Metabolism diets|Pros, Cons, and How It Works

A diet plan adapted to individual metabolism is promised, which makes the pounds drop. But what are the benefits of such diets?

The essentials in brief Metabolism diets:

  • Personalized nutrition is a future trend and apparently many roads lead to Rome. For years, various providers have been marketing a wide variety of diets, all of which are supposed to have a positive effect on the metabolism through individual dietary recommendations.
  • After examining various parameters of the metabolism and blood, an individual nutrition plan is created.
  • Depending on the concept, completely different foods are classified as particularly suitable or unsuitable.
  • Studies showing that the metabolic diet is better than a conventional diet are mostly lacking.
Metabolism diets

Table of Contents for Metabolism diets.

  • Blood group diet
  • Genotype diet
  • Metabolic Balance
  • Metabolic Typing
  • Immune / Allergy Diets
  • Max Planck Diet

The important representatives of metabolic diets include:


Blood group diet

This diet is based on the ideas of the naturopath Peter Adamo. He assumes that a person’s blood group determines which foods they can digest, which diseases they are susceptible to, which sport they are best at. According to d’Adamo’s theory, certain proteins, the so-called lectins, get into the blood from all foods, clump together with the red blood cells and thereby damage the body. Depending on the blood group, the different foods would therefore lead to certain reactions in the body: some would make the body gain weight, others would make it slim. Unfavorable food would be poorly processed and deposited as depot fat.

Our rating

This form of diet lacks any scientific basis and only leads to weight loss if the food intake is restricted so severely due to the prohibitions that it leads to a negative energy balance.

According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), there is no scientific evidence for the claimed health benefits of blood type diets.

In no case has it been scientifically documented that lectins (hemagglutinins) from foods lead to clumping (agglutinations) in the blood. Only for a small part of the dietary lectins has it been proven that they pass from the intestine into the blood to a very small extent, but are immediately neutralized there. In addition, most lectins do not react specifically to blood groups, so they would affect everyone.

Lectins can be found in numerous plant-based foods, especially in potatoes and legumes such as beans or lentils, which should only be consumed cooked anyway. The lectins are destroyed by heating. Epidemiological studies have shown no connection between blood group and body weight.


Genotype diet

This form of diet can also be found in the offerings of personal trainers as well as naturopathic and nutritional counseling practices. As a rule, the genes are examined by a specialized laboratory using a saliva sample; advice is provided by the provider. The MetaCheck® examines seven genes. It is assumed that there are four different meta-types: Alpha (α), Beta (β), Gamma (γ) and Delta (δ). Each meta-type is supposed to process the main components of food (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) differently.

In addition, each of these meta-types should be available in two sport variants, namely endurance (E for “Endurance”) and speed (S for “Speed”). The providers assume that the right type of sport causes particularly effective calorie consumption during training. For each meta-type, there are special nutrition plans and recipes as well as recommendations according to the determined sports variant. Type Delta E, for example, gets along well with sugar, white flour, pasta, and fats, but should be economical with fish, meat, and dairy products. Endurance sports such as jogging, walking, swimming, and rowing would be suitable.

According to the provider, the probability of successful weight loss should increase by a factor of 2.5 if the meta-type recommendations are consistently adhered to. 

The DNA examination is only necessary once. It costs around 200-350 euros, including personal advice. The health insurance companies do not cover the costs.

Our rating

There is no scientific proof that a diet that is adapted to the genetically specified metabolic profile is better than a completely normal diet – especially since the evaluation is limited to a few genes. Ultimately, the calorie deficit is critical to weight loss. In our opinion, genetic tests without personal, well-founded, or medically supported advice are negligent. It is particularly critical when, in addition to the actual gene analysis, supposedly individually necessary food supplements are sold.

The Society for Human Genetics (GFH) estimates the possible dangers of misinterpretation or overinterpretation of such genetic tests for consumers to be much higher than the advertised benefits.

If you want to try such a genetic test, you should definitely make sure that you receive advice from qualified personnel ( nutritionist, ecotrophologist, dietician ) and that you can get further consultation appointments later if necessary. Consultations are also possible by phone or internet video phone. Anyone who is toying with a new sport based on the gene test should ideally also be introduced by a specialist. Genetic test providers who do not offer their customers personal, well-founded, or medically supported advice act with gross negligence: because if the results are not classified, they can unsettle and overwhelm those affected.


Metabolic Balance®

Metabolic Balance is a nutritional concept that should be tailored to the individual metabolism. The program is offered in cosmetic studios and pharmacies, by alternative practitioners, doctors, personal trainers and “nutritionists according to metabolic balance®”.

The care takes place either online (Metabolic Balance® Online) or in the practice (Metabolic Balance® Care). With Metabolic Balance fitness®, fitness studios are specifically integrated as license partners in order to develop new target groups. An individual nutrition plan is created for each participant based on anamnesis data (weight, height, previous illnesses), blood laboratory values ​​(complete blood count) and personal preferences (special diets). 

With this nutrition plan, which is adapted to the metabolism, fat deposits should disappear and vitality and health should be preserved into old age. It is a reduced-calorie mixed diet with increased protein content. According to the provider, the amount of protein is 0.8-1 gram per kilogram of body weight and day. Only small amounts of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index are offered. According to the nutrition plans of consumers that are available to us, around 950-1,050 kilocalories (kcal) per day are consumed in the first 14 days, but also more than 2,000 kcal for very obese participants.

