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?

bloodcellsI 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. 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.

    Renee wrote on May 29th, 2013
  2. 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

    Matthew wrote on May 29th, 2013
  3. 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.

    Allie wrote on May 29th, 2013
  4. 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 and we drink herbal infusions and other herbs added into smoothies etc. We also follow many Weston A Price principles including adding in cod liver and butter oils every day along with bone broths, raw milk, and many fermented vegetables, kombucha etc. Basically, we eat a Blood Type Diet meets Weston A Price meets Susan Weed kind of diet. Many years of study and suffering and we are still learning and hoping to avoid the chronic diseases of our parents and grandparents. They all lived long lives with alcoholism, blindness, Alzheimers, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

    MsJob wrote on May 29th, 2013
  5. 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. :)

    Stef wrote on May 29th, 2013
  6. 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 label things as and no matter how we label it, it is constant. So, live well while you live. :)

    Chadwick wrote on May 29th, 2013
  7. 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 to be human food. My health and happYness did an amazing turnaround and I’m so grateful for this journey and this community. Without it, I would be alone in my quest.

    Sadly, I haven’t been able to help many others. On one hand I feel selfish keeping all this great information to myself when I actually want to shout it from the rooftops, but on the other hand I encounter so much resistance to the idea that bread might be bad and butter might be good.

    Dr. D’Adamo is as much a pioneer in this field as any of the rest of the researchers, authors, and bloggers and his ideas were groundbreaking for me.

    jenk wrote on May 29th, 2013
  8. 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.

    katie wrote on May 29th, 2013
  9. 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 an appointment. So in I went with all those people looking at me, I could only imagine what they were thinking. Including the director of a famous cancer hospital who was beeing treated for Cancer. Moments later I was to learn the the book was fiction, that it was done by a ghost writer and that the superposed author lets just say was not the sharpest Dr in grad school, (being kind). The Dr I was now seeing was first offered to have his name on that very book. I was not somthing he could ever put his name on.
    So to conclude I never followed that diet followed this well know Naturpatic MD’s advise and was in the best shape of my life in 6 months, and lost more then 60 pounds. My blood works also backed up all results.

    Bill Kropp wrote on May 29th, 2013
  10. I have been on the O BT diet for 5 years. I eat Paleo/BT. There are foods allowed on BT that are not Paleo (grains, legumes etc) so I skip those. The biggest thing is, the Paleo allowed foods that are NOT allowed on BT do give me problems. EX, coconut,corn, cauliflower,cabbage, mushrooms, PORK, eggplant etc. So I combine the two, it’s very easy. I have much improved health this way. I would have to say I’m far more Paleo but avoid my BT avoids. Works like a charm

    Kristin wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • No corn. :-)

      Darcie wrote on May 29th, 2013
  11. About 16 years ago, my naturopath suggested following the O type diet for asthma and allergy relief. I have to say it worked like a charm. It hit all of the foods with which I have problems – all grains except rice, legumes, and dairy.

    Personally, I would not use the “how much” guideline for portioning meats, fat, and carbs on this diet. If I followed the rules I would be starving, as it still did not have enough protein. Having a copy of the book, type A does have meat protein sources – certain fish and birds mostly, but they are not the same as type O. Peter D’Adamo recommends more plant food for type As than other blood types, but as I found, if you use the no-no list to eliminate problem foods it could be good. If you do not feel good, use your body to adjust the proportions.

    That said, when my digestive problems and my son’s started, I went to Celiac sites to find answers and one in particular had done a survey of its members to find out how many were type O blood types. Interestingly, more than 75 percent were type O (a lot more than the percentage it represents in the population), then next being A. B wasn’t even represented. The person who took the survey was a type O and he had gotten great relief following the blood type diet, which as Mark said is actualy a very strict form of Paleo.

    Stacey D wrote on May 29th, 2013
  12. I am a type A, and a low meat diet just does not work for me. On the contrary, I do best on lots of fatty meat and as few carbs as possible. Not blood type diet for me.

