Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 May

Does Your Blood Type Determine Your Optimal Diet?

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!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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. :)

    Jacob wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I’m going on the vampire diet and consuming all blood types.

      Count. wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • LIKE

        Ginny wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • Second!

          Wenchypoo wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • :)

        Norma wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • Please add me to list

        wildgrok wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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!

          Diana wrote on May 30th, 2013
      • Bahahaha!

        Jme wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • Four! Four Blood Types, hah hah hah!

        Joanne wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • : )

        Madama Butterfry wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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 out all the crap and allows you to focus on what really matters.

      animal wrote on May 30th, 2013
      • 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 loosely.

        Besides the fact that it was a HUGE challenge to organize food for our varied blood types, I did manage and now know that I can do ANYTHING if I set my mind to it. When people give me excuses for not being able to keep up with their personal responsibilities then I KNOW they haven’t pushed their limits. Try eating for your blood type for two years and then get back to me…

        With wonderful results: my joint pain reduced, but my daughters’ symptoms still persisted. I felt frustrated with the lack of medical support except for offers of medication so I opted to try the ALCAT test for both of us.

        So now, March 2013, I have taken it further and did the ALCAT test which is a blood test that tests individual food intolerance & sensitivities. I prefer this approach because it takes the guess work out and narrows the focus onto the individual, not the group.
        I also like it more because it is about reintroducing foods gradually so as not to be avoiding foods for life, unless there is a true allergy.
        Eating the same foods all the time, even if they are beneficial can cause a level of toxicity in the body.

        An interesting element that I had never heard of before is that for optimal absorption and to safe-guard against future problems, we should attempt to eat our food based on a four day rotational diet. Which means to not eat the same foods for four days.
        Now give that one a go!
        It can be hard enough not eating the same food two days in a row!
        Anyhow, I’m on a roll with this and though it requires a tremendous amount of planning and organizing, I am beginning to get a handle on it and LOVE it.
        My kids and I are eating more variety of foods than ever.

        check it out: alcat (dot) com
        I’ve started a new website called youasacook(dot)com which will record my experiment with eating this way.

        Anon wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • cool – looking forward to seeing how you make this all happen!

          Diana wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • Great informative response thanks!

          carla wrote on October 19th, 2013
    • 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

      Barbara-Helen Hill wrote on May 31st, 2013
    • 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 into your body, my suggestion, keep an eating journal and document how you feel after certain foods are consumed.

      michelle wrote on September 19th, 2013
    • 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 the diet works because I have eliminated sugars (sweets), breads, red meats (but I do eat turkey which is allowed), and dairy products but sometimes all you need is a health diet like this which keeps you on the correct path of eating healthy.

      Ron wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • 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?

      PeteH wrote on September 21st, 2013
      • 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 salt. The more you eat your living-enzyme-rich vegetables, the more your body will crave them. Dead vegetables are no more good for you than a doughnut.

        Geri L wrote on February 18th, 2014
        • 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!

          Chris S wrote on March 10th, 2014
        • 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 kinds are deficient in K2 and in turn so are we.

          As for your blood type genotype: your parents’ blood types may help you narrow it down or if you have children and know their blood types. Google how to use Punnett Squares to see the likely hood of inheriting certain genes. O is a recessive trait, and both A and B are dominant.

          So, if both your parents have A type blood then you won’t know for sure what your genotype is, since either one can have either AO or AA gene combinations. But if one of your parents has type O (OO) then you know for sure you are AO since the O type parent can only have donated an O gene.

          Geri L wrote on March 10th, 2014
        • 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.

          traci shrader wrote on March 15th, 2014
      • 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…

        tiarza wrote on April 6th, 2014
  2. According to this, my type B can do dairy. According to my body, I cannot. Nope, no blood type diet for me.

    Kellie Dawson wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • And what will they come up with next, a diet based on body shape? Oops, they already tried that one too!

      Nocona wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Ryan J wrote on May 30th, 2013
      • 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.

        carla wrote on October 19th, 2013
      • 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.

        Geri L wrote on March 10th, 2014
    • 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.

