I am re-publishing my most popular blog post of all time from 2016 – about a year and a half before we reinvented ourselves as Evolve180 Weight Loss. This post represents the pivotal learning that forever changed my understanding of how weight loss needed to be structured for any of us with my metabolic type to succeed long-term. This was the turning point which prompted me to invent Evolve180 Weight Loss. It was the spark that lit the flame of my passion to share this knowledge with the world. This knowledge gave birth to Evolve180’s Baseline Protocol (and the customizations that make it perfect for everyone). I hope you like this post. I’d love feedback, so please comment.
– Sherene Kershner
Co-Founder , Evolve180 Weight Loss
I am so fired up! I have stumbled upon gold! Namely, the research and writing of Diane Kress, notable Diabetes educator and Dietician.
Diane Kress coined the concept of “Metabolic Types,” and revealed that there are actually two:
Metabolic Type A And Metabolic Type B
It turns out I’m Type B. I suspect the majority of people who follow our Blog are, too. If you’re like me – having struggled your whole life with weight, chronic hunger, cravings, health worries (such as gradually worsening lab results, borderline high blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid issues, etc.), and if you’ve felt all along like the typical guidelines just didn’t apply to you, you NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS.
When I stumbled upon the above article, I read it with a growing sense of vindication! Finally, the reality of my experience with food and dieting was being explained in relatively simple terms and I wondered how no one had figured this out before! I highly recommend reading the article for yourself, but I’ll give you the executive summary and some of my thoughts below:
There are 2 metabolic types: Metabolism Type A (naturally thin) and Metabolism Type B (naturally heavier).
The Metabolism Type A people (we’ll call them Type As) are the ones we picture in our minds when we think of folks who can “eat whatever they want and stay thin.” Metabolism Type B folks (Type Bs), on the other hand, struggle with weight much of their lives and dream of someday finding the right diet or exercise regimen to transform their bodies so they act more like Type As. However, the two types actually have verifiable physiological differences, which make that unlikely to happen.
The way it stands now, ALL of the prevailing diet and exercise guidelines are based on things that work for Type A. Type As can eat a BALANCED diet (with roughly 60% of the calories coming from Carbs – including the Food Pyramid, the Mediterranean Diet, Paleo, Whole 30, “Clean Eating” etc.) and be the picture of health. If they do put on a little weight, they can just cut calories on whichever balanced plan they follow, add a little exercise, and return to normal.
But when Type Bs follow those diets, they experience chronic hunger and cravings, and gradually gain weight every year. If they try to lose weight by cutting calories on these plans, their bodies refuse to budge, or lose very slowly. If they are on the more extreme end of the Type B spectrum, they may even see their weight continue to climb! Old-school nutritionists and doctors tend to assume they’re not being honest about their eating and double down with instructions to cut more calories (usually by reducing fat). This leaves the Type Bs starving, weak and tired. But even worse, unbeknownst to them, they are also losing substantial muscle mass on diets like these. Type Bs often feel like screaming, “Please believe me! I’m doing what you’re telling me to do but it doesn’t work!!! None of this works!!!”
However, the thing is – it does work. For the Metabolism Type A people. They make it look easy and sustainable because it IS, for them. And without an understanding of the metabolic type difference, Doctors, personal trainers, magazines, and celebrities persist in promoting this way of eating to everyone. They dismiss the fact that it fails 50% of people by assuming those who struggle are just not disciplined enough to put down a bag of cookies and follow instructions.
So, What’s Different For Metabolism B?
According to Diane Kress, the problem isn’t with us; it’s with the fact that there is only ONE set of guidelines, but TWO different kinds of metabolisms.
To illustrate how this works, I’m going to get more technical and dive deeper, however bear with me, as this is very critical to understand.
Metabolism Type A folks are the GREEN line on the graph below. When they eat according to the food pyramid (meals containing on average 60% of their calories coming from carbohydrates), and even when they indulge (meals with 50-100g of carbohydrate), their blood sugars rarely rise above the high-normal or mid-normal range. This means they *hardly ever* enter fat storage mode, and they rarely crave food/carbs. If they do gain a little weight, it works for them to restrict calories a bit and increase exercise to lose it.
Metabolism Type B folks, on the other hand, are the purple line on the above graph. The main difference in their physiology is a predisposition to OVER-REACT to carb consumption at levels considered normal for Type As. Type Bs’ blood sugar levels (and in tandem, their insulin levels) rise higher than usual after meals, which in turn leads to blood sugar “crashes,” which trigger carbohydrate cravings. The cravings push the Type B to eat even more carbohydrates, which starts the cycle all over again. Compared to Type As, Type Bs spend a lot of time in fat storage mode even when they’re eating the same foods in the same amounts.
A Note About Carbohydrate Cravings
Contemporary neuroscience confirms that the cravings for carbohydrates triggered by steep drops in blood sugar are just as powerful and affect the same brain regions as the cravings addicts experience for cocaine or heroin. We’re not just talking about the munchies, here. In a low blood sugar state, our ancient metabolic mechanisms kick in to drive carbohydrate consumption as if our lives depend on it. These are the hormones that got our species through famines and ice ages. They act on our limbic system (our survival instincts) and are difficult to ignore.
Behind the scenes, this continuous cycle of over-reactions leads to insulin resistance and eventually Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. These metabolic conditions lead to worsening obesity, cardiovascular problems and many others issues. Severely Type B people are usually 50 – 100 – 150 lbs overweight.