    Damien Gray wrote on May 29th, 2013
  13. When I was in college, I accidentally ate according the the Blood type A diet, plus turkey and chicken and the odd fish. That is to say that I chose to eat primarily vegetables, some beans (mostly black), fruits, plus turkey and chicken and a bit of fish here and there. No red meat, no pork, no grains. I felt WONDERFUL, had boundless energy (24 credits per semester, an on-campus job, an off-campus job, radio shows, student org involvement and martial arts training 8x weekly) and got sick exactly one time. I did this without every having heard of ER4YT or Paleo or Primal, but because I felt good eating this way. When I came across the above sources, I had a “Huh. Neat!” kind of reaction.

    So, to me it seems rather like when I ask my 8-year old to explain an answer he has just give me. The answer is right, but the reasons are mostly wrong. Is it more important that the answer is right, or the reasons? In this case, both.

    Cmonster wrote on May 29th, 2013
  14. Thanks for this post. I have been researching the Eating Right for your Blood Type and questioning it’s scientific validity.

    Ashley wrote on May 29th, 2013
  15. I can’t believe no one has touched on this yet…..type O is 80% of the population! It is a numbers game. He basically prescribed Primal for 80% of his book buyers…..no wonder he got such good reviews lol.

    ashley wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Where did you get your numbers??? According to the numbers I was able to find, type O (+ and -) are only around 45%. There are almost as many type A’s in the US as there are type O’s. I suspect the numbers are fairly close world wide. This site http://arcblood.redcross.org/new_site/blood_type_information.htm lists the percentages in the US by type and Rh factor, so I added them up. Using those numbers, type O is 46.1%, type A is 38.8%, type B is 11.1%, and type A/B is 3.9%.

      b2curious wrote on May 30th, 2013
  16. Type O.Meat and plant-based diet.Sweet,I can gladly live with that.The dairy part is not clear though.

    Richard Wolfgang wrote on May 29th, 2013
  17. Following the Blood Type Diet many years ago gave me the first jump start to a healthy way of eating and confirmed what I was slowly coming to on my own i.e. meat and veggies best, dairy and grains and beans not so good (I’m O). Out of curiosity, I began asking my patients what their preferred diets were i.e. “put your head out of the way and what does your body want to eat”. Certainly not everyone, but a significant number of people who found meat distasteful, or only wanted it occasionally (without holding any political/ethical ideologies) and love beans and rice and even tofu, and didn’t tolerate dairy invariably turned out to be A’s, people who could eat most anything, loved meat, dairy etc often were B’s and the O’s almost ALWAYS said bring on the meat! Also often found that the A’s were so happy with yoga and walking which bored to death the O’s. Mind you I wasn’t carrying out well documented research, just following my curiosity. I fell in love with paleo for all the reasons most anyone reading this would know: lost weight (the weight I put on when I ate vegetarian), have tremendous energy and generally look and feel better. Soooo I still believe if people trusted their instincts (not advertising, politics, etc) they will eat as nature intended and it wouldn’t be one size fits all, it would depend upon many factors, where they live, what kind of work they do, what is their environment, etc. No matter what your blood type paleo living offers a blueprint of eating local, pasteured, organic, fresh, sugar free, etc and that’s a great start for many people. My two cents today anyway.

    Suzanne Burnell wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • i am an O and i find yoga and anything slow in exercise does bored me to death! i have to do skipping to refrain from getting bored….my friend who is A cant seem to follow fast, hard cardio and benefits most from yoga! so true, even exercising is geared towards blood type

      avis wrote on November 26th, 2013
    • I’m an O that likes exercise variety .. so I do a bit of yoga, running, strength training :-)

      Monica.

      MonicaP wrote on May 13th, 2014
  18. I have Chrones and whole host of othet autoimmune issues. My Gastro doc suggested the blood type diet when my digestive system pretty much ground to a halt. I stuck to it for two weeks and ended up witj severe stomach inflammation. Now I’m back to Primal with more than a few personally nrcessary tweeks, it’s the best I can do. It works. But in the end whatever the diet if something doesn’t agree with, don’t eat it. Excuse my spelling,I’m tyling on my phone with sausage fingers.

    rae wrote on May 29th, 2013
  19. I’m an O who benefited enormously from the ideas in the blood type diet back in the mid-90s when it first came out. I was a vegetarian, felt depressed, low energy, aches & pains – and I was only in my 30s! I had just started to wonder if what I was eating could have any relationship to how I felt when someone introduced me to this book. It literally changed my life! Of course, this was back when there weren’t GF donuts, cookie dough & pizza so it was a radical change for me. My husband is also a Type O, so when we got married, he was willing to fall in with my established dietary routine. By the time we discovered paleo eating earlier in this decade (thanks to a clean eating challenge & his CrossFit), I had already given up most grains and all recreational sugar, so it wasn’t a big leap. So for me, the Blood Type diet was like a “starter drug” that has taken me all the way to paleo, CrossFit and more energy, strength & well being in my 50s than I ever experienced in my 30s. Might not have worked so well had I been a different blood type, but at least it inspired me to make real connections between what I ate & how I felt, which some folks never get to.