      Dr. Sara Chase wrote on June 2nd, 2013
      • Dr. Peter D’Adamo states that the blood types are determined by your gut microbiota (enterotypes). And it makes sense.

        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.

        Gemma wrote on May 28th, 2014
    • Have you tried raw dairy? There’s a huge difference between that and pasteurized/homogenized.

      Andri wrote on June 4th, 2013
    • 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. If you notice any other problems foods eliminate them and you’ll do just fine.

      Tom Martens wrote on October 24th, 2013
  3. It’s one of those things that sounds nice but probably doesn’t hold water.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Study the science behind the diet before coming to such uninformed conclusions.

      Dr. Sara Chase wrote on June 2nd, 2013
      • Right on doc!

        carla wrote on October 19th, 2013
    • 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.

      Tom Martens wrote on October 24th, 2013
      • 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 lists don’t match. For example, in the link in this article, Lima Beans caused agglutenation for blood types B and AB, but on the blood type PDF’s linked to in this article, Lima Beans were “Most compatible with your type” for type B and “Always avoid” for tupe AB. And while Lima Beans caused no agglutenation for types A and O on the blood type PDF, for type A they’re “Always avoid” and for type O they’re “Use moderately.”

        b2curious wrote on October 25th, 2013
  4. Once I ate the wrong kind of food for my blood type and I turned into a newt.

    Steve wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • “A newt?!”

      “Well….I got better…”

      Sorry…Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference…

      Jacob wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • +1 shrubbery

        Tim wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • Ni

          Tom B-D wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • That’s better than turning into a Gingrich!

          Nocona wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

          Andrea wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • Omg. This thread totally made my day.

          Ashtromanius wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • HAHAHA! Love it!

          Mariah wrote on May 27th, 2014
    • That does mean you got a mistress and got fatter?

      henrybemis wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • +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).


      Cranberry wrote on May 30th, 2013
  5. 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 close to what i am eating. My husband (type A) is not “on board” with the blood type diet so i have him on a primal diet. I figure getting rid of the grains can’t hurt!

    Amy wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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?

      Robyn wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      b2curious wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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.

        Bridget wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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 (I’m Bridgette) to look into it. :)

          b2curious wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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.

          mhikl wrote on May 31st, 2013
    • 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.

      Karen M wrote on May 29th, 2013
  6. 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 I was introduced to Paleo lifestyle. I’ve thought about it some lately as it still comes up and I’ve now learned that I actually thrive on a higher intake of meat and fat than many people. Honestly I think my body would be thrilled if I fed it nothing but fatty meat and piles of green vegetables (but as a foodie I would not find that emotionally satisfying.) IF the blood type diet has any credence at all then it would make sense that Type A is actually the oldest and my carnivorous body has an excuse. But I don’t need any excuse to eat what digests the most easily and gives me the best energy and calm demeanor.

    Kristin wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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).

      Aaron wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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 CRACK. Fast forward 2 years: I NEED to eat meat (and lots of fat). My body knows it. I don’t need to eat lots of carbs. I really really wish the media would stop spreading crappy advice around to all the poor type As and Bs and ABs out there.

        Robyn wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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.

          Kelda wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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 trouble with this and other grains and other plant foods.

          I’d be curious how an A blood Paleo diet based upon D’Adamo’s plan using chicken, fish and possibly eggs might work when grains, legumes and other high starch foods are abandoned. I know Mr Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) eats a high fat, moderate/high? protein, low carb diet. He is of A blood type. He is younger, leaner and better exercises than I, yet I have superior blood specs. My five younger siblings eat a fairly good diet based upon the food pyramid, avoid animal fats, use vegetable oils. Two do partake of fast foods and one has diabetes. The other three mostly avoid over-processed foods. These three have fairly good blood specs, but mine are far superior: cholesterol 4.3, ultra low, low density; triglycerides 0.9 mmol/L. I feel that if we can learn to listen to our bodies we do best. There is no easy, single answer for all.

          mhikl wrote on May 31st, 2013
        • A’s are allowed to eat eggs, fish, chicken and turkey. The A diet is not about carbs and vegetarianism.

