Everyone’s body is different and there have been countless categorisations in the past to try and group each different body type together somehow. One of these, called the somatotypes, was developed by psychologist William Sheldon in 1940, and even today is hugely debated. Sheldon split different body types into 3 main categories – endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph.1 But these weren’t just observations, Sheldon claimed that each body type had an ideal macronutrient intake, and you ought to adjust your eating habits according to your type.
That’s the basics of it. So what about endomorphs in particular? Let’s dive in, we’ve got all the info on endomorphs, how they ought to eat, and how trustworthy these claims actually are.
What is an Endomorph?
Of the three somatotypes, endomorphs are typically more heavily set, have a higher fat mass and struggle to lose weight. In comparison, ectomorphs are tall and thin and are often defined as “hard gainers”. Mesomorphs could be considered the “lucky” ones, as they have an athletic physique and seem to have no problem in gaining muscle mass or losing body fat.
It’s important to understand that your somatotype is not static and it can change as your physique changes.2
This means that you’re advised eating habits will also change as your physique does.
What should Endomorphs Eat?
As we’ve discussed, the typical endomorph is characterised as overweight and struggling to lose fat.
If you fit this body type, and are trying to lose weight, the key is to be in a healthy calorie deficit for a sustained period of time.3 There are a variety of ways in which you can do this, however, if you’re an endomorph some methods may be more applicable than others.
For those that have endomorph characteristics, i.e., overweight and struggling to lose weight, the increased fat mass may make you more likely to develop insulin resistance.4 Visiting your GP will help you figure out if this applies to you.
Therefore, reducing your carbohydrate intake may be beneficial for fat loss- especially high GI carbs such as sweet snacks and drinks. Choosing lower GI options which are high in fibre such as whole grains will fill you up for longer and provide long lasting energy.5
You can also periodise your carbohydrate intake around your training. Evidence has shown that performing exercise with low glycogen availability (your body’s stored carbohydrate) can help increase fat loss during the exercise session.6
In summary, if you’re an endomorph aiming to increase fat loss, reducing your carb intake, periodising carbs around your training and choosing lower GI options may help to kick start weight loss.6
Focusing on high quality protein sources is also a key fundamental when looking to change your physique. Protein is the key macronutrient for building muscle with recommendations of 1.7g/kg a day and 0.4g/kg per meal being optimal for muscle gain.7 Not only will a high protein intake help build muscle mass – a key characteristic of a mesomorph, a high protein intake will also help with weight loss.8
Protein helps with satiety (the feeling of fullness), which can help you reduce unnecessary snacking that could prevent you from being in an energy deficit.
Ensuring each of your meals contain enough protein (approx. 20g per meal) and fibre (30g a day is recommended) in the form of leafy grains and wholegrains can help your feel full whilst keeping your calorie intake lower. Regardless of your body type, if you’re looking to lose weight healthily, these are some key pointers.
Take Home Message
Whilst there’s a lack of evidence to show your somatotype should dictate your macronutrient intake, there are key nutrition fundamentals you can follow if you are struggling to lose weight. These include an appropriate protein intake, being smart with your carbohydrate intake, keeping your fibre intake high and staying hydrated. So, the theory is just that, a theory, but if you’re looking to get a little bit healthier and lose a bit of fat, these are some useful tips.
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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
- Carmichael, L., Sheldon, W., Stevens, S. and Tucker, W., 1941. The Varieties of Human Physique. An Introduction to Constitutional Psychology. The American Journal of Psychology, 54(3), p.457.
- AndreenkoE,Mladenova S. CHANGES IN SOMATOTYPE CHARACTERISTICS IN THE MIDDLE-AGED BULGARIAN MEN. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Dec 1;32(6):2910-5. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.6.9810. PMID: 26667752
- Hill JO, Wyatt HR, Peters JC. The Importance of Energy Balance. Eur Endocrinol. 2013;9(2):111-115. doi:10.17925/EE.2013.09.02.111
- Kim, K., Park, S.M. Association of muscle mass and fat mass with insulin resistance and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korean adults: a cross-sectional study. Sci Rep8, 2703 (2018).https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-21168-5
- Clark MJ, Slavin JL. The effect offiberon satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(3):200-11. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.791194. PMID: 23885994.
- HearrisMA, Hammond KM, Fell JM, Morton JP. Regulation of Muscle Glycogen Metabolism during Exercise: Implications for Endurance Performance and Training Adaptations. Nutrients. 2018;10(3):298. Published 2018 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/nu10030298
- Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc SportsNutr14, 20 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
- Aragon, A.A., Schoenfeld, B.J., Wildman, R. et al.Internationalsociety of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 16 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0174-y