The idea of eating according to your blood type (O, A, B, or AB) all began with the publishing of the book ‘Eat Right for your Blood Type’ (a New York Times best-seller which has sold over 7 million copies and been translated into at least 52 languages) by naturopath physician, Dr Peter J. D’Adamo. The appeal of this diet, for the general public, is to trim down and achieve an overall healthier condition. These are the key selling points of this diet, as with most others that have gained popularity.
We all desire this, and so each diet that hits the market becomes an overnight sensation, making feature pieces in many publications. Depending who you talk to, you may get different viewpoints and a host of 'it worked for me' but 'not for me' result comparisons. Ultimately, just about every diet leaves you to answer the “does it really work?” question for yourself.
When it comes down to it, many of us don’t stick to a diet strategy for very long anyway. It’s ‘human nature’ to adopt a quick fix attitude with as little or the least complicated level of commitment as possible. By nature, when we have a goal, we have one purpose and tend to want to achieve that by venturing down one little path to make it happen. Once that is accomplished, the diet may take a back seat, and a yo-yo effect with weight may happen. There’s nothing healthy about that.
Anything to do with blood and blood type is not necessarily all that simple. The estimated volume of blood circulating our systems makes up approximately 7% of our total body weight. Blood has an influence on how everything in the human body functions. It’s essential for healthy tissues and organ function. When there is a break in this chain, health takes a knock and can sometimes result in serious medical conditions. So, how it is that a naturopath from Connecticut, USA developed a diet from such a complex portion of our bodies?
Dr D’Adamo’s hypothesis is based on the idea that the food we eat reacts chemically with whichever blood type we are. Thus, we should follow a lifelong diet and nutrition plan that is specifically designed for our individual blood types in order to better digest what we eat, lose weight (if desired) or maintain a healthy weight, have more energy and reduce our risk of specific disorders and diseases, we may be predisposed to because of our blood type. Sounds simple, right? It isn’t. There are many levels to this and it is incredibly fascinating to read the medical research that either supports or contradicts the reasoning.
Dr D’Adamo follows the thinking that there is a direct correlation between types of diseases and conditions we, individually, may be more susceptible to, and our specific blood type. Therefore, what we eat can help reduce the risk of developing a condition that debilitates our bodies, requiring medical treatment. In other words, the specific blood type you have already classifies you as more susceptible to certain illness or conditions, and what you eat is either going to serve your body well or aggravate this.
Dr D’Adamo thus believes that not every person should follow the same diet and nutrition plan because of the different blood types the human race has, as well as other differing factors and variables such as race, which influence outcomes. He believes that our tolerance levels for certain foodstuffs relate directly to our blood types and based on this, some need more of this and less of that (and vice versa), or to avoid certain food groups altogether. Dr D’Adamo has narrowed down 16 groups of food that are highly beneficial, neutral or should be removed from a diet altogether, making the plan a restrictive one for every blood group.
Dr D’Adamo has structured the blood types and their related food group diet plans as follows:
- Type O: The ‘ancient’ or oldest blood type (the hunter)
- Type A: The Agrarian blood type (the cultivator)
- Type B: The nomadic blood type
- Type AB: The modern blood type
Naturally, Dr D’Adamo’s thinking has sparked intense interest. Hence, the controversial debates that followed the release of his book (and continue today). We all wish to be healthy and try to make lifestyle choices to best accomplish this. Reading up on the basics of this diet may likely leave you nodding your head in agreement – it seems logical. There are, however, grey areas when you scratch the surface and this is where debate has led to substantial disagreement.
It’s an intriguing concept and for those involved in science and medical research, it’s too intriguing not to put to the test. The grey areas are where scientific / medical research has tried to separate the fact from the fad. Even logical thinking must be proven. There are many questions, as with any diet plan you commit yourself to.
For many it comes down to weighing out (pardon the pun) the pros and cons for yourself, as an individual. Do you feel good on this diet? Are you achieving your goal? The more pros there are, the more likely you are to jump up and down in agreement that the diet is fabulous and works! If not, human nature dictates that you’ll automatically dismiss it as rubbish because it failed you.
However you switch up your eating habits, it all comes down to how the diet makes you feel and whether you are generally healthier when following it. For science and those in the fields of medicine and nutrition, the questions and answers are not yet satisfied.