          Tom Martens wrote on October 24th, 2013
  7. 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!

    John Pilla wrote on May 29th, 2013
  8. 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.

    Alison Golden wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Madeleine wrote on May 29th, 2013
  9. 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.

    Diane wrote on May 29th, 2013
  10. 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 )

    Diana Moll wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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

      Michelle wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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.

        Ian wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • It says As should avoid wheat.

          Liz wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • @ 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.

          Ian wrote on May 30th, 2013
  11. 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 will affect another person. It would be great if we could somehow determine scientifically what the best diet for a given physiology would be. However, it seemed unlikley to me that blood type is the best indicator.

    Dan Westfahl wrote on May 29th, 2013
  12. And how about the few of us that have the rare blood type AB neg

    Richard wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • You don’t get to eat at all. Bawhaaahaaa

      Trish wrote on May 29th, 2013
  13. 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.

    Adam wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • And us Scots can have some extra beer thrown in our diet right? :)

      Jacob wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      BonzoGal wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • Ah, you are correct. I probably should have Googled it first. Nevertheless, I think that the general idea is still fairly plausible.

        Adam wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Actually, potatoes weren’t in the Irish diet until they were brought back from South America and made their way to Ireland.

      His Dudeness wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Oh please no more potatoes am of Irish parents and bought up exclusively on them

      Trish wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Dave wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Cindi wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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.

      Sarah wrote on June 4th, 2013
  14. 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!

    Karen C. wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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 nutritious breastmilk.

      Kimberly wrote on May 29th, 2013
  15. 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.

    Mary wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Maybe they do. Maybe they would’nt get cancer than

      carla wrote on October 19th, 2013
  16. 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 the WAPF method of soaking grains and beans overnight in an acid solution…to no avail. I was still having reactions.

    I even went so far as to make a list of foods both blood types had in common, and focusing on them–HA! There were so few foods, it wasn’t worth the bother.

    It was far easier to just eliminate these foods from our diet than it was to jockey around with different types for different people. The Paleo and Primal diets also have offenders in them for us, but the common denominator is MEAT–meat that isn’t broken down by species or blood type. And according to several people who seem to have done their homework, you can get pretty much all the nutrients you need from organ meats and bone broth, so who needs the other foods?

    What do you do when this diet recommends a Type A eat meats he can’t stand, or meat he’s allergic to (like fish), or a Type O is allergic to half the foods on the “must eat” list? You ditch the book and look for something else, and that’s exactly what I did.

    Wenchypoo wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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 the blood type diet idea ever did. Now, I think I’m gonna go find me some cashews. :)

      Shannon Davis-George wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Brandi wrote on May 30th, 2013
  17. 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.
    My blood type is B & my husband’s O. I’m more sensitive to my avoid foods than he is to his.
    There are very few avoid foods that we don’t have a reaction to. It might be because we have been sticking to the diet since the late ’90’s

    Cyndi McFarland wrote on May 29th, 2013
  18. 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.

    Jason Rojas wrote on May 29th, 2013
  19. 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 two cases could just be coincidence that their Type diet fit with their physiology, but there’s definitely room to research!

    Bec wrote on May 29th, 2013
  20. 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 get your facts straight.

    Kim wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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.

      Dave wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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.

        Pure Hapa wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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. 😉

          Kenny wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • 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 wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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 determiners.

      In short, the new categories (teacher, explorer, hunter, etc) cross blood type lines, but blood type is a heavily weighted factor.

      Liz wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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.

      mhikl wrote on May 31st, 2013
  21. 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 to stick to, but allowed him to deviate a little bit because he loves meat. His gout was gone within a week and he immediately started to lose weight. He lost over 28lbs and is now stuck at a good weight for his size. He says he feel great. He has also stopped getting digestive problems which he had on and off ever since he had cancer treatment about ten years ago.

    M wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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 :)

      Richard wrote on May 30th, 2013
  22. 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?

    Mark wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I’m an In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby…don’t you know that’s it true!

      Nocona wrote on May 29th, 2013
  23. 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”.

    Dave wrote on May 29th, 2013
  24. 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!

