It’s almost been two decades now that a diet called blood type diet has been popular. Advocates of this type of diet say that it is the blood group that determines what kind of food should be taken by an individual. There is no dearth of people who have tried this diet and claimed it has brought about sea changes in their life. But the question that arises here is- does blood group diet works, and if it works what is the evidence to back it? Let’s find out here-
The Blood Type Diet: An overview
The blood group diet, also referred to as the blood type diet was made popular by Dr Peter D’Adamo in 1996. This naturopathic physician has authored a book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, where he has written about this diet in a comprehensive manner. This book became extremely popular in no time. It didn’t just sell millions of copies but also was successful in being a New York Times bestseller. Even today, people buy and read this book. In this book, Peter claimed that the diet a person should follow depends entirely on his ABO blood type. According to him, each individual, having a particular blood type, carries the genetic traits of his ancestors, which is why the diet he follows should be the one that his ancestors followed. Here is how people having different blood groups should eat-
Type A– This group is also known as the cultivator or the agrarian group. And that is why people belonging to this diet group should consume plant-based food. Red meat is considered to be toxic for type A. So, people with this blood group should opt for a vegetarian diet.
Type B- This group is also called the nomad group. People belonging to this group can eat meats barring chicken, as well as plants. If they want, they can also take dairy. However, they should steer clear of food items like tomatoes, lentils, wheat, corn etc.
Type AB- This group is called enigma group. This is a group that falls between the types A and B. Grains, beans, dairy, tofu, seafood etc. should be included in the diet of the people belonging to this group.
Type O- Type O people are also referred to as hunters according to this theory. These people should take a diet rich in protein and low in dairy, legumes and grains. Some of the food items these people can eat are certain vegetables and fruits and most of the meats and fishes.
In a world where everyone is gorging on empty calories, getting on any of these diets seems like a great idea, irrespective of what one’s blood group is. You can see that all of the four types of diet described here are full of healthy food items. So, it’s definitely a step up from what most people eat today- junk food.
That means, even if you choose to believe in this system, and follow the diet given to your blood group, you are going to see improvements in your health. Now, you can choose to attribute this improvement to the blood diet or to eating healthy wholesome food. The choice is yours!
Lectins could be the reason why proponents of blood group diet see a link between this diet and health-
One of the most important theories concerning the blood group diet is linked to lectins, which are a kind of protein. These proteins can bind sugar molecules. Now, the food items mentioned against each of the blood groups above, have different varieties of lectins in them that target different ABO groups. The problem with lectins is that when you consume the wrong variety, not suited to your blood type, it might cause agglutination of your body’s RBCs. Now lectins of a particular kind may not cause agglutination in a blood group that it doesn’t target. For instance, eating raw lima beans can cause agglutination in people having the blood group A. However, a lot of studies have also proved that except certain lectins in some raw legumes, lectines in general don’t work in a blood type specific manner. And since most legumes are soaked in water and cooked, all the harmful effects of lectins get destroyed.
Is the blood group diet science-backed?
In past few years and decades, a lot of research studies have been conducted in the field of ABO blood groups. And a lot of these studies claim that people having certain blood groups may or may not be prone to certain diseases. For instance, people with the O blood group are less prone to getting heart diseases, but are at a higher risk of suffering from stomach ulcers. But there is actually no study that proves that diet acts as a link between these two. In an important review study done in the year 2013, it came to light that none of the researches done in this area asserts with grit that there is a link among blood group, diet and health. This is not the only study; a lot of other studies reiterate the same thing. To be honest, there doesn’t exist a single study that either denies or establishes the importance of a blood group diet for a healthy life.
There is no denying that following one of these blood group specific diets is going to have favourable effects on the body. But there is no concrete proof that this happens because the diet followed has something to do with the blood group of the individual following that particular diet. Actually different diets work on different people. While there are people who see a boost in their health by eating a lot of plant based food and little meat; a lot of others witness improvement by embarking on a diet high in protein rich foods such and fish, meat and eggs. If you have felt better using any of the above mentioned blood group diets, then it’s likely that you have found the right kind of diet suited to the kind of metabolism you have. Remember, it may not be directly or indirectly linked to your blood group.
So, the bottom line is that if your current diet is awesome, just don’t try to disturb it. And if you have already taken up the blood group diet and it is working well for you, don’t bother to leave it. The aim of eating should be to achieve health. Which diet you follow to achieve it doesn’t really matter!