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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 29, 2013

Does Your Blood Type Determine Your Optimal Diet?

By Mark Sisson
370 Comments

BloodI get a lot of emails about the “Eat Right For Your Type” diet, also known as the blood type diet, which asserts that specific optimal diets exist for each blood type. In this post, I’ll take a look at whether there’s anything to this idea, and whether you should change the way you’re eating based on whether you’re Type O, A, B or AB.

The proposed diets all tend to be pretty decent, whole foods-based ways of eating, and they’re all better than the standard American diet of industrial processed junk, but differences do exist. Here’s the basic breakdown of all four blood type diets:

Type O (PDF): The “original” blood type and the oldest one, proponents claim it evolved among hunter-gatherers in response to their (Primal) diet of animals and plants. People with this blood type do best on meat, fish, and certain fruits and vegetables while limiting starches and omitting grains (especially wheat), beans, legumes, and dairy. It’s pretty much a strict paleo approach.

Type A (PDF): The agricultural blood type, proponents claim it arose after the advent of agriculture. People with this blood type do best on vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, and limited fish. They should avoid meat, wheat, and dairy. It’s basically a vegetarian diet.

Type B (PDF): The “nomad” type, proponents claim it arose amongst pastoralists raising animals for meat and milk. People with this blood type do best with lamb, mutton, rabbit, and most other meats (except for chicken and pork), dairy, beans, and vegetables. They should avoid wheat, olives, tomatoes, and corn.

Type AB (PDF): The “generalist” blood type. People with this blood type can eat many meats, some seafood, dairy, beans, grains, and fruit, but they should limit kidney beans, lima beans, seeds, corn, beef, chicken, and buckwheat.

I see a few things wrong with their reasoning:

First, they’ve got the anthropology all mixed up. Type O blood isn’t the oldest blood type, nor was it formed by human dietary patterns. The most recent research has found that Types A, B, and O arose almost 20 million years ago in a far-off ancestor common to humans and other primates – long before humans hunted, gathered, farmed, domesticated animals, or even existed. In fact, if anything, it’s type A blood that’s the oldest.

Second, if type A blood arose in response to agriculture, why would the Australian aboriginal diet of meat, marrow, and foraged plant foods, or the Sami diet of reindeer blood, meat, and milk and fatty fish both give rise to a preponderance of type A blood carriers? Type A is supposed to be founded on agriculture – grains, beans, with very little animal products. If a high-animal foods diet selects against type A blood, why does it flourish in these populations?

Third, the justification given for eliminating certain foods from these diets is that the lectins found in them trigger agglutination (clumping) of the red blood cells when consumed by someone with the wrong blood type. So, lectins found in olives are supposed to cause agglutination in Type As, lectins found in grains are supposed to cause agglutination in Type Os, and so on. Proponents claim that specific lectins are selective in their tendency to agglutinate – they interact differently with the various blood types. This supposed selective agglutination is the proximate arbiter of whether a food belongs in a particular blood type’s ideal diet or not, but it doesn’t even exist. The actual research suggests that lectin agglutination is non-selective with regard to blood type. If a particular lectin agglutinates, it generally agglutinates across all blood types. If a lectin is harmful to one blood type, it’s harmful to all.

That said, the blood type diet folks do highlight an interesting observation: the individual blood types are often associated with different rates of certain diseases.

Type Os have a curious relationship to certain infectious diseases. While those with type O blood are more resistant to contracting cholera infections, if they actually get infected, they’re more likely to have an extremely severe reaction. It protects you until you get cholera, after which it leaves you extremely vulnerable. The extreme virulence of cholera to this blood type may even explain the relative paucity of type Os in areas where cholera is common.

Type Os also are far more susceptible to ulcer, now known to be caused by infections from H. pylori bacteria. This is likely explained by the greater preponderance of “H. pylori receptors” in the guts of type O individuals.

Against other diseases, however, type O seems to be somewhat protective:

When compared to other blood types, type O is associated with lower rates of heart disease. The studies (comprising roughly 90,000 people) determined that 6.27% of the cardiovascular disease cases could be attributed to having a non-type O blood type.

Upon reviewing twelve separate studies, researchers determined that type O blood confers protection against pancreatic cancer. Type B was most strongly associated with pancreatic cancer, followed by types AB and A, respectively. Despite the results, “the mechanism by which these SNPs influence risk is unknown.” It could be that “these SNPs may act as markers of allelic variants in nearby genes, and the ABO antigens may not be directly involved in” the development of pancreatic cancer at all. Then, once a person has pancreatic cancer, type O confers a significant survival benefit over the other blood types. This may be explained by the observation in animal studies that the immune systems of types A and B seem to have a harder time at “noticing” and “destroying” cancer cells.

Type Os are also less likely to get gastric cancer, despite their increased susceptibility to H. pylori infections (usually a risk factor for gastric cancer).

These connections are worth looking into and deserve further study, certainly, but they have nothing to say about what diets work best with each blood type.

Obviously, I agree that certain kinds of dietary lectins are problematic, especially if they make it past the gut and into the blood stream. They’re a big reason why I avoid most grains, beans, and legumes – not only do they contain large numbers of lectins, but the lectins they have tend to be particularly proficient at disrupting and navigating the gut barrier. And yes, some people seem more sensitive to dietary lectins than others, but I see no evidence that a person’s lectin sensitivity – and thus ideal dietary composition – is determined by their blood type. It’s an attractive idea, the notion that we can determine someone’s optimal diet and offer them perfect health and protection from disease simply by checking their blood type. It’s just not a realistic one, according to the available evidence.

In the end – and this might be the most important part of this whole thing – the blood type diet “works” because it eliminates processed food regardless of blood type, removes wheat from the diets of people with blood types A, B, and O (which takes care of the vast majority of the population of the world), and recommends that most people (type O is the most common blood type) eat a diet based on meat and plants with little to no grains, beans, sugar,and legumes. I’m honestly not all surprised that so many people get great results.

What about you? Have you tried the blood type diet? Do you know anyone who’s tried it and had success – or failure? If so, what type were they?

Thanks for reading, folks!

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370 Comments on "Does Your Blood Type Determine Your Optimal Diet?"

