Blood group diets are not new, the brainchild of Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo who published his thoughts in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type, they work on the premise that your blood type is linked to your genetic descent – were you a hunter, a gatherer or an evolutionary mix of the two?
This chemical make up acts like a blueprint for your health, rather like a fingerprint, it’s something unique to you, but can be broken down into three areas, type O, A or B. Of course there’s AB blood types as well, but they’re so evolved that they can basically eat what they want.
Talking to Naturopath Sue Davis at Lifehouse Spa about her personal experience and her work supporting people with food intolerances, the basis of the diet seems to make a lot of sense, scientifically proven or otherwise (note, it’s not a proven theory, so experience is only found in practice): “what enforced it for me was doing the food intolerance testing. I always ask people what their blood type is and invariably Os prefer meat and As prefer fish,” she says.
Her personal experiences have also impacted her understanding, this is a naturopath who is also a very happy red meat eater – not necessarily what you would expect: “when I changed my job years ago and I went from being an insurance broker to being a naturopath, I decided I should become vegetarian, and within weeks I was exhausted. When I saw someone about it they told me my blood type was O and that I shouldn’t be vegetarian because it doesn’t agree with me, I need meat to be healthy, and it’s amazing what a difference that advice has made to my wellbeing.”
The basic tenets are that Os are better suited to eating meat, and because they are meat eaters they have more stomach acid to break down protein. As a result, they can be more susceptible to ulcers, aren’t great with dairy and don’t do well on grains because the original blood group wasn’t exposed to them as much as other groups. “I can pretty much guarantee that if an O is having a problem it’s wheat, dairy, eggs and certain nuts and legumes that are aggravating the digestive system” says Sue.
She continues by saying that she has often found O blood types to struggle with IBS and have problems with digestion. “I struggle with bloating,” she says, “and it was tipped over the edge when I lived overseas for a long time as Os don’t tend to thrive on change.”
Type As on the other hand, tend to thrive on vegetables and have fish as their main source of protein. They often struggle with cow’s milk and should focus on fruit and vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains, ideally of the organic and fresh variety because type As tend to have lower immune systems according to D’Adamo.
Types B and AB tend to be more evolved, omnivorous eaters, and as such tend to have less dietary problems than other blood types. While dairy is an issue for a number of people, it tends to be ok for these two groups because somewhere along the line their ancestors were introduced to a wider variety of sustenance.
Importantly however, Sue feels that when it comes to any kind of diet, it’s not about being prescriptive and it’s certainly not a case of one size fits all. Ultimately, you know how your body feels and it’s best to listen to it, but guidelines such as the blood type diet may be a road map if you’re looking for one, but crucially it’s not about having a limited diet: “it’s about finding alternatives, not having a reduced diet,” says Sue, continuing; “take it in steps and find out what works for you, but if you have an intolerance then do take it seriously, otherwise you will go round in circles.”
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