© Reprinted with permission by Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson

Three factors will influence how to select your ideal diet:

  • Your fast or slow oxidation of foods
  • Your blood type (O, A, B, AB)
  • Your sensitivity to carbohydrates  

Fast or Slow Oxidation

By oxidation I mean how fast or how slowly your body changes food to energy. Slow oxidizers live with thyroid and adrenal glands that are relatively under-active. Adrenal insufficiency creates poor production of gluco-cortical hormones. When more blood sugar is needed, this person can't secrete enough adrenal hormones to trigger a fast conversion of glucose from the liver's stored emergency sugar. Hypoglycemia results. The slow oxidizer also cannot transport enough glucose across the cell membrane because of too little sodium and potassium. And the actual burning of glucose within the cells is inefficient. It is not metabolized adequately due to low thyroid hormone activity and/or a lack of coenzymes.

The slow oxidizer often has chronic symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Constant craving for sweet
  • Depression
  • Mental confusion

Your oxidation rate slows down even more with a diet high in dairy and fat or low in protein. This person should choose a HIGH PROTEIN DIET with very little dairy and only very modest amounts of good fats. Needed supplementary nutrients are Vitamin A, C, E, B complex and manganese. These enhance adrenal function. Zinc is needed for protein metabolism. Potassium helps lower the high calcium levels, which improves thyroid function.

Fast oxidizers have low calcium and magnesium levels. Their high sodium to potassium ratio is linked with the alarm stage of stress, and produces rapid metabolism of foods, and overactive thyroid and adrenal glands. This adrenal activity produces a continual conversion of stored sugar to blood glucose and severely depletes glycogen reserves. Their hyperactive thyroids rapidly burn glucose and further deplete reserves. Under stress such people experience precipitous falls in blood sugar levels, and are called "reactive" hypoglycemics.

Activities and foods that worsen their rapid oxidation state are:

  • Exercise
  • Overwork
  • Stress of all kind
  • Sweets
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

This group benefits from eating frequent, small meals consisting of high amounts of fats and proteins. Fat slows the excessive oxidation rate and does not trigger an insulin response. Restoring calcium, magnesium and zinc will also slow the oxidizing rate. Vitamin A, D, B2, B12, choline and inositol also slow an excessive rate of oxidation.

The Importance of Your Blood Type

Recently science has unlocked new chemistry clues from our blood types. Research by James D' Adamo and his son, Peter examines how different blood types relate to our chemistry, diet, and disease susceptibility. Once you know which blood group you are (O, A, B, or AB) you also know and can apply the same code to your skin cells, lung cells, and intestinal cells. In fact, ALL of your body cells are the same "type" as your blood. Dr. D'Adamo has identified cell-type "lectins" or markers that are unique to each person. These lectins (proteins) can be matched to similar food lectins that are compatible to you. The chemical reactions between your blood and the foods you eat can be healing or poisoning. Of course, many foods have a neutral effect. The trick is to adjust your diet to the inborn needs of your blood type to increase your health and correct your weight.

The lectin activity of incompatible foods has the following effect according to Peter D' Adamo:

  • Your hormonal balance is upset, causing water retention and thyroid disorders.
  • Your production of insulin is compromised.
  • Your rate of your food-burning metabolism is slowed so you can't efficiently turn calories into energy.
  • Your digestive tract lining becomes inflamed.
  • Your digestive process is disrupted causing bloating.

I recommend his book Eat Right 4 Your Type (Putnam) for detailed information. Each type has its own good and bad foods.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of each type:  

Type O: (The first humans were Type O.) This type thrives on high protein diets of fish and animal meats and poultry because they possess high levels of stomach acids. Our Type O ancestors had no exposure to dairy products or grains, including gluten (found in wheat, oats, rye, and barley) so lack these digestive enzymes. Overweight Type O's rapidly loose pounds by removing dairy from their diets. This blood type tends toward hypothyroidism because they produce too little iodine (low thyroid symptoms include, fatigue, weight gain, chilling easily, and retaining fluids.)

Type O's will want to utilize vigorous exercise to ward off fatigue and depression. An intense exercise program may be critical to maintaining their ideal weight and controlling stress. Their sluggish metabolisms respond well to taking high potency B Complex capsules daily. About forty-six percent of Americans have Type O blood.

Type A: (Second oldest blood type) This type emerged as the earth's wild meat supply dwindled and agriculture first appeared. They have lower levels of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, and find it hard to digest protein. Type A thrives on vegetables, eggs, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Type As do poorly on any form of wheat and certain seafood such as shrimp or lobster. Exercise requirements are much less strenuous than type O. Relaxation is an important need. Type A's are found in forty two percent of American Caucasians and twenty seven percent of black Americans.

Type B: (Less than 10,000 years old) This type appeared after domestic grains were introduced into the human diet so they are well adjusted to high amounts of dairy, animal protein and grains. The first Type Bs were nomads from central Asia and eastern Europe, known for their longevity which they claimed was due to their devotion to yogurt. Greek goodies like olives, olive oil and feta cheeses are second nature for this ancestry. Pineapple is especially good to stop any bloating from their lack of digestive enzymes.

Type B ideally combines strenuous exercise with meditative exercises, i.e. yoga or Tai Chi. Only ten percent of Caucasian and twenty percent of black Americans are Type B.

Type AB: (The most recent type, within the last 1000 years.) This type is the last population to evolve and is best adjusted to newer dietary food groups such as grains, dairy, vegetables and fruits. But digesting and metabolizing meats is a problem because of insufficient stomach acid. Thus most meats eaten by ABs tend to get stored as FAT. Another weight loss trigger for this group is avoiding wheat, which tends to make body muscles acidic. We burn up calories easier when muscle tissue is alkaline. (High alkaline fruit juices are cranberry, grape and cherry.) AB types need sea salt to increase their sodium levels. Green tea is very beneficial as a daily beverage choice. Daily antioxidant use is important as this group has the highest susceptibility to cancer. Light exercise and increased relaxation suits this group best.

