Diet 101: Blood Type Diets

by in Diets & Weight Loss, October 16, 2009

blood type diet
Is the secret to weight loss determined by your blood type? If you ask some blood-type diet fans, yes. If you ask us, doubtful. Never heard of this diet craze? Here are the basics.

Premise for the Diet
Diets based on blood type suggest that your type (that is, A, B, AB or O) determines your dietary needs and dictates how your body digests food and burns calories. Advocates associate food selections around ancestry and evolution. For example, ancient man supposedly had type O blood and so folks with this blood type are better off eating animal proteins (since meat was a staple in the diet way back when). Grains and dairy (i.e. more cultivated food) were less common, and therefore type O’ers don’t digest them well. These diets also propose that your blood might mean you’re more prone to particular food allergies, aversions, eating habits and even medical conditions. They often offer advice on what types of physical activity are best for your type types.

What Does Your Blood Type Mean?
The book Eat Right For Your Type, by naturopath Dr. Peter D’Adamo, breaks down the specifics. The main focus of the diet is to eat whole foods (no processed junk allowed), but there are laundry lists of foods that allowed and forbidden. There’s also a painfully long list of the vitamin, mineral and herbal supplement he thinks you need. Here are some of the what-to-eat highlights:

Type O: Lots of animal protein but only small amounts of grains and dairy
Type A: Lots of grains, fruits and vegetables but very limited amounts of meat and dairy
Type B: Most foods in moderation; breads and pastas are limited
Type AB: No wheat, gluten and read meat and only dairy in moderation

Does It Work? Is It Safe?
With this diet, you can forget about enjoying many (or most) of the foods you’re used to eating — especially the junky stuff. By drastically alter your eating habits, there’s a good chance you’ll eat less calories and therefore lose some weight, but this has nothing to do with your blood type. Taking in too few calories is not only bad for your metabolism, but it usually ensures that you will gain the weight back when you revert to your old ways. Cutting out large groups of food puts you at greater risk for serious nutrient deficiencies, and taking on a complicated supplement regimen can be extremely dangerous — especially if you’re on prescription medication.

Bottom Line: A blood-type diet may focus on healthy foods, but overall it is way too complicated and restrictive to be realistic or good for you.

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Comments (40)

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I also have been on the Type O diet. I lost 10 lbs in 3 months.
    I used to sleep 10-13 hours a day, I would wake up and have "morning sickness" but I was never pregnant, I had extreme bladder infections and yeast infections. I was always sick.
    NOW I have more energy I sleep 8 hours(wake up before my alarm) and I feel rested and healthy. The type O diet has CHANGED MY LIFE. I can enjoy my life and I think that the statement about it not being good for you in a load of crap. It takes discipline to be healthy and if discipline is too hard for you then maybe you should just give up! I got my life back and I am living it to the fullest! What an amazing gift I have received!

  2. Scott says:

    I have been following the Blood Type Diet for about three years . To make it less confusing , instead of trying to follow which foods are best and which are neutral , try remembering which are the worst for you . It's a much smaller list and easier to remember .

  3. Sandra says:

    My sister got be started on this diet before we went on a family cruise and I lost 40+ lbs. When we were on our cruise I stuck with the diet and actually lost 11 lbs on the cruise. We did a lot of walking during the cruise and I also walked everyday around the boat (4 laps). I felt great on this diet and now an convinced that it does work, if you can stick to it. I am Type O, so skipping the bread has been hard for me.

  4. Amiyrah says:

    After reading all the comments here, I feel like I just might benefit from doing a diet like this. I constantly have internal problems and doctors could never figure out what might be causing them, as I am an otherwise healthy looking person. My energy is low unless I eat specific meals that are filled with my favorite veggies, fruits and whole grain carbs(yes, I'm a type A). Another funny thing is, I'm pregnant with my second child and am having a rough time with eating. I'm craving meats, dairy items and junk foods like crazy, but all of those give me indigestion and keep me sick. With my first child, I craved fruits, veggies and small amounts of meat on top of large salads. During that pregnancy I had remarkable energy and a quick labor and delivery. Coincidence? I don't think so. I'll be ordering The "Eat Right for your Baby" book right now!

  5. Kris says:

    i have been on the blood type diet for 10 years & feel the best when i stick to it. i like the foods indicated for my type. there are some foods i miss but because i'm not eating them i feel better. i felt sick after every meal until i started this diet. so kudos for the book & all the research that went into it. i do eat a fair amount of fish, turkey & chicken but stay away from most dairy & soy. my body is much happier for the diet.

  6. Carolynn says:

    Hey there Healthy Eats! I read with much anticipation what Dana was going to have to say about the Blood Type Diet. I chuckled as I read through her light touch obviously uninformed comments on the diet, but I was pleased that so many weighed in on how it helped them. First off it is not a weight loss program…it is a healthy lifestyle of eating habits and yes correlating to your blood type. Secondly you are only restricted to some foods in each food group or catagory according to the negative blood lectin response which causes disease. All blood types are given plenty of choices to eat protein, vegetables, grains etc. and the vitamin regimens listed are suggestions if you feel you need further help in a certain area. Dr. D'Adamo himself doesn't recommend jumping all the way in but starting slow and adjusting to what is working for each individual. I suggest that Dana take a second look at the mountains of evidence that has been gathered over the years showing the incredible benefits of this type of program. He is also backed by scientific evidence and a growing group of professionals made up of doctor's, scientist, etc… I am one of those people who's life and health was dramatically changed by following the Blood Type Diet and it will continue to be my eating guide for life.

  7. Suzan says:

    I'm AB+ and I have Celiac, which is gluten and certain dairy products sensitive. I'm not supposed to have bread, whole milk, any kind of flour, corn meal products, etc.

  8. I can understand how individuals may want to diet accourding to blood types, but what do you do if you have a rare blood type? My wife has neg A blood type, how would she diet? What would be good for her?

    • Lauren says:

      The rheus(-) number doesn't matter. Get the Eat Right or Live Right For Your Type book and it lists the food that are best. For instance, getting rid of the red meat was the best thing I ever did. Good luck!

  9. Charlie Keene says:

    I have been on the blood type lifestyloe for a little less than a year. I have lost 35 lbs. But, I don't stay on this lifestyle for the diet. I started this lifestyle because the inflammation in my knee's was so bad. The books will tell you that gluton feeds inflammation. I can now walk up and down stairs without the pain I used to feel in my knees. I'm not saying my knee's are perfect now. But the difference is amazing! I also have started taking the type O vitamins and I feel so much better. Yes, I too cheat. But, my next meal is a whole new chance for me to begin again. My knee's tell me before my scale has a chance to. I don't feel like you gave this lifestyle a fair shake. I bet you looked at the book and said, "No Way!" You have to try it to understand what this lifestyle can do for you. I know what it has done for me. I feel better now at 55 than I felt at 45!

  10. Carol Montane says:

    I have Fibromyalgia and I was given this book by a relative and it has helped me immensely. The Doctors don’t want to hear about it because it takes away from their profits!! I have passed the book on to many friends who also have been using it with great results!!

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