Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Metabolic and Nutritional Food Typing

by Dr. Isabel Sharkar, ND
Do you ever feel like no matter what you eat, you just don’t feel satisfied? Do you feel like you are doing your best to eat “right” but your body is just not responding the way you hoped? It’s likely because you just aren’t eating right for your metabolic and nutritional food type.

The way you metabolize food is dependent on your genetics and how you handle chronic stress. One size does not fit all and what you eat is only specific for you and your body. So, it’s time to quit chasing the latest diet fad like vegan, vegetarian, raw, paleo, pegan, keto and more.

Your metabolic and nutritional food type is determined by your genetic ability to metabolize various foods into energy. The pioneers of progressing nutrition in the right direction include Weston A. Price, William Kelley, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Mercola. They all understand that individual metabolism varies greatly due to two factors: the autonomic nervous system (ANS) dominance and the rate of cellular oxidation.

There are two branches in the ANS—the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). One branch tends to be more dominant than the other and it is important to know which one dominates for you. The rate of cellular oxidation determines which cells convert food into energy. Some people are fast oxidizers and can rapidly convert food into energy. To counteract this, foods like protein and fat provide sustained energy. Whereas, slow oxidizers convert food into energy at a slower rate and are able to better tolerate carbohydrates over protein and fat.

Food provides each of us with the building blocks the body needs to be healthy. However, with the chronic stress epidemic we face today, it is important to understand the way each body metabolizes food. All of us do not have the same nutritional requirements. Your inner biochemistry and physiology require unique things for you.

To improve your meal satisfaction with smaller portions of food, quit snacking easily and say goodbye to food cravings, read on. There are three basic types of human metabolism: protein type, carb type and mixed type metabolism. It is possible to improve your relationship to food and feel better by making the right food choices for your metabolic and nutritional food type. Not only is there an emphasis on food quality, but it is important to know the best way to cook your food, to eating consciously and to practice the right food combinations.

The major differences between protein, carb and mixed metabolism types include:


  • Strong appetites
  • They think about food even when they’re not hungry
  • They don’t do well with fasting
  • Don’t feel well if they skip a meal
  • Eating sugar and refined carbs will stimulate their cravings for more
  • Cravings for fatty, salty foods are more satisfying
  • They feel hungry most of the time if they eat low-fat or vegetarian diets
  • Relatively light appetites
  • They don’t think much about food unless they are hungry
  • High tolerance for carbs
  • Can skip a meal without it affecting their energy or mood
  • Fasting works for them
  • They love salads
  • They feel great after drinking fresh organic vegetable juice or freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Have the broadest nutritional needs and selection of food available
  • Must make sure to appropriately combine protein and carb food types
  • They gravitate toward eating a large variety of foods
  • Must be careful with their intake of high-carb foods
It is very possible for food to give you peaceful energy, relaxed alertness, emotional poise and great mental clarity. Metabolic and nutritional food typing is good for those that do not feel satisfied with their meals, have cravings especially for sugar, have frequent and intense hunger, experience mood swings, brain fog, low energy, anxiety, depression, prone to addictions, prone to being overweight or underweight, and experiencing degenerative diseases.

To learn more about your own metabolic food type, visit

Dr. Isabel Sharkar is a licensed naturopathic physician and co-owner of the Indigo Integrative Health Clinic, in Georgetown. For more information, call 202-298-9131 or visit

July 2021


Spiral Path Farm


Rose Wellness


Global Brief
Health Brief