Most of us do not give a second thought to our body type, other than trying to find clothes that are most flattering on our body’s shape.
A body type does not just describe the appearance of a person. In fact, it refers to much more than that! Your body type can describe the way your system responds to foods you eat as well as your hormonal characteristics. It can even determine the best workouts to help you lose weight.
Roughly, body types can be sorted into three categories –apple-shaped, pear-shaped and hourglass-shaped.
Those who have an apple-shaped body, carry most of their fat around the belly area and have slender legs.
On the other hand, a pear-shaped person has a slim upper body with all the weight stored in their hips and thighs.
Lastly, a person with an hourglass-shaped body has a more equal distribution of weight throughout their body.
An hourglass-shaped body possesses the best metabolism, while an apple-shaped body usually deals with a low metabolic rate and weight issues.
Each body type is different from the other and stores fat in different ways, taking different shapes. When you fuel your body according to your body type, you will be surprised at how quickly your body adapts and responds to your eating plan. You will see a considerable improvement in your energy level and your excess weight will come off easily and naturally.
For improved metabolism and quick weight loss, here is a brief guide on what to eat and what to avoid based on your body type.
This body type, also known as an endomorph, suffers from an excess of insulin and cortisol with fat storage around the abdominal area.
An apple-shaped body’s proportions are dominated by higher levels of androgen, which leads to excess adipose tissue getting stored in and around your breasts, waist and back. Excess weight around the belly area is linked to several health threats, including an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
However, the legs and arms are generally slender without any extra weight. People with this body type are also typically shorter and curvier.
They seem to gain weight quickly, but the good part is that they can also lose weight quickly.
All they need to do is monitor their diet and they can be back in shape soon! Keep in mind that abdominal fat breaks down more quickly than fat stored in the butt and thigh area.
At the same time, leading a sedentary lifestyle is a big NO for people who have an apple-shaped body.
Nutrition for an Apple-shaped Body
If you have an apple-shaped body, you need to be aware of the amount of calories that you take in daily. You must aim for a balanced macronutrient distribution like 30 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein and 35 percent fat.
Focus on taking in high amounts of proteins and vegetables with an equally sufficient amount of healthy fats. Fulfill your requirement of carbohydrates with foods like fruits and veggies.
Avoid foods with high carbohydrates as these are easily converted into sugar, which in turn gets stored in the body as fat. Opt for high-carbohydrate foods once a week.
What to Eat
Healthy monounsaturated fats: These heart-healthy fats are found in nuts (walnuts and almonds), seeds (fenugreek, oats, chia), olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters and full-fat cheese. Foods with these healthy fats help in maintaining blood sugar levels, restricting excess insulin secretion, suppressing leptin (an appetite-suppressing hormone), reducing the post-meal insulin response, and balancing the glucose and insulin levels in the body.
Anti-inflammatory fats: These fats can be found in avocados, olive oil, sea bass, salmon and whole grains like barley, buckwheat and amaranth. These foods help stabilize blood sugar levels in the body and also assist in controlling cortisol levels.
White beans: This food is a natural source of phosphatidylserine, a chemical that helps lower the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain. Also, white beans are packed with fiber that helps balance and stabilize insulin levels in the body.
Blueberries: Berries contain certain bioactive compounds that help increase insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of developing diabetes.
Dark chocolate or cocoa powder: Cocoa, found in dark chocolate, inhibits enzymes that restrict maintainenance of blood pressure levels in the body. Further, it boosts serotonin, a chemical that has an antidepressant effect and helps lower cortisol levels in the blood, thus relieving stress and depression.
Clean proteins: Chicken, pork, fish and beef help lower leptin levels in the body. This ultimately results in improved metabolism and quicker fat burning.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, cabbage, romaine and other green leafy veggies get your body into a fat-burning state. Instead of storing fat, your body begins to work on cutting fats from cells.
Organic apples: Apples help lower the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) in the blood.
What Not to Eat
Artificial sweeteners: Foods containing aspartame and artificial sweeteners, which raise insulin, contribute to cravings and weight gain.
Coffee or caffeinated beverages: They contribute to increased cortisol and insulin levels.
Refined carbohydrates: Foods like rice, pasta and white bread are low in fat but spike blood sugar, which can increase stress on the body and make you hungrier.
Fructose-sweetened foods or high fructose corn syrup: These foods work to increase your cravings and appetite.
High-sugar foods: Sugary foods like cakes, cookies and donuts increase insulin levels in the blood and contribute to weight gain. Similarly with foods like mangos, pineapple and grapes as well as flavored yogurts, energy drinks and packaged smoothies.
Junk food: Foods like potato chips, pizza, burgers and other junk foods are high in both fat and carbohydrates and must be avoided.
An apple-shaped body is sensitive even to healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice and chickpeas that can result in weight gain.
A pear-shaped body, also known as an endomorph, deals with an excess of estrogen and tends to gain weight around the hips and thighs. Estrogen dominance leads to conditions like gain in toxic fat, water retention, bloating and various other health issues.
This body type also usually has a smaller upper body, with a few extra pounds around the arms and chest.
