes are beautifully expressed in the myriad of body shapes and sizes we see around us. Some of us are naturally tall or long-limbed, small-boned, and lean. Others are naturally muscular and athletic looking, while others are naturally broad and thick. Many of us are some combination of these, as everything in nature occurs along a spectrum!
Research is now showing that your body type determines some key hormonal and sympathetic nervous system characteristics that are directly linked to metabolic differences between people. The following is taken from the Precision Nutrition blog post entitled “Body Type Nutrition: how to eat right for your body type”:
Ectomorphs – or, those thin individuals characterized by smaller bone structures, and typically thinner limbs – like endurance athletes – tend to be thyroid and sympathetic nervous system dominant with either higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines – like epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Interestingly, this profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a higher carbohydrate tolerance (and needs).
As a result, ectomorphs do best on higher carb diets with moderate protein intake and lower fat in the diet. A typical ballpark for this type of athlete would be around 55% carbs in the diet, 25% protein, and 20% fat.
Mesomorphs – or those individuals characterized by a medium sized bone structure and athletic bodies holding a significant amount of lean mass – think gymnasts – tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant.
This profile obviously leads to a propensity for muscle gain and the maintenance of a low body fat.
As a result, mesomorphs typically do best on a mixed diet, consisting of a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Indeed, in this type of individual, a zone-style diet works quite well. And this would consist of about 40% carbohydrate in the diet, 30% protein, and 30% fat.
Endomorphs – or those individuals characterized by a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass – think power lifters – tend to be PNS dominant. They are generally less active, and are not as efficient at burning off excess calories. This profile leads to a greater propensity to store energy – both in lean as well as fat compartments. It also leads to a lower carbohydrate tolerance (and needs).
As a result, endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrates being better controlled. A typical ballpark for this type of athlete would be around 25% carbs in the diet, 35% protein, and 40% fat.
An infographic with more details can be found here:
Source: Precision Nutrition