    Momto3 wrote on May 29th, 2013
  25. I’ve been interested in this for so long. Thanks for clearing it up!

    Dani wrote on May 29th, 2013
  26. 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 most likely a result of moving closer to primal and away from what can often be a “pastatarian” diet more than a vegetarian diet. I can now revise my blood type story about the day I stopped being a vegetarian.

    Laurel wrote on May 29th, 2013
  27. 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 followed without consideration of other diet principles, such as those found in the Maker’s Diet and the Body Ecology diet. Healthy eating is really not very restrictive. When you experience the health differences of consuming one food versus another then it’s easy to abandon old eating habits. Interestingly, the BTD lists pork as avoid for all types, just as the Maker’s Diet does. Under the BTD, the avoids are the same as consuming poison. Beneficial foods are like medicine, right in line with Hippocrates’ philosophy, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. I never want to be so spoiled again that I eat whatever tastes good; it just does not make for a healthy life. I’m always a giver of platelets and recently a kidney donor, so, I have got great blood! I attribute my good health largely in part to the BTD.

    Colette wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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

      Bee wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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 software by comparing the two diets, but the software came out with foods that I otherwise would have not considered. For example, cheddar cheese is an avoid, but SWAMI showed me that colby cheese, which is actually a very mild cheddar, was a neutral food and ok to have in my diet. (I’m A type nonsecretor & Teacher genotype.) So… I don’t think it’s a gimmick, but Dr. D’Adamo must be making a lot of money off all this stuff! If you incorporate the BTD at its basic level and find it beneficial (I did) then I think it’s worth it to venture into incorporating other aspects. After following the guidelines of the BTD for a few years and correcting digestive health issues, I was still bothered by blemished skin which was aggravating as a woman in her 30s so I wanted to fine tune my food lists. I’m 40 now. Some of the trigger foods for my acne happen to be avoids under SWAMI. When I don’t eat healthy and according to my SWAMI then it shows in how I feel AND how I look. I’m convinced that there’s truth behind the program and I’m a curious individual who has bought lots of books and tried all the diets just to see what works. So, as I mentioned already, there are still other health protocols to consider besides what D’Adamo sells when adapting a personalized eating plan.

        Colette wrote on May 29th, 2013
  28. 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 to eat them no matter how “natural” or paleo they may seem to be. I definitely notice a difference. I think there is more to the recommendations than meets the eye even though much of it seems counter-intuitive. I find many people have found by experience that they tend to already avoid many foods on the Avoid list for their blood type. Anyone eating paleo who still has lingering health issues should definitely experiment with the blood type guidelines.

    Tom wrote on May 29th, 2013
  29. 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.

    Susan wrote on May 29th, 2013
  30. 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 top of the chart along the lines of “if you experience any of these …” is a sham. They could put in, ‘If you scratch your butt then you may be prone to disease.

    Another BS hype that someone is making $ on.

    Walter sasiadek wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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! ; )

      Karen M wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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

      ST wrote on June 11th, 2013
  31. 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 life, that was proof in the pudding for me there is something to the blood type diet and paleo based approach. I recently adopted Paleo because I knew it was compatible with the O diet I use foundationally..

    After living in a fog for over 30 years of my life that says a lot.This is my experience and would love to hear about how this is for other O’s who have also integrated the blood type diet with Paleo!

    Brian S wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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 willing to take these approaches. (as many blood type advocates have had to have a health crisis to be willing to try it consistently)

      Some people may complain about losing energy when improving their diet..(giving up grains, eating less often..etc). but its called giving their endocrine system a rest.. after all.. it sure is better than cancer, heart disease and autoimmune diseases which are created within our body to force us to STOP.

      Steve wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • 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 issues in my experience started moving for me when I began exploring psycho/emotional rooted causes for why I was overeating and not eating well in the first place.

        Some of it surely is blood type and diet related, but they seem to play off each other in my experience. Like sticking with my best diet for me helps me avoid emotional pitfalls and confronting feelings and owning them also cuts out the suppression of truth that leads to wanting to numb out by overeating fruit, grains, alcohol or many forms of sugar.


