This is the Perfect Diet for Your Body Type
How and where your body stores fat can have a big influence on your health—and weight. Here’s what you need to eat and eliminate, based on your body type.
Why figure out your body type?
Body typing is often more hype than substance, especially when it comes to what to wear. (Not sure if you have a bikini body? If you have a bikini and a body, you’re all set.) But when it comes to your health, your body type can give you important clues about your particular risks and strengths. The key? Where and how you store your fat. Some types of fat are harder on your health than others and may respond differently to different dieting techniques. For example, one study found that people who carry weight in their stomachs do better on low-carb diets while people who carry weight in their hips and thighs do better on a low-fat diet. And that’s just the beginning—these nutrition experts can help you figure out what your body shape is telling you.
Apple body types
The Apple body type is shaped just like it sounds: A thick torso, broad shoulders, and smaller hips, legs, and arms. If you gain weight as an apple, it’s likely to go straight to your stomach. Carrying fat in your abdomen means you’re more likely to have fat around your organs, and this increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome among other problems.
Apples: What to eat
Focus on eating healthy fats, says Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, RYT, a registered dietitian and author of Everyday Diabetes Meals. Forget the old diet advice that eating fat will make you fat: Monounsaturated and omega-3 fats will help you feel fuller, lead you to eat less, and help you trim your tummy and reduce your risks of heart disease and diabetes. “Fat has a minimal effect on insulin levels, so you’ll get fewer blood sugar spikes,” she says. This translates into fewer cravings and more energy, she adds.
Apple types: What to avoid
Eating more healthy fats is only half the belly battle. Apple types also need to cut back on their carb intake, particularly simple carbs like sugary snacks, Cipullo says. This doesn’t mean you need to ban all carbohydrates, however. “The only good diet is the one you can stick with, and for many people that means eating some carbs,” she says. Just try to limit them to 40 percent of your overall calories.
Pear body types
Narrow shoulders, small waist, and larger through the hips and thighs is how to describe pear types. The good news is that so-called gluteofemoral fat on hips and thighs is one of the healthiest places to store excess fat and has even been linked with longer life. The bad news is that it’s so hard to find jeans that fit. (But not impossible!)
Pear types: What to eat
The main emphasis for Pear types is to work on building lean muscle while maintaining a healthy body weight, says Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, celebrity nutritionist and brand ambassador for the healthy bouillon company BOU. The best way to do this is to make sure you’re eating plenty of lean proteins, leafy greens, and healthy fats, she says. “These are three integral pieces of any healthy diet, but it’s the combo that will help pear types feel lean while building muscle,” she explains. In other words, eat more salads with lean meats tossed in! For some inspiration, try one of these exciting, healthy salad recipes.
Pear types: What to avoid
You already know that sugar isn’t great for your health. Limiting sugar doesn’t have to mean you can never have birthday cake again, Glassman says. Rather, it’s about looking at all the food in your diet and eliminating the things that have sugar for no good reason—things like pasta sauce, ketchup, bread, instant oatmeal, and peanut butter are notorious for hidden sugar. Sugar ends up in a lot of processed, pre-made foods. One easy rule of thumb: Avoid any food that has more than 3g of added sugar on the label.
Hourglass body types
Hourglass types carry their weight evenly between top and bottom, with a defined waist. These types often find they store fat equally all over their body. Women often desire this body type as it means voluptuous curves, but it also means it’s easy to gain ten pounds without really noticing since the weight gets distributed equally over your body. Any excess weight can hurt your health. Just take a look at the 14 bizarre things that can happen when you gain weight.
Hourglass types: What to eat
Fight sneaky weight gain with smart snacking, Glassman says. Instead of mindlessly reaching for a bag of chips or a toaster waffle, your carbs should be coming from high quality, complex sources, she explains. But your secret snack weapon is going to be veggies. Vegetables are not only good for you, they allow you to eat a lot of food without taking in a lot of calories, helping you feel full and satisfied, she says. Good snack options for hourglass types: Carrots and guacamole, celery and almond butter, avocado toast, and cucumbers and hummus. Want to show off your hourglass shape?
Hourglass types: What to avoid
Your voluptuous figure may be thanks to higher levels of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These can have great health benefits, but estrogen is also a fat-storing hormone that can lead to weight gain (which increases estrogen even further). If your natural hormonal rhythm is disrupted—stress can be a cause—this can lead to an increase in appetite and sweets cravings, Glassman says. No matter what your PMS is telling you, save these foods for special occasions only: Pastries, candy, ice cream, and other high-sugar, high-fat treats.
Ruler body types
If you have a naturally thin build with few or no curves, you’re probably a Ruler. When it comes to fat storage this may be the luckiest body type of all: Rulers often struggle to gain weight, even when they try. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to your diet though, Cipullo says. Too many ruler types think that because they’re thin they can eat whatever they want and skip the gym. However, even if you don’t look overweight you could have a high percentage of body fat, which makes you vulnerable to many diseases and health problems.
Ruler types: What to eat
The key for Rulers is to eat until you’re full—not too much, not too little, Cipullo says. She recommends a diet that balances carbs, fats, and proteins. It’s also so important that you exercise, she adds. Focus on eating and exercising in a proactive way to protect your body and lower your risk of health troubles down the road. Many Ruler types pursue endurance sports like biking and running, so make sure you get plenty of healthy carbs to fuel all that activity, she says. Foods to eat: All unprocessed, whole foods.
Ruler types: What to avoid
Because Rulers tend to be underweight, not overweight, you should be careful about limiting food groups or types of foods. “It’s about finding what works for your body, not someone else’s,” Cipullo says. Her one caveat? If you’re trying to build muscle, don’t overdo the protein powders, shakes, or large slabs of meat. “People these days eat too much protein,” she explains. “All your body needs is about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.”
Ice Cream Cone body types
If you’re big in the chest, neck, and shoulders, but smaller the farther down you go, you’re an Ice Cream Cone. (Which sounds delightful.) It may be easier to pack on muscle, especially in your upper body. However, like apple types, you’re also at a higher risk of storing fat in your stomach area.
Related: What you need to know about calcium.
Ice Cream Cone types: What to eat
Load up on the carbs—just make sure they’re whole grain, complex carbohydrates, Glassman says. These foods provide you with long-lasting energy plus loads of satiating fiber to keep you full between meals. Plus, research has shown that these types of carbs can reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Stock your pantry with quinoa, barley, brown rice, lentils, beans, and sweet potatoes.
Ice Cream Cone types: What to avoid
They need to work on controlling fat intake, Glassman says. This doesn’t mean filling your basket with processed fat-free snacks, but rather being smart about the types of fat you consume. Her favorite way to make a fast, low-fat meal? “I throw together whole grains, broth, veggies, and BOU cubes a filling, nutrient-dense soup,” she says. Feel free to eat healthy fats but avoid fats in the form of MCT’s (medium-chain triglycerides) or PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) as these can have an adverse effect on your body, she adds. Use these foods sparingly: Coconut oil, cheese, butter, canola oil, vegetable oils, and seed oils.