Meeting my metabolic self

by Kim on July 16, 2013

Well, this explains a lot.

I think I’ve finally figured out why I was having stomach issues last week and why I saw an annoying little jump in the number on the scale yesterday. It could even be to blame for some mild insomnia problems I’ve been dealing with lately.

Summer grilling. Lots of it.

grilling

We’ve been on a huge meat kick, ever since Brent got his new meat thermometer and a new Hy-Vee opened near us (read: excellent fresh meat options). Lots of red meat, lots of bacon, lots of…FAT.

For some reason, I forget about how fatty red meat is. My brain goes, “It’s Paleo; it’s good for you!”

But just because something isn’t “bad for you” in the same way that processed food is bad for you (no quotes needed there) doesn’t mean that it’s what your body needs.

A few weeks ago, Laura wrote about how to determine the best foods for your metabolic type and included a link to a quiz by Jillian Michaels you can take to determine your type. I actually found my way to the post through Rachel (coolest girl ever, btw), who took the quiz herself and wrote about it on her blog. Turns out Rachel is the exact opposite type as me, so if you can’t relate to some of the info below because you and I differ, feel free to check out Rachel’s post on this.

The results of the quiz can help you figure out whether you’re a “protein-type” (fast oxidizer), “carb-type” (slow-oxidizer), or “mixed” metabolic type (balanced oxidizer—very few people truly are). Oxidation is the process by which our bodies convert the foods we eat into energy, and the rate at which our individual bodies do that (based on genetics, not anything you’ve done right or wrong) impacts what kinds of foods fuel our bodies best.

So, I took the quiz. I felt like I was back in my Cosmo reading days, trying to figure out if my relationship type was romantic and sweet or adventurous and fun. And it was one of those situations where I more or less figured out my type halfway through the quiz, and then spent the rest of it worried that I was subconsciously rigging my own result because I wanted the whole thing to “make sense.”

But at any rate…turns out I’m a textbook slow oxidizer. My results came back as follows (they’ll make sense if you take the quiz): A – 27, B – 17, C – 1. (The one C comes from the fact that I like pickles!)

20130619_121020The kind of lunch my body prefers

So many of the characteristics of slow oxidizers were dead on for me. Like:

–I can’t handle big breakfasts. Nothing sounds less appealing in the morning than a pile of pancakes, eggs, and meat. I do eat breakfast, but it’s always something small, and it often doesn’t happen until I’ve been up for a few hours.

–I have horrible circulation and am constantly cold. I’ve gotten my thyroid checked so many times, and I’m always skeptical when it comes back normal. We keep our house at 78-79 in the summer, and I think that feels normal (sometimes even cold, no lie). I basically spend June-August battling with the AC, and the winter, wearing blankets all over the house.

–I’m sensitive about salty foods and need to guzzle water all day long to feel good.

According to this admittedly questionable source (take it with a grain of salt):

“Slow oxidizers often suffer from fatigue, sweet cravings and low blood sugar. As their oxidation rate slows further, they often become apathetic and depressed. Their blood pressure and blood sugar may be low unless arteriosclerosis or diabetes have set in. Their skin and hair are often dry, and their hair may become brittle or thin. Many experience constipation and other symptoms associated with reduced adrenal and thyroid glandular activity. Slow oxidizers may gain weight on the hips and the legs due to their metabolic imbalances.”

Check, check, check, and check. (Not sure about the hair one, though. I guess my hair isn’t super greasy, but I wouldn’t call it particularly dry or brittle either…)

20130629_122353“Mmmmmmm!” – my body

Here are a few more indicators for fast and slow oxidizers. (Some more strange than others.)

Fast-Oxidizers

Likes potatoes
Grapefruit juice tastes too sour
Mustard tastes & smells too sharp
Likes avocados, olives, mayonnaise
Likes salty foods
Sweet foods often taste too sweet
Likes bacon with meats
Coffee causes jitteryness
Requires breakfast
When nauseous, salty food helps
Feels weak if doesn’t eat every 2-3 hours
Likes well-done roast beef

Slow-Oxidizers

Likes grapefruit juice
Likes mustard
Finds avocados too fatty
Craves sweet & sour foods
Sweets increase appetite
Likes onions with meats
Likes coffee
Doesn’t want breakfast
When nauseous, sweet or sour foods help
Gets thirsty & drinks a lot of water

(source)

Now that I’ve labeled myself, here’s my diet prescription (from the quiz site, aka Jillian Michaels’ book Winning by Losing):

Slow Oxidizers

In order to best serve your metabolism and feel energized both physically and mentally, you require foods with a higher percentage of carbohydrates. Your ideal macronutrient ratio is 60 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, and 15 percent fat.

In other words, I need:

–To stick to a low-fat diet (very little red meat)

–Plenty of complex carbs (not simple ones, which convert into sugar)

–Very little high-fat dairy (I already knew this one was important for me)

–Less protein than I thought (fast oxidizers need double the amount of protein that slow oxidizers do)

Oh, and easy on the alcohol and caffeine. Well, of course it would say that. But I noticed that this applies to all metabolic types, and is actually less important for slow oxidizers. (Booyah!)