        Brian wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • 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 different blood type- apparently chowed down breads at every turn. He didn’t look half so well as she.
      I mentioned this to my partner after we bumped in to them at the local farmers market months and months ago now, and he came up with a typically cynical (conspiracy-style) view to do with the BTD; perhaps they (“They”) are encouraging a certain type of blood type, a sort of opportunistic genocide… Think what you will. It seemed a curious and interesting thought to entertain at the time.
      I believe the primal principles are the very best way to go though, regardless of their differing names or how or where found.

      Madama Butterfry wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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 not implemented its suggestions mostly because I’m weary of dietary experimentation – I’ve spent years adjusting my diet (eating this, not that) with only moderate success. I’m mostly looking for emotional/mental relief – I’m happy with my weight. I know we each have our own journeys but I’d be interested to hear how “strict” you are with the BTD – especially as it applies to the Avoids. Thanks!

      Karen wrote on May 30th, 2013
      • 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.

        Patrick wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • Thanks, Patrick, that’s very helpful!

          Karen wrote on May 30th, 2013
      • 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 who does secrete their antigens into their blood.

        For me avocados and coconut (oil only) are beneficial being an O non-secretor.

        I also don’t get as much traction as I would like with diet and sticking with it helps. In my experience it is the emotional congestion at root. If you’re like me you may need get the rage out and get psycho/emotional support. Depression is rage turned inward on oneself where a boundary that needed to be set wasn’t. Otherwise diet just becomes another way we try to “fix” ourselves and make perfect. Don’t get my wrong it is part of it, but when people try so much with diet like I have with minimal traction it points to psycho/emotional. And if you were raised in the nightmare of alcoholism you may not be able to just bio-chem or diet away the needs and feelings.

        Hope that makes sense and let me know if you have any other questions Karen? Thanks for reachin’ out!


        Brian wrote on May 30th, 2013
        • 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.

          Karen wrote on May 31st, 2013
        • 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 and paleo cuz it clicks… but the psycho/emotive growth is the way to reclaim myself in the ways I wish for to serve my dreams of heart!

          Cheers and best to you Karen!

          Brian wrote on May 31st, 2013
  32. 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’.

    navoff wrote on May 29th, 2013
  33. 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. :-)

    Elena wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • you should look at the genotype diet. I am A, and follow the warrior guidelines and eat alot of fish, shellfish and turkey.

      mims wrote on May 29th, 2013
  34. 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.

    David wrote on May 29th, 2013
  35. 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.

    Jenn wrote on May 29th, 2013
  36. 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.

    kcropsey wrote on May 29th, 2013
  37. A wonderfully well written article Mark. Thanks for writing!

    Kevin wrote on May 29th, 2013
  38. 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 no fermented foods. I lost the weight and the asthma and roasacea cleared soon too.

    18 months ago, after discovering MDA, I tried paleo for a year: adding back the red meat, organ meat, bone broth, coconut oil, bacon, etc and fermented foods and cut way back on carbs trying to stay below 150 grams a day. It did not work for me. I pretty quickly gained ten pounds and my rosacea flared up and I felt crappy all the time. So I am back to a modified paleo diet concentrating these last 6 months on choices appropriate to my genotype, lost 15 pounds and feel great.

    SInce then I got a blood test that indicated I have the genotype that does well on very low fat diets: it made sense why I never could seem to get my metabolism to become fat adapted. I think even a few mutations in your genes can make what seems like small dietary changes make a profound difference in your health. Look at folks with PKU. I do miss my daily kefir water and sauerkraut though.

    I have heard Peter D’Adamo lecture to physicians and the science (which does not make it into the mass market books) seems pretty solid to me. Of course you can make anything sound good if you selectively highlight the research. But I do think there is not one diet that fits all and think many people could benefit something from this approach. All the blood type diets revolve around real food, you cannot follow the diet and be eating packaged junk.

    mims wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Curious. Really interesting Mims.

      Madama Butterfry wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • 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.

      Andy wrote on September 2nd, 2013
  39. 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.

    Melissa wrote on May 29th, 2013

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