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Jacob
Jacob
3 years 4 months ago

Interesting article. I always found the blood type diet kind of asinine. It just intuitively doesn’t make sense to me. The fact that I’d have to be essentially a vegetarian on this diet doesn’t help its cause either. 🙂

Count.
Count.
3 years 4 months ago

I’m going on the vampire diet and consuming all blood types.

Ginny
Ginny
3 years 4 months ago

LIKE

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 4 months ago

Second!

Norma
Norma
3 years 4 months ago

🙂

wildgrok
wildgrok
3 years 4 months ago

Please add me to list

Diana
Diana
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve tried the blood type diet but I am a type A and being almost vegetarian simply does not work for me – primal is where it is at!

Jme
Jme
3 years 4 months ago

Bahahaha!

Joanne
Joanne
3 years 3 months ago

Four! Four Blood Types, hah hah hah!

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 3 months ago

: )

animal
animal
3 years 3 months ago
Thanks for the article Mark!!!!!!!! I read this book about 8 years ago and have since then tried to adhere to most of the reccommendations listed for type O and type AB. Cooking for two different blood types requires sifting through the allowed foods and coming up with a meal plan for both types. It is a challenge until you get used to it BUT then it is amazing how much better you feel.A friend of mine borrowed the book and got his whole family going on this approach and attained the same results. Like you said Mark,it basically cuts… Read more »
Anon
3 years 3 months ago
I tried ER4YT in 1999 but failed miserably because I rarely prepared food at home, a bad sign regardless! Fast forward to 2011, I decided to give it a serious effort. I was strict with following the recommendations for Blood Type O and even took it to the next level by having my secretor status tested; I am a non-secretor, which altered the food list slightly. I managed to feed myself and my daughter (A, non-secretor) following the food lists. My husband (AB, secretor) and son (B, secretor) were not as serious about following it but did subscribe to it… Read more »
Diana
Diana
3 years 3 months ago

cool – looking forward to seeing how you make this all happen!

carla
carla
2 years 11 months ago

Great informative response thanks!

Barbara-Helen Hill
3 years 3 months ago

I was told I should eat type A diet by my friend while visiting her. I’ve been following your food plan and she does too (she is type O). She was suggesting A plus Paleo. I cannot make myself go back to grains or beans of any kind and continue to just eat – Paleo or whatever it wants to be called. I tried the rice etc. but it is hard on my body. Thanks for the articles. h

michelle
michelle
3 years 10 days ago
FYI-I’m a type o-non secretor and my sister is a type a-secretor, I’ve lost 30 pounds on this diet and feel great, something must be right about all this, since everytime i eat vegetable protein I feel nausea, but since my sister is type A, the vegetable protein seems to work for her, I actually get shakey if I don’t have meat protein by 3:00 in the afternoon, maybe it’s all in my head but I feel great on the diet, if I eat grains (other than rice) I feel lethargic. It can’t hurt to reevalute what you are putting… Read more »
Ron
Ron
3 years 8 days ago
I have been doing this diet about 2 weeks now with A+ blood type. So far I have loved the results losing about 10 pounds. I was not overweight to start with but trying this for healthier living and to lose a few pounds. I signed up for a program which gave me recipes, a daily meal planner, etc which makes the program easy to follow. I generally get migraines and headaches a few times a week but so far, knock on wood, no headaches so something must be right between the diet and health benefits. I agree part of… Read more »
PeteH
PeteH
3 years 8 days ago

Likewise. As a Type A(-) it’s recommended that I eat veg. Problem is, I really don’t enjoy veg, I enjoy all the food that is (supposedly) ‘bad’ for me: steak, duck, pork etc.

Why live a life of misery eating food one hates?

Geri L
Geri L
2 years 7 months ago
RE: being blood type A but loving type O foods. Any blood type has two alleles meaning that you inherent one gene from your mother and one from your father. So blood type A is a phenotype (observable characteristic) and not a genotype. The phenotype A is either the genotype AA or AO. So I don’t doubt that A’s can eat O foods if they have the later genotype. On the other hand, we are strongly conditioned not to eat our vegetables in our Standard American Diet (SAD). With everything we buy (but fresh produce) being laden with sugar and… Read more »
Chris S
2 years 6 months ago

Help me! Geri!… I am supposed to be blood type A+… I have no problems with corn and beans and fresh steamed vegies… love them. Avo, salsa, etc.. but I too crave beef! I love fruit and cow’s milk yogurt and almonds!

Using your info, would in help me to inquire as to my father’s and mother’s blood types so that I may understand this phenotype/genotype relationship?

Thank you!

Geri L
Geri L
2 years 6 months ago
Chris, Corn (and soy) in general is isn’t good for anyone. It’s an endocrine disruptor and will make you fat. That’s why it’s fed to livestock. Dr. D’Adamo links corn (according to the fossil record) to bad bones and teeth as previous to its mass ingestion, humans had good teeth and bones. Btw vitamin K2 is needed for strong bones and teeth and only found in animal products (humans have lost the ability to convert K1 to K2 although our gut bacteria produce it in small amounts) so perhaps that’s why you crave meat. Unfortunately, grain fed livestock of all… Read more »
traci shrader
traci shrader
2 years 6 months ago

As type A I should not eat beef, but a Dr. Told me elk, bison, and venison were fine. That is of course no more than 4oz at a time.

tiarza
2 years 5 months ago

So long as you feel great, why fix it, if it isnt broken. But for people who begin to suffer, pain Arthritis. Migranes, so fourth & so on. Trust Me…. Its worth it…

Kellie Dawson
Kellie Dawson
3 years 4 months ago

According to this, my type B can do dairy. According to my body, I cannot. Nope, no blood type diet for me.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 4 months ago

And what will they come up with next, a diet based on body shape? Oops, they already tried that one too!

Ryan J
Ryan J
3 years 3 months ago

I saw the same thing and had the same reaction… I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but it sounds like they had a team of astrologists on the job deciding what foods to put in what categories.

carla
carla
2 years 11 months ago

Then they are correct. Because a astrology chart based on you done with your exact time and place of birth will give you a very accurate description of your personality traits. Which can go whatever way your mind frame is in.

