Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Sport Chemistry
Name: Tomokazu
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
I read in a book about somatotypes, and how they may affect muscle growth and ability to play certain sports. For example, I read mesomorphs were good at sports using a lot of power, like wrestling and baseball, while ectomorphs were more suited for tennis. I was curious of whether there was anyway, like nutrition, exercising, or hormone treatment to change your somatotype at least a little. I know this sounds like a question that should be asked in fitness sites, but I wanted people who knew their subject answering. Thank you.


Replies:
I suppose you are referring to Sheldon's body types. Such classifications are quite arbitrary when related to genetic/physiological makeup because the individuals who might fit these different body types can come from quite different physiological/genetic classes. On the other hand if one just looks at oneself and asks whether they are determined by their birth to be of a certain body type that is another question.

This is a hot area of research and by no means is there a clear picture. Are there certain genetic complexes which tilt certain people to being of a certain weight class more so...yes. Does diet have an effect on these people as well as others ...yes. Does exercise play an important role...yes. I will say that with very few exceptions of people with extreme physiological/genetic anomalies diet and exercise can make a person close to the normal weight fro their height, gender and frame. With regard to diet it is a fact of itermediary metabolism and biochemistry that glycemic foods stimulate the release of insulin which will interrupt the mobilization of fat stores. The intake of very low fat in the diet will also slow the mobilization of fat. Thus those diets like that of Barry Sear's Zone diet which attempt to lower intake of glycemic foods and maintain a balance of fat, protein and complex carbs will usually lead to a proper weight for a person of any countenance. Those diets that take this to an extreme I think are just what they seem....extreme.

PF


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory