In today’s world, most of us find it very hard to maintain a balance between work, food, fitness, and the manifold daily tasks we have every day, which is why numerous theories and studies on how to cope with our everyday challenges and what is the best daily regimen to be followed are constantly emerging.
Maintaining one’s good health and preventing the occurrence of any health issues is definitely one of the most important goals to all of you reading this article, and mine as well. For this reason, we have chosen one out of the vast number of purported dietary and fitness regimens that claims to protect against diseases, improve health, and solve the weight loss issue, topics on which has been largely elaborated for as long as we know of our very existence.
The dietary regimen we have chosen to review in this article is based on a theory of specific dieting called the Blood Type Diet, also known as the Blood Group Diet, created by naturopath Peter J. D’Adamo.
As Leech informs us in his article on the blood type diet, this diet became popular in 1996, when D’Adamo published “his book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, which was a New York Times bestseller, sold millions of copies, and is still wildly popular today.”(5)
According to D’Adamo, one’s diet should depend on that person’s ABO blood type. Therefore, he created a specific diet based on each blood group and suggested that if people follow their blood type diet, they will digest food more efficiently, lose excess weight, have more energy, and be able to ward off any disease. All in all, the main idea behind his theory is that by following your specific diet you will significantly improve as well as maintain your health and wellbeing.
In their respective articles, Watson, Leech, Wolfe, and Passell (7, 5, 8, & 6) point out the main traits of each blood type on which Dr. D’Adamo elaborates in his book and his recommendations for each of them. Find your own blood type and learn what its characteristics are, what you should eat and what you should avoid, as well as what type of exercise would be the best for you.
Type O (the Hunter)
Name: The Hunter
Character Traits: Extrovert, energetic, focused, leader
Diet: Type O is considered the original blood type and people with this blood type are believed to be the descendants from hunter-gatherers who relied mainly on animal protein to survive their strenuous lifestyles.
Personality: Type Os are known for their leadership skills, extroversion, energy and focus. They consider themselves responsible, decisive, organized, objective, rule-conscious and practical. However, if they cheat on their diet, stop exercising or slip into a negative mindset, they tend to become angry, hyperactive or even manic.
Foods to Eat: People with this blood type should adhere to a high-protein diet heavy on lean beef, turkey, lamb, poultry or fish (like bass, cod, halibut, sole and rainbow trout), seafood, kelp, certain fruits and vegetables, and (in moderation) salt, which lowers one’s levels of iodine, giving them optimal thyroid function.
Foods to Avoid: Type Os should avoid grains, legumes, dairy, wheat germ and wheat sprouts, caffeine and alcohol. People with this blood type have difficulty digesting dairy, eggs and gluten. Cruciferous veggies like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mustard greens should be nixed because they inhibit thyroid function.
Best Type of Workout: Type O people should work out regularly to stay fit as well as to regulate stomach problems and prevent ulcers. This blood type thrives on physical exercise, so if you’re type O you should start sweating with the treadmill, swimming, running, cycling and weight training.
Type A (the Agrarian)
Name: The Agrarian, or Cultivator
Character Traits: Hardworking, responsible, calm
Diet: Type A emerged when type O started thinning out and our ancestors started relying on agriculture and expanding their diet to include a semi-vegetarian approach. For this reason, type As have the digestive enzymes and bacteria that aid the digestion of grains and plants that other blood types might have a rough time breaking down.
Personality: These people remain calm and cool when everyone else is panicking. They are responsible, hardworking, detail oriented and extremely organized. Nevertheless, they are also stressed and conscientious, craving success and perfection. This is the most artistic of the blood types, also a bit sensitive.
Foods to Eat: People who are type A should adhere to a diet rich in plants. Consume huge amounts of fruits like berries, figs, plums, apples, avocados, pears and peaches and vegetables like broccoli, artichokes, carrots, greens and garlic. To get protein, rely on plant protein from nuts (like nut butters), seeds, beans and soy. Since your body can easily break down and get optimal nutrition from grains, carbs and proteins, cereal, breads and pastas should be staples of your diet.
Foods to Avoid: This type should avoid meat consumption since they produce fewer meat-digesting enzymes. It would be ideally to follow a meat-free diet based on organic and fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains, because according to D’Adamo these people have a sensitive immune system. To balance cortisol levels, limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol and don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Moreover, Dr. D’Adamo emphasizes the importance of this dietary adjustment for the very own wellbeing of these people and the fact that this kind of diet will significantly improve their health and enable them to prevent the potential development of life-threatening diseases.
Best Type of Workout: Since you stress easily, try something calming like yoga.
Type B (the Nomad)
Name: The Nomad
Character Traits: Individualistic, relaxed, unconventional
Diet: Type Bs emerged when type Os moved to the Himalayas as nomads, domesticating animals and living on meat and dairy. Modern Bs should rely on lean red meat (like lamb, venison and beef) and fish, and choose turkey over chicken. Because of a sugar present in milk, Bs should work dairy like yogurt, cheese and milk into their diet each day.
Personality: Type B throw themselves into projects they love, always sticking to their goal, even when it’s against the odds. Since they follow their own rules, they are not the most cooperative of the blood types. And because they pay attention to their thoughts more than their feelings, they can sometimes come off as cold.
Foods to Eat: Eat plenty of leafy greens and vegetables, and fruits like bananas, grapes, plums and pineapple. These people can eat plants and most meats (except chicken and pork), and can also eat some dairy. D’Adamo suggests eating eggs, green vegetables, certain meats, and low-fat dairy.
Foods to Avoid: People with type B blood are recommended to avoid the consumption of wheat, buckwheat, corn, lentils, peanuts, tomatoes, and sesame seeds, as these foods can affect the metabolic process. Also, according to Dr. D’Adamo they should avoid chicken and replace it with goat, lamb, mutton, rabbit or venison. He also encourages adding green vegetables and low fat dairy.
Best Type of Workout: Maintaining the mind/body balance is essential, so go for exercises that challenges both, like tennis, martial arts, cycling, hiking or golf.
Type AB (the Enigma)
Name: The Enigma
Character Traits: Difficult to read, trustworthy, volatile
Diet: Type AB is the newest blood type and is the rarest, found in less than 5% of the population. Since ABers share traits with As and Bs, they’re able to digest a wide range of foods. However, they have type B’s adaption to meats, but A’s low stomach acid, which means meat often gets stored as fat. An AB’s staples should be veggies, seafood and turkey. Red meat should be eaten sparingly. ABs, like Bs, thrive on dairy and can process eggs particularly efficiently.
Personality: People with AB blood type have traits from both A and B types. They are passionate in their convictions, but they also want to be liked by others and this can create conflicts. They don’t mind doing favors or helping out, as long as it is on their own conditions. They may have a special interest in art and metaphysics.
Foods to Eat: Type AB should try a vegetable-rich diet with a variety of carbohydrates. They should focus on eating seafood, tofu, beans, grains, dairy, and green vegetables. Snack on fresh fruits like cherries, grapes, watermelon and figs.
Foods to Avoid: According to D’Adamo, people with type AB tend to have low stomach acid. They should limit carbs intake and avoid corn and buckwheat, which are difficult for ABs to digest. In addition, they should avoid altogether smoked or cured meats, as well as chicken, beef, veal, pork or shellfish. When stressed, it is essential to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol. Smaller, more frequent meals can prevent digestive problems in Type ABs.
Best Type of Workout: Since this type is described as a mix of A and B types, you need to keep balance in your workout regimen, which means a combo of calming activities (like yoga or tai chi) and more intense physical exercise (like running or biking.) Visualization and carving out time alone are important, too. If you’re going to be sitting for a longer period of time, break it up with some exercise. It will keep you energized for the haul.
Downside of the diet:
Since this diet tells you exactly what to eat and what to avoid based on your blood type, there will be many dietary restrictions and you won’t be able to choose food according to your taste. So, if you are really into eating potatoes and meat, then you won’t be very happy if you’re type A, which is mostly vegetarian.
Moreover, the food recommendations of this diet are based solely on one’s blood type, neglecting any health conditions that person has. As a result, if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, or are suffering from other conditions like heart diseases, high blood pressure, or cholesterol, then the recommendations for your blood type may not correspond or be completely opposite to those for your health condition.
We Found Some Websites That Suggest This Diet
Wolfe suggests trying this diet as a means to lose weight. As we already said, by changing your diet, eating organic foods, cutting processed food and simple carbs, you will certainly lose some weight. As he points out, the diet guide designed by Dr. D’Adamo is based on one’s blood type as well as on one’s personality.
Lauren Passell, writer on the Men’s Fitness website, also suggests trying out Dr. D’Adamo’s diet guide to help you reach your fitness goals. She gives a list of the main things D’Adamo’s guide concentrates on, which includes character traits of each blood type, specifically created diet for the type, food recommendations, and method of exercising best fitted for each blood type. She also provides a dinner suggestion based on each type.
BUT, Is This Diet Approved and Recommended By Experts?
Unfortunately, medical experts worldwide consider this diet and the theory behind it complete nonsense, and we cannot blame them. The “science” that supports this alleged theory is immensely flawed, and Dr. D’Adamo’s explanations for the health implications of the diet, as well as his claims about the origins of human blood types are also incorrect as clearly explained in Julie Daniluk’s article on her website, as well as by experts in this field.
Dr. Melinda Ratini’s gives her own opinion about the efficiency of this diet in Watson’s article on the blood type diet:
“One study found that adults eating the type A diet showed improved health markers, but this occurred in everyone, not just those with type A blood type. In 2013, a major review concluded that no evidence exists to support benefits of blood type diets.
It’s likely that you would lose weight, though, because the diet can be very restrictive.” (7)
She also explains how the blood type diet doesn’t take into consideration the health conditions that a person may have, which can largely affect their dietary restrictions:
“The Blood Type Diet makes recommendations based solely on your blood type. So, if you have a chronic condition (say, diabetes), you may be told to eat high protein, while another person with diabetes may have to avoid dairy or chicken. This may conflict with your diabetes treatment plan.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a more practical approach to your day-to-day eating. It also cautions against focusing on specific foods. In most cases it doesn’t recommend cutting out any major food groups.
The Blood Type Diet also fails to address other conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol. Any needed weight loss is sure to have a positive impact on these conditions. But no matter your blood type, you should follow the same guidelines issued by The American Heart Association (AHA) for a low-fat and low-salt diet.
Also, everyone should aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and at least 2 days of strength training per week.” (7)
Is There Any Scientific Evidence Behind The Blood Type Diet?
Scientists performed a systematic search in order to find out if the adherence to a specific diet can contribute to improved health and/or decrease the risk of certain disease in comparison to nonadherence to the diet, in humans grouped according to their blood type. Here’s what they found out:
“Sixteen articles were identified from a total of 1415 screened references, with only one article that was considered eligible according to the selection criteria. The identified article studied the variation between LDL-cholesterol responses of different MNS blood types to a low-fat diet. However, the study did not directly answer the current question. No studies that showed the health effects of ABO blood type diets were identified.” (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Website)
Therefore, it follows that currently there is no scientific evidence to validate the professed health benefits of blood type diets. That being said, we can simply advise you to decide on your own whether to try this diet or not, but its benefits are still considered theoretical until proven otherwise.
Nevertheless, there is not a single diet that works for everybody – different diets work for different people, it’s as simple as that. Perhaps this diet will work for you, perhaps it won’t, it is up to you to try and see how it goes. Even if you do have good results by adhering to this diet, it doesn’t mean it has something to do with your blood type.
If you know someone who considers trying out this diet, share this article with them and help them make a better decision.