The Blood Type Diet; Does Your Food Match Your Blood Type?
Diet is one of the most important factors in maintaining weight and a healthy lifestyle. But for some people, no matter how strictly you adhere to a diet, those pounds won’t come off. It was this conundrum which led one physician to conceive of the idea of a blood type diet, under the assumption that our bodies process food differently based on our divergent blood types.
What is the Blood Type Diet?
Peter J D’adamo, a naturopathic physician, published the theory in his 1996 book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, expounding the idea that your body will process food according to your blood type. The book was a New York Times Bestseller, with many proponents claiming it had changed their lives.
Currently there are 23 recognized blood group systems containing hundreds of different blood types. These correspond with different blood type antigens that have primarily been discovered through incompatibilities with blood transfusions. This exactitude of how different antigens react with antibodies is precisely what led to the idea that what you eat could be processed based on specific chemical reactions. But does the blood type diet work?
Watch this full-length doc titled The Perfect Human Diet
D’adamo says that one’s blood type directly ties to the gut microbiome, with certain types of gut bacteria 50,000 times more likely to be present in certain blood types. These blood groups developed in our ancestors in order to accommodate the different types of food that were available to them. So, according to D’adamo everyone should be eating based on your blood type diet.
When food is digested, chemical reactions take place in our gut involving lectins, proteins found in foods that stick together, or agglutinate, directly affecting our blood and the lining of our digestive tracts. D’adamo compares it to a super glue that can either be harmful or beneficial depending on what’s sticking to them. If food containing protein lectins incompatible with one’s blood type is consumed, it can then negatively target organ tissue and bodily systems.
Similar processes happen in the digestive tract involving antigens, the molecules that trigger immune system responses. D’adamo says that our gut makes these antigens compatible to one blood type or another and that it has a taste preference for certain blood types. This can give them preferential treatment if it matches the body’s blood type, allowing proteins to be processed in a way that absorbs nutrients and even byproducts that might normally be stored as fat or discarded as waste.
People with specific blood types have certain stomach enzymes that cause them to process food differently than other blood types. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase, or IAP, is one of those enzymes found in people with blood groups O and B, soliciting a diet that includes healthy fats and lean animal protein.
The Blood Type Diet Chart
One can find some very comprehensive charts and guides detailing the ideal food by blood type, but here is a basic layout of the main blood types and their corresponding dietary basics:
O Blood Type Diet and Lifestyle
- Flourish on intense physical exercise and animal protein
- Fare less well on dairy products and grains
- Leading reason for weight gain comes from gluten found in wheat products and to a lesser extent lentils, corn, kidney beans, and cabbage
- Ideal exercises:
- Martial arts
- Contact sports
A Blood Type Diet and Lifestyle
- Flourish from a vegetarian diet and foods that are fresh, pure, and organic
- Predisposed to heart disease, cancer and diabetes
- Can derive significant benefit from calming, centering exercises like:
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
B Blood Type Diet and Lifestyle
- Ideal diet should include a balance between specific proteins and green vegetables, including:
- Lamb, Rabbit, Venison, and Goat
- Eggs, Legumes, Fruit
- Typically have a robust immune system and tolerant digestive system
- Tends to resist many severe chronic degenerative illnesses
- Type B does best with moderate physical exercise requiring mental balance including:
AB Blood Type Diet and Lifestyle
- Diet should be a combination of types A and B including:
- Green vegetables
- Dairy products
- Seafood as main protein source
- Mixture of exercises for type A’s and B’s
Blood Type Eating, Lifestyle, and History
Blood Type A
The Type A blood group evolved during a shortage of hunted game in Africa, which lead to a diaspora throughout Europe and Asia. From there, people started cultivating grains and other carbohydrates, allowing for the abandonment of hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Consuming carbohydrates became more of a necessity for these communities and so blood Type A evolved to be an efficient processor of carbohydrates.
For Blood Type A’s who are used to eating meat, that switch to becoming an herbivore might be difficult, but it should quickly show results in energy levels and weight loss.
Type A’s also have naturally higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in their system, which can lead to OCD, brain fog, disrupted sleep patterns, and fat gain. Cortisol is what the body releases to wake you up in the morning, playing a key role in regulating energy levels; therefore it is important for Type A’s to maintain a regular eating schedule and not skip meals. D’adamo recommends eating many light meals throughout the day to maintain blood sugar stability.
Blood Type O
The universal donor, or the only blood type that contains two opposing antibodies, thought to have been a survival tactic used to fight diseases that dogged our ancestors. Unfortunately, it has a converse effect sometimes, making Type O’s susceptible to certain diseases and maladies, including thyroid issues and stomach ulcers; the ulcers come from a higher than average level of stomach acids.
The good news is that Type O’s have the ability to efficiently process both protein and fat due to higher levels of the enzyme IAP. This leads to better absorption of calcium, ease in processing simple carbohydrates, and an ability to quickly heal the lining of the GI tract.
According to D’adamo, Type O’s ancestry is linked to the “fight or flight” response, which can be causative of tantrums, hyperactivity and bouts of anger. Type O’s are also more susceptible to risk taking activity like gambling, substance abuse and sensation seeking.
He recommends limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, while participating in exercise that is taxing on the cardiovascular and muscular systems. Basically, the idea is to tire yourself out from exercise to curb your hyperactivity.
Blood Type B
D’adamo says that blood Type B can be traced back to the Himalayan highlands, after our primordial ancestors were pushed from the hot climate of eastern Africa into the cold, snowy mountains and north into the Eurasian plains. This temperature and lifestyle shock resulted in a forced adaptability from some of our ancestors having to hunt in areas not conducive to farming, while others had access to a variety of vast agricultural resources seen from Eastern Europe down to India.
With Type A and O being at two opposite ends of the spectrum, Type B falls in the middle, soliciting a balance between meat and vegetarian foods, but also allowing for flexibility. D’adamo says that healthy Type B’s who adhere to their blood type diet are more physically fit and mentally balanced than any other blood type. This blood type tends to adapt to altitude better than others and are typically taller.
Type B’s however, can be susceptible to auto-immune disorders, and produce higher levels of cortisol in stressful situations. D’adamo says that inflammation can also result in Type B’s sensitivity to lectins in specific foods.
He says to avoid weight gain, foods like corn, wheat, lentils peanuts and tomatoes should be limited. These foods can result in fatigue and low blood sugar. D’adamo also recommends staying away from chicken due to a lectin it contains that can result in immune disorders and even strokes.
Instead, Type B’s should consume meats like lamb, goat, rabbit and venison. Green vegetables, eggs, and low fat dairy products are also recommended.
Blood Type AB
The most recent major blood type to be discovered and also the rarest, Type AB is essentially an amalgam of Type A and B. This means that it draws both pros and cons of each type.
D’adamo says this blood type has the low-stomach acid levels seen in Type A, but has also adapted to meats like Type B, meaning meat is often not broken down properly and instead stored as fat.
Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided by this blood type, as well as smoked and cured meats. D’adamo recommends seafood for protein in the diet of Type AB’s, including mahi, red snapper, salmon and tuna. And like Type A’s he recommends eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
In addition to seafood, green vegetables, dairy and tofu are recommended, and he warns against eating proteins and starches in the same meal. Certain food combinations can aid or harm the digestive process for stomachs with lower acid and fewer peptic enzymes.
There are a number of suggestions D’adamo provides on his page that can help the conscious blood type dieter to maintain their health. Being a naturopath, he says that a holistic approach is often the best path, especially when it comes to the health of the gut microbiome. You could be eating seemingly healthy things, but unless it’s done with the proper compatibility for your body and lifestyle, it may not be effective.