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What is the Body Type Diet?

Dana Hinders
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The body type diet is a weight loss method that claims the main cause of weight gain is your metabolism. Developed by Elliot D. Abravanel, M.D., this diet looks at your body shape as the key to weight loss. The theory behind the diet is that your shape tells which gland controls your metabolic rate: the adrenal, gonadal, thyroid, or pituitary gland. Each metabolic gland type indicates a different weight loss strategy that should be followed, as well as specific trigger foods that must be avoided in order to keep the weight off.

People who are said to be ruled by the adrenal gland have slender hips, but are larger above the waist. These people collect excess fat on their breasts, stomach, and upper back. According to the theory of the body type diet, they are said to crave fat, salt, and alcohol. Of course, these are precisely the foods they need to stay away from to slim down.

Gonadal gland people are said to be pear shaped. They are smaller on the top and bigger on the bottom. The gonadal gland lets fat collect mostly in the rear, so this is a common trouble spot for these people. According to the body type diet, gonadal gland people are said to crave creamy, rich, and spicy foods. Again, they need to stay away from these dietary triggers in order to drop unwanted pounds.

Thyroid-controlled people have long arms and legs. They are generally high-waisted and have the most trouble with excess fat on the upper hips, waist, and thighs. According to the body type diet, thyroid controlled people should resist their cravings for caffeine, sweets, and starches if they want to lose weight.

The last metabolic gland type is the pituitary gland. The body type determined by this gland results in a small figure with fat spread out fairly evenly. People who have the pituitary gland body type love dairy and sweets, which they must abstain from in order to lose weight.

While the body type diet may be helpful for some people who want to drop excess weight, it is not a miracle cure. This diet is one of many weight loss options, each with its own challenges. In order to lose weight for good, you still need to find out which foods work best for your dietary preferences and commit to a regular exercise program.

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Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the The Health Board team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By tolleranza — On Oct 22, 2011

@simrin - I agree with you! Not only would it be difficult to avoid those major food groups for a long period of time, but also I feel like whenever the word "diet" is introduced then you automatically feel guilty eating those foods because you are on a "diet".

And I am just not sure psychologically how harmful it is to have guilt for some people about eating or not eating certain foods.

I also had a friend who tried a certain diet that found that even though she was losing weight and was not hungry on the diet that she was trying, she was stressed out because she was always thinking about what she was going to eat next because it was difficult to eat out and make food because the diet was so restrictive.

So in the end for me, it works best to maintain a healthy lifestyle that I enjoyed that did not make me feel like I was not taking care of myself, but also did not make me feel like I was being restrictive. So I identified the foods that I needed to be healthy (the vitamins, protein, etc.) and then made them in ways that I enjoyed.

By amysamp — On Oct 21, 2011

With the immense amount of diet information that women are continually bombarded with I am surprised to find a diet that I had not heard of! I feel like I have seen advertisements for it all.

The juice diet, the cookie diet, the spiritual diet, the no carbohydrate diet, and the low fat diet... I bet most commenters would agree they could name at least five to ten diets easy!

Anyway, I find the theory behind this diet particularly interesting in that I have always wondered what was the genetic trigger that have some people gain significant portions of weight in certain areas without gaining much weight anywhere else.

A great example of this is men! Think about how much weight they gain in their midsections before they gain any on their little legs.

By ddljohn — On Oct 20, 2011

Wow, this sounds very similar to the Ayurvedic dosha diet that I'm doing right now. This diet also believes that every person has a body type (pitta, vata or kapha) and we need to eat according to our body type so that we can maintain our ideal weight.

I actually like the sound of this body type diet a lot better because the Ayurvedic diet has a long list of foods I'm not allowed to have. This diet only has two or three, so it sounds like a much easier diet to do.

By SteamLouis — On Oct 20, 2011

This sounds like an interesting approach to weight loss. I actually don't enjoy the term "diet" much because diets generally last for a short time and eventually the weight lost in that period returns. I prefer programs where bad eating habits are changed permanently for a new and healthier lifestyle.