Geri L
Geri L
2 years 6 months ago

I’m sorry but have you read the books? The diet is based on clinical observation and further research based on those clinical observations and not astrology. Until personal genome testing becomes affordable, Dr. D’Adamo’s blood type and genotype diet plans are as close as you’re going to get to inexpensively understand how lectins (proteins) in our food react with our blood chemistry.

Dr. Sara Chase
Dr. Sara Chase
3 years 3 months ago

Kelly, if you had read Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book “Eat Right 4 Your Type”, you would know that you can have allergies to certain foods in the categories normally okay for your blood type. He also points out the more compromised one’s immune system is, and the more health issues one has, the more sensitive one’s system becomes, thereby narrowing down food choices. His dietary recommendations are the best scenario. It is not all-inclusive.

Gemma
Gemma
2 years 4 months ago

Dr. Peter D’Adamo states that the blood types are determined by your gut microbiota (enterotypes). And it makes sense.
http://n-equals-one.com/blogs/2011/04/22/enterotypes-and-blood-types2/

I am not quite sure if the corresponding dietary recommendations — as stated in the article — are valid too. It is probably a more complex issue (gut flora signalling — nutrition for the host — gut flora shifts via dietary change etc.) But people like their commandments.

Andri
Andri
3 years 3 months ago

Have you tried raw dairy? There’s a huge difference between that and pasteurized/homogenized.

Tom Martens
2 years 11 months ago
The food and beverage lists are guidelines and not absolutes. B’s typically can handle dairy because B blood type is represented by D-Galactose and milk is represented by Galactose. Normally your body would not see this as an invader and give you problems. You might not be Galactose intolerant, just lactose intolerant. This can be associated with being a Non- Secretor. The Blood Type Diet is all about individuality. Just because a food is on the beneficial or neutral list does not mean it is beneficial or neutral for you. B’s do best when they avoid chicken, corn and wheat.… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
3 years 4 months ago

It’s one of those things that sounds nice but probably doesn’t hold water.

Dr. Sara Chase
Dr. Sara Chase
3 years 3 months ago

Study the science behind the diet before coming to such uninformed conclusions.

carla
carla
2 years 11 months ago

Right on doc!

Tom Martens
2 years 11 months ago

The very lectins that Dr. D’Adamo has found to cause problems with each blood type are the same food lectins used by scientists and doctors used in antigen staining for cancers and pathogens.

Staining is the same as binding and scientists and doctors have been using food lectins to identify specific antigens in cancers and pathogens for over 50 years.

b2curious
b2curious
2 years 11 months ago
Lectins were mentioned in the article above. It appears that in research done by other people shows that if a lectin causes a problem with one blood type it is almost always a problem for all blood types. In the article above, there is a link, which lists 107 food items, give or take. I only counted once, so there is a slight margin for error. Out of those 107 foods, only 2 caused agglutenation for some blood types and not others. Another 3 caused differing amounts of agglutention for differnt blood types, but caused aagglutentation for all. And those… Read more »
Steve
Steve
3 years 4 months ago

Once I ate the wrong kind of food for my blood type and I turned into a newt.

Jacob
Jacob
3 years 4 months ago

“A newt?!”

“Well….I got better…”

Sorry…Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference…

Tim
Tim
3 years 4 months ago

+1 shrubbery

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
3 years 4 months ago

Ni

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 4 months ago

That’s better than turning into a Gingrich!

Andrea
Andrea
3 years 4 months ago

ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

Ashtromanius
Ashtromanius
3 years 4 months ago

Omg. This thread totally made my day.

Mariah
Mariah
2 years 4 months ago

HAHAHA! Love it!

henrybemis
henrybemis
3 years 4 months ago

That does mean you got a mistress and got fatter?

Cranberry
Cranberry
3 years 3 months ago

+1 ! I got better!! 🙂

My SIL is / was a fan of ER4YT, but I couldn’t understand why my brother (type O) “evolved differently” from me, his sister (type AB).

Cran

Amy
Amy
3 years 4 months ago
My family and I (4 kids and hubby) have been following the blood type diet for 2 years and counting. Most of us have had enormous sucess with it. My 3 asthmatic children are off most of their meds and only occasionally does 1 need his rescue inhaler. My fertility issues have resolved resulting in a 4th child! Also my pre-hypertensive blod pressure is normal and unexplained tiredness is gone. and no gestational diabetes during my last pregnancy. no recurrent sinue infections. i could go on and on. I am type O and find that the primal lifestyle is very… Read more »
Robyn
Robyn
3 years 4 months ago

This struck me as funny. Your husband is NOT following the “ideal diet” prescribed for him as a type A – and so both of you are following the paleo lifestyle. Doesn’t this mean that the paleo lifestyle is what’s working…. and not the blood type diet?

b2curious
b2curious
3 years 4 months ago

What blood types are your children? According to the Red Cross’ web site, with a type O and a type A parent, the possibilities are A or O for each child, so you’ve probably got both mixed in there. Do you have each child on a blood type specific diet? I truely am curious (see my user name). Sounds like it would be a bit of a pain, as one should eat plenty of meat, while the other should avoid it, one can eat grains (except wheat) legumes and beans (aren’t they legumes??) but the other can’t.

Bridget
Bridget
3 years 4 months ago

Actually they are not equal, you can have type A blood with an AA gene or AO gene, the O gene is always recessive. So if Dad is AA, all the kids will be AO which is type A, but if Dad is AO there will be a 50-50 chance of both.

b2curious
b2curious
3 years 4 months ago
I figured there was a little more to it than that, since type O is the absence of the markers for types A and B. Since to have a blood type of A, one would have to have the markers for type A, my first thought was that a type A parent could not produce a type O child, but double checked the Red Cross’ site first to be sure. I briefly considered digging a little deeper to find out how an A or B parent could produce an O child, but decided against it.. Leave it to another Bridget… Read more »
mhikl
mhikl
3 years 3 months ago

Bridget, you are correct. A friend is a B blood, her husband is A. They have six children, A, B, AB and O; therefor her husband must be an AO, and she a BO for such a clan. She adheres to the D’Adamo plans and is amazed how preferences of each blood type has individual preferences that mirror their blood types.

