INDIANAPOLIS -- Each person metabolizes food differently, so the diet that works for one person won't work for another.
INDIANAPOLIS, June 21 -- Each person metabolizes food differently, so the diet that works for one person may not work for another.
With two-thirds of the U.S. population overweight, it's important to remember that an individual's biochemistry will determine whether a particular diet will work, Dralves G. Edwards, D.O., from Dallas, Tex., told attendees at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners meeting here.
Dr. Edwards outlined five factors that define a patient's metabolic type, and, thus, what type of diet might work best:
Edwards pointed out that 19 different types of stomachs have been identified in humans. The size and shape can have an impact on how quickly and even what is efficiently metabolized, he said.
"Individuals oxidize certain food differently, and each of us have a certain oxidizing state," he said. "We want to match the oxidization patterns of our foods with our metabolism."
For instance, he noted, carrots and cauliflower will work in a diet for fast oxidizers, but not for slow oxidizers.
The foods a person eats should match with their type. For example, a person who is a fast oxidizer will not do well with a high protein diet, while a slow oxidizer should stay away from one that's high in carbohydrates.
Foods also have a variable effect on pH levels in the body that can be dependent on metabolic type. Vegetables tend to acidify the blood of those who are high oxidizers.
Whether the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system is dominant will also influence whether a person tend more toward using or storing food, Edwards said. The sympathetic nervous system burns energy as part of the fight-or-flight response. The parasympathetic conserves energy and also helps digest food.
Blood type is another, often overlooked, aspect of dietary decision-making. Those who are type A are well suited for vegan diets, while those who are Type B need animal proteins, and Type O patients are best suited to high protein diets.
Improper diets can lead to weight gain and trigger what Edwards calls "silent inflammation." These are pathological levels of inflammation that fall below the threshold of perceived pain. There is a strong link between inflammation and heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, he noted, and it lays the foundation for many chronic diseases.
To screen for inflammation, he suggests assessing the patient for:
"Normally we do not find out about inflammation until late in the game when someone starts complaining about pain," said Edwards. "If we can establish this sooner, then we can start to make proper adjustments."