We all know the story. You and a friend find a new diet, stick to it and lose a few pounds. But then, as time goes by, the amount you lose starts to level off while your friend keeps shedding the pounds. Sometimes, you even gain the weight back. That's because it's widely accepted in the medical field that diets aren't "one size fits all." To find true success, each person needs to find a diet that suits his or her body.
In 1996, Dr. Peter D'Adamo published a book in which he outlined a diet based on different blood types. The theory is that each blood type has specific antigens that control bodily function, such as the immune and digestive systems. When foreign particles enter the body, the antigens either let them through or recognize them as threats and attack. Dr. D'Adamo theorizes that the blood's antigens react in a similar manner to foods, designating them as acceptable or threats. Therefore, knowing your blood type -- either A, B, AB, or O -- will help you distinguish which foods are best for your body [sources: D'Adamo, Kellow].
When you're choosing to eat healthful foods and restricting your intake of overly fatty or processed foods, you'll probably see positive side effects, such as weight loss or increased energy levels. The blood type diet warns against eating overly fatty foods and incorporates exercise into your daily routine. And as a result, some people have found success. Some doctors believe it's a good diet plan because it encourages you to monitor what you're eating and guides you away from fast food and other less than nutritional meals [source: Westman]. But the basic concept that blood type is linked to digestion has many critics.
Research and support for this diet are lacking at this time. There is no concrete evidence that links blood type to digestion, and the restriction of entire nutritional food groups may have a negative impact on your body [source: Mayo Clinic]. It's likely that people find success not because the diet is revolutionary, but because they changed their lifestyle by restricting non-nutritional foods [source: Weil]. While there's still room for study, many experts agree that the basis behind the diet is bologna, which incidentally is a major no-no for those of us with type A blood.
So bologna is ruled out for type As, but just what are the other diet specifics? Check out the next page to learn about the diet, and then continue on to the specific foods that fit your blood type.
Blood Type Diet Plan
Let's start with the basics -- your blood type. If you're unaware of this important factor, you'll need to figure it out because it'll dictate your food plan. You can find out by having a simple blood test done at your doctor's office. Knowing your blood type will allow you to focus on the foods that the diet prescribes in order to raise your immunity to disease and result in improved health [source: Health].
After determining your blood type, you can simply eat the foods that Dr. D'Adamo has designated as appropriate. Also, Dr. D'Adamo provides lists of foods that he believes your antigens would rather you avoid. There aren't many regulations on portions, so that's up to you [source: Kellow].
Exercise is a large aspect of the blood type diet. And if you're in it for health and weight loss, it's probably one of the most important aspects in reaching your goal. Just like there are specific foods that work with specific blood types, the diet claims that certain blood types are better suited for specific forms of exercise. Here's a breakdown of which exercise routines work with each different blood type:
- A -- Calming, mind-balancing exercises are said to complement type A blood. This would include practices such as yoga, walking or Pilates.
- B -- Dr. D'Adamo feels this blood type is born with a strong immune system and does well with moderate levels of cardio exercise that require concentration, such as tennis or swimming.
- AB -- The blood type diet designates this group as a complex mixture of A and B. Therefore, you determine your exercise regime by finding a happy medium between the two or mixing up your exercise habits.
- O -- Those with O blood are thought to have descended from hunters. Therefore, Dr. D'Adamo says intense, physical cardio exercise is what they need to get a quality workout. This involves contact sports and anything that raises heart rate [source: D'Adamo].
Think you know what foods work for your type? Check out the next page to be positive.
Blood Type Diet Food List
As with many diets, the restrictions of the blood type diet are plentiful, especially when you consider that for certain blood types, entire food groups are off limits.
For people with type A blood, be prepared for what is most likely going to be a big change in lifestyle. The blood type diet recognizes that your ancestors are most likely of European or Japanese descent [source: Cronin]. These ancestors were field workers who mastered farming and harvesting, so the diet designates vegetarianism as your best bet for a healthy lifestyle [source: Asp]. It recommends that you stick to carbohydrate-filled, low-fat fruits and vegetables and very little meat or dairy [source: Kellow].
For those of you with type B blood, you can enjoy a little more freedom than the other blood types. Thought to have descended from Europe, India and Eastern Asia, these ancestors roamed all over. Therefore, Dr. D'Adamo believes that their bodies adapted many times over, making their blood capable of accepting any available nourishment [sources: Cronin, Kellow]. Dr. D'Adamo suggests staying away from processed foods, as they lack many essential nutrients, and mixing up your diet with proteins and carbs [source: Diet Channel].
Naturally, AB is a combination of A and B. People with AB blood should find a happy medium between the vegetarian lifestyle of their A side and the varied lifestyle of their B. According to Dr. D'Adamo, the best approach is to take on the vegetarian lifestyle, while incorporating small amounts of lean protein like fish or chicken. He also proposes that you take the same approach to dairy [source: Kellow].
Type O is the most common blood type, and is said to have descended from Africans and American Indians [source: Cronin]. These ancestors were hunters and survived by eating meat. Therefore, Dr. D'Adamo says it's only natural to enjoy a carnivore's lifestyle. This blood type should get a fair amount of protein from meat, with fruits and vegetables contributing to their diet as well. Avoid dairy, wheat, pasta and most of the foods that are said to complement the A blood type [sources: Diet Channel, Kellow].
Once you know your blood type, you can do further research to learn more specific information about the foods you should be eating. For now, check out the links of the next page to expand on what you've already learned.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Asp, Karen. "The Blood Type Diet." AOLHealth.com (Accessed 03/20/2009) http://www.aolhealth.com/diet/blood-type-diet
- Cronin, Mary E. "Eating by blood type. New diet book hypothesizes that what we eat should be governed by what our ancestors ate." Dadamo.com, Seattle Times. (Accessed 03/19/2009). http://www.dadamo.com/media/seattle.htm
- Dadamo. "How Blood Type Determines Your Health." Dadamo.com, Alternative Medicine Digest. (Accessed 03/19/2009)
- Diet Channel, the. "Blood Type Diet." (Accessed 03/19/2009) http://www.thedietchannel.com/Blood-Type-diet.htm
- Health. "The Blood Type Diet." Health.com (Accessed 03/19/2009). http://eating.health.com/2008/04/17/the-blood-type-diet/
- Kellow, Juliette, BSc RD. "The Blood Type Diet under the spotlight." WeightLossResources.co.uk. (Accessed 03/19/2009) http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/diet/blood_group_diet.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Blood Type Diet: Does it Work?" (Accessed 03/20/2009)
- Weil, Andrew. "Dr. Debunker, The Blood Type Diet." AARPMagazine.org. Sept/Oct 2008. (Accessed 03/20/2009) http://www.aarpmagazine.org/health/dr_debunker_blood_type_diet.html
- Westman, Eric. "What Is The Blood Type Diet, How Does It Work, And How Effective Is It In Reducing Weight?" abcNEWS. February 1, 2009. (Accessed 03/19/2009) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessResource/story?id=6762393