We all know there are TONS of diets out there – keto, low fat, macro counting, low carb, and the list goes on and on. One question I’ve been getting lately is: do blood type diets really work? The idea of the blood type diet comes from Peter D’Adamo, and rather than being a diet that eliminates or cuts back on a certain macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate), individuals are advised to eliminate certain foods based on their blood results. Supposedly by eliminating these foods, a person will digest food more efficiently, will lose weight, and will have more energy and less disease.
D’Adamo has created specific diets for all four blood types: O, A, B, and AB. These diets do not take into consideration food allergies such as gluten or lactose intolerance. The diets also don’t allow much room for personal food preferences; if you’re type O and a vegetarian, you won’t be happy, as D’Adamo encourages those with type O blood to eat a diet high in lean meat, poultry, and fish. The opposite is true for those with type A blood – they are advised to avoid meat all together. The diet for those with AB blood is similar to that of those with type A in that they are advised to avoid meat other than seafood and to focus on green vegetables.
There has not been tons of testing done on blood type diets, but the studies that have been done have concluded that there is no evidence that this type of diet is valid. This means that following the diet specific to your blood type will not guarantee any health benefits nor is it guaranteed to keep you from developing disease or illness. While following the diet for your blood type likely won’t hurt you (as long as you keep any allergies you may have in mind), it probably won’t provide the benefits it claims to.
What might be a better alternative to following the blood type diet is to eat for your body type. Although this type of eating doesn’t directly take food allergies into account either, it allows individuals to eat foods based on their preferences and any allergies they may have. Precision Nutrition defines three body types: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Although not everyone falls 100% into one of these categories, people can typically relate to one of these body types more so than the other two.
Ectomorphs are described as individuals with a small stature and thin limbs (think long-distance runners) and do well with diets higher in carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and lower amounts of fat. It is advised that these individuals eat carbohydrates at every meal and to include a large serving of carbs after exercise as well as including vegetables and fruits at every meal.
Endomorphs are characterized as having a larger bone structure and more body mass –linemen on a football team fall into this category. Endomorphs benefit from a diet high in fat and protein with fewer carbohydrates. Endomorphs should eat almost all of their carbohydrates only after exercise as well as including vegetables and fruits at every meal.
Mesomorphs are fall between these two as they have a medium bone structure and are athletically built with lean body mass (gymnasts and wrestlers), and mesomorphs do best with a fairly equally balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates should be consumed mainly after exercise but may also be included in moderation during meals throughout the day as well as including vegetables and fruits at every meal.
Unfortunately there is not one diet we can all follow that will prevent us from gaining weight, guarantee weight loss, or prevent illness – even diets that are specific to our blood type, body type, etc., cannot guarantee this. If you do choose to follow a diet that is specific to your needs, make sure you do your research, and always consult with your doctor and/or a dietitian before making any drastic changes in your eating habits.
Think positive, stay active, and smile. -A