It is possible for even the A blood diet to do a paleo diet using chicken, fish and eggs according to the beneficial and neutral lists.

Karen M
Karen M
3 years 4 months ago

Excellent results! But you said it best when you said the primal lifestlye is very close to what you are eating. My guess is you’re 80/20 primal, which is why you’ve had such great success more so than because your blood type is O.

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 4 months ago
Finally an article about blood type and diet that makes some sense to me. I looked into the blood type diet many years ago and being a type A tried to follow the whole vegetarian thing…with disastrous results. I come by insulin resistance honestly as a familial thing (not sure if it is genetic or dietary) but we all have thick middles on both sides of my family. So I now know that a diet rich in grains and other carbohydrates is about the worst thing I can eat. So I’ve ignored the whole thing as complete nonsense, even before… Read more »
Aaron
Aaron
3 years 4 months ago

My story – exactly. So mad at myself for buying into that hype years ago. I feel incredibly good eating fatty meat, veggies, and a seasonal fruit (pervasive where I live).

Robyn
Robyn
3 years 4 months ago
Oh ditto ditto ditto. I spent 20 years eating the “ideal diet” for my type A blood. Vegetarian, whole grains and legumes up the yin yang. What did it get me? Chronic inflammation, severe heartburn at age 30 that I was told would require lifelong prescriptions to control it, constant fatigue, migraines, a good 20 extra lbs and oh, terrible anxiety. Then I ate a piece of fish. HELLO. All the receptors in my brain went off like fireworks. Then I ate a piece of chicken. OMG, same reaction. Then I ate a big local grassfed steak. It was like… Read more »
Kelda
3 years 3 months ago

Ditto, type A here, was veggie, very high carbs – not good AT ALL (2 diabetic pregnancies, bipolar … )!

Well now on Primal, high meat/fish protein, enjoying fat.

mhikl
mhikl
3 years 3 months ago
Robyn, it sound like you listen to your body. I am an O blood and follow Dr D’Adamo’s diet strictly. Legumes and grains and acidic fruits and any carbs do me in. I tried the Ornish diet four months, gained forty pounds, and my blood tests for cholesterol and triglycerides went into the danger zones. Processing of our foods has gone to the extreme, as well. Wheat, for example, now seems to have 48? chromosomes where original wheats had 23. (I may be off a number or so.) This kind of modification may be one reason so many people have… Read more »
Tom Martens
2 years 11 months ago

A’s are allowed to eat eggs, fish, chicken and turkey. The A diet is not about carbs and vegetarianism.

John Pilla
John Pilla
3 years 4 months ago

I am a Type O. However, years ago, before being health conscious, I dismissed this type of diet. Don’t know why, just a “gut” feeling. (Pun intended!). Glad to see a real honest review. Great post. Thanks!

Alison Golden
3 years 4 months ago

I’m type A and have looked at this several times in the past. I keep giving up with it because it recommends a mostly plant-based diet. I *have* noticed though that the foods I have the most problems with are on the “no” list for my type but overall I haven’t found it to be terribly helpful and like the above commenter have dismissed it in favor of paleo/Primal and self-observation.

Madeleine
3 years 4 months ago

I’m A neg and I’ve also looked into the blood type diet a few times too.
In some way it led me towards paleo/primal because it made me think about my ancestors and where I evolved from.
Although being a Northern European type, limited fish seems a bit odd.

Diane
Diane
3 years 4 months ago

Yes, being a Type O I have been following the diet, but I have been calling it the paleo or primal diet all this time. It works pretty well. I feel healthy, happy and strong.

Diana Moll
3 years 4 months ago

Yup, in my experience it seems to be the Os who benefit the most and the As are either not liking the vegetarianism of it or not doing all that much better. Everyone benefits from going gluten free, it’s a good first step into Paleo. (I’m an acupuncturist and do “gentle” diet recs )

Michelle
Michelle
3 years 4 months ago

I find it interesting that I am type O AND I am Coeliac. So I definitely benefited from a gluten free diet!
Its a shame that people think ‘gluten free’ alternatives like GF pasta are better for you. They are if you are coeliac, but their is virtually no nutritional value whatsoever.
It naturally became my first step to the Paleo diet, as going gluten free for me was about finding foods that are naturally gluten free, and avoiding GF foods that imitate a gluten containing product…. like bread

Ian
Ian
3 years 3 months ago

Type A+ and Coeliac – so completely wrong for me.

Interesting factoid: Type O is most common in UK as a whole but type A is most common in North East England – the area most impacted by the Vikings!
Type A is also most common in the Scandinavian countries ISTR.

Liz
Liz
3 years 3 months ago

It says As should avoid wheat.

Ian
Ian
3 years 3 months ago

@ Liz: Coeliacs should also avoid barley and rye as they can (and in my case do) trigger the immune response.
I also don’t do very well with oats or corn for that matter so the grains is right out – other than rice.

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[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: May 29, 2013 Mark’s Daily Apple – I get a lot of emails about the “Eat Right For Your Type” diet, also known as […]

Dan Westfahl
Dan Westfahl
3 years 4 months ago
My wife and I checked out one of those books from the library and tried to figure out what type we were with the physiological ratios. We measured our leg lengths and head shapes and all that. At the end of it all, we were underwhelmed. Neither of us fit squarely into a particular “type” and when we looked at the list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, it seemed overwhelmingly specific. My takeaway is that it seems likely that there are differences between people and how a diet will affect one person is different than how it… Read more »
Richard
Richard
3 years 4 months ago

And how about the few of us that have the rare blood type AB neg

Trish
Trish
3 years 4 months ago

You don’t get to eat at all. Bawhaaahaaa

Adam
Adam
3 years 4 months ago

The blood type thing sounds a bit silly, although I would imagine eating a paleo diet modified to better suit your genetic heritage is probably beneficial. As in someone from an Irish descent may do a bit better with some extra potatoes thrown in than others.

Jacob
Jacob
3 years 4 months ago

And us Scots can have some extra beer thrown in our diet right? 🙂

Adam
Adam
3 years 4 months ago

Perhaps, depending on the quality and type traditionally drank, and the dietary and lifestyle context its consumption occurs in.

