In 1996 Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo published a book that changed how many people view personalized nutrition. Called “Eat Right for Your Blood Type,” it provides a unique hypothesis about why some people are more susceptible to certain illnesses, while others have more trouble losing weight, and why everyone reacts differently to various foods. Our individual blood type is the “key genetic factor that influences many areas of health and well-being,” according to the D’Adamo.
Understanding and applying the Blood Type Diet principles to your life can do wonders for your health, according to D’Adamo. There are many people advocating for blood type diets these days, but D’Adamo is considered to be the most prominent (see video below for a quick primer).
The Same Nutritional Approaches Do Not Work For Everyone
We hear all the time about new diets that helped help our friends lose weight lose weight, increase vitamin absorption, reduce pain, and helped heal an ailment, et cetera. And yet when we try it, it either doesn’t work at all or could even work against us. Recent research shows that the reason for that may be the biochemical uniqueness of each of us.
Dr. D’Adamo believes that the blood type is one of the most important pieces of genetic information to use when creating a perfect diet protocol for an individual. His research of genetics, medical history and anthropology led him to believe that blood type is “the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength.”
There are four blood types: O, A, B, and AB, and knowing which one you have will help you navigate through the choices of personal nutrition. Below you will find how Dr. D’Adamo describes each type and what he recommends for diet and lifestyle choices.
Type A: Carbohydrates are the best source of nutrients
Historically people with Type A were shifting away from hunting and towards agriculture and keeping livestock. Over time that made them adapt to digesting carbohydrates by producing high levels of disaccharidases — digestive enzymes that break down complex sugars. At the same time Type A have low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed to digest meat. Therefore it is easier for Type A to be vegetarian or vegan.
The diet for Type A should mainly consist of fresh vegetables. Fresh organic produce will really give the immune system a boost, which will then guard against disease.
When it comes to illnesses, Type A have a naturally higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also have higher cortisol levels than other blood groups, therefore are more susceptible to issues that have to do with stress: sleep problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder and hypothyroidism. To reduce cortisol levels, it is best for Type A to avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Finally, it is recommended that Type A eat less food but more frequently to help balance the blood sugar. It is extremely important to not skip meals.
Type B: Balance is the best approach
Type B carry the genetic ability to adapt to changing conditions, therefore for the diet it is important to incorporate beneficial meat, vegetables, low-fat dairy and eggs. It is best to avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, peanuts, and lentils. These foods can promote weight gain, and cause fatigue and fluid retention. Another food that Dr. D’Adamo recommends eliminating is chicken, because of its lectin levels. Lectin can cause agglutination (cell clumping) reactions, which can lead to strokes and autoimmune illnesses. Instead, the doctor recommends lamb, mutton, venison, rabbit, and goat.
The main challenges for this blood type include producing too much cortisol when stressed and having a naturally greater risk for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
When it comes to exercise, Dr. D’Adamo recommends types of activities that challenge mind as well as the body, such as martial arts, tennis and cycling. For emotional well-being, Type B also benefits the most from meditation and visualization.
Type O: Survival Advantage
Type O blood carries two antibodies – for types A and B, and while that makes receiving blood transfusion challenging, this blood type has great defense mechanisms.
Because Type O have higher levels of stomach acid, they are able to easily digest protein and fat. They are also more adapt to healing the digestive track and absorb calcium. However, Type O have a harder time with grains, and simple sugars.
The best diet for Type O incorporates organic meats, vegetables and fruits, but limits wheat and dairy. It is best to avoid caffeine and alcohol.
When it comes to stress Type O are the “fight or flight” people. They are more prone to anger, hyperactivity, and temper tantrums. These reactions come out when Type O are bored, tired or depressed.
To fight boredom and promote health, Type O will benefit from regular physical activity the most out of all the blood types. Aerobics are recommended for 30-45 minutes at least four times a week.
Type AB: Less than 5% of the population!
Type AB is the first blood type that appeared because of intermingling and not evolution. This type has a combination of characteristics of blood types A and B.
The best diet for Type AB is seafood, tofu (fermented and organic is preferable), dairy (cultured is best), and green vegetables, which are especially good for weight loss. It is best to avoid all cured and smoked meats as these foods put people at a higher risk of cancer if they have low levels of stomach acid (something type AB inherited from type A).
To counteract digestive issues due to low stomach acid, it is recommended to eat small portions more frequently. Type AB also has poor digestion when it comes to mixing certain types of food. For example, it is best to avoid starches and proteins in one meal.
When it comes to physical activity, Type AB tend to overproduce adrenaline. At the same time, they often internalize emotions, which may lead to build-up anger. Engaging in physical activity is equally important for AB’s physical and emotional health as well, as it plays a big role in their stress reduction.
Does the Blood Type Diet Work?
As it always happens to any scientific hypothesis, there are those who are skeptical of the hypothesis and a study that is trying to disprove it. Canadian researchers studied the diets of 1,455 healthy young adults and compared what they ate to the four blood type diet plans. The study concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the hypothesis.
The study however had two potential flaws. The first is that they picked only young adults. The younger the person is, the easier it is for their body to absorb nutrients and guard against illness no matter what the diet they follow. The genetic predisposition for disease also usually starts to play much bigger role in the later years. To really put the diet to the test, participants should have been chosen from different age groups and with different health conditions. Secondly, the participants were put on the diet for just one month. As with most dietary changes, the body needs to adjust before any big shifts happen. It would be vital to see how this diet would affect the same individuals after 3 or even 6 months.
And what do the people say? I personally know a couple of people for whom this type of diet made a real difference. And the book itself “Eat Right For Your Type” has an almost 5-star rating out of 1,608 reviews on Amazon.com. Reviewers are saying that the diet helped them lose weight, relieve allergies, reduce stress, even help with depression, and reduced or eliminated few dozen other symptoms.
There are a few people who say the diet did not work for them, but many more who had great success. Perhaps the blood type diet works in combination with another genetic factor, on which not enough studies have been done yet. For now, it might be worth a try.
P.S. Let us in the comments if this Blood Type Diet or other similar diets have worked for you!