Blood type diet

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The blood type diets are fad diets[1] advocated by several authors, the most prominent of which is Peter J. D'Adamo.[2] These diets are based on the notion that ABO blood type is the most important factor in determining a healthy diet and each recommends distinct diets for each blood type.

The consensus among dietitians, physicians, and scientists is that these diets are unsupported by scientific evidence.[2][3][4][5][6]


The underlying theory of blood type diets is that people with different blood types digest lectins differently, and that if people eat food that is not compatible with their blood type, they will experience many health problems. On the other hand, if a person eats food that is compatible, they will be healthier.[4]

That theory is, in turn, based on an assumption that each blood type represents a different evolutionary heritage. "Based on the ‘Blood-Type’ diet theory, group O is considered the ancestral blood group in humans so their optimal diet should resemble the high animal protein diets typical of the hunter-gatherer era. In contrast, those with group A should thrive on a vegetarian diet as this blood group was believed to have evolved when humans settled down into agrarian societies. Following the same rationale, individuals with blood group B are considered to benefit from consumption of dairy products because this blood group was believed to originate in nomadic tribes. Finally, individuals with an AB blood group are believed to benefit from a diet that is intermediate to those proposed for group A and group B."[6]

Scientific criticism[edit]

As of 2013 there is no scientific evidence to support the blood type diet hypothesis and no clinical evidence that it improves health.[2] Furthermore a study performed at the university of Toronto disproves the beneficial effect of adhering to the blood type diet.[7] Peter J. D'Adamo is the most prominent proponent of blood type diets and he described ongoing clinical trials in books he published in 1996 and 2004; however no clinical trial results have been published.[2]

The claim made in blood type diets, that people with different blood types react differently to lectins, is unsubstantiated by established biochemical research, which has found no differences in the reactions of lectins with human ABO types. Research shows that lectins specific to a particular ABO type are generally not found in foods (with several rare exceptions, e.g., the Lima bean) and that lectins with ABO specificity are more frequently found in non-food plants or animals.[8][9]

Blood type evolution issues[edit]

Luiz C. de Mattos and Haroldo W. Moreira point out that assertions made by proponents of blood type diets that the O blood type was the first human blood type requires that the O gene have evolved before the A and B genes in the ABO locus;[10] phylogenetic networks of human and non-human ABO alleles show that the A gene was the first to evolve.[11] They argue that it would be extraordinary, from the perspective of evolution, for normal genes (those for types A and B) to have evolved from abnormal genes (for type O).

Yamamoto et al. further note: "Although the O blood type is common in all populations around the world, there is no evidence that the O gene represents the ancestral gene at the ABO locus. Nor is it reasonable to suppose that a defective gene would arise spontaneously and then evolve into normal genes.[10]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baldwin EJ. Fad diets in diabetes. Br J Diabetes Vasc Dis 2004;4:333–7.
  2. ^ a b c d Leila Cusack, Emmy De Buck, Veerle Compernolle, Philippe Vandekerckhove (2013-07-01). "Blood type diets lack supporting evidence: a systematic review.". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 98 (1): 99–104. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.058693. PMID 23697707. 
  3. ^ May-Jean King (2000-07-04). "2: ABO Polymorphisms and their putative biological relationships with disease". Human Blood Cells (Consequences of Genetic Polymorphisms and Variations). World Scientific Pub Co Inc. p. 44. ISBN 978-1860941962. As it is not possible to comparatively re-interpret all of the published data, we have tried to present this data with a reasonably "open mind", so that you may "find your own truth". However, it must be stated that an "open mind" should not extend to some of the non-scientific literature where there are books on the ABO system of pure fantasy. 206 The most recent and incredulous of these claims that individuals of each ABO blood type must subscribe to a specific diet in order to stay healthy, live longer and achieve an ideal weight! 
  4. ^ a b Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. (2010-08-12). "Blood type diet: What is it? Does it work?". Mayo Clinic. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  5. ^ David C K Roberts (200). "Quick weight loss: sorting fad from fact". The Medical Journal of Australia. 175: 637-640. PMID 11837873. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. 
  6. ^ a b Wang, Jingzhou; Bibiana García-Bailo; Daiva E. Nielsen; Ahmed El-Sohemy (15 January 2014). "ABO Genotype, ‘Blood-Type’ Diet and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors". PLoS ONE 9 (1): e84749. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084749. PMC 3893150. PMID 24454746. 
  7. ^ Wang, Jingzhou (January 15, 2014). "ABO Genotype, ‘Blood-Type’ Diet and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors". PLoS ONE 9 (1): 1-9 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084749. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Els. J. M. Van Damme, Willy J. Peumans, Arpad Pusztai, Susan Bardocz (1998). The Handbook of Plant Lectins: Properties and Biomedical Applications. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471964452. [page needed]
  9. ^ Assumpta Sharon, N Sathyananda, R Shubharani, M Sharuraj (May 2000). "Appendix 32: Agglutination of Human Erythrocytes in Food and Medicinal Plants" (PDF). Database of Medicinal Plants. Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology. Retrieved 2013-08-22. [page needed]
  10. ^ a b Mattos, Luiz C. de; Moreira, Haroldo W. (2004). "Genetic of the ABO blood system and its link with the immune system". Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia 26. doi:10.1590/S1516-84842004000100012. 
  11. ^ Saitou, Naruya; Yamamoto, Fumi-ichiro (1997). "Evolution of Primate ABO Blood Group Genes and Their Homologous Genes". Molecular Biology and Evolution 14 (4): 399–411. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025776. PMID 9100370. 

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