Sunday, December 04, 2011

Book Review: The GenoType Diet

The GenoType Diet: Change Your Genetic Destiny to live the longest, fullest and healthiest life possible

By Catherine Whitney (Author), Peter J. Dr D'Adamo (Author)

[Review based on Kindle version]

From my Amazon review:

"... is it plausible in general that metabolic traits cluster along with personality traits, and that these clusters imply different health regimens? Of course it's possible. I'm strongly disposed from my own experience to think there are personality traits that lead us to construct particular rough kinds of niches, and it makes sense that these might have distinct metabolic patterns. But does the author get it right that eating Turkey vs. Chicken or Beef vs. Pork for a particular type really is a difference that makes a difference? That part needs more research."

The question this book raises in my mind is whether the author's GeneTypes significantly improve the guesses we make about the best nutrition for us as individuals, compared to just knowing our medical risk factors and knowing our rough somatotype.

This book takes off from the author's previous writings about how blood type can predict a cluster of traits that include individual response to nutrients, and modifies it into a 6 part theory of types. The 6 part model is given an evolutionary rationale and the author links metabolic differences, personality traits, and speculation about ecological niches where those traits and metabolic differences might be especially adaptive. The resulting categories are so clean and tell such a compelling sort of story that they seem to invite accusations of similarity to fortune telling. But if they're right, then this would a pretty cool system, wouldn't it? At least in theory.

  • The Hunter: Tall, thin, and intense, with an overabundance of adrenaline and a fierce, nervous energy that winds down with age, the Hunter was originally the success story of the human species. Vulnerable to systemic burnout when overstressed, the Hunter’s modern challenge is to conserve energy for the long haul.

  • The Gatherer: Full-figured, even when not overweight, the Gatherer struggles with body image in a culture where thin is “in.” An unsuccessful crash dieter with a host of metabolic challenges, the Gatherer becomes a glowing example of health when properly nourished.

  • The Teacher: Strong, sinewy, and stable, with great chemical synchronicity and stamina, the Teacher is built for longevity—given the right diet and lifestyle. This is the genotype of balance, blessed with a tremendous capacity for growth and fulfillment.

  • The Explorer: Muscular and adventurous, the Explorer is a biological problem solver, with an impressive ability to adapt to environmental changes, and a better than average capacity for gene repair. The Explorer’s vulnerability to hormonal imbalances and chemical sensitivities can be overcome with a balanced diet and lifestyle.

  • The Warrior: Long, lean, and healthy in youth, the Warrior is subject to a bodily rebellion in midlife.With the optimal diet and lifestyle, the Warrior can overcome the quick-aging metabolic genes and experience a second, “silver,” age of health.

  • The Nomad: A GenoType of extremes, with a great sensitivity to environmental conditions—especially changes in altitude and barometric pressure, the Nomad is vulnerable to neuromuscular and immune problems. Yet a well-conditioned Nomad has the enviable gift of controlling caloric intake and aging gracefully.

If the model is right, it is a pretty remarkable and perhaps revolutionary approach to making better guesses at how to improve our own nutrition based on our biochemical individuality. The evidence for its plausibility seems reasonable, but there is still little evidence validating the particular categories here.

Full review on Amazon here.

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