Tim
Tim
3 years 4 months ago
mhikl
mhikl
3 years 3 months ago

Scotch, not beer, my fellow Scot.

BonzoGal
BonzoGal
3 years 4 months ago

Problem with that is, potatoes are not an “ancestral” food for the Irish. Potatoes were introduced from South America to Europe in the mid-1500s, not really all that long ago.

Adam
Adam
3 years 4 months ago

Ah, you are correct. I probably should have Googled it first. Nevertheless, I think that the general idea is still fairly plausible.

His Dudeness
His Dudeness
3 years 4 months ago

Actually, potatoes weren’t in the Irish diet until they were brought back from South America and made their way to Ireland.

Trish
Trish
3 years 4 months ago

Oh please no more potatoes am of Irish parents and bought up exclusively on them

Dave
Dave
3 years 3 months ago

I like the “genetic heritage” angle in principle. It makes sense to me. One problem is how far do you go back looking for dietary differences? How did an Asian diet of 20Kyears ago differ from a European one? Maybe some day we’ll have answers to those kinds of questions. In the mean time I’ve been hearing pro-grain people trying to convince us that paleolithic people ate grains, which makes me suspicious of ANY scientific results regarding ancient diets.

Cindi
Cindi
3 years 3 months ago

My family heritage is largely Irish and, curiously, both my mother and myself are allergic to nightshades, which include potatoes. Odd, eh? My blood type is O, though I never looked into the blood type diet.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 3 months ago

Potatoes weren’t native to Ireland only a few hundred years ago, so probably not. 🙂 They were introduced in the 1500s to Europe, not long enough, likely, to significantly adapt to a primarily potato-based diet. But in general, I agree with your premise. Those in ancestrally fishing societies probably do well on more fish and those with a lot of dairy in their ancestral diet probably could handle more dairy. Eskimos do well on an almost exclusively meat diet, while most of us would probably not do fabulously without any veggies at all.

Karen C.
Karen C.
3 years 4 months ago

I tried the blood type diet when it first came out, 10 or 15 years ago. I’m A+, so it had me eating little to no meat and lots of grains. I gained weight, esp. around my belly, and felt like crap.

One thing that really turned me off the “evidence” of blood type diet was when I learned that chimpanzees ALSO have ABO blood typing. That pretty much refutes any argument they might make about Type A arising from the advent of agriculture!

Kimberly
Kimberly
3 years 4 months ago
I also tried it when it first came out. But I’m an O, so it was a paleo/primal-style diet for me. But that’s all it was. A diet. So, I missed simple carbs too much, gave it up, and that was all she wrote. But I’ve been eating primal for about 2 years now. This isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle. And, for the first time in 19 years, I don’t have acne, migraines, constant back pain from scoliosis and post-traumatic fibromyalgia, depression, severe anxiety, fever blisters, daily headaches, almost constant nausea, or trouble sleeping. Plus, I’m producing some seriously… Read more »
Mary
Mary
3 years 4 months ago

Dogs (and probably many other animals) have different blood types. Does that mean they need to eat a type-specific diet also? Seems a little absurd.

carla
carla
2 years 11 months ago

Maybe they do. Maybe they would’nt get cancer than

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 4 months ago
I once had this book, and decided to do an N = 1 experiment on me & Hubby. Hubby’s a Type A, and his gout suggests he’d do well going vegetarian, so he did…right up until he kept getting meat cravings that would not be satisfied with extra B-12, iron, or TVP. (this was all before we’d even HEARD of Paleo or Primal) Since I’m a Type O, I tried eating his extensive lists of legumes, grains, etc., and that’s how I developed allergic reactions to them–most of them were alien to me (Adzuki beans, for example). I even employed… Read more »
Shannon Davis-George
Shannon Davis-George
3 years 4 months ago
I dealt with this, too! My husband is type A and refuses to follow a vegetarian diet. Since he also has collitis, that’s probably a good thing, since the vegetarian diet involves A LOT of soy products. I, on the other hand, am type O. And the idea of eating meat was a-okay in my book. What drove me nuts was that some of the things I really love but don’t eat often (cashews, anyone?) were not “allowed” in my blood type’s diet. So glad to see this post. The primal lifestyle is working so much better for me than… Read more »
Brandi
Brandi
3 years 3 months ago

As my uncle the crazy Pharmacist would tell you, gout is less a condition involved with meats and more about sugars and grains. He gave up both those but continued to eat red meats(oh no) and his gout went away.

Cyndi McFarland
Cyndi McFarland
3 years 4 months ago
My husband & I followed Eat Right 4 Your Type in 1998, then changed to Live Right 4 Your Type diet & exercise recommenations when that book came out – we have benefited so much. We saw a big difference in the way we felt when we changed our exercise methods based on our blood type & when we eat foods off the avoid list we do have a negative reaction. Sometimes the negative reaction is immediate after only one time eating the food & sometimes it only happens when the avoid food is eaten frequently over a short time.… Read more »
Jason Rojas
Jason Rojas
3 years 4 months ago

I am an 0+ and so are many in my family. All of us have found that we perform and feel better on a diet consisting of meat (at every meal), nuts, veggies, and little fruit. Beans do not seem to be problematic… at least in terms of blood sugar. We all are susceptible to sugar, alcohol, and grain induced migraines.

Bec
Bec
3 years 4 months ago
My Grandmother follows this diet religiously and its done wonderful things for her! She is Type O so I agree with the article’s conclusion – the strong benefits of Paleo are most likely the reason she’s seen success. Since it works so well for her, and she believes in it so much, there’s definitely a benefit to the diet for her! Through her journey I had a friend with Type A take up that diet and its been amazing for him! Going Vegan has been the best thing he’s ever done. Not sure I buy into the science, and these… Read more »
Kim
Kim
3 years 4 months ago
I have done well on the next generation of this diet and you have part of it wrong. The next generation or Geno type diet has some A’s eating meat because they need it. I am one of those types. If you checked into the software D’Adamo created you would know that you can put in all health info and other physical info and get a specific diet created for you. Explorers and Teachers can be blood type A and have to eat meat protein. This diet is more about avoiding certain foods that cause inflammation in the body. Please… Read more »
Dave
Dave
3 years 4 months ago

Explorers and Teachers? That sounds like even worse pseudo-science than the blood type thing, again drawing from the example of Japanese culture and the association of blood type with personality.

