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Elliot D. Abravanel is an American physician and diet counselor, who developed the Body Type system for weight loss and overall wellness. Based on the M.D.'s experience with the "Skinny School" program in the 1970's and 1980's, the Body Type program was first introduced to the public in 1985 in the New York Times bestselling book Dr. Abravanel's Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan [1]. The book was re-released in 1999 along with a 50-minute body type exercise video [2].

The approach may be seen as drawing conclusions about the relationship between body structure, physiological processes, personality characteristics and health and well being, as mediate by diet and exercise. The value of such holistic approaches to understanding is open to question and is often regarded as pseudoscience

The Body Type ProgramEdit

The basic principle of the Body Type program is that there are four major glands in the human body (Pituitary, Thyroid, Adrenal, and Gonadal), and that each individual has one "dominant gland." Men can be P-types, T-types, or A-types, based on the dominant gland, and women can be P-types, T-types, A-types or G-types (only women can be G-types due to the overall influence that a women's sexual glands can have on her body). An individual's dominant gland influences his or her body shape, as well as the glandular secretions that influence one's personality, sleeping schedule, metabolic activity, and other characteristics. Certain foods and exercises promote or inhibit activity among one or more glands, and people tend to feed their dominant gland first and foremost.

Overstimulation of a gland can cause that gland to become exhausted, and require more and more of that gland's stimulant. Understimulation of a gland can cause the activities associated with that gland to become less and less prevalent in an individual. As a result, many people can become imbalanced, and their constitution heavily dominated by one or two glands. This can lead to physical and emotional imbalances, and can cause emotional stress for the individual when he or she is partaking in an activity that is associated with his or her non-dominant gland.

Through diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes, the Body Type system enables an individual to move into greater balance, which provides that person with greater energy reserves and a more balanced personality that leads to less stress and increased overall effectiveness.

Characteristics of the Body TypesEdit

  • Adrenal
    • Physical Characteristics - Broad shoulders, well-developed muscular structure, strong torso, extra fat in stomach or back. A-types have a large, squarish head with a well-developed bone structure. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey and Dolly Parton are commonly-cited A-types.
    • Personality - The A-type individual tends to exhibit strong feelings of power and control, achieving success through strong willpower and continuous exertion. Along with G-types, Adrenal-type individuals tend to be more stable/consistent than the other two body types.
    • Foods to avoid - Foods that stimulate the adrenals include meat, poultry, eggs, cheeses and fish. The book provides a very specific plan for this body type for health and weight loss.
  • Gonadal
    • Physical Characteristics - The G-type classification applies only to women, and G-types tend to have a very pronounced feminine body type: narrow shoulders and broad hips, with most extra weight in the thighs or buttocks. The traditional pear-shaped appearance. Jennifer Lopez and Christie Brinkley are two examples of the G-type physique.
    • Personality - G-types tend to be very nurturing and peace-oriented. They often dislike competition, but will stand up for their beliefs and for other people when necessary.
    • Foods to avoid - Typical G-type foods to avoid include rich foods, foods that are high in fat content, or spicy foods. Typical G-type foods include ice cream, cheese, and french toast. The book provides a very specific plan for this body type for health and weight loss.
  • Pituitary
    • Physical Characteristics - P-types have the most childlike appearance of the four body types. They have large craniums and may have extra "baby fat" that is spread all over the body, not being concentrated in one place. An overweight P-type may have a "soft" appearance. Bill Clinton, Craig Ferguson, Rachael Ray and Nancy Reagan are some of the more well-known P-types.
    • Personality - The pituitary gland is at the base of the brain, and P-types are the most cerebral of the four body types, as well as being the least physical. P-types are often pleasant and friendly, and often enjoy mental activities and discussions, but may at times appear distant or "lost in thought". P-types are the philosophers, scientists, and developers of the world, and can produce brilliant results when left to work alone and at their own schedule.
    • Foods to avoid - Foods that stimulate the pituitary include milk, dairy products, and light, sugary foods such as those enjoyed by T-types. The book provides a very specific plan for this body type for health and weight loss.
  • Thyroid
    • Physical Appearance - The Thyroid type is the most common body type. T-types tend to be long, with thin hips and wide shoulders in both men and women. T-types have a thin bone structure and small skull, and put on extra weight around the torso and chest. A muscular T-type will have a "swimmers'-build". Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Rene Russo and Milla Jovovich are T-types.
    • Personality - The thyroid is one of the more erratic glands, and T-types may have an on-again, off-again disposition. At their highest, T-types will have overflowing energy and tremendous creative capacity, but may also ebb and exhibit laziness and perhaps depression. The thyroid-type disposition is best-adapted to creative professions such as art, music, or journalism.
    • Foods to avoid - Major T-type stimulants include foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, as well as soft drinks and coffee. These give the short-term "stimulant" effect that T-types thrive on. The book provides a very specific plan for this body type for health and weight loss.


According to the Body Type website, there are at least 15 licensed Body Type counselors throughout North America [3]. There is also a "Professional Association for Body Typing" that is derived from the principles of the Body Type program, but is not endorsed by Abravanel's Body Type Institute [4].

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

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