Metabolic Typing For Children
Interview with William Wolcott, author of “The Metabolic Typing Diet” from mercola.com.
At what age can you determine a child’s metabolic type?
There is no age limit. Parents can fill out the questionnaire for the child when necessary. Some of the questions won’t apply and others the parents won’t know, but there is usually enough information available to identify the metabolic type patterns. We have consistently seen good results using this methodology for over 25 years.
Is it possible for young children to be addicted to foods? If so, how can you determine whether a young child eats a food because it makes them feel good or because they are already addicted?
Food addictions in children are usually related to allergies. But, if a child does not eat right for his metabolic type, then the cells–the body’s “engines of metabolism”–won’t get the right fuel. As a result, the cells will be incapable of producing energy adequately. This “cellular starvation” for energy produces a craving for sweets or other stimulants like coca-cola, chocolate, etc.
Are there specific health benefits that children receive from metabolic typing?
Children receive the same benefits as adults but their responses are much quicker. It’s extremely important for children to get adequate nutrition at a young age.
So many of the problems with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, behavior problems and so on are due to a wrong diet for the child’s metabolic type. Finding out what types of foods are best for the child and having them follow the metabolic typing program makes a huge difference in his or her ability to learn, to succeed in school and to interact with friends and teachers. It’s all related to the creation, maintenance and control of energy.
Many children exhibit a loss of emotional control–they anger easily, throw tantrums, cry for no apparent reason, are irritable and generally dissatisfied–this is also due to receiving the wrong fuel. While to some extent adults are able to keep these types of emotions under control, children don’t have the same self-control to keep their emotions in check. This is why you see them fighting with parents and teachers and being disagreeable. But a proper diet for the metabolic type can easily change all of that.
Should any of the recommendations be modified for children?
No modifications are required. All the same rules apply to children and adults.
Could a child’s metabolic type change as he or she grows older?
The metabolic type can change as children grow older. Everyone has a functional metabolic type, which is the way you function now, and a genetic metabolic type, which is the type you are born with. The greatest health, energy and well-being manifest naturally when one functions within his genetic metabolic type patterns. But there are many factors that can cause someone to function as a type different from their genetic type including age, exposure to environmental toxins, stress, wrong diet for the metabolic type and so on.
If a child is born to unhealthy parents who eat a lot of junk food and are out of balance themselves, the child may start out with a functional metabolic type that is already different from his genetic type. But as he begins to eat right for his metabolic type, he will move toward his genetic type in a natural manner.
Is metabolic typing too restrictive for children? For instance, if they turned out to be carb types would they not receive enough fat in their diets?
No, it is not too restrictive. In fact the whole point is that metabolic typing has the ability to pinpoint exactly what each person needs. Some people NEED low fat in order to be healthy, while others need high fat. Same goes for proteins and carbohydrates. There is no one diet that is right for everyone.
On a biochemical level, we are as unique as we are in our fingerprints. In metabolic typing, protein, fat and carbohydrate ratios are customized to individual requirements. In one very real sense, there are as many metabolic types as there are individuals. However, it is also true that these individual types fall under broad classifications.
For example, all fast oxidizers, or protein metabolic types, are not equal. One person could be a slight fast oxidizer. Another could be a moderate fast oxidizer. A third could be an extreme fast oxidizer. Although all fast oxidizers need higher fat and protein than do slow oxidizers, the differences in the extent of the fast oxidative imbalance would dictate the ideal protein/fat/carb ratios. For example, an extreme fast oxidizer needs higher protein and fat as compared to the slight fast oxidizer.
People also have different circadian rhythms and could have different ratio requirements at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For instance, you may be a slight fast oxidizer at breakfast but by noon become an extreme fast oxidizer requiring a different ratio of foods. Some people have consistent requirements at each meal, while others need to vary ratios significantly. Metabolic typing provides the means to customize macronutrient ratios at each meal in order to assure maximum energy production from food intake.
Do you have any tips to get children to try new foods, or eat foods they may not like initially, according to their metabolic type?
If you have young children it’s best that you don’t expose them to junk food. Children who aren’t exposed to these foods won’t acquire a taste for them, and they won’t even taste good if the children try them when they’re older if they have been eating according to their metabolic type.
In this situation I recommend setting out the right types of food for your child and letting them eat what they want. Children will usually naturally pick and choose what feels good to them from the healthy options you’ve provided.
If you have older children and they already eat junk food it will be much more difficult. It’s important to only keep the right kind of food in the house and to be tough.
Tell them that they will eat the right types of food or starve. Don’t worry, children won’t starve themselves. Eventually they’ll give in and eat the healthy food you are offering. It does get hard when children go off to school though, as kids have a tendency to get junk food at school or from friends and throw away the healthy lunch their parents made them.
But as children grow older they’ll begin to notice changes in how they feel when they eat certain ways. They will make the correlation that when they eat the right foods they feel good and when they eat junk food they feel lousy. They will want to feel good and will start to eat good foods for that reason once they make that connection.
Is there anything else you would like to add about metabolic typing and children?
Another issue that I’d like to touch on is heavy metal toxicity from metals like cadmium, lead, aluminum and mercury. Many people don’t realize that a child carries the same pattern of metal toxicity as the parents, so a parent who has high levels of metals in their system will have a child who does as well.
Heavy metals displace good nutrients like calcium, manganese and zinc, and the presence of heavy metals is severely disruptive to metabolism. It affects the whole range of health.
Metabolic typing helps children to rid their bodies of heavy metals and this process happens very quickly once they start following the diet.
It’s impossible to escape exposure to heavy metals in the environment, but if the body is healthy and working properly it is well equipped to handle them. When the body chemistry is balanced, the body will throw out the heavy metals instead of store them. But if the chemistry is out of balance, the body is unable to defend against the heavy metals and they will be stored in vital tissues, such as the brain, liver, bone, kidney, etc., where they can do their damage.