I think Mark was too kind to this diet. If it’s really this goofy, and exploiting people by playing to superstitious beliefs about personality types, then it deserves another article.

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
3 years 4 months ago

I agree, Dave. Mark has to walk a fine line and not put people down. But come on! Explorers and Teachers? Does the software have a Slacker option? Stupid.

Kenny
Kenny
3 years 3 months ago

Nope, no slackers, which FORCED me to choose paleo. Man, the worst thing you can do to a slacker is force them by offering no other alternative. 😉

Liz
Liz
3 years 3 months ago

The category names are simply nicknames meant to satisfy people who can’t easily deal with the complexity of the new theory w/out simple titles.

If you can and would like to, the statistical observations/analysis that define each group are on the genotype diet website. A background in genetics would help, but isn’t necessarily required.

Liz
Liz
3 years 3 months ago
Yes, the updated Genotype theory takes additional factors into acct – the creator of the A, B, AB, O theory calls this more basic info outdated. One problem is, the average person wants quick, easily categorizable info, which blood type theory provides. The genotype diet is quite nuanced. It takes thought and some time consuming analysis to determine what group you’re said to fall into. For example, type A-‘s, O-‘s and B-‘s are more likely to fall into a higher meat eating group than A+’s, but many other physical attributes (incisor shape, skull shape, limb bone lengths) are also key… Read more »
mhikl
mhikl
3 years 3 months ago

Kim, you sound like you a) listen to your body signals, b) willingly think out side the box, c) understand that rare is the rule that applies to everyone. You will do well with such an arsenal.

M
M
3 years 4 months ago
My Dad was suffering from gout as well as excess weight, even though he ate a lot of fruits and veg, not that many grains, and goes to the gym regularly. I read up on the blood type stuff and did some research through my university library access. I found that much of what the blood type diet book was correct. The most important thing I found was that inflammatory responses are different according to blood type, so I then understood why he, as a Type A, was getting gout. So, I gave him a list of foods to try… Read more »
Richard
3 years 3 months ago

This is so true for me as well. I’ve had spirts of gout and am Type A. After some crazy research I adjusted my diet from 70% meat to 20% meat. Sorry I just love meat. However, increased my veggie intake to 70%, eat crazy amounts of Cherries and Stawberrys (a good source of anthocyanins to reduce risk of gout). I now have not had gout returned, lost 18 pounds and feel great 🙂

Mark
Mark
3 years 4 months ago

About a decade ago a coworker tried to talk me into the Blood Type Diet. I did some research and I found a critical review that said it was no more scientific than a Bellybutton Type Diet. Are you an Innie or an Outie?

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 4 months ago

I’m an In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby…don’t you know that’s it true!

Dave
Dave
3 years 4 months ago

Japanese culture has a lot of pseudo-science about blood types, so I was immediately skeptical that the blood type diet wasn’t more of the same. The cynic in me even wonders if it wasn’t inspired by it: Japan provides the example that some people are gullible for blood type pseudo-science, and a “lightbulb” goes off suggesting that Westerners might fall for the same thing if it’s turned into a “diet”.

Momto3
3 years 4 months ago

I tried the blood type diet back when the book came out. I’m type O so I did well on it. I don’t remember why I came away from it. I’ve been primal for three years and loving it.
The most I interesting thing in this article is type O and H Pylori. I recently was treated for this and I am feeling so much better after a lifetime of digestive issues. Getting rid of grains, legumes & h pylori has made my life much more enjoyable!

Dani
3 years 4 months ago

I’ve been interested in this for so long. Thanks for clearing it up!

Laurel
Laurel
3 years 4 months ago
I was a vegetarian for ten years, eventually suffering from bad blood suger swings. About 15 years ago a naturopath told me to eat for my blood type — and it changed my life. I am “O”, so that meant eating meat. I thrived when I introduced meat, and likely simultaneously reduced grains. Now that I eat primally, I can see why it made such a difference. Mark’s explanation makes sense and alters my understanding of that dietary turning point that felt so drastic — and which I then attributed to be due to my blood type, when it was… Read more »
Colette
Colette
3 years 4 months ago
I’m A blood type and have followed the BTD and I’m a believer in it. Beef is an avoid for me and if I have it then it binds me up and I pay for it. Years of digestive health issues ended when I cut the “avoid” list of foods out of my diet. The occasional consumption of those foods and their effects convinces me that there is some truth behind the diet. I also combine the BTD with the Genotype Diet and SWAMI software which expands the food lists. I don’t think it’s a diet that can be strictly… Read more »
Bee
Bee
3 years 4 months ago

Collette, can u explain more about swami? An ND does it near me and I’m curious about it. I had my genes tested thru 23andme and wonder how this program might help…. Or is it a gimmick? I would love more details about it

Colette
Colette
3 years 3 months ago
It’s money out of pocket to test your secretor status under the BTD and more money for the kit to figure out your Genotype. If you’ve already done those things then plugging the data into the SWAMI software (an additional expense to buy) just considers both diets together to give you a lengthy report with food lists. The SWAMI software also asks other questions about your personal and family medical history to further categorize foods that are beneficial or to be avoided, for instance, if you have high cholesterol, or joint problems, etc. I accomplished a food list without the… Read more »
Tom
3 years 4 months ago
My wife was diagnosed with Lupus over 20 years ago. Her immune system is overly sensitive. She eats a very strict diet with no processed foods. She is a type A, non secretor. We noticed very quickly that when she stays away from the foods listed as “Avoid”, her immune system remains normal. However, eating any variety of oranges results in strange inflammation of joints. Other Avoid foods produce equally strange symptoms. I have noticed that many of the foods listed as avoid for type O do not “agree” with me (pork for example) and I do my best not… Read more »
Susan
Susan
3 years 4 months ago

Would like to hear your take on the importance of “secretor status” and “genotype” in determining the diet. The EF4YT folks have moved on and now say that secretor status and genotype are more important than blood type in determining appropriate diet.

