According to former competitive bodybuilder and Precision Nutrition coach Ryan Andrews, the best way to lose weight and reach your physical potential is to eat a diet suited to your body type, or somatotype. The idea that your somatotype is an indicator of your metabolism, temperament and chemical makeup was developed by Harvard psychologist Dr. William H. Sheldon in the 1940s. There is no solid scientific research to support the theory that people with different body types will thrive only if they eat in a specific way. Talk to your doctor before beginning a somatotype-based meal plan.
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Suggested Ectomorph Meal Plan
According to Sheldon, ectomorphs are naturally thin with delicate bone structures and have difficulty gaining muscle mass. Because they supposedly have a higher metabolic rate than the other body types, ectomorphs should consume a diet that contains approximately twice as many calories from carbohydrates as protein. Andrews suggests meals of 55 percent carbohydrate, 25 percent protein and 20 percent fat. A typical menu plan for an ectomorph man might consist of 6 ounces of grilled salmon, 2 cups of steamed mixed vegetables drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil, 1 cup of brown rice and 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.
Suggested Endomorph Meal Plan
Endomorphs tend to accumulate weight around their waists, hips or thighs and are more likely to have a stocky appearance. They supposedly have a low metabolic rate and have the greatest tendency of any body type to store excess calories as fat. For endomorphs, Andrews advises a diet higher in fat and protein than carbohydrates, with meals consisting of 40 percent fat, 35 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates. A meal for an endomorph woman might be 3 ounces of roasted chicken breast, 1 cup of raw leafy greens tossed with 2 teaspoons of vinaigrette and 1/4 cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta.
Suggested Mesomorph Meal Plan
Individuals with the mesomorph somatotype can allegedly gain lean muscle mass and burn fat easily with exercise. They're advised to consume a diet that contains roughly equal amounts of each nutrient: approximately 40 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. To fulfill these guidelines, a mesomorph man might have 6 ounces of tofu stir-fried with a cup of sliced vegetables and 1/2 cup of cooked barley, along with 1/2 cup of fruit and about 2 ounces of toasted nuts like almonds. A mesomorph woman could follow the same menu, simply consuming half the serving size of each food recommended for men.
USDA's Recommended Meal Plan
Some of the somatotype-based eating plan guidelines -- particularly those for endomorphs and mesomorphs -- do not conform to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet, which advise that your daily calories should consist of 45 to 65 percent carbohydrate, 20 to 35 percent fat and 10 to 35 percent protein. Simply arranging your dietary intake to conform to your somatotype's specific meal plan won't guarantee that you'll lose weight or become more muscular. Choosing low-fat, low-sugar, nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly is essential for every body type. Ask your doctor for help if you're having trouble developing a diet that works for you.