Overview of Dietary theories

There are so many different dietary theories around that it can be very confusing. But when you look at them in detail, you find they have many similarities and can be roughly grouped together.

The more extreme your metabolism, the more crucial it is to find your own individual diet. For everybody, a good basis is a fresh, organic, whole food diet.

If that doesn’t give you all of the results you need, the next step is to determine any food sensitivities you might have. Overeating certain foods, or eating foods that don’t suit you can result in food intolerance/addictions. The best way to find them is to do an elimination diet. This requires a level of commitment but can have amazing results.

If you have an extreme metabolism, you will also need to change to a diet that suits your body’s needs. You will get some clues about those needs while doing the elimination diet. If you can go all day on some fruit and veges and feel energised, you are likely to be down the Agriculturist end of the scale. If you need to eat a lot of fish and you still feel hungry, you are likely to be more to the Hunter-Gatherer (HG) end of the continuum.

If you are still confused about the pros and cons of Low Fat vs Low Carb diets, check out my overview.

We’re accustomed to thinking about diets as something we endure for weight loss. In this context we’re talking more about improving health. For weight loss, diet is only one aspect. Read more about Weight Issues in the Natural Therapies section.

So once you’ve got an idea of which type you might be, how do you decide which diet to try first? Let’s see which category each diet fits into, then read more about their pros and cons.

Higher or heavier Protein, Lower Carb style diets

  • Bob McFerran’s Hunter-Gatherer diet. Read the metabolic diet introduction and chapters of Bob’s unpublished book.
  • William Kelley’s Protein metabolic typing diet. Similar to Bob McFerran’s and with a questionaire to help identify your type.
  • Rudolph Wiley’s regime for Acidic types, although here the emphasis is more on the acidity or alkalinity of the foods. This has not been covered in detail here, as it is very similar to Kelley’s metabolic diet and the McFerran HG diet is a more evolved version of it. This version would be easier to stick to, as it is not whole foods. If you want to try it out, read his book Biobalance.
  • Diets designed for people suffering from Syndrome X. Dr Sandra Cabot and Leslie Kenton have both designed diets to help with this cluster of disorders including blood sugar problems, high blood pressure, cholesterol & triglyceride problems, obesity, difficulty in losing weight and fatigue
  • The Protein Power Lifeplan diet designed by Dr Michael Eades and Dr Mary Dan Eades.
  • Peter D’adamo’s “O” Blood type diet. Many people have had very good results from these diets.
  • The Atkins diet.
  • Under Chinese Nutritional Theory, a yang diet to balance an overly yin disposition would tend to be favour the heavier HG proteins.
  • The Carbohydrate Addicts diet. Info on this to come at a later stage.
  • Athletes in strength sports tend to eat higher protein diets.

It is worth noting that although these diets are higher in protein and lower in carbs than the Agriculturist style of diet, they do not advocate gluttony. Typical portions of meat or poultry for a moderately active person might range from 4oz to 6oz (100 to 150g) depending on size and activity levels.

This is just a sample of the diets of this type available. See the low-carb overview page for a comparison of the more popular diets.

Lower or lighter protein, Higher Carb style diets

  • Bob McFerran’s Agriculturist diet.
  • William Kelley’s Carbo metabolic typing diet.
  • Rudolph Wiley’s regime for Alkaline types.
  • Peter D’adamo’s “A” Blood type diet.
  • The Liver Cleansing and Healthy Liver and Bowel diets.
  • Vegetarian, vegan or fruitarian diets
  • In theory Food Combining could fall into either category, depending on whether you ate protein or starchs with your green veges. But in practice, with it’s emphasis on only fruit before midday, most people following its principles would eat a fairly low protein diet.
  • Under Chinese Nutritional Theory, a yin diet to balance an overly yang disposition would tend to be favour the lighter proteins.
  • Athletes in endurance sports tend to eat a higher carbohydrate diet, though they should be careful not to neglect their other nutritional needs.
  • Most mainstream nutritional advice tends to favour high carb, low fat, low protein diets. Unfortunately, this advice is only suitable for a very limited percentage of people.

Once again, I would recommend the McFerran diet if you need to get serious about your diet. Otherwise the Liver Cleansing diet, the A diet and Food Combining can all work well.

Moderate amounts of everything style diets

  • The most well known diet of this type is the Zone with it’s precise balance of proteins, carbs and fat. This diet is aimed many at athletes who want better performance and seems to work very well for them.
  • Bob McFerran’s Mixed diet is not as “heavy” as the Hunter-Gatherer one, with a wider variety of carbs being recommended.
  • William Kelley’s Mixed metabolic typing diet.
  • Rudolph Wiley’s regime for mixed biochemical types.
  • Likewise, Peter D’adamo’s “B” and “AB” Blood type diets are more middle of the road, their suitability being determined by your blood type.
  • Under Chinese Nutritional Theory, someone with a balanced disposition would eat a varied diet, sometimes yin and sometimes yang, depending on the season and the current state of the body.

So, read up on the various diets, decide which one you want to try, then go to the “How To” section for some tips on how to make those changes.