20130625_140504Another go-to lunch

None of this is a huge a surprise to me—I’d already sort of figured these things out on my own, but I thought I was doing them to be healthier, not because my body is extra sensitive to the alternative. But it makes sense, when I about how much I struggled with weight loss back in the day and how much my body fights back after a heavy meal. (P.S. There’s no way to “become” a fast oxidizer…I checked.)

What complicates my life even further, when it comes to food planning, is that I’m pretty sure my husband is a fast oxidizer. I’m on my own for breakfast and lunch, so those are no problem, but at dinner, he needs something heavy and satiating, while I’d be better off with a light meal of lean meat, veggies, and grains. Am I seriously going to have to start cooking separate meals for every member of my family?

What kind of oxidizer are you?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonette November 9, 2015 at 2:35 am

Hi Im a slow oxidizer. When I exercise I gain weight and dont lose it again. How can I lose weight?

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Virginia September 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

So I have been researching this oxidizer diet stuff all day long and still can’t come up with an answer. I had gum graft surgery last October and ate very little meat/protein because I couldn’t chew it for ten days. So I pretty much ate a lot of smoothies, frozen yogurt, ice cream, cheese, oatmeal, powdered peanut butter, and soups with a lot of carbs in it (like potato, tomato, and butternut squash). I pretty much ate whatever I could tolerate those ten days so I didn’t worry about fat content. I also couldn’t work out or drink alcohol for ten days during that time. I lost like 8-10 pounds!!! So that tells me that maybe I’m a little of a slow oxidizer. However, I took Jillian’s test and another quiz and one said I was a fast oxidizer and Jillian’s said I was a balanced oxidizer. I also have been trying to eat not as many carbs lately and I feel fatigued, irritable, and cold and have been working out really hard. But I read your blog and thought maybe I was trying to make sense of things too when I took the test. If y’all have any advice/input on how to determine which one I am that would be great! I have gained all of that ten pounds back of course and I want it gone!

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Kim September 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Hey Virginia! I’m not a nutritionist, so I don’t feel qualified to answer your questions–and even if I was, I’d want to know more details about your exact diet before commenting on it. But I do have a few thoughts…first of all, dairy has a ton of protein in it, so you were actually getting protein from a lot of those foods. I wonder if you were eating less overall during your post-surgery days? Your weight loss might have had more to do with a lower total calorie intake than the specific foods you were eating. Cutting out alcohol could also have been a factor, depending on how much you were drinking prior to surgery. I’d have to refer you to a professional for specific advice on your diet, but I think you’re doing the right thing by playing around with different ratios of fat/protein/carbs and seeing how you feel. Even fast oxidizers need some carbs, so I’d make sure you’re not going too low there, especially with those symptoms. Good luck!!

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Julie July 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

I had terrible insomnia for many years. I had tried making my diet more alkaline, but didn’t help. I tried working out like crazy, didn’t help. I eliminated dairy and wheat, didn’t help. I went to a functional Dr. he said eliminate sugar, any form of it. Sugar causes inflammation even in the brain. I have been sleeping like a dream ever since I stopped having sugar. So no pasta, bread, potatoes( only on weekends), no alcohol.
My sister started having the same insomnia stopped all forms of sugar and insomnia is gone.
I hope this helps someone out there. Insomnia is awful!!

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Presley @ Run Pretty July 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I think my husband & I are both fast (although, I could potentially be balanced)! I don’t like meat. Womp, womp. Guess I better start shoveling those beans and cauliflower in. haha I definitely don’t get enough protein according to the “requirements” for a fast oxidizer.
Presley @ Run Pretty recently posted…Post-Baby Body: Month 12 UpdateMy Profile

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Erika July 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I think I’m balanced?? My numbers were A-18 B-17 C-10.
Very interesting – I’ve never seen a test like this but it does seem to make sense.

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Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

awwww, thanks soul sista for the shout out and the love! You did a MUCH better job summing this up than I did. ;) Isn’t it amazing how many ‘aha!’ moments you have just going through that quiz and Laura’s post? The entire time, I kept shouting out, ‘yes! yes! That’s me!’ LOL
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Laura @ Mommy Run Fast July 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I’m glad you found it helpful! And a good reminder that we’re all different. The “diet” that works for one person will not necessarily work for another (clearly you would not do well on paleo!) Thanks for sharing. :)
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Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

See, before you know it, Laura, you’re going to have a cult following begging for more nutrition posts! ;)
Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness recently posted…I’m Freaking Out About Tough Mudder???My Profile

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Katie @ running4cupcakes July 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hmm that’s pretty interesting. I like that you are taking it with a grain of salt because while you can eat to try to align with this info, it isn’t always practical with real life and cooking for a family. I’ll be excited to hear how you feel after changing things up a bit. ;)

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries July 16, 2013 at 10:14 am

So interesting! I’m off to take the quiz! ;)
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