The Blood Type Diet
1. History of the blood type diet
The blood type diet was invented by Peter D’Adamo, ND in 1996 when his book Eat Right 4 Your Type was published. Dr. Adamo was a naturopathic physician who graduated from Bastyr University. He used to be adjunct clinical professor at NCNM and SCNM in 1990 and founded the Institute for Human Individuality in 2001. He has developed multiple genomic softwares such as Opus23 and SWAMI, programs that devises diet protocols for individuals, and he’s currently developing several new bioinformatics tools. To talk about this diet that he created, it’s important to talk about his father, Dr. James D’Adamo, ND.
Dr. James D’Adamo graduated from a naturopathic college in 1957, then went on to study in Europe at several of the great spas. As he continued to study, he noticed that even though there were patients who improved on strict vegeterian and low-fat diets from spa cuisine, there were other patients who did not improve on the same diets, and even some whose condition worsened. From those observations, he reasoned that there should be some sort of blueprint that he could use to determine the different dietary needs. Since blood was the fundamental source of nourishment to the body, he thought that some aspect of it would be helpful in identifying the differences, and so he went on to test that theory by blood-typing the patients and observed their individualized reactions from different diets.
What he noticed is that people with type A blood do poorly on high-protein diets with high amount of meat but did very well on vegetable proteins such as soy and tofy. Consuming dairy produce copious sinus and respiratory couse, and lighter forms of exercise energize them. On the other hand, type O people thrived on high-protein diets and were invigoraetd by intense physical activities. He then continued to test the different blood types and became more convicted of his theory and eventually published the book titled One Man’s Food.
Dr. Peter D’Adamo, during his senior year in naturopathic college, started looking into more medical literature to see if he could find any correlation between the ABO blood types and a predilection for certain diseases, and whether any of it supported his father’s theory. What he discovered were:
o Peptic ulcer was reported to be more common in people with Type O blood than people with other blood types
o Stomach cancer was often linked to low levels of stomach acid production, as was pernicious anemia – both of which were found more often in type A individuals.
That was the evidence he needed to continue to pursuit the theory about blood type and diet, and eventually the publishing of Eat Right 4 Your Type and the blood type diet.
2. The Blood Types
There are four blood types: O, A, B, AB, and in his book, Dr. D’Adamo had an anthropological timeline of the blood types:
This timeline does a very good job on showing the time of origin of each blood type, which plays into his explanation of why each blood type is suitable for the type of diet that it does. According to this timeline, type O was the oldest blood type, at the time where humans were still hunters/gatherers, so their main diet was meat. Next is type A, initially appeared somewhere in Asia or the Middle East, at the time where agriculture and animal domestication, which required different skill sets, and in the early agrarian societies was when the mutation from O to A occurred. Type B was next to evolve, maybe initially mutated in response to climate chages. This group was the nomads, who could do well on a balanced diet. Last is the AB blood type. It’s a rare blood type, and according to D’Adamo, it emerged from the intermingling of type A Caucasians with type B Mongolians, and it is complex and unsettled.
Lectin is a class of protein that bind specifically to certain types of sugar and cause agglutination of particular cell types. From his research, Dr. D’Adamo theorized that if a person eats foods that do not agree with their blood type antigen, the lectins target an organ or bodily system and begin to agglutinate blood cells in that area. If the person eats the right food for them, then they would be able to avoid that agglutination and hence avoid various issues such as inflammation or any bad digestive symptoms.
4. What is the Diet?
This diet not only consists of dietary changes, but it also includes supplemental advice as well as lifestyle changes (sterss/exercise profile). This diet is for everyone to help improve current conditions as well as a way to prevent future health problems. The sample diet below is based on type B since they’re the ones who do well on a balanced diet.
This is the overview of each blood types and their characteristics
What’s nice about the diet is that they also recommend specific exercises accordingly to their analysis of how each blood type respond to stress:
- Type O: intense physical exercises such as aerobics, martial arts, running
- Type A: calming & centering exercises such as yoga and taichi
- Type B: moderate physical exercise with a mental component such as cycling, hiking, etc.
- Type AB: calming & centering exercises combined with moderate exercise such as yoga + cycling
Moreover, the way the supplements are recommended is based on each blood type’s suitable foods rather than encouraging the patients to take supplements in pills form, and this program really encourage the participants/patients to each more organic and whole foods, which is in itself, very beneficial overall.
Even though there are criticism out there about the diet (as presented in my presentation), personally I really like this diet and how it’s taking into account the whole picture of the person, from the dietary aspect to the lifestyle. I’ve tried the dietary aspect of this diet, and it works for me. What’s interesting is that I was also doing kickboxing at the time, and after a couple months I thought that it was too intense for me and that I should be doing more gentle exercises, before I even learned about the specific exercises for blood type A. Moreover, I think that the reson this diet works is not only due to eating by your blood type, but also because it encourages people to change their lifestyle to become more active as well as eating more whole and organic foods. There’s not single-right-diet, but I think that it depends on what the body needs, so the right diet is the one done at the right time, providing the body with what it needs. Overall, this diet was very interesting and I would definitely recommend it to my patients in the future.
• Breeding Z. The Blood Type Diet: Fact or Fiction? PA Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. https://eatrightpa.org/members/blog/blood-type-diet-fact-fiction/. Published June 6, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019.
• DAdamo P. Eat Right 4 Your Type: the Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight. New York: G.P. Putnams Sons; 1996.
• The Blood Type Diet; Does Your Food Match Your Blood Type? Gaia. https://www.gaia.com/article/blood-type-diet. Published February 12, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019.
• The Blood Type Diets : Blood Type and Your Health. The Blood Type Diets : Blood Type and Your Health. https://dadamo.com/txt/index.pl?1001. Published February 12, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019.