    Jo Crescent wrote on May 29th, 2013
  20. The ‘blood type’ diet worked very well for my family and me. Every existing blood type is contained in our family, and all of us have continued with our respective diets for several years, making changes when we wish. This diet completely reversed the severe reflux in our youngest child, and just in time before her permanent teeth came in; all of her baby teeth had been rotted because of the reflux. We also attribute the reversal of my husband’s reflux and the reduction of his cholesterol by 84 points to this diet. The great results were too obvious to ignore.

    We didn’t previously eat junky food, but because of ‘Eat Right For Your Type’ we all eat an even cleaner diet than previously.

    No two people are exactly alike, and if one is attuned to his body, he’ll know when a food makes sense for him. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the blood type theory is hokum because all six in my family have done very well with it. That said, I already instinctively knew that I needed to eat meat sometimes, and that eating a lot of grains doesn’t suit me well, which shouldn’t be true for someone with blood type A. I had already figured out that tomatoes and potatoes ‘light up’ my joints, I’m allergic to dairy, and I do well eating food grown locally and picked in season. Because I know my heritage and pay attention to what makes me feel best, I make adjustments. The blood type diet definitely aimed us in the right direction.

    Joy wrote on May 29th, 2013
  21. I tried the blood type guidelines several years ago. I’m an “A”, so it basically got me off of nightshades and oranges…which nobody should eat anyway. I never went vegetarian (some meat is allowed), but did avoid red meat. It seemed to help a bit. What really, really made a HUGE difference was getting off of wheat last year. Within a week my gut started working right for the first time in my life.

    My husband is “O”, so primal/paleo is what he was basically doing, anyway. Honestly, just cutting way down on grains, losing wheat altogether, and avoiding sugar has done more for us than anything else. I think there are some good ideas in the blood type program, but it mostly seems to boil down to “avoid the things nobody should be eating anyway”, and vegetarianism is disastrous for anybody on anything other than a short-term, detox-type basis.

    Nancy F wrote on May 29th, 2013
  22. When that book came out in the ’90s, I actually followed it for a bit and benefited from it. But then again, I AM type O which is pretty much a Paleo diet long before I knew such a thing existed. Eventually went back to my SAD ways thinking it was all hokey.

    Carla wrote on May 29th, 2013
  23. I’ve always been interested in Blood Types and it never fails – every A blood type person I ever met is extremely food sensitive or if they don’t know it… they have health problems!

    JulieRUNS wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • My blood type is A+ and I am not, and have never been food sensitive – I have been tested for various food allergies and have none.

      I found MDA in June last year and after devouring this site and many other paleo/primal blogs I felt sure this was right, so I threw out everything processed, went shopping for real food and started my two children (age 3 & 5 at the time) and I on our primal journey.

      I have never felt or looked better and my kids are thriving. I wouldn’t want to try the blood type diet because I love red meat and instead of craving sugar (still happens now and again) I crave a thick, juicy steak!

      So I’m an A type that eats like an O type and I have never felt better or been so overwhelmingly satisfied with my life. I think I’ll stick with what I’m doing. :)

      Egglet wrote on June 1st, 2013
      • Just from your picture you look like you have allergies. I’m serious.

        JulieRUNS wrote on June 1st, 2013
      • I am also an A – so I should be a vegetarian/grain consumer with some chicken/fish thrown in?? I was doing the healthiest version of the SAD for 6 months when I came across Primal. Lots of whole grains, veggies, fruit, very little meat (except chicken breast or white fish). Salads on a daily basis. Calorie restricted by about 500 calories. I dropped 10lbs and was becoming diabetic. Still had a big bloated belly and the spare tire. Then Primal came along. So apparently the Primal/Paleo diet works best for this A blood type, too.

