Naturopathic physician Dr Peter D’Adamo, N.D. suggested the notoriously talked about Blood Type Diet in his best seller ‘Eat Right 4 Your Type’. A welcome departure from the ‘one size fits all’ notion, this diet plan proposes four different diets in accordance with four different blood groups: A, B, O, AB. D’Adamo’s basic premise is that an individual’s ABO blood type is the key determinant of a diet plans’ effectiveness. He postulates that there occurs a genetically inherited chemical reaction between the foods that we consume and our blood group through a component called lectins (proteins in foodstuffs). In general, lectins are not life endangering and our immune system works to safeguard us from any harmful impact. Nonetheless, 5% of Lectins will enter the blood stream. Incongruity between blood type and lectins leads to coagulation of blood cells in an organ or bodily system.
The Blood Type Diet reverts you to your genetic pattern and is based on your cellular profile so as to minimize the effects of the aforementioned incompatibility. Its claims include not only the sought-after weight loss but also a boost in immunity. Using the Evolutionary Theory of Blood Groups, Dr D’Adamo has made the following distinctive dietary recommendations:
- · Type O (‘the hunter’): On the basis of the belief of this type being the oldest human blood group, it has been recommended that individuals with type O blood follow a high protein, meat rich diet which is low in carbohydrates.
- · Type A (‘the cultivator’): Believed to have originated at the time of emergence of agriculture. In line with this, the dietary recommendations are a vegetarian with emphasis on inclusion of vegetables and exclusion of dairy products.
- · Type B (‘the nomad’): This blood type has been recommended to include dairy products in their dietary profile and considered to be a balanced omnivore. They have the least number of restrictions.
- · Type AB (‘the enigma’): The most recent blood type has been suggested to comply with a mixed diet that is a combination of the recommended nutrition plans for Type A and B in moderation.
Peter D’Adamo asserts that the Blood Type Diet is based on scientific evidence. However, the lack of clinical trials, inadequate evidence, and uncorroborated claims pertaining to ABO specific lectins has cast deep aspersions on the scientific background of this diet.
Nutritionists everywhere have panned the Blood Type Diet citing that weight loss observed in followers can be attributed to variables such a difference in metabolism. It is a likely event that two individuals may share a blood type but differ in metabolic rate leading to one shedding the pounds faster. Moreover, it is believed that universally applicable and beneficial recommendations like emphasis on exercise, avoidance of processed foods makes the Blood Type Diet a successful endeavour rather than its propositions based on blood type.
It emerges that the dietary plan appropriateness and success cannot be demystified using the parochial crutch of blood types.
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