Is the body type diet system a program that only lasts a certain period of time, or is it something permanent?

So, for example, if I belong to the last group which is controlled by the pituitary gland, do I need to avoid dairy and sweets for the rest of my life to lose weight and maintain it?

By backdraft — On Oct 19, 2011

I have struggled with my weight for years and have tried just about every single kind of fad diet, miracle exercise, super food and magical supplement. Unfortunately I have never been able to get my weight under control. I will loose some, get excited for myself and then gain it all back, usually with a couple of extra pounds thrown in as a cruel joke.

I tried the body weight diet a few years ago and had the same result. It worked at first and then it stopped and I got nowhere. I don't think this diet is really any different than any other diet. It works while you do it, it stops working once you stop working it. Weight loss is not about dieting, it is about making lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle. This is something I am still struggling to internalize, but I am hoping that I can make a strong and final push to really get my body back to where I want it to be.

By DentalFloss — On Oct 19, 2011

I strongly agree with the idea that people have different body types. This is why some celebrity women are very skinny except for really defined hips and behinds, while others are fuller-chested or not curvy at all, but all of them are thin and have less body fat than most people.

However I think that different diets for different body types are not the answer; I've already read in recent years about trainers who claim to give every woman a "dancer's body", defining that as someone with a small but defined butt, a defined waist, et cetera. The fact is that people, no matter how they work out, are naturally a little different shaped. It's not about what they eat specifically, though, or what gland rules their diet, at least to me.

By icecream17 — On Oct 19, 2011

@Mutsy - That is true but you have to cut down on sweets and refined carbohydrates because they do make it harder to lose weight especially if you have an underactive thyroid.

I read that eating carbohydrates earlier in the day makes it easier for your body to burn them off. If you eat too many of these carbohydrates especially later in the evening it usually gets stored as fat and depending on your body type the fat could be stored on your hips and thighs or stored on your stomach which is really worse.

They say that excessive abdominal fat is really the leading cause in diabetes and some cancer related diseases.

By behaviourism — On Oct 18, 2011

I do think that different people have different trigger foods that they need to avoid, though I'm not sure that I believe the part about different types of glands controlling weight in different people.

To me it's just an issue of trying to eat as much natural food as possible and avoiding an excess of things like salt and unhealthy fats.

By mutsy — On Oct 17, 2011

@Sara007 -I think that a sensible diet and exercise daily are the most effective ways to lose weight. I don’t think that these gimmicks of the apple body type diet or the grapefruit diet really matter.

Your body really needs a variety of foods and if you begin to deprive yourself and restrict one particular food, that is going to be the very food that you will start to crave. It is really human nature.

I also think that if you really want to lose weight you should really find a support system and find out why you are overweight in the first place. Until you really uncover your reasons for overeating, any diet success that you may have will be temporary.

A doctor once told me that making little substitutions will go a long way in losing weight and keeping it off but you have to be conscious of your eating and not eat in the car or in front of the television because you will eat a lot more than you realize.

By Sara007 — On Oct 17, 2011

@manykitties2 - I have been trying the body type dieting for a few weeks now and I can tell you that it is working for me. I am one of those thyroid-controlled people and sweets and starches are definitely my weaknesses.

To be honest, I think any diet exercise program would work if you stuck with it. Cutting out sweets and starches after all is just dropping your overall calorie intake. Plus, by not having those things it is forcing me to eat healthier to make up for the food I would normally have. Whether the body type diet is a fad or not, giving up high-calorie foods works.

By manykitties2 — On Oct 16, 2011

I'm afraid I fall into the pear shaped category as I carry most of my weight on my behind. I have tried so many new diets, I am really wondering if the body type diet plan will work for me. Has anyone actually had experience with the body type diet book?

It seems that diet by body type would be more successful than a one size fits all program, but you never know. It could be just another gimmick to get people to part with their cash. I am not really sure how giving up the spicy foods I love is going to help anything as they are generally healthy.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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