Metabolic typing relies on a personal approach
Nutritionists take into account food preferences, lifestyle and how a person's body responds to certain foods.
People who've tried one-size-fits-all diets are turning to a growing trend in weight management: Highly customized nutrition plans developed through a process called metabolic typing.
Nutritionists design a personal diet for each client based on how that individual's body responds to certain foods. They also take into account the client's food preferences and lifestyle. The concept helps dieters not only shave off the pounds at a reasonable rate, but also maintain their ideal weight.
One popular program with more than 600 offices in Europe opened its first U.S. location about two years ago. Metabolic Balance USA in Winter Park sees people from as far away as New York, Arizona and Mexico City, and it's now launching franchises in other parts of Florida, says Alex von Pelet, president of the company's U.S. operations.
"We have so many people here who say, 'We've done it all. This is the first thing that's worked for me,' " von Pelet says.
The weight-management program includes an evaluation, an introductory class on nutrition and weekly one-on-one coaching to help clients stay on track. Plans are offered over six, nine or 12 months and vary from $699 to $1,599. Those who go to Metabolic Balance for an initial consultation are asked to get a note from their doctors before starting a diet program.
Individual results differ, von Pelet says, but clients typically expect to lose an average of 2 to 4 pounds a week. The program has signed on more than 100,000 clients worldwide since it was introduced in 2001 by a physician and nutritional scientists, von Pelet says.
One of the best features of personalized diets is their simplicity, he says. Clients don't have to buy special foods, pills or powders. They can even cheat on their diets occasionally without throwing everything off. The key is learning new habits and seeing results.
"We don't ask them to be hungry or suffer with cravings," says von Pelet, who lost 30 pounds with Metabolic Balance two years ago. "That's a big point. Individually this varies, but most of the people will tell you they're not hungry. This is a doable diet."
61% - Percent of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese
300,000 - Number of deaths per year associated with obesity
$117 billiion - Cost to the U.S. per year due to obesity
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services