THE best foods to eat for optimal health is a constant debate. Even scientists can't seem to provide a list of foods that you must eat to survive and a list that you should completely avoid.
This is so because while most foods have health benefits, a healthy diet must contain a balance of foods from the different food groups in the right proportions. Therefore, choosing which foods to get valuable nutrients from is a personal choice.
Some people have decided to eat foods based on their blood type and according to Nestle Jamaica Nutrition Advisor Janique Watts, this type of diet has been growing in popularity over the last few decades.
“Also known as the blood group diet, it was developed by naturopathic physician Dr Peter D'Adamo in 1996,” she says. “This diet is designed to specifically help persons from each blood group to avoid developing diseases known to affect their group, to lose weight, and to produce more energy through effective digestion.”
She outlines the rationale of the diet, according to its pioneer.
“D'Adamo claims that each blood group has genetic traits passed on from our ancestors, which indicate what diet they consumed to maintain optimal health,” she explains.
“He claims food reacts chemically with our blood type, and therefore if we eat according to the requirements, we will digest food more effectively, leading to weight loss, increased energy and prevention of developing diseases,” she said.
Watts shares the recommendations, according to D'Adamo, for each blood group:
Type A: No meat. These individuals should maintain a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Type B: A diet based on green vegetables, eggs, certain meats, and low-fat dairy. Avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
Type AB: Individuals in this blood group should consume a diet based on tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoked or cured meat.
Type O: A high-protein diet consisting of lean meat, poultry, fish, vegetables. Include grains, beans and dairy in moderate amounts. D'Adamo also recommends supplements to aid with stomach issues that are usually experienced by individuals of this blood group.
Watts warns, however, that there is no evidence of this diet being more effective than or healthier than others.
“There have not been any conclusive studies done to prove this diet is, in fact effective, as the guidelines provided are following the basic healthy eating guides for general nutrition,” she said.
But is it recommended?
Watts cautions that “it could be considered, but of course, with close supervision by a doctor or nutritionist, especially for persons with existing medical conditions, and pregnant women”.
— Candiece Knight