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Should You Base Your Diet on Your Blood Type?

Ever wondered if you should be eating certain foods based on which blood type you have? The answer might surprise you.

The blood type diet, developed by Peter J D’Adamo, encourages you to choose foods based on if you have O, B, AB or A blood type. D’Adamo claims that following the blood type diet helps your body digest food better, boost energy, and prevent chronic diseases. But does the diet really work? Researchers conducted studies to find out.

How to Follow the Blood Type Diet

The blood type diet is a restrictive healthy eating plan that differs based on your blood type. For example:

  • The type A diet is mainly vegetarian (rich in fruits, veggies, legumes, tofu and whole grains) and includes turkey and seafood.
  • Type AB diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, tofu, dairy, fish, and lamb
  • Type B diet includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, fish, seafood, meat, and dairy
  • The type O diet is a high-protein diet consisting of meat, fish, veggies, fruit, some grains, and legumes.

Does the Blood Type Diet Work?

Researchers studied blood type diets to see if evidence backs claim that such diets should affect the way you eat. One study published in 2014 in the journal Plos One found that following the type A diet is associated with a lower waist circumference, BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin; the AB diet is associated with lower cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin; and the type O diet may help lower triglycerides. However, while some of the blood type diets improved disease risk factors, these diets were effective in doing so regardless of which blood type participants had. In other words, you don’t have to have type A blood to reap heart healthy benefits of the type A diet.

A 2013 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that studies do not validate benefits of eating certain foods based on blood type.

Why It May Work

Why do some blood type diets help improve chronic disease risk factors? It’s not because it’s the right diet for your blood type, but because it’s a healthier way of eating. For example, the diet that improved the most risk factors (type A diet) is the most restrictive diet — free from red meat and dairy foods, and focusing on plant-based foods with some seafood.

The more plant-based (and meat-free) a diet is the more it can lower chronic disease risks. For example, a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrients found that vegetarian diets offer protection against heart disease, heart disease risk factors, some cancers, and all-cause deaths — and that vegan diets offer more protection against high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and death from heart disease than lacto-ovo vegetarian dieting (diets that include eggs and dairy foods in addition to plant-based foods).

Should I Follow the Blood Type Diet?

Choosing a type A or AB diet may help you shed pounds and reduce chronic disease risk factors, but you can reap the health benefits of these diets regardless of which blood type you have. Studies don’t support the benefits of eating certain foods based strictly on blood type.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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