Eating For Your Blood Type: Does The Blood Type Diet Work?

Eating For Your Blood Type: Does The Blood Type Diet Work?
blood typing

Eating right for your blood type. I’ve always been so intrigued. I recently found out I’m type A+ and my husband, Brandon is O+.

So from now on, should my food shopping ritual be different? Should I fill half the cart with A-friendly food while the other half will be O-centric?

(The polarity <+/-> of the blood type doesn’t really matter when it comes to dieting.)

According to the blood type diet, I should be eating lots of vegetarian-friendly food. As somebody who eats a 99% plant-based diet, I would have no problem eating for my particular blood type.

But what about Brandon? Should he go on a hunting trip and shoot some wild game? Type O’s should eat basically a Paleo diet: high in lean animal protein with a minimal amount of grains.

When Brandon and I go out to dinner, we usually share a couple of entrees. But if we’re both following the blood type diet does that mean we can no longer share food?

birds sharing food

While I always believe in really listening to what your body is telling you and following the 85/15 rule—consume at least 85% of your calories be from clean, organic, unprocessed or minimally-processed plant-based foods—I wanted to dive a little deeper into the blood type diet and see if I should be sticking to it 100% of the time.

Here’s what I found...

Each of the four main blood types comes with its own preset dispositions to lots of different physical characteristics. For example, the risk of developing a chronic disease, how much stomach acid your gut produces and the composition of your gut microbiome may be, at least in part, predicated on your blood type.

In fact, a study published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said the risk of cardiovascular disease is lower in individuals with blood type O and increased in individuals with blood type A, compared with those in other blood groups.

So should I be freaking out that I’m more at risk of dying from a heart attack because I’m type A? Meanwhile, Brandon gets to enjoy playing caveman and worrying less about croaking from a heart attack because he’s type O. And is having a higher risk of developing heart disease the reason why type A’s like myself should be predominantly vegan?

(“B” blood types can get away with eating dairy while A/B can eat a more varied diet.)

To answer the first question, no I definitely shouldn’t worry about cardiovascular disease just because I’m type A. Especially not if I’m following my 85/15 rule and managing stress through yoga and meditation.

To answer the second question, whether or not type A’s should follow a blood type diet, here’s what the researchers from the study above concluded...

The study participants were asked to follow a low-fat vegan diet and attend weekly educational classes to help them stick to the blood type A diet.

But the researchers discovered that the participants’ body weight, body fat, triglycerides or blood sugar was not affected by specifically following the blood type diet.

Instead, the participants’ health improved just because they were eating a healthier diet to begin with.

vegan vegetables

Where Did The Blood Type Diet Come From?

A naturopathic doctor named Paul D’Adamo popularized the diet in the west. His book, The Blood Type Diet "Eat Right For Your Type" was published in the mid-90s and remains popular to this day.

D’Adamo claims in his book that the diet is based on a plethora of scientific evidence. But the truth is, for the most part, research studies do not support the blood type diet.

Without doubt, there’s a lot of people who have followed the blood type diet and claim that it has significantly improved their health. But again, was it really the specific diet or was it simply the fact that the Standard American Diet of heavily-processed food was replaced by generally healthy foods for all blood types?

In fairness to D’Adamo, in order to properly study whether or not the blood type diet works, you would need hundreds if not thousands of participants in a very well-designed clinical trial. But that takes a lot of time and money to pull off. And with no backing from a major university or pharmaceutical company, that kind of gold-standard research is unlikely to happen.

Another strong talking point for D’Adamo is that in some cultures, blood typing runs blood deep in the culture. Take Japan for instance. Known as ketsuekigata, the Japanese blood type theory does not so much apply to diet; in this homogenous society, the traditional Japanese diet applies to all four types. Instead, the four blood types rule apply to personality traits.

Blood type matching in Japan plays a big role in marriages. Even some job ads in the country list preferred blood types to fill available positions.

image below Photo by National Cancer Institute

woman in lab

Does The Blood Type Diet Work? Conclusion

There is some research that supports following the blood type diet to minimize the risk of developing certain health outcomes to which your specific type is genetically more susceptible.

For example, type O is more likely to develop stomach ulcers. So if you’re a type O and you eat a ton of grains, it may (or may not) make you more at risk for developing gastric problems.

If your blood type is A like mine is, and you eat a ton of animal protein, you may find yourself getting sick more often or even developing a chronic disease.

Likewise, if you’re type O like my husband, Brandon, and you’re eating a ton of dairy, the same scenario could occur.

Does that mean if you are type AB, which has more flexibility, you can get away with eating whatever you want?

No. The takeaway is that everybody regardless of blood type should be eating adequate amounts of low-sugar fruit and lots of low-starch, nutrient-dense plants.

And if you need to get more antioxidants in your diet the easy way, check out my Organic Green Drink delivery plan.

But there’s no harm in trying the blood type diet. Do it for a month or so. And if you feel better, then try sticking to it.

Chef V and kale