        There seems to be quite a few As in the comments that didn’t do well at all trying to eat according to their blood type. I’ll stick with Primal….and I’m not slim. In fact, both my brother and father have been overweight/obese their whole adult life and both are A.

        Heather wrote on November 19th, 2013
  24. I feel so left out…I’m AB+ No one to play with…
    I never tried it because it’s heavy on fish and I cannot find a strong enough word to describe how much I dislike fish…abhor…there ya’ go.
    I did love tofu though…and the body type description was pretty darn spot on.
    But, take away my pumpkin seeds and you’re gonna’ get hurt.
    Even horoscopes get some things right. ;-)

    SusynK wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I am AB+ too, not very many of us out there for sure! I lost 60 lbs. and feel wonderful on the Primal diet, the blood type diet was a total bust for me, and I did it for years, kept trying to “believe” it was true, it made me sick, fat, and unhappy!

      Donna wrote on December 26th, 2013
  25. I had been eating right for my type-O for years. However, the best thing I have done is to learn to listen to my body and what it’s saying after I eat something. I tried to be a vegitarian (before the blood type diet) and felt so tired all the time. I remember thinking in the car ride home from somewhere “I just need a big steak” so that’s what I fixed that night. Cured me right then. One of the other things I learned from my body reaction was “no more grains” since they gave me a stomach ache and beans make me gain weight. I still stay away from my “avoids” list since it’s pretty much a good list for me. I like eating Paelo now and my husband (type A) is benefiting from it as well. My son thinks anything that is healthy is yucky so we just don’t tell him he’s eating Paelo and he’s fine with it. Plus I love that I can put (grass fed) butter and coconut oil in my coffee and not need any sugar in it.

    2Rae wrote on May 29th, 2013
  26. I’m type A and clicking on the link, under body type it says “tends to be thin.” What?!? Even at my slimmest, I’ve always been “curvy.” I’m fairly broad shouldered for a woman. Bra shopping is done at the mall, some place where they’ll size me and help me find the selection in my size, which is fairly limited. Finding pants that fit right has always been a chore, because the ones that fit across the hips are loose at the waist, and should they fit both places, they’re still snug at the thighs.

    According to their site, I should avoid meats, except fish. I love red meat and bacon! Don’t seem to have a problem with it. I’m not that fond of fish, with the exception of both mahimahi and tuna (which are in the moderation section). I should avoid corn oil, but can eat corn in moderation. My digestion says to avoid corn, period, end of discussion. Many of the fruits they say I should absolutely avoid, I have no problems with.

    b2curious wrote on May 29th, 2013
  27. pseudoscience at its “best”…. :-P as an A+, if i ate as prescribed i’d feel like the floor of a CAFO site!

    tess wrote on May 29th, 2013
  28. I am type A. I got so ill when I was vegetarian and instantly improved when I added fish and then meat. I then got ill again and continued getting iller and iller until I went primal. I am HFLC and it’s making me the healthiest I have ever been. I eat loads of meat and eggs, raw mature hard cheese, organic butter, fish, lots of green veg (not many crucifers though), some other veg, a little fruit (mostly apples and berries), wine, a little coffee, green tea and dark chcocolate. Very occasional double cream. I am really well on this diet. Mr Pigling is the same blood type as me and although he never got as ill as me he too has seen huge improvements on primal. The blood type diet would definitely not work for us!

    freerangepiglings wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I am type A. I got so ill when I was vegetarian and instantly improved when I added fish and then meat. I then got ill again and continued getting iller and iller until I went primal.

      Same.

      I think that (1) the author is totally wrong about when and how blood types came about and (2) by happenstance, some of the diets he recommends are OK for humans, but the diet he recommends for type As is terrible for most humans.

      Which has nothing to do with their blood type. OTHER gene combinations may be important though.

      Take a look, for example, at the jaws of ethnic Chinese vs. ethnic Australian aborigines. The former are much smaller. They’ve been eating rice and so on for a lot longer.

      Australian aborigines now — despite being the height of fitness when Australia was discovered — have epic rates of diabetes (as do my North American native ancestors).

      So are genes important to which diet a person can tolerate? I think so, and there are probably variances, on average, between populations. But the blood-type diet is claptrap.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • I think you fail to see what the author said:

        “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”.