Walter sasiadek
3 years 4 months ago
Thanks as always for your articles and opinions. I think it’s a pile BS. I was 231 LBS. In 2.5 years I’m now 181 and counting. I eat mostly Primal BUT 2 days a week I let loose. Not crazy but I eat what I want and add non-Primal. 5 days a week, I restrict my calories to 1700 a day and Intermittent Fast for 18-19 hours. All my health markers are excellent! I’m B+ blood type and read the pdf. – Bull—t. I eat so many things they say not to and zero happens. Also the nonsense at the… Read more »
Karen M
Karen M
3 years 4 months ago

My thoughts too. When I first heard of the blood type diet, I immediately thought this was a gimmick diet. I still feel the same way. I did enjoy the way you worded it though! ; )

ST
ST
3 years 3 months ago

Glad to hear it from you man. I am B+ too, and have been suffering from many health issues my whole life (low energy, insomnia, digestive etc.) and it ACTUALLY helps when I start to follow BTD. I think when you don’t have any health issues like me you can probably eat whatever you want. Btw you are B+, so quitting grains and legumes probably help a bit (so as meat eating). I chose to follow this diet because I know I have a (intuitive) liking for dairy, lamb, beef and wild meat in general haha

Brian S
Brian S
3 years 4 months ago
Hi Folks: I started the non-secretor O blood type diet before Paleo. I’m 33 and lived most of my life in a fog being raised in a dysfunctional alcoholic family… so some of this is surely psycho/emotional… and when I started the O diet… following it with discipline… I had a 3 day stretch where I was so grounded, confident and solid I was blown away! It was as if I was the guy I always wanted to be and know I am deep down. Given I live in more anxiety, mania and depression, and have most of my entire… Read more »
Steve
3 years 4 months ago
For people with severe physical health or mental health issues.. combining the paleo with the blood type diet is ideal… When you swallow the food… your gut bacteria instantly reacts with what you’re consuming… and if it is against type… inflammation occurs as well as as a somewhat addictive adrenaline response… I’ve come to agree that grains are almost universally not good for people… so following the paleo diet Mark talks about is great…. but then refine the foods according to blood type for further improvements… It takes people to radically lose their health to be open minded enough and… Read more »
Brian
Brian
3 years 4 months ago
Hi Steve: I liked what you just wrote. It makes sense to me having a pretty severe version of my challenges. I was a vegan for 13 years… 3 years of that raw/vegan… and while it worked in the beginning I got caught in an eating disorder like cycle of cleaning. That is where the psycho/emotional comes in. This seems to drive the addictions and doing things that aren’t healthy/don’t work. The diet helps and it can also be turned into a way of punishing oneself even with the purest of food like Mark writes about in his book. These… Read more »
Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 3 months ago
I’m O, and brought up with a similar family type, Brian S.. I found WAPF then primal but would never go back to even WAPF grain-soaking much less SAD, so densely thick, SO bad was the brain-fog/anxiety etc. with any grains at all. I had an acquaintance a while back at a playgroup who raved about my baking and hinted broadly my guest dinners would be amazing- turns out she was on the O-type BTD and raved about what it’d done for her entire system. I was encouraging when she said wheat and grains were history, but her husband- a… Read more »
Karen
Karen
3 years 3 months ago
Brian, I’m a Type O/Paleo and I don’t have a success story to share, but am wondering whether to incorporate BTD with Paleo and your story seems similar to mine (living most of my life in a fog, dysfunctional alcoholic family…) and so I have a few questions, if you wouldn’t mind. What’s a non-secretor and how did you find out you are one? Do you avoid coconut, avocado, etc., as BTD recommends? Though I eat mostly Paleo I don’t feel as amazing as most people who eat that way seem to. I read the original BTD book but have… Read more »
Patrick
Patrick
3 years 3 months ago

Karen, as an O type I find avocado helps with depression, quite dramatically so, so I’m just throwing that in fwiw. Most previous generations in my family going back to the late 1800’s were alcoholics, functioning but always dying of the direct complications caused by it. I suspect among other things an omega oil imbalance of some kind which is apparently common in northern European people, along with parental modelling that evenings = drink and all the usual stuff.

Karen
Karen
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks, Patrick, that’s very helpful!

Brian
Brian
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Karen: I recommend the Live Right for Your Type book by Peter D’Adamo. This combines his first book Eat Right for Your Type better and cover secretor status. You can order the testing kit through peter D’Adamo’s website. It is a one time test and will let you know whether you are a secretor or not. Basically there are people who secrete and don’t secrete their blood type antigens into their fluids. Those who don’t tend to have weakened immunity and more troubles not secretrting means your immune system isn’t take care of this stuff as efficiently as someone… Read more »
Karen
Karen
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks for your very thoughtful answer, Brian, I appreciate it! I have done lots of inner work but you’re right – I do sometimes think of all this as “fixing” myself so it’s good to be aware of that. And it makes sense that no matter how “clean” I eat, mindset has a lot to do with how I feel physically. So, onward and upward, I’ll just continue to do my best and stop trying to fix myself! Thanks again.

Brian
Brian
3 years 3 months ago
Karen, You are welcome and I just had my naturopath doc who introduced me to Paleo tell me how critical it is that I get psycho/emotional help to heal and recover from the abandonment I endured growing up. I wish that a perfect diet would just magically turn me into “the man”, but my experience is that feeling like “the man”… grounded, solid, passionate and confudent has come more out or emotional growth and expressing buried rage from having my boundaries violated has made me feel better than any diet. I’ll continue to eat best based on my O type… Read more »
navoff
navoff
3 years 4 months ago

I’d say that since most of the blood types specifically state to not eat wheat, that any benefit they derive is probably from eliminating that from their diet. The rest is horse doo doo. It was once suggested at a chiropractor’s office that I should start this diet. I looked at the list of foods I wasn’t suppose to eat (which included a lot of my favorite fruits and veggies) and said ‘no thanks’.

