From time to time, we come across health enthusiasts who follow a certain type of diet to enhance their health and well-being.
One example in particular is called the Blood Type Diet.
Blood type diet was first introduced by naturopathic physician Dr Peter J. D'Adamo
with claims that the food you eat reacts chemically with your blood type because it is a key genetic factor that influences body weight, illnesses and other areas of your health.
One of the examples he gave was how some people tend to lose weight easier than others, and how some people battle with chronic diseases while others stay healthy.
In his study, Dr D’Adamo revealed five facts about your blood type
and why having a better understanding of it could change your life:
- Studies have shown that your blood type can predict how susceptible you are to certain diseases.
- People of different blood types may have a different natural and biological reaction to stress.
- Your blood type antigens (toxin or foreign substance that stimulates an immune response in the body, e.g production of antibodies) are not just in your blood but all over your body, which in turn influences how your body reacts to the food you consume.
- Gut bacteria is related to your blood type because it originated from your ancestors whose digestive tracts developed to accommodate a certain type of diet over another.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach in nutrition because we all don’t have the same basic nutritional needs, which can be determined by your blood type.
Based on the blood type diet, what can you eat?
Dr D’Adamo recommends a high-protein diet that is heavy on lean meat, poultry, fish and vegetables, and light on dairy, grains and beans.
According to him, gluten found in wheat products, as well as lentils, corn, kidney beans and cabbage is one of the leading reasons for weight gain among people of this blood type.
Meat lovers who belong in this group are not going to like this.
It is recommended for people of this blood type to adopt a meat-free diet with foods that are fresh, pure and organic because Type A’s sensitive immune system is apparently prone to heart diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Dr D’Adamo says that the biggest cause in weight gain for Type B people are corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts and sesame seeds because they can affect the efficiency of your metabolic process.
Chicken is also problematic for this blood type because it contains a type of agglutinating lectin that can attack your bloodstream and lead to stroke or immune disorders. This group of people should replace chicken with goat, lamb, mutton and venison.
Type B people are also encouraged to consume more green vegetables, eggs, beneficial meats and low fat diary.
According to Dr D’Adamo, people with this blood type tend to have low stomach acid and the meat that is consumed tends to get stored as fat.
So, it is important for this group to focus on tofu, seafood, dairy, green vegetables, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, as well as smoked or cured meats.
Now that we’ve laid down the basics of the blood type diet, does it actually work?
We spoke to a dietitian from Flourish Healthcare, Maathinii Vasanthan to find out if following this type of diet is justified from a health perspective.
Ironically, despite the research and studies conducted by Dr D’Adamo, there actually isn’t enough evidence to support his claims.
Maathinii likens the blood type diet to astrology, which is general but not personalised.
“What comes to mind when you think of astrology? A defined set of star signs that generalises characteristics of a person. The blood type diet is no different.
“When Dr D’Adamo created it, the diet came with a general description of what needs to be eaten based on blood type, which is general,” she explained.
For example, a vegetarian diet is recommended for people with blood type A. But what if the person is allergic to nuts? What if someone who has irritable bowel disease (IBS) has to abstain from gluten? Some plant-based foods can induce a reaction on someone with said allergies.
This is why Maathinii thinks that the blood type diet may not be applicable for the general public.
With regards to the claims about certain blood types being more prone to certain diseases, this can actually be prevented with lifestyle modification.
“The fundamental root cause for these problems would be their lifestyle choices, which resulted in health complications like high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes or obesity,” she said.
Nevertheless, Maathinii agrees with Dr D’Adamo’s recommendation of consuming fresh and wholesome produces because this diet does not encourage processed food, fried food and more.
Hence it would make sense that people who practise this type of diet would have better and healthier eating habits than before.
“Their grocery list would start to look better, their food choices would be of fresh produces, which would eventually result in a positive change,” she said.
Is there another type of diet that is recommended for better well-being?
“As a dietitian, I don’t believe in dieting because it is a lifestyle that needs to be embraced,” Maathinii expressed.
A diet is often associated with a short-term goal, such as weight loss or muscle building. But for long-term health benefits, it is important to adopt a more holistic combination of proper and balanced nutrition with physical exercise.
To achieve optimal health, she recommends a balanced meal that contains carbohydrate, protein, fat and generous fibre.
For example, a simple egg sandwich with whole meal bread and tomato slices for breakfast, brown rice with stir fried spinach and grilled chicken for lunch, three pieces of dates or a handful of nuts for snacks (if you really need it), and boiled egg green salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing for dinner.
“Eating healthy is not rocket science. The key is to keep your food choices as fresh and wholesome as possible,” she recommends.
To sum it all up, we’re not saying that blood type diet is unjustified, but it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all either.
So even if you do practise this diet, make sure you adjust it according to your personal health condition and don’t follow blindly! Or consult a doctor, nutritionist or dietitian if you can.