        “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.”

        I don’t think he was saying this is set in stone but instead has some interesting points

        Patricia wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • My point is they don’t work; they make it worse.

          The diet recommended for blood type A is terrible — note how many people, not just myself, on this thread say that that diet was awful for them … despite being blood type A.

          Whereas the diet for type O — low and behold, a Primal diet — worked wonders.

          Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
  29. At least they’re trying. But I think they missed the mark.

    I’m Type A. I agree with avoiding wheat and dairy (except for eggs) – I already discovered those sensitivities just by quitting them for a few weeks.

    But I’m finding a lot of foods that I find satisfying and energizing in the “Avoid Always” list (including ALL of my favorite fat sources), and a few foods that make me nauseous in the “most compatible” list. People say low-carb is hard to follow, I think this would be much more difficult.

    I like that they’re searching to biological markers that might help people figure out their best diet. And blood type is a logical place to start. But I don’t think they’re done.

    Julia wrote on May 29th, 2013
  30. I don’t know about blood type, but I do think the idea that all human populations are, on average, exactly the same except for cosmetics can’t possibly be true in light of what is known of natural selection due to environmental pressures, interbreeding (with different hominid subspecies such as Neanderthals), and genetic drift.

    For example, I’m part North American native. European doctors wrote in their journals about how fit and healthy natives were when they first saw them.

    But now, the obesity rates among native populations is high and the diabetes rates are staggering — you find this pattern with many native populations worldwide. You also find higher rates of alcoholism specifically.

    It makes sense that what happened here is natives, such as my ancestors, were very healthy when eating a modern, Primal diet, but became even more unhealthy than whites do when eating a modern diet or drinking alcohol because they, on average, have not had time to genetically adapt to these same foods. In fact I’d say that’s almost certainly true regardless of how politically unpopular acknowledging any differences might be.

    So the takehome point for me personally about this is that I ought to be even stricter with a primal diet than someone whose ancestors exclusively came from Asia or Europe, where agriculture has been used for much longer. Finally, it may actually be harder for me to do so! I may have more of an innate tendency to be addicted to these novel concentrations of high carbohydrate and/or alcohol.

    I don’t seem to have a problem with alcohol, fortunately, but carbohydrates, yes.

    Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
  31. Correction: “modern, Primal diet” should of course simply be “Primal diet”

    Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
  32. Nope! I tried that diet it doesn’t work. Didn’t make me feel better at all. I am blood type A, lots of soy? I think not…

    tina wrote on May 29th, 2013
  33. If you haven’t tried the Blood Type Diet, I’m sorry, but you don’t get to have an opinion. This is the only “diet” that not only helped me lose a ton of weight, get my energy back, sleep better and feel better, but my recurring issues with tendonitis and other inflammatory conditions were diminished or entirely elimintated. And it’s not a diet, I swear! I never understood why certain foods bothered me (like cauliflower, which I love but can’t digest) and after following this plan, I understand why. Those foods on my “Avoid” list are foods I either don’t like or don’t digest. Go figure :) Thank you Mark for at least seeing how it can work and acknowledging that a lot of people have had success with it. To the nonbelievers – try it. You will be blown away.

    Lynn wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Well, Lynn, which blood type are you?

      Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I’m sorry, but some of the recomendations don’t even make sense! I looked at the type A, my blood type, recomendations. It says to avoid cantaloupe, but can have melon (musk – among others) in moderation. Muskmelon and cantaloupe are different names for the same thing! So, aparently, so long as I call it a muskmelon, I can eat it? Under moderation, it lists Olives (green) and under avoid Olives (black, green, spanish). So green olives, okay in moderation or always avoid? Under moderation – spelt [a type of wheat], under avoid – wheat. Okay, so spelt is an older wheat variety and much easier for most people to digest than the newer dwarf wheat, but it’s still a wheat….

      Then there’s the whole avoid meats except fish (and apparently, in some cases turkey). I don’t care for most fish, and the few I do like are under the moderation column…… Not a diet I care to try. I’d be starving on it.

      b2curious wrote on May 30th, 2013
    • As a type A I would have to be almost vegetarian – been there and done that years and years ago pre blood type diet and it did not work for me. My body craves red meat and I do so much better when it is part of my diet, so thanks but no thanks!

