The blood type diet has been around for over 50 years. It’s one of a million nutrition philosophies out there and, if you’ve ever had a friend who’s tried it, you’ve no doubt heard all about it. Proponents of the diet are highly enthusiastic, while opponents of the diet are doubtful of it’s scientific validity.
Here’s what the diet it all about, the suggestions for each blood type, and a bit about the controversy. Let’s get into it…
What is the blood type diet?
A naturopathic physician, Dr. Peter D’Adamo, created the Blood Type Diet and popularized it in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type. The diet is based on his studies that link blood types and lectins.
Lectins are proteins found in foods that have a negative agglutinating reaction (or “clumping” reflex) to the blood when a particular food is eaten. D’ Adamo found that the four blood type antigens responded to ingredients differently; foods and lectins that are incompatible with a blood type agglutinate (or “clump”) blood cells, leading to inflammation in the gut. Over time, this resulted in bodily reactions that mimicked food allergies and symptoms of a weakened immune system.
D’ Adamo discovered that when people ate foods in line with a blood type’s “ancestral diet” (based on where that blood type first appeared geographically), they experienced better digestion, absorbed more nutrients, and had stronger immunity and health overall. He claimed that by eating for a specific blood type, people could prevent health issues their blood type may be predisposed to. They could also discover what forms of exercise work best and what supplements they could benefit from.
D’Adamo showed us that our blood types are powerful indicators of how humans evolved around the world and adapted to the varying conditions. While we have evolved quite a bit, D’Adamo believes our immune and digestive systems are still primitive in that they still favor the foods our ancestors ate.
Eating for Your Blood Type:
Blood-type O is believed to be the oldest blood type, evolving as hunter-gatherers who climbed to the top of the food chain.
This group has sensitive digestion and high stomach acid, as well as an overactive immune system. They tend to have lower levels of thyroid hormones.
Beneficial Foods: Type O is said to benefit from a high-protein diet of lean meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables.
Foods to Avoid: Type Os should stay away from most grains – especially gluten grains – as well as legumes and most dairy.
Blood-type A is thought to have emerged when humans settled and developed agrarian societies.
This type began to cultivate crops and domesticate animals, and have been found to have a resilience to disease.
This group has sensitive digestion, low stomach acid, and therefore does not digest meat or dairy well, and thrives on a mostly vegetarian diet. They need very little fat to function well.
Beneficial Foods: A mostly plant-based diet. Type As benefit from most fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.
Foods to Avoid: Most meats and dairy products should be avoided. Some fish and fermented dairy may be beneficial.
Blood-type B evolved when humans migrated into colder, harsher territories. They are generally tolerant to different diets and tend to have balanced immune systems. This group is the most flexible group in terms of dietary choices, but are prone to exotic immune system disorders as well as hypoglycemia and blood-sugar issues.
Beneficial Foods: Type Bs will have to pay careful attention to meats, vegetables and fruits, since they are able to digest many food groups but only some of these foods within the group are listed as beneficial. For instance, goat, lamb and venison are beneficial, but Bs are advised to avoid pork products, chicken and most poultry. They can digest modest amounts of legumes and grains.
Foods to Avoid: Shellfish, most nuts and seeds, wheat, corn and most legumes.
Blood-type AB is thought to be the most recent blood type, as well as the rarest blood type. This blood type shares similar traits with both types A and B. Type-AB people tend to have a strong immune system, but may be more prone to certain cancers. Overall, this type is a fusion of groups and can tolerate many food groups, but has sensitive digestion.
Beneficial Foods: Type AB is said to benefit from tofu, turkey, seafood, dairy and green vegetables.
Foods to Avoid: Type AB is advised to avoid most other meats, and most nuts and seeds.
For a complete list of food items listed as beneficial, neutral and harmful for each type, check out Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, here.
The blood type Controversy:
Blood Types Can Be Complex: There are over 600 known blood antigens, and there are over 30 recognized blood group systems. The ABO System is the most prevalent one, used in human blood transfusion and the Blood Type Diet. These four basic groups lump everyone into a category they might not fit neatly into. For instance, blood type O is said to thrive on meat, while there are many type O’s that can also appear to thrive on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Or in the case of grains, a person may have allergies to gluten-containing grains, but are told their blood type can digest them with ease. The common consensus is that there has to be more room for individualizing the diet based on personal needs that extend past blood type.
Pop Hype: Many people, including celebrities and models, have followed the diet and reported amazing energy boosts and weight loss. The Blood Type Diet is healthy in general, removing many calorie-rich inflammatory foods from every blood group’s diet. Could it be that simply eating less highly-processed, additive-laden foods is at the core of these results?
Ancient Vs. Reality: Is actually possible to eat like our ancestors did? For example, meat is recommended for an O-type diet, but can we really compare the wild game these ancestors ate to the meat we source today in local grocery stores? The meat our ancestors consumed had a much higher percentage of omega 3s and a lower percentage of saturated fats because those animals ate different diets. Our ancestors ate almost every part of the animal. Even the vegetables they consumed are fundamentally different than the ones we have now, many of which are grown using pesticides and other chemicals that didn’t exist back then.
What do you think? Can a food be one man’s fuel and another’s poison? Have you ever experimented with the Blood Type Diet? What was your experience? Let us know!
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.