Is The Blood Type Diet Effective?
Diets are a funny thing. Even though we follow diets each and every day, scarcely do we recognize we are doing so.
Eat fast food every day? Then you're probably on a junk food diet. Yes, there is a name for all your dietary habits. They've all been done before.
The problem is, however, that a universal type of diet hardly works. Enter the blood type diet; possibly the solution to your problems.
Interested in learning more? Read on below where we discuss all that it entails.
What Exactly Is The Blood Type Diet?
The blood type diet is based on the theory that your blood type should determine the best way for you to eat. It was popularized by naturopathic physician Peter D'Adamo in the year 1996.
D'Adamo claims that each blood type has a different evolutionary history and therefore metabolizes food differently. Based on this, he believes that people with different blood types should eat different diets in order to stay healthy.
The Issue With Standard Diets
According to Dr. D'Adamo, standard diets don't work across the board owing to the presence of compounds known as lectins having the potential to cause serious health problems.
Lectins are protein molecules found in food that can bind to cells and change the way they function. He claims that different blood types react differently to lectins.
What Can Lectins Cause?
lectins are a type of protein found in plant-based foods like grains, beans, and some fruits and vegetables. They're also found in dairy products, eggs, and meat. While some lectins are beneficial, many are considered "anti-nutrients" because they can cause several health issues.
These may include:
Lectins can bind to the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation and "leaky gut syndrome." This syndrome occurs when bacteria and toxins leak through the lining of your intestines into your bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome is linked to a host of health problems, including food sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammation.
They Promote Inflammation
This ties in with our previous point to a large degree. see, inflammation is a natural response by your body's immune system to protect you from harm. It isn't inherently a bad thing.
However, when inflammation persists, it can lead to chronic diseased states like heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes to name a few. Some studies suggest that Lectins promote inflammation by binding to white blood cells and causing them to release inflammatory mediators at more frequent intervals as well, a nasty double whammy.
They Can Interfere with The Absorption of Minerals
As we previously mentioned, lectins can function as anti-nutrients, but what is an anti-nutrient? Think of it as a molecule that blocks their absorption, or promotes their excretion.
In this case, lectins can bind to minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc—preventing your body from absorbing them. This can lead to deficiencies in these essential nutrients over time.
Some nutrient deficiencies are very obvious, while others are inconspicuous, yet just as harmful. Don't take the chance, Fortify your body with whole-food vitamins and minerals.
They May Contribute to Weight Gain
Did you know that weight gain and obesity have several developmental mechanisms underneath, many of which relate to inflammation. Lectins may contribute to weight gain by interfering with metabolism and promoting insulin resistance—a condition in which your cells don't respond properly to the hormone insulin (commonly known as "prediabetes"). Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes—a chronic disease that affects more than 30 million Americans, in addition to metabolic syndrome and associated maladies.
They May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
One of the most serious concerns regarding the consumption of these lectins is related to an increase in the relative risk of cancer.
Some studies suggest that lectins may promote cancer growth by binding to cell membranes- disrupting cell signaling and promoting inflammation (which we already know can also promote cancer development).
What Your Blood Type Is Associated With
We briefly mentioned what foods you need to avoid according to a broad generalization, but it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of what each blood type is associated with for the sake of your health.
They will not all respond to the effect of lectins the same. Plus, according to Dr. D'Adamo, there are other considerations to make apart from just avoiding the lectins. based on your blood type.
Blood Type A
People with blood type A are historically classified as agrarian, or the cultivators, which as you might have guessed means a lot of plant-based foods.
People with this blood type should keep to the absolute minimum the consumption of dairy, and other animal-based products, but especially red meat.
Dr. D'adamo stated that people with this blood group are predisposed to the development of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, all associated with a greater intake of animal-based products.
Blood Type B
People with blood type B are historically classified as Nomadic or the Gatherer. That means that people with this blood type should focus on a balanced diet between plants and animal sources.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to follow an omnivore diet, but more of a balanced approach between the two. A moderate amount of exercise is also advocated for to combat the higher intake of animal products.
People with this blood type should minimize their intake of poultry and reduce refined sugars and alcohol in general.
Wheat, corn, tomatoes, and lentils should be avoided by people with this blood type.
This group is more likely to develop chronic autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis.
Blood Type AB
People with blood type AB are a combination of both types A & B, and are considered more complex when working out dietary kinks.
The good news is that a fairly wide list of dietary choices is available, comprising foods from both A and B blood groups.