When it comes to weight loss, the pears face a little frustration as it is difficult to mobilize and lose the subcutaneous fat around the hips and thighs. In fact, for the pear-shaped, it is quite easy to lose weight in other parts of the body.
Eating foods that help eliminate estrogen from the body will help this body type to lose weight.
When it comes to health, people who have pear-shaped bodies are lucky. Unlike abdominal fat, the fat stored around the hips and butts does not usually increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. This type of fat reduces insulin resistance and increases ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Nutrition for a Pear-shaped Body
Fast metabolism is a point when it comes to pear-shaped bodies. Therefore, this body type must ensure adequate consumption of calories and carbohydrates.
Divide your macronutrients as follows: 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat and 25 percent protein.
For a pear-shaped body, following a low-fat diet is good. It actually helps break down stubborn fat accumulated in the lower body.
What to Eat
Flaxseeds: They are a weak phytoestrogenic food and thus help eliminate excess estrogen from the body.
Cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, garden cress and similar green leafy veggies that contain high amounts of phytonutrients (sulforaphane and isothiocyanates) help in lowering estrogen.
Organic dairy and meat products: These help in reducing your level of estrogen hormones.
Low-fat dairy: The calcium in low-fat dairy products helps regulate the way fat is stored, accumulated and broken down.
High-fiber fruits and vegetables: Foods like artichoke hearts, beets and rapini are high in fiber and thus assist in the elimination of estrogen from the body.
Broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts are an excellent source of sulforaphane that helps lower your estrogen level. Additionally, phytonutrients in it help reduce your cancer risk.
Bean sprouts: These are rich in glucaric acid, which restricts the gastrointestinal tract from reabsorbing estrogen. As a result, more estrogen is dumped out!
Whole grains: Fortified grains like quinoa, oats and buckwheat are an excellent source of phytoestrogen and anti-estrogen polyphenols that help in lowering estrogen.
Lean protein: Lean proteins contain lysine and threonine, compounds that assist liver function and ensure estrogen metabolism.
What Not to Eat
High-fat dairy, tofu and unfermented soy products: These can increase the levels of estrogen in your body.
Caffeine: Drinking too much coffee or other beverages that contain caffeine can lead to increased levels of estrogen.
White carbohydrates/pasta: These are high-glycemic carbohydrates that lead to water retention and fat deposits in the lower body.
Processed and luncheon meats: These meats are high in fat, which contributes to increase in estrogen levels. Plus, they are loaded with salt that causes water retention.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol increases estrogen production in the body, which further increases the risk of developing hormone-related cancers like breast cancer.
Harmful fats: Harmful fats include hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils, often found in shortenings and margarines. These fats boost the production of estrogen.
Inflammatory fats: This includes most vegetable oils, such as sunflower, safflower, palm and cottonseed oils, which increase the levels of estrogen in the body.
Saturated fats: These come from animal sources, such as high-fat dairy and red meats.
The hourglass-shaped body falls somewhere between the apple- and pear-shaped bodies. This type of body shape is also known as mesomorph.
People with an hourglass-shaped body deal with low thyroid hormones and have weight equally distributed throughout their body.
This body type usually has a soft, round look with a muscular build and gather mass through the arms, chest, knees and ankles. They tend to be lean, athletic-looking and have little fat.
People who have this body type are the most privileged, with responsive muscle cells and high metabolism. Due to the high metabolism, they tend to burn off fat easily.
They can gain or lose weight without much effort, depending on what they eat.
Nutrition for an Hourglass-shaped Body
Since this body type falls between apple-shaped and pear-shaped bodies, you must split your macronutrients evenly between carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Aim to get one-third of your total calories from each of these three groups.
What to Eat
Raw vegetables and fruits: Incorporate many fruits and veggies like apples, oranges, pears, radishes, carrots and green leafy vegetables in your diet.
Whole-grain cereals: Enjoy oatmeal, quinoa and buckwheat as part of your regular diet.
Grass-fed beef: This is a natural source of iodine, iron, powerful fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.
Greek yogurt: Packed with proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats, this food fits best for your energy and weight-loss routines.
Seaweed and kelp: These are excellent sources of iodine that can help deal with low thyroid. Iodine aids the production of thyroxine, which further helps regulate and improve the body’s metabolism.
Coconut oil: This helps reduce abdominal fat and boost energy.
Brazilian nuts: These are rich in selenium, which is extremely good for the thyroid.
What Not to Eat
Caffeinated drinks: Do not take tea, coffee and hot choocolate. Also, avoid energy drinks and sodas that contain caffeine.
Refined carbohydrates: Steer clear of refined carbohydrates like white flour, and products containing white flour such as white bread and pasta.
Unfermented soy: This can boost estrogen levels, which block the thyroid from functioning properly.
Fluoride and chlorinated water: These restrict the function of the thyroid.
Goitrogens: Foods like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, corn, lima beans, millet, soy products and rapeseeds can interfere with healthy thyroid hormone synthesis, leading to enlargement of the glands.
Peanuts and peanut butter: Highly acidic and inflammatory, this legume inhibits the function of the thyroid.
High-mercury fish: This includes fish like king mackerel, shark, swordfish and most tuna (except skipjack), as they are known thyroid disruptors.