Apple or Pear Shaped: Dieting to Lose the Weight in the Right Place

Fitness Expert

There are plenty of diets known to help you lose weight: the low carb, the low fat, the no fibre, etc. But, ultimately to lose any weight you need to burn more calories a day than you consume. Even these new miracle diets advertising foods that will make you less hungry throughout the day may not benefit you in the end. New research though has found evidence that where on your body you pack the most weight may provide an indication of what diet may work in your favor.

It is obvious that most of us are genetically predisposed to burn calories at a faster rate then other individuals. Also, restricting your caloric intake as you do on a diet, will lead to differing results. Another major factor in the diet world is determined by the way you excrete insulin from the body.

Through the digestion process our body breaks down food into a sugary, energy fueling substance that helps keep us moving. Insulin signals to the body however to store excess sugars floating in the bloodstream as fat. The director of The Center for Obesity Research and Education at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Gary D. Foster, says that "insulin is the hormone of feast."

Diet groups like Weight Watchers however, are making a fortune based on the promotion of portion controlled eating habits. In this case our insulin works even more to collect from carbohydrates that we eat such as candy bars, and pastas. Insulin can sometimes respond so well to an increase in blood sugar levels that it causes them to diminish. As a result after a large meal you can still feel hungry. Researchers therefore have come to the conclusion that insulin's result of changing blood sugar levels may be a stimulus for overeating and weight gain. Now it appears that there is a way to determine the aggressiveness of your insulin response levels.

A study was done at the Children's Hospital of Obesity in Boston, to determine the difference between high and low insulin secretors. Dr. David Ludwig, did the study on 73 obese adults. The study found that people who secrete high amounts of insulin tend to carry most their excess weight around their waist – the apple shape. People who secrete low amounts of insulin were found to carry their extra weight around their hips – the pear shape. Those that secrete high amounts of insulin will not lose as much weight on a diet that restricts fat calories as they would on a low-glycemic diet (restricting simple carbohydrates). Unlike the apple shaped, they found that pear shaped individuals could do fine with either type of diet.

Over a 6 month period of time, all 73 adults were monitored based on their shape – apple or pear. High insulin secreting apple shaped individuals lost an average of 6 kg on a low glycemic diet, and just 2.3kg on a low-fat diet. Low insulin secreting pear shaped individuals lost an average of 4.5kg on both diets. Although it's not clear what the mechanism is that links body shape and insulin levels, it's something that researchers are looking into to understand fully.

It doesn't mean that apple shaped individuals should jump onto an extreme Atkin's diet, or that pear shaped individuals should just jump on any diet and expect automatic weight loss results. However, what is clear about this study is that people with high insulin secretions should probably stay away from low fat diets because they could have the yo yo effect. The best thing to do is to get a blood test done to determine your insulin levels which will then help you choose what kind of diet is best suited for you.