A two-day preparation phase is followed by the strict phase with three meals a day, whereby the choice of food must be based exactly on the products and quantities specified on the individual plan. There must be a break of at least five hours between meals; Nothing can be eaten after 9 p.m. Each meal begins with the specified protein content; Fruit must always be consumed at the end of the meal. The personal daily amount of water (possibly up to four liters) must be drunk. All meals consist of a protein (for example yogurt, meat, fish) and a vegetable or fruit component. In our plans with 950-1050 kcal, 2-3 slices of rye crispbread per day and fixed amounts of fruit provide the carbohydrates. From each of the eleven “protein groups”can only be consumed once a day.

In a third phase, the individual food selection is gradually expanded. In the long term, the program provides a solution to the strict nutrition plan, but the newly learned eating habits should be retained.

The costs are between 300 € and 840 € depending on the selected module, type of supervision (group / individual supervision) and period (3 -12 months). The statutory health insurance companies do not reimburse these expenses.

Our rating

The menu appears to be very limited both in terms of food selection and in terms of calories (according to the provider, only the basal metabolic rate is covered). The dietary rules are very strict, the strict and quantitatively very detailed allocations to food (accurate to the gram in the strict phase) are incomprehensible to us.

Our main points of criticism:

  • The “personal” recommendations, for one mozzarella and papaya, for the other ricotta and rhubarb, are scientifically incomprehensible.
  • It has not been scientifically proven whether there is actually a connection between the blood values ​​determined and weight loss.
  • There is no seasonal food selection; exotic fruits are very often recommended.
  • Lifelong perseverance seems difficult.
  • Not really family-friendly, even if side dishes such as bread, rice, pasta or potatoes are served with all meals for the other family members.
  • In our opinion, given nutrition plans promote the passivity of those willing to lose weight, instead of strengthening their ability to act and self-reliance.

Metabolic Typing

This metabolic diet also follows the motto: Some get fat from milk and meat, others lose weight from it. In metabolic typing, three main metabolic characteristics are examined: the influence of the nervous system, the rate of combustion and the respective type of gland. A distinction is made between parasympathetic (calming) and sympathetic (stimulating) influence of the nervous system, “slow burners” (beta type) or “fast burners” (glycotype) as well as the gland types “thyroid type”, “pituitary type”, “adrenal type” and in women the “ovarian type” . This should explain certain preferences for food and the distribution of fat in the body. Also the blood group,The acid-base balance and some other parameters can be included in the calculation of the individual metabolic diet.

Depending on the provider, these values ​​are determined using different methods, but often using a special electromagnetic diagnostic device. A computer program then calculates a personal nutrition plan with precise food recommendations and recipes. It is advisable to repeat the examinations regularly.

In addition to the device variant, there are also special guides. Using an extensive self-assessment questionnaire, you should be able to easily find out your metabolic type (protein, carbohydrate and mixed type). The protein type should eat a lot of fat and protein (in the form of meat, liver) and little carbohydrates, the carbohydrate type little fat and little protein, the latter mainly in the form of low-fat milk and egg products. With the mixed type, the three main nutrients should be consumed in almost the same ratio to one another. The statutory health insurances do not cover the costs for the initial examination (from 250 €).

Our rating

Weight loss appears to be less due to the adaptation of the metabolism than to the exclusion of high-calorie foods and better satiety as a result of a protein-rich diet.

The food recommendations often follow the generally applicable rules for a healthy diet, i.e. wheat flour, sugar, peeled rice, and alcohol in moderation. Cons: This diet also prohibits certain metabolic types from consuming recommended foods. The thyroid type should avoid fruit and fruit juices but eat very protein-rich, i.e. meat-heavy. The impression arises that weight loss is not achieved through the specific adaptation of the metabolism, but through the exclusion of high-calorie foods and the better satiety as a result of a protein-rich diet follows. No scientific evidence could be found for the functionality and accuracy of the diagnostic devices.


Immune / Allergy Diets

With this diet, it is assumed that the cause of obesity is individual food intolerance.


Max Planck Diet

It is a strict, but not individual, diet plan for a week that is repeated again afterwards. Allegedly, this special diet is supposed to permanently boost the metabolism and the body burns more calories than ever before. Within 14 days there should be an enormous weight reduction (up to 9 kilograms), and the change in metabolism should stop any further weight gain for three years.

All in all, it is a very protein-rich, extremely low-fat and extremely low-carbohydrate diet, consisting primarily of boiled eggs, steaks and boiled ham. Depending on the day, spinach, green lettuce and celery, lettuce and tomatoes, carrots and Swiss cheese, tomatoes or fruit can be eaten in any quantity. On four out of seven days, a dry bread roll (even whole grain) is allowed in the morning; the rest of the breakfasts consist of black coffee or tea with lemon. Any amount of natural yoghurt with fruit can be eaten in one evening – the only dairy product in the whole week. All alcohol is prohibited during this time.

Our rating

Due to the extreme calorie restriction – only 400-800 kilocalories (kcal) daily – you lose a lot of weight in the short term. Eating this way for more than two weeks carries the risk of damage to health.

Allegedly this diet was developed by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Nutrition. The fact is that there is no such institute. Many years ago there was an institute for nutritional physiology; For almost ten years it has been called the “Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology”, based in Dortmund. Scientists there have distanced themselves from this diet plan for almost 20 years, but it is still around. Physiologically, it cannot be explained how this diet is supposed to change the metabolism in the long term. Since this diet has been around for decades, it could be seen as the predecessor of the Glycemic Index diets.

This diet does not teach you to eat differently in the long term, the initial weight should be regained within a short time, if not even exceeded (yo-yo effect). Since the meager meals are only supposed to last two weeks, real nutritional deficiencies are unlikely. However, those who eat this way for longer run the risk of deficiency symptoms including damage to health.

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