Food for Your Blood?
Eating by blood type.
July 24, 2000 -- When Michelle Murdock and her husband sit down for dinner
together, they never eat the same meal. While she doesn't eat meat, her husband
eats it often. She loves peanut butter; he avoids it. She shies away from dairy
products, while he consumes all the milk and cheese he wants. Why do their
menus vary so widely? It's not because they have different tastes -- rather,
they have different blood types. (Hers is type A; his is type B.)
The Murdocks follow the "Eat Right for Your Type" diet, which
encourages people to consume certain foods and shun others based on their
status of A, B, AB, or O. Michelle, 29, has been on the diet for almost two
years and is still enthused. "I lost about 35 pounds the first year I was
on it," she says. ''I have since maintained a healthy weight." She says
she has the energy of a teenager.
Who'd think a diet would be based on blood type? The theory is the
brainchild of Peter J. D'Adamo, ND, a naturopathic physician in Stamford,
Conn., who touted the program in his 1996 book, Eat Right for Your Type,
which gave the diet its name. Eating this way can not only keep you healthy and
help you lose weight, D'Adamo says, but not eating this way can harm
you, perhaps setting you up for digestive problems or serious ailments,
including cancer. Not everyone agrees with D'Adamo -- the diet is roundly
criticized by most mainstream nutritionists and medical doctors for the lack of
published evidence showing it works.
But criticism is not enough to deter as many as two million people who
follow the diet (the figure comes from D'Adamo and is based on visitors to his
web site and his private practice). These blood-type diet fans don't mention
feeling deprived because of food restrictions, but talk instead about how good
they feel. Many, like the Murdocks, embrace the diet as a new lifestyle.
The Diet's Theory
One reason for these dieters' enthusiasm is that there's no counting of
calories or fat grams. Instead, the diet emphasizes eating certain foods, in
any quantity you'd like. For instance, Type O's are advised to eat meat but no
grains. Type A's should be vegetarians. Type B's can eat the most varied diet,
including meat and dairy products. And Type AB's should eat some meat, but lay
off cured or smoked meats.
Why are certain foods specified for each blood type? D'Adamo believes that
lectins, proteins found in foods, can wreak havoc in the body. If you eat a
food containing lectins that are not compatible with your blood type, he says,
the lectins can target an organ or system in the body. This can adversely
affect blood cells in the area and possibly cause disease, including kidney
disease and cancer. However, these negative effects can be avoided by focusing
on foods that mesh with your blood type, D'Adamo says.