The Blood Type Diet: What is It & Should You Try It

 | 22 Comments  | Articles, Health, Nutrition


The Blood Type Diet- also known as Eat Right 4 Your Type- was created by naturopath Peter J. D’Adamo. The idea behind this diet is that D’Adamo believes that eating based on your blood type – O, A, B, or AB – can help you trim down and be healthier. D’Adamo claims that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. If you follow a diet designed for your specific type, your body will digest food more efficiently. As a result, you’ll lose weight, have more energy, and help prevent disease.

Based on his observations, D’Adamo formulated four separate profiles based on each of the blood types. Here’s what D’Adamo recommends for each type:

Type O: This type is the oldest blood type there is. O’s does well on a high-protein diet that is heavy on lean, animal protein and light on grains and beans. D’Adamo advises type O’s to stay away from wheat, dairy, and caffeine. From a personality perspective, D’Adamo says that since this blood type is descended from hunters, the fight-or-flight response is high, and type O’s tend to have anger issues. Type O’s also tend to adopt destructive habits when bored, such as drinking alcohol, gambling, doing drugs or other adrenaline-inducing activities. For exercise, he says that type O’s benefit tremendously from vigorous exercise, that taxes out the cardiovascular and muscular skeletal system several times a week. He says that O’s rely greatly on physical exercise to maintain emotional balance.

Type A: This blood type emerged in response to the dwindling supply of game to hunt. Our ancestors became dependent on carbohydrates, and their digestion was forced to adapt to a much larger carbohydrate consumption. It is recommended that type A’s eat a meat-free diet, based on fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains. Ideally, D’Adamo says, that these foods should be as organic and fresh as possible since people with type A blood have a sensitive immune system. They should avoid corn, and engage in gentler forms of exercise such as tai-chi and yoga.

Type B: For B’s to be healthy, it’s all about BALANCE! While Type A and O are on opposite ends of the spectrum, B falls somewhere in the middle. D’Adamo recommends all animal protein except chicken, and he encourages eating green vegetables, fruits, eggs, grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy.  D’Adamo says that B’s should avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Type B’s need a balance in their diet, or they can become prone to stress and illness. When B’s are in balance, they tend to be more physically and mentally fit than other blood types. Dr. D’Adamo recommends that B’s choose physical exