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The Blood Type Diet

"Should I try it?"
By: Ivan Olegario, MD, MDevComThe Blood Type Diet

There are so many “fad” diets out there, it has become tiresome. Fortunately, men of science and rationality, including the readers of Health.Care, are not the type to accept or dismiss an idea, no matter how outrageous, without first looking at the evidence. And the Blood Type Diet is one I have been intrigued with for a while now since a couple of friends have mentioned it to me. Join me as we explore and examine the Blood Type Diet!

What is the Blood Type Diet?

The Blood Type Diet is a form of diet that advises people to eat according to their ABO blood group (i.e., blood type A, B, AB, or O). According to its proponent, Peter J. D’Adamo, the Blood Type Diet will improve your health and lower your risk of getting chronic diseases such as heart disease. Note that the objective of this diet is not to lower your weight, unlike most fad diets out there.

According to the theory, people with different blood types arose from different evolutionary lines. It says that:

  • People with blood type O arose from the ancestral group of humans who ate mostly animal meat.
  • Those with blood type A were agrarian and thus thrived on vegetables.
  • Those with blood type B were nomadic, living with domesticated animals, and thus relied on dairy.
  • Those with blood type AB benefited from a diet that is intermediate to the diet of type A and type B.

Type O blood:

  • Eat mostly lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables
  • Eat lightly on grains, beans, and dairy.

Type A blood:

  • Eat a meat-free diet based on fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains
  • Foods should be organic and fresh (because according to the theory, people with type A blood have a sensitive immune system).

Type B blood:

  • Avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
  • Eat little chicken.
  • Eat green vegetables, eggs, certain meats, and low-fat dairy.

Type AB blood:

  • Eat tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoked or cured meats.

What is the scientific evidence?

There are a few studies that show that certain blood types have higher blood cholesterol, but these studies did not examine the ABO blood type, but instead, another less commonly used blood type called the MN blood type.

There are other studies that suggest that your ABO blood type could increase or decrease your risk of dangerous blood clots. However, this risk exists regardless of a person’s diet. All in all, we could say that, for now, there is very little science behind the Blood Type Diet.

Then why does it work for some people?

We cannot remove the fact that some people swear on their lives that the Blood Type Diet works for them. Why is that?

Well, if you look at the types of foods that are recommended by the diet, they are actually quite healthy. In general, it encourages you to eat a variety of foods that are mostly fresh and quite nutritious. In fact, the Toronto Nutrigenomics and Health study, which included 1,455 people studied the effect of the different blood type diets on health. Here is what they found:

  • If you ate the Type O diet, the level of fats called triglycerides in your blood could decrease. Triglycerides can be as bad as cholesterol for you.
  • If you eat the type A diet (meat-free), you could lose some body fat, and lower your blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
  • If you ate the type B diet (diary-based), no specific benefits were found.
  • If you ate the type AB diet (intermediate), some blood markers of heart disease could decrease, but not your body weight.

What is important to note in this study is that people generally achieved these results, regardless of their blood type, as long as they ate that particular diet.

So what should we eat?

Instead of focusing on special diets that have a very little scientific basis, we have always been informed about diets that are backed by volumes of scientific data. This diet is one that is:

  • Low fat
  • Low salt
  • Low in refined carbohydrates
  • High in fiber
  • Rich in protein
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals.

Simply put, this is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables (half of what we should be eating), with some meats and dairy, some carbohydrates (rice, pasta, noodles, or bread), and little oils and fats. Eat this diet on a regular basis, and reap its health benefits, regardless of your blood type.

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