Body-Type Diet: Characteristics & Nutritional Needs
Each body is unique. Each one of us carries a unique genetic makeup. However, there are some similarities between each body type.
Characteristics of each body type and their specific nutritional needs
The three body types most people fall into are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
Ectomorph Body Type
Ectomorphs tend to be thin, long, and lanky with relatively low body fat and low body weight. They typically have a smaller bone structure. Their shoulders are usually narrower than their hips. Ectomorphs typically do not put on muscle or bodyweight easily. It usually takes a lot for the number on the scale to move.
Ectomorphs are generally thyroid dominant & have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). A high BMR is indicative of a fast metabolism. This means ectomorphs burn calories very quickly.
- Due to their higher BMR and overall capacity to burn calories quickly and efficiently, ectomorphs typically have a higher carb tolerance. Opt for higher carbohydrate intake. However, the type of carbohydrates consumed is of importance. Ectomorphs should stick to complex carbohydrates. This will leave them feeling fuller longer.
- Ectomorphs typically do not fare well on high-fat diets.
- Macronutrient breakdown for ectomorphs should be predominantly carbohydrates.
- Lean protein and fat should be split almost evenly for the remaining calories.
- The number of calories will differ from person to person and is dependent on many factors. There are many calculators out there that can help calculate daily caloric requirements.
- If an ectomorph person is training for endurance or muscle gain, she should consider consuming most of the carbohydrates following their workout.
Avoid highly processed carbohydrate foods like chips and candy. Such foods will break down very quickly. This leads to hunger pains shortly after consumption and then overconsumption of excess calories. For ectomorphs, this can result in a “skinny fat” physique.
Ectomorphs will fair best when sticking to whole, unrefined carbohydrates accompanied by moderate protein and healthy fats.
Mesomorph Body-Type Diet
Mesomorphs tend to be more muscle-dominant individuals with an hourglass figure with a medium build frame. Their weight loss and weight gain typically occur quickly in response to dietary and workout modifications.
Being predisposed to building muscle mass, they require a slightly higher calorie intake. The muscles they are building during a workout require more calories to sustain. Mesomorphs typically require the most protein intake of all three body types.
Mesomorph macronutrient profiles should include a variety of fats, complex carbs, and proteins. These individuals typically perform and feel their best with a balance between all macronutrients. Mesomorphs should consume fast-digesting carb-dense foods or drinks during weight training to support building lean muscle mass.
Watch out for foods notorious for hidden sugars. Foods like yogurts, sauces, instant oatmeals, and non-natural peanut butter. Even peanut butter with “natural” on the label should be checked. The best way to avoid added sugars is to read the nutrition facts label.
Endomorph Body-Type Diet
They have a predominance of carrying more body fat through various regions of the body. They are typically thought of as curvaceous women. The endomorphic body tends to carry weight around the belly and the lower body. Most predominantly in the hips and thighs.
They have a lower tolerance to carbs compared to both mesomorphs and ectomorphs. Endomorphs are good at converting carbohydrates into sugar and storing them as fat. Because of this, they are more prone to insulin resistance than the other body types. Increased carbohydrate sensitivity puts endomorphs are at the highest risk for developing diabetes. Endomorphs are advised to eat an even distribution of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates for endomorphs should come mostly from vegetables and whole grains. All foods rich in carbohydrates are best consumed during or after a workout for endomorphs. This will help to maximize muscle-building potential without increasing fat gain.
Endomorphs should prioritize fats and protein, keeping carbohydrates on the lower end of the equation. Those with this body type should forgo the old advice that eating fat will make you fat. On the contrary. Ketogenic or low-carb diets are a great option for endomorphs. Monounsaturated and omega-3 fats can help endomorphs feel fuller longer. This can lead to eating less, thereby helping them trim unwanted body fat. In addition, fat has minimal effect on insulin levels and therefore results in fewer blood sugar spikes. This can help to reduce the overall risk of diabetes.
Endomorphs should cut back on their carb intake and focus more on healthy proteins and fats. However, this does not mean they must nix all carbohydrates. Endomorph carbs should come from mostly vegetables and whole-grain foods. Limit bread, beverages, pasta, junk food, and high-sugar fruits. These foods will be digested very quickly and lead to blood sugar spikes.
Note: Each of the three body types has strengths and weaknesses. Not one of these body types is better than the other.
It’s important to note that individuals rarely fall under the true definition of one of these body types. Typically, people are a hybrid between two types, and sometimes even three.
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