      Also, soy?! No way.

      Egglet wrote on June 1st, 2013
  34. We started exploring both the blood type diets and the paleo template at the same time early last year. We mostly followed the blood type diets for about 6 months. My husband and son are B. My daughters and I are O. We did feel better and noticed some changes. My husband lost weight. I stopped having joint pain and headaches. I was preggers at the time, so I was not losing weight. Looking back, the positives were likely more from reasons cited by Mark. After several presentations in the real food summit, we decided to make the shift to paleo. My husband lost 40 lbs in three months. I still feel less joint pain/ headaches. It is worth noting that we have found that some things about the blood type diet seem to match up for us. My husband tolerates all dairy and eggs. I do not. We have really reduced chicken, as my husband doesn’t usually feel good after eating it. Other than that, the rest of the recommendations are pretty paleo.

    Jessica wrote on May 29th, 2013
  35. In fact, if anything, it’s type A blood that’s the oldest.

    Well I’m A Rh Positive, and I know I do terrible on the high-carb, low-fat and protein diet recommended by this blood-type nonsense. I do much better, dramatically so, when eating a primal diet higher in meat and fat.

    So yes, Mark, I’d say your thesis is much more reasonable. The Eat Right for Your Type book is mostly pseudoscientific nonsense, to put it bluntly.

    Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
  36. All this blood talk makes me want to eat blood sausage, type pork. Alas that is a winter food.

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Hahahaha!

      JulieRUNS wrote on June 1st, 2013
  37. Great de-bunking article! The only thing I’ve noticed for myself:

    I’m a ‘B’, and have noticed that never crave (or feel that good after) having Chicken – which my blood type would suggest. I do *awesome* on butter, pretty good on good cheese (w/ an enzyme), but, even raw milk doesn’t work for me. So, not the dairy-monger my type would suggest…

    Joseph wrote on May 29th, 2013
  38. Back in the day I thought the blood type diet worked pretty well for me. But frankly I am type O and it made me eat Primally so I got some pretty sweet results!

    Vivian wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Ha ha, you lucky rube! You got taken in by pseudoscience — and got results anyway through chance!

      Christoph Dollis wrote on May 29th, 2013
  39. I am type A. I did the BTD years ago, and because I was going from a rather SAD diet to this one, I felt really great, for a time. But since it was largely vegetarian and soy was allowed, I started having some difficulties. I ended up getting uterine cancer from the consumption of too much soy (well, it triggered it, there were other factors too). When I finally found paleo I found I had little trouble eating meats like beef and bacon, foods to be avoided by type A. It’s now in my been-there/done that file, never to be revived….

    Lila wrote on May 29th, 2013
  40. Mark,
    I recently visited my local naturopath to look for some solutions to IBS and other discomforts of the digestive type. Well, she immediately recommended that I add grains to my diet. I was very disappointed to hear this, thought she was one of us. She told me that my urine and stool were both very acidic so therefore, I eat too much protein. Comments? Oh, BTW I am blood type A. What up?

    Ifjewel wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • Mark rarely replies to these posts

      Richard wrote on May 29th, 2013
      • But I do read them all and take notes for future blog posts!

        Mark Sisson wrote on May 29th, 2013
        • Hahahahaha I know you do Mark..

          Richard wrote on May 29th, 2013
    • I was diagnosed with IBS in my early twenties. All doctors told me to eat more whole grain, more indigestible fiber, more veggies. Nothing, nothing, nothing worked – so I just dealt with it. (coffee and cigarettes did more for my IBS than those damn whole grains). Finally at 40 years old I went Primal (after following healthiest SAD for 6 months). Within 6 weeks I had a flat belly for the first time in my life. No more IBS, indigestion/heartburn, hital hernia; unbelievably embarrassing constant, nasty gas. I gave up bread three weeks prior and started to “empty out”. I eat lots and lots of meat, mostly red meat and my uric acid level was 2.4 (low end of normal). I’m an A. But I guess this is just my N=1

      Heather wrote on November 19th, 2013
      • The grains come back and so does the gas and the bloat and the feeling of carrying a brick around in my colon. No thanks. Thank you Mark Sisson for sending me on an unbelievable journey to health.

        Heather wrote on November 19th, 2013

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