The Blood Type Diet, also known as the Blood Group Diet, was initiated and popularised by a naturopathic physician by the name of Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, in the year 1996. The most basic premise of this diet plan is the fact that the human body reacts differently to food and exercise regimens, based on the respective blood type of each individual. Simply put – if 2 individuals who wish to lose weight or get fit, do the same exercises and eat the exact same food, their bodies would still react differently and have varying results, if their blood types are different from each other.
Here is a snapshot of what each blood group should eat, according to the diet:
Blood Type O: High protein diet, heavy on lean meat, poultry, fish and vegetables, along with light to negligible intake of grains, beans and dairy.
Blood Type A: Meat-free diet, heavily based on fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
Blood Type B: Diet plan largely based on green vegetables, eggs, certain meats, and low-fat dairy. Avoidance of corn, wheat, lentils, tomatoes and peanuts is suggested.
Blood Type AB: Diet plan to mostly focus on tofu, seafood, dairy and green vegetables, along with avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, smoked and cured meats.
Why is it a Myth?
One of the most staggering and hard to believe fact is – the amount of actual and realistic scientific evidence to support this diet plan is negligible, and whatever little evidence is available, is highly underwhelming for the true benefits of this Blood Type diet. The medical history and genetic lineage of an individual, along with metabolism, age, and gender, are not taken into account under this diet – all of which are extremely important factors in determining how the body reacts to diet plans and exercise.
If we look at some of the basic medical factors, which affect an individual’s weight and fitness levels, be it a person’s ideal body weight, food allergies, diet, sleep pattern and general medical history, the Blood Type Diet does not cater to any of these factors. One of the biggest advantages of all the suggestions in these diets above – is removal of all processed foods and most of the simple carbs, from the diet. But at the same time, these two factors are across all blood types and assist all individuals to lose some weight anyway.
The diets are not individualised at all and they also leave out many highly nutritious foods from the diet plan, as well as never taking into account a person’s food and dietary preferences, which is a negative factor.
Two of the largest and most well-respected nutrition organisations and journals respectively, The American Society of Nutrition and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – have done numerous studies on this subject and have as yet not found any correlation and evidence between weight loss / being fitter and the Blood Type Diets. They have, however, called for the need to study this concept much more in detail with in-depth scientific studies and analysis.
The Blood Type Diet is largely based on circumstantial evidence and takes advantage of some of the most basic weight-loss principles like consistent exercise and removal of carbs and processed foods from one’s diet structure. It is largely a fad diet, which became popular in the world, owing mainly to the factors mentioned here, along with its timing – healthier diet options and weight loss programs were beginning to gain momentum all across the world around mid to late 90s.
I can safely conclude that in my professional opinion, there are multiple factors that the Blood Type Diet does not take into consideration, and which have a direct impact on an individual’s body weight and dietary requirements.
Being overweight / Obesity / Dietary requirements – all of this is very dependent on an individual’s medical history, metabolism, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status and surroundings. Two persons with completely different attributes and gender, for example – a 20 year old athletic healthy male, who may be exercising intensely and a 50 year old woman who may not be exercising at all – simply cannot have the same dietary plan just because their blood group may be the same, as this diet suggests.
In order to lose weight, one needs to:
1. Follow a 6 Meal Pattern – One needs to eat small portions at regular intervals for sustained release of energy. It also helps to curb your appetite. Include high fibre foods like fruits, vegetables, oats, brown rice, high biological value proteins like eggs, chicken, fish, soya, quinoa and whole pulses as they have a higher satiety value and keep you full for a longer period of time.
2. Exercise Regularly – One needs to include minimum 150 minutes of exercise per week into their lifestyle with the right balance of cardio and weight training. Being obese/ overweight is due to energy imbalance when the input (food intake) is more than the output (physical activity and exercise).
Hence, get a detailed analysis and understanding of your own Body Type, rather than just Blood Type, if you wish to have a healthy, wholesome and more complete dietary plan.