Elena
Elena
3 years 4 months ago

I´m a type A and just the “no meat, limited fish” made me go heeeeeeell no!
I love fish and seafood. I did have a problem with sigesting beef but it went away, like magic, along other disgestive issuses once I excluded all grains from my diet. 🙂

mims
mims
3 years 4 months ago

you should look at the genotype diet. I am A, and follow the warrior guidelines and eat alot of fish, shellfish and turkey.

David
3 years 4 months ago

I noticed some time back, that my patients who were type O did better than the other types at dropping weight and improving energy. So I decided to try it, me being a type A. Darned if I didn’t drop some pounds, have less pain, improve my blood fats profile and inflammation markers, sleep better, etc. It started me on a search which eventually brought me to Paleo / Primal lifestyle and eating plans, as an applied Functional Medicine format. Diggin’ yer site, Mr. Sisson. Keep up the brilliant work.

Jenn
Jenn
3 years 4 months ago

For heaven’s sake, these people are quacks through and through. I picked up their book years ago, before I found Primal living, and they suggested that the peanut is a good nut for me.

Wait… What?

Peanuts are legumes, beans. If they are SO flawed in their knowledge of nutrition that a peanut is a nut to them then I don’t need to taking any of their advice.

kcropsey
kcropsey
3 years 4 months ago

Looked into this years ago and even own the cookbook. The reason I haven’t tossed it is because the recipes for Type O are really good paleo recipes.

Kevin
Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

A wonderfully well written article Mark. Thanks for writing!

mims
mims
3 years 4 months ago
I followed blood type diet ten years ago (Type A) with great results. I was convinced by my chiropractor 5 years ago to go the Nourishing traditions/Weston Price approach and did so for three years. I gained 30 pounds, developed joint pain, rosacea and asthma. I was eating alot foods that were no-nos according to my blood type diet. (Dairy, bone broth, red meat, etc.) Two years ago I went back to the Genotype diet…I am clearly a Warrior and that is Blood Type A diet with fish and turkey, few grains, some beans, lots of plant material, soy and… Read more »
Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 3 months ago

Curious. Really interesting Mims.

Andy
Andy
3 years 27 days ago

Great Testimony, I so believe that one persons food can be one persons poison and one persons vitamin/mineral/herb can be one persons poison and what works for one may not work for thee other and may make the third person worse. I support Dr.D’Adamo all the way because I tried a lot of diets and eating real organic food with each one and none of them worked. But when I started eating right for my Blood Type/Geno Type everything fell into place.

Melissa
Melissa
3 years 4 months ago

I tried the blood type diet, and put my blood sugar on the roller coaster ride of its life. It was awful. The animal protein and fat recommendations were entirely inadequate, and the legumes and grain recommendations wreaked havoc on my health. Paleo is superior in every way.

James
3 years 4 months ago

This is one of the first books I read and practiced before I found MDA. It just didn’t work for me.

Renee
Renee
3 years 4 months ago

I went on the blood type diet a few years ago which led me to Paleo. Guess I’m glad I found the diet. It really worked well in the fact that it does eliminate processed food. It made the change to Paleo quite easy. I get to eat more stuff on Paleo. Type O’s shouldn’t eat pork. That was my biggest issue. I still always ate pork.

Matthew
Matthew
3 years 4 months ago

So we have graduated from thinking the bumps on our head mean something (phrenology) to the bumps on our blood cells mean something. I think the same people just found a microscope. haha

Allie
Allie
3 years 4 months ago

I read the blood type diet book many years ago. I have type O blood. I have found that I am sensitive to the major foods that he says are not good for O’s including the coconut oil. Hence I do great on paleo/primal diet.

MsJob
MsJob
3 years 4 months ago
The blood type diet saved my life 13 years ago. I was a vegetarian Blood Type O non-secretor. Menstrual pain, joint pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, skin problems, fatigue all got better or was eliminated. I am not totally strict with it now, but was tested positive for celiac’s disease and never have gluten. It is a bummer that the BTD suggested soy as substitute for dairy – and now, as is common for O’s, I am hypothyroid. My husband is a type A non-secretor and does well on grains and very little meat. I now soak his grains and beans… Read more »
Stef
3 years 4 months ago

I looked into the blood type diet and metabolic type diet before I found Paleo/Primal. Being type A I am currently thriving on the complete opposite of what is recommended by the blood type diet. If I eat too many carbs, I crave snacks all day (even too many fruits/veg). I’m doing my best ever with low carbs and high fat. Not thinking about food all day, never snacking between meals (don’t need it anymore)…so, blood type diet gets an F in my book. 🙂

Chadwick
Chadwick
3 years 4 months ago
Generalities like the Blood Type diet includes some specifics but only enough to make it seem like there is something to it. It is like reading a horoscope. Blood type studies would be very interesting if there were any way to link blood type and the way food is processed in the body, but it is easier to market something that sounds plausible and gives people a sense of control over their lives than it is to research everything that needs to be researched. I have to include the universal constant: Entropy. Everything “dies” or gets “diseased” or whatever we… Read more »
jenk
jenk
3 years 4 months ago
In 1998 Eat Right 4 Your Type was the first book to get me to question (CW and SAD) my diet, the first thing I read that said to ditch the grains, and my first stepping stone on the way to primal, so I appreciate it for that. It was also the first time I made the connection with diet to not only my body, but also to my brain. I followed it on and off for years with fair results (o+) until I read Wheat Belly and The Primal Blueprint/MDA in 2011 and decided that grains truely weren’t meant… Read more »
katie
katie
3 years 4 months ago

I had never given this diet a second thought and have been primal for the last two years. After looking at the PDF for my blood type (A), it makes so much sense. The foods that are supposed to cause distress (red meat, dairy, almonds) really do have a negative effect on me. Although this blog post was supposed to debunk the blood type diet, it may have had the opposite effect on me.

Bill Kropp
3 years 4 months ago
Years back when I first decided to get in shape my mom was reading “Eat Right For Your Blood Type.” The very next week my wife was off to see her very well know Naturpatic MD and she mentioned to the Dr that I was reading that book. It was a normal day at the office there, lines all over the place. At 10:30 after already being there about 1 1/2 hrs I was deeply regretting going along for the ride and was closely watching the door. To my surprise when the Dr emerged with my wife I now had… Read more »
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