Am I Carbohydrate Addicted?

Has your daily diet been laced with refined sugars? Does just reading about parting with your daily colas, donuts, cookies, rolls, sugar-sweetened cereals, ice cream, candy bars, sweetened coffees and teas put a frown on your face? Then you likely are consuming enough sugar to guarantee heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and other degenerative diseases. Your thyroid and adrenal glands are busy overworking to deal with your continual sugar loading and will eventually burn out. You are in desperate need of a diet that tricks your body into feeling satisfied and full without all that sugar! The Carbohydrate Addiction Test (found in Dr. Mathews-Larson’s books) will separate the sugarholics from the rest of the population and determine which diet is right for you.

The Low Carbohydrate Hypoglycemic Diet

The object of the low carbo diet is to reduce your intake of insulin-triggering carbohydrate foods. Without insulin to plunge your blood sugar into a hypoglycemic state your brain will stop signaling wildly to resupply its fuel (sugar). Once this happens, you will see your sugar cravings stop. This diet requires keeping track of how many grams of carbohydrate you eat. Usually seventy-five grams is adequate to control sugar cravings. You may be able to load up to one hundred grams, or if you are extremely carbohydrate sensitive, you may only get by with fifty grams a day of carbohydrates. Your body will decide for you.

HRC's Hypoglycemic Diet #2, Moderate Carbohydrate Diet

This second diet (found in Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson’s books) allows a higher complex carbohydrate intake that better suits the fast-oxidizer and blood types A, B, and AB. Most importantly it is designed for those who are not presently trapped in their addiction to simple and refined sugars and white flours.

If you are hopelessly hooked on sugar right now, do not attempt to get free with Diet # 2. Stay with Diet # 1 for one to three months until your cravings are a thing of the past. Then, as your chemistry is better fit for more carbohydrates (based on blood type and oxidation type) you can make the switch to the Type II diet that follows after that time.

Shopping Tips For Everyone

Choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible: fresh vegetables and fruits; fresh meats, fish, chicken, and eggs; raw nuts and seeds; and fresh salad greens. Avoid canned, processed, dyed, chemically flavored, frozen, additive-laden foods. If you can't find millet bread or brown rice bread at your supermarket, try a food cooperative. Some health-food stores also carry these whole-grain substitutes for wheat bread. Before you buy rye or oat bread, read the label. Wheat is usually the first ingredient listed. Don't buy roasted nuts. The process of high-heat roasting causes undesirable changes in the natural oils the nuts contain. In the body, this altered oil can promote formation of free radicals, dangerously unstable molecules capable of damaging healthy tissue and promoting the development of cancer. Choose only raw nuts and seeds.

Pass up luncheon meats (spam, bacon, ham, bologna). They are loaded with refined sugars and cancer-causing nitrates. You can find fruit-sweetened jams at a food co-op or health food store. Drink flavored sparkling water (read the label to confirm that it is sugar free). Cut your salt intake by using lite salt, which is half potassium (needed for cellular energy) and half sodium.

Meal Preparation Tips

Peel fruits and vegetables or remove outer layers to avoid pesticide residues. Steam your vegetables (if you cook them in water, you will lose much of their vitamin and mineral content). You can get a steamer that fits inside any pot in most house wares departments. Cook vegetables until they are almost tender, not soggy. Raw vegetables are your best choice; they also make excellent snacks. Use fruit juice on cereal if you don't have soy, rice, or goat's milk. (The ban on cow's milk is only a temporary measure until you have had your allergy test.) Keep a lot of assorted nuts, sunflower seeds, apples, oranges, carrot sticks, celery, and other raw vegetables on hand for snacking.

How Much Time Before I Feel Good?

At Health Recovery Center, we see client progress as having three stages:  

Stage 1. Withdrawal from refined sugars. "I'm so wiped out and tired all the time," You are getting a look at your REAL energy levels without artificial stimulants. This usually lasts one week to ten days.

Stage 2. Improvement noticeable but NOT CONSISTENT. You will experience periods during the third and fourth weeks when many days are greatly improved but your newfound energy and stability are not consistent.

Stage 3. Improvement is marked; stability and mental clarity are ongoing. "My energy is fabulous. I've turned into a health nut, but it's worth it." It is common to have this happen by or after the fourth week on the diet.  

It's Your Choice

One last word about diets and food. It takes a little reprogramming to select what goes in your mouth for its ultimate value rather than the sixty-second taste it has. You can build vitality; energy, mental clarity, top-notch health or you can choose the short-lived sweet tastes of sugars. The only way to fight your cravings for refined sugars is not to eat ANY at all. Even a little turns on intense thoughts of more, more, more that last all day and you see yourself trading your mental equilibrium and competitive edge for colas, cookies, candy and ice cream. Now this nonsense is over. Now with every passing day you will be growing more stable and healthy. You are about to discover many other ways to perk up besides caffeine and refined sugars. There are so many remarkable substances that you can put in your mouth to make yourself feel better. So many amazing chemicals from our own "natural pharmacy" that can create and keep the balance you seek. The next section tells you all about them and what they can do for you.

©This short article comes to you through the courtesy of Joan Mathews-Larson whose best-selling books Seven Weeks to Sobriety and followup, Depression Free, Naturally lay out many physical anomalies rooted in chemistry, and correctable with proper nutrition and orthomolecular medicine. More information on Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson, her clinic Health Recovery Center and the supplements/formulas she uses to address the addictions and mental health issues can be found in her books.