They tend to be more predisposed to heart disease and cancers as well, so a vegetarian foundation is a good way to go.
Blood Type O
People with blood type O should go for a diet rich in proteins from animal sources, and minimize the intake of grains. Historically, these people were believed to be hunters and should include lots of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables in their diet.
For this group dairy and grains are still not recommended, as well as wheat and legumes.
People with this blood type are more prone to develop asthma, allergies, and arthritic conditions.
A highly active lifestyle is also recommended for this group as a way to combat the intake of animal proteins.
Cons of the Blood Type Diet
Ever since Dr. D'Adamo wrote his book "Eat Right 4 Your Type" in 1996, the blood type diet has gained a fair amount of popularity and notoriety, and for good reason.
While there are some benefits to following a blood-type diet, there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of before making any drastic changes to your eating habits.
The Diet Is Restrictive
People with certain blood groups are likely to feel very restricted when making dietary choices. This is particularly true for Type A, who are required to reduce consumption of animal products significantly, and prioritize plant-based foods.
This could be a drastic change if you're not accustomed to this way of eating, and more often than not, a dealbreaker as well.
In a funny twist of fate, you might be avoiding mineral absorption issues by dodging lectin, but then still develop a nutrient deficiency because you are skipping so many other foods. B12 is a big one on plant-heavy diets, and if you aren't supplementing, it could become a problem.
The Diet Is Not Supported by Science
Despite the popularity of the diet and its claims, there is no reliable scientific evidence available to support the efficacy or effectiveness of following a blood-type diet.
This means that while it might work for some people, others may not see anything at all. Hunches might be correct when it comes to science, but they are scarcely enough of a tactic to convince swaths of people to make a switch.
It has been over 20 years since the diet was brought to the forefront and it still hasn't accumulated enough evidence.
It Can Be Expensive
Did you ever realize that it is really expensive to eat healthy? This can be worse if you need to follow a highly specialized diet plan. The blood type diet is a specialized diet, for all intents and purposes.
You may need to buy more organic produce and other specialty items, which can add up quickly.
Aside from this, the diet recommends avoiding many of the cheaper convenience foods that are available in most supermarkets, so you might have to make an extra trip out of your way just to get the food items you need.
These additional costs can add up over time and be difficult to manage.
One of the basic tenets of the diet is a somewhat unhealthy obsession with ensuring that you avoid your specific list of foods as much as possible.
In turn, this leads to nutrition micromanagement and nitpicking at labels just to be in compliance.
It's not surprising when your relationships with family and friends deteriorate as a result of always having to turn down an invite out because they don't serve your type A, B, AB, or O foods.
This can become a problem if you aren’t careful.
Is the Blood Type Diet a Healthy Choice for You?
It's no doubt that at its core the diet seeks to be a healthy one. It prioritizes physical activity and whole, unprocessed foods as opposed to a more "traditional" American diet, and encourages people to be mindful of their dietary choices.
However, it is important to note that the diet lacks scientific backing and can be difficult for some to adhere to long-term due to its restrictive nature.
This might make it a hard sell to a wide cross-section of people.
Ultimately, it is up to you to make a decision about the best course for your health. If this diet works for you, then by all means give it a try and see how it goes. Just make sure that you are taking into account the possible drawbacks so that you can be adequately prepared if they arise.
Foods to Avoid No Matter What Blood Type You Are
Overall, there are several foods that should be avoided no matter what blood type you have. These foods include:
•Processed and refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup
•Dairy products other than the occasional goat’s milk or yogurt
•Processed or smoked meats such as bacon, deli meat, hot dogs and ham
•Refined vegetable oils (such as soybean or canola oil)
•Highly processed and fast foods.
Should You Try the Blood Type Diet for Weight Loss and Health Improvements?
There isn't much evidence to support the role of the diet in weight loss. It does not necessarily create the hypocaloric effect needed to achieve significant and long term weight loss.
Benefits to your overall health may or may not truly occur, as some groups will be consuming heavily plant based diets, while others are allowed free reign of animal based products. This can cause detrimental effects.
On the other hand, there are many lifestyle modifications you can make such as increasing physical activity, decreasing alcohol, consuming more plant based foods, and reducing processed food intake which are good traits of the diet style.
Whether or not you decide to try the blood type diet is entirely up to you. What we would, however, advise you, is to have blood work done at regular intervals, as well as before starting the diet.
This way, you will truly be able to see if benefits are being experienced, or if you should quit it.