Once the weight piles on, Type B’s are given the instructions we described above which only work for Type As. The problems that accompany this approachare so numerous it’s hard to know where to start. First off, they don’t even *touch* the imbalances which created their obesity in the first place. It wasn’t calories that dug their metabolic hole, so to speak. It was their body’s genetic over-reaction to carbs. So without adjusting carbohydrate intake, and correcting their insulin resistance, they will remain in “fat storage mode” even if they manage to lose weight with drastic calorie cutting and exercise.
That means as soon as they hit their goal and resume ‘normal’ ‘balanced’ eating, they’ll continue to store fat at every meal and experience cravings as their vicious blood sugar cycle resumes.
Isn’t that just awesome?!? As frustrating as it has been to find all of this out NOW (after 48 years), it’s also a relief! It’s nice to know that I’m not crazy! I’m not broken and I’m not a fundamentally weak or flawed human being. However, all of this begs the question. What actually DOES work for Metabolism Type Bs?
What Actually Does Work for Type Bs to Lose Weight?
Well, I’ve studied Diane Kress’s recommendations, and they match my own observations from years of experience with my own ups and downs, and those of the clients in my practice.
First, Type Bs need to drop their carbohydrate intake to the point where their bodies are exposed to drastically lowered glucose and insulin on a continuous basis during their weight loss phase. This gives insulin-resistant cells a break so they can begin to recover sensitivity. It also results in ketosis (a.k.a. fat-burning mode), which happens to be the only state in which an insulin-resistant body will efficiently lose weight.
At the same time, they need to optimize protein to avoid losing muscle (the amount needed is very individual), but not consume too much and interrupt ketosis. Overconsuming protein is the most common reason people don’t make progress if they try this themselves. Excess protein converts to carbohydrates and the balance is quite delicate.
Next, they need to consume the right amount of good fats to achieve satiety, proper lipid profiles, and sustain hair, skin and vital organs. Add adequate fiber, the right vegetables, sufficient water, nutrients and electrolytes and BAM! The easiest, most peaceful weight loss experience most Type Bs have ever experienced!
In our world, it’s known as the E180 Flagship Protocol.
A common question I get when I’m talking to people about our solution is, “Isn’t this just the keto diet?”
NO. Here’s the thing about The Keto Diet. There is no such thing as The Keto Diet. There are many plans, programs and schools of thought that utilize greater and lesser states of ketosis as a tool for weight loss. The programs under this umbrella are nicknamed Keto, but depending on how they were created, and how people follow them, they may or may not actually be ketogenic! Ketosis simply refers to the metabolic state in which the body converts fat stores into energy, releasing ketones in the process. All weight loss plans spur ketosis to some extent.
Most so-called keto diet followers don’t approach it with enough knowledge or precision to achieve the dramatic reversal of metabolic problems we are discussing. A casual keto plan might include unmeasured portions of bacon, cheese, avocado, eggs, meat, butter, fats, oils, nuts, and keto ‘treats’ that utilize an array of artificial sweeteners – many of which have been debunked as not actually low-carb or which cause blood sugar/insulin spikes. Most keto dieters eat too much or too little protein, too much fat, not enough nutrient-dense vegetables, and insufficient electrolytes. Their lack of skill executing a proper entry into ketosis results in the infamous Keto Flu – which is really just an electrolyte imbalance causing headaches, muscle cramps, foggy thinking, achiness and irritability.
A casual approach yields minimal results when it comes to reversing Insulin Resistance. To really recover from decades of mismanagement of our Metabolic Type, it takes serious, sustained effort and a consistently precise target range of blood sugar and insulin levels. Without a recovery period where you simultaneously suppress insulin and lose body fat, your body will remain in fat-storage mode forever. Those of us who are serious about finding relief from our lifelong struggle with weight choose a precise, medically designed and supervised approach to solve it.
Disadvantage or Superpower?
I stumbled on all of these solutions after a lifetime of trial and error. I now know why Ideal Protein worked so well on my first big weight loss journey in 2011/12. Back then, they still used great quality ingredients, clean sweeteners and were owned by the doctors who created it (unlike today). But at the time, I didn’t care why it worked, and I understand if you don’t, either! I was just desperate and groping in the dark for help.
Would it have helped me to learn sooner that my biology is closer to that of a caveman’s and that I should eat more like they did?
It gives me a little bit of solace to know that my predisposition toward fat storage, used to be an evolutionary advantage! My body would’ve won fat-storing championships in the (very very very) old days! The prize would’ve been survival while my emaciated Metabolism Type A friends perished in those brutal ancient conditions. I imagine the only reason there are so many Metabolism Type B’s today is that our ancient ancestors were the ones who SURVIVED! We carry their genes, despite the fact that we don’t quite need their superpower anymore. I comfort myself with the knowledge that if some big new catastrophe befell us, say a Zombie Apocalypse, my metabolism would suddenly become a big ASSet to survival. (Pun intended).
One more metaphor occurs to me. I’m a Tesla. However, for decades, my doctors have been giving me instructions as if I were a Honda Accord. Putting gasoline in my engine is useless! I don’t have a carburetor or burn petroleum products! I operate on a battery! I can only properly refuel by plugging myself into a 240-volt power outlet! Now that I know this, I have a lot of damage to clean up, but I can go forward with a new understanding, which should allow my body to run like the marvel of metabolic design that it is! And if you learn to apply these new insights, SO CAN YOU!
Thank you, Diane Kress, for your courageous, bold and game changing work! We appreciate it!