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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wilde


In the 1930’s, a Canadian dentist named Weston Price researched the link between modern diets and trends in disease processes while traveling globally.  He noted that each culture had different dietary needs depending on their climate, genetics, heredity, available food sources and unique stress factors.  Weston’s work became an increasingly important tool in creating a unique dietary approach to meet each individuals’ needs based on metabolic type.

His work was later greatly expanded on by Dr. William Donald Kelley and William Wolcott amongst others.  Dr. William Donald Kelley notably overcame his own pancreatic cancer through his development and application of metabolic typing.

These modern-day Hippocratic physicians had isolated two primary factors to determine one’s metabolic process and dietary needs: autonomic nervous system dominance and oxidation rate.  The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) refers to the complex network of innervation from the brain to organs regulating unconscious functions.  The ANS is divided into two parts: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.  Simply put, Sympathetic ANS engages ‘fight or flight’; it ramps up adrenaline, dilates your pupils, and prepares your body to flee or fight when perceived danger is present.  The Parasympathetic ANS is the calmer, slower processes in your body such as digestion, heart rate and sexual arousal. Categorically, your metabolism depends on the dominant state of ANS performance.

Oxidation rate is dictated by the metabolic speed of food as it is converted into energy or cellular ATP.  The significance of slow burning fats and proteins in relationship to fast burning carbohydrates is applied clinically to individuated development of a dietary approach to detoxification and immune system repair.

The interplay of these two factors constitute the basis of Metabolic Typing.  Three main metabolic types are further divided into four subtypes, giving a total of 12 metabolic types with varying demands and subtleties.  Sympathetic dominance causes a more acidic environment, indicating an increased need for alkalinizing foods such as vegetables and raw foods to maintain overall health.  Parasympathetic dominance directly opposes its Sympathetic counterpart; a more alkaline body environment requires more acidity and minerals to repair a weakened digestive system.  Somewhere between these two classifications a third primary metabolic type applies, a Mixed or Balanced metabolizer.


Three Types of Metabolizers

The three main types of metabolizers also indicate ailments, symptoms, characteristics and tendencies toward specific personality traits:

Parasympathetic Dominance (Protein/Meat Type

More temperate personalities take their time in decision and action.  Prone to depression and sluggishness.  Often don’t do well with sweets, can be diabetic or have fructose sensitivity. Have regular or loose bowel movements.  Can be diagnosed with leaky gut or food allergies and intolerance.   Easily fatigued, especially after exercise.  Histamine sensitivity.  Immune system and digestive organs tend to have overreactive functions.  Can have issues using nutrients.  Nutrients end up stored as excess weight and are not utilized properly.

Sympathetic Dominance (Carb/Veg Type)

Type A personalities.  Digestion problems like acid reflux or chronic constipation from hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid).  Caffeine dependence.  Tolerates sweets well.  Doesn’t do well after eating meats, often too heavy or causes indigestion.  Does best on fruits and good carbohydrates.  Suffers frequent bouts of insomnia.  Overactive and thrives with endurance activities to soothe strong emotions like anger or fear responses.  Mood swings.  Very strong brain function with enhanced ability to concentrate.  Eyes of pupils are usually large.  Hypervigilant.  Strong feelings of sexual energy.  Doesn’t dream often or rarely remembers dreams.

Balanced ANS (Mixed Type)

These types have a balanced autonomic nervous system where their sympathetic and parasympathetic work well together.  Do well on all varieties of food.  Suffers from pitfalls in both Parasympathetic and Sympathetic categories, albeit usually symptoms occur moderately as they don’t fall into any extremes.  Appetite is normal.  Blood sugar is steady.  Weight tends to naturally fall within a healthy body mass index.


A Metabolic type is not a hard and fast rule.  Think of each category as a physiological phase.  Depending on your health condition, you will fall into one metabolic grouping.  Each type has its own advantages and shortcomings, independently benefiting from differing micronutrient supplementation.  Depending on your main metabolic type, and further, your subtype, you can pinpoint with precision what your body presently requires most at the you are addressing it.  Metabolic efficiency improves as your condition progresses, but you also need to learn to listen to your body and give it what it needs to advance to the next level.

The philosophy of metabolic typing resolutely answers questions as to why a perfect diet for one can cause demise for another.  While some find amazing benefits from a vegetarian diet, it may emaciate, degenerate or aggravate another’s well-being.  Some may recuperate with red meats and a diet with many good fats, yet for others, it causes lethargy and weight gain.


Metabolic Typing and Cancer

Cancer is the ultimate dis-ease of the body.  The dictum, “let food be thy medicine” absolutely applies in recovery.  Each body needs an exclusive set of medicines with which to repair itself and thrive.  To better understand cancer, we have to realize that cancer is a process, not an object.  We are trained to believe that a tumor mass is, in fact, cancer.  However, a tumor is only a manifestation of excess oxidative stress in a toxic cellular environment.  Everyone produces malignant tumor cells as a result of oxidative stress. 

For hearty constitutional types, the pancreas produces adequate enzymes to digest foods and the naturally occurring malignancies.  It is when one’s pancreas fails to produce enough pancreatin and enzymes, the disease process opportunistically seizes normal biological processes and obstructs cellular functions.  This cellular progression IS cancer; it happens so imperceptibly that it may take two to four years before obvious symptoms become apparent. 

Metabolic typing is a key to learning what your body requires to stave off cancerous conditions in its subtler stages.  It can also be used following diagnosis or in later stages of symptomatic indigestion, weight loss or concurrent treatment to assist in recovering the metabolic building blocks to discourage a cancerous state.   When we start giving our bodies the proper fuel, it can perform advantageously, maintaining balanced and optimal health.


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