A diet based on blood type?
WHEN it comes to diets, many would agree that one size won't fit all, and customising an eating plan based on an individual's body type, lifestyle and existing medical conditions is best for optimum success.
There have been many theories put forward about dieting, one such being about customising a diet based on blood type, and this has received mixed reviews. Indeed, the majority of experts have given the theory the thumbs down.
But the blood type diet was conceptualised by naturopathic practitioner Peter D'Adamo, who claimed that nutrients in various foods react differently with each of the blood types, and help to determine the most suitable exercises for individuals and also one's susceptibility to diseases. One of the benefits he suggested to following the blood type diet was rapid weight loss.
According to D'Adamo's theory, persons with type O blood are 'hunters' who do well with high-protein diets. However, these types of individuals do not do so well with grains, legumes or dairy and should stay away from ice cream, skim milk, yoghurt, cream cheese, kidney beans, peanuts, and even cornflakes.
Type A individuals are termed 'agrarian' or 'cultivators', and should have mostly meals that emphasise vegetables, and try to avoid dairy, cereals, breads, meats, mayonnaise, beer, sodas and black tea.
Unlike the other two types listed above, those with blood type B are able to tolerate dairy products and are called 'normal' because they generally have a strong immune system and a flexible digestive system. Foods to avoid for this group include chicken, coconuts, ketchup, wild rice, cashews and canola oil.
Meanwhile, blood type AB persons are able to eat almost every meat and don't have many restrictions generally when it comes to food selection. This blood group is known as the 'enigma'.
Alternative health practitioner Dr Heinz Becker is one of those who has dismissed D'Adamo's theory.
"There is no scientific research that supports it in any way whatsoever and because of that, he is being criticised for it," said the health practitioner who has a doctorate in psychology, naturopathic medicine and oriental medicine.
According to D'Adamo, blood type O is the oldest blood type, but Dr Becker also refuted this claim, saying that it's actually type A that is the oldest blood type.
But while the naturopath's claims have been refuted by several universities and health experts, D'Adamo has gained a lot of supporters, even here in Jamaica.
"Is the blood type diet something that people use and has it become interesting to people? Yes, sure. A lot of people think about it, a lot of people eat according to their blood type," Dr Becker said.
Although he is not in support of the blood type diet, Dr Becker noted that an individual can reap weight loss success by eating according to their body type.
"It is something that will save you plenty of time and energy and provide you with better results, as far as your health goes," he said.
"Eating according to a type is something that is part of naturopathic medicine. It's an alternative natural medicine throughout the world; so, for example, there are different body types in ayurvedic (traditional) medicine, and this approach is well supported by scientific research," he said.
Under the ayurvedic system there are three constitutions or doshas that help to determine what diet is best for individuals. These constitutions are vata which reflects space and air, pitta which reflects fire and water and kapha which reflects the qualities of water and earth.
"Kapha is the more solid, substantial body type, and these are people who tend to have inflammatory problems and problems with swelling, with water retention and so on, and joint problems, and so it is better to eat keeping these things in mind," he explained.