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The Blood Type Diet

The Promise

Could eating a diet based on your blood type -- O, A, B, or AB -- help you trim down and get healthier? That's the idea behind the Blood Type Diet, created by naturopath Peter J. D'Adamo.

D'Adamo claims that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. If you follow a diet designed for your blood type, your body will digest food more efficiently. You'll lose weight, have more energy, and help prevent disease.

Does It Work?

It's hard to tell whether the Blood Type Diet works, because there haven't been any studies directly comparing weight loss and health in people who were on the diet against those who weren't.

Only one study has evaluated this kind of diet. It found that people with certain blood types got more of a cholesterol-lowering benefit from eating a low-fat diet. But it didn't prove that the Blood Type Diet works for weight loss.

What You Can Eat

That depends on your blood type. Here's what D'Adamo recommends for each type:

Type O blood: A high-protein diet heavy on lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and light on grains, beans, and dairy. D'Adamo also recommends various supplements to help with tummy troubles and other issues he says people with type O tend to have.

Type A blood: A meat-free diet based on fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains -- ideally, organic and fresh, because D'Adamo says people with type A blood have a sensitive immune system.

Type B blood: Avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.  Chicken is also problematic, D'Adamo says. He encourages eating green vegetables, eggs, certain meats, and low-fat dairy.

Type AB blood: Foods to focus on include tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables. He says people with type AB blood tend to have low stomach acid. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoked or cured meats.

Level of Effort: High

If you don't already know your blood type, you'll need to find that out. The results will determine exactly what you need to do.

Limitations: Depending on your blood type, you may need to severely restrict the foods you eat.

Cooking and shopping: Your blood type will determine your shopping list and your choices when eating out.

Packaged foods or meals? None required.

In-person meetings? No.

Exercise: The Blood Type Diet recommends exercises based on your blood type. For instance, it suggests yoga or tai chi for type A’s, and vigorous aerobic exercises like jogging or biking for up to an hour a day for type O’s.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Because the diet dictates that you eat very specific types of food based on your blood type, it doesn't allow much for personal tastes.

For example, if you're a big fan of meat and potatoes, you won't be very happy on the type A diet, which is mostly vegetarian.

There are even recommendations about the types of spices and condiments you can use.

If you're looking for a diet that's gluten-free, you should know that this diet doesn't ban gluten. You may be able to make choices that are gluten-free, if you read food labels carefully.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: D'Adamo recommends a lot of specialty and organic foods (such as soy milk and carob chip cookies), which can be pricey. Vitamin and herbal supplements are also part of the diet.

Support: You do this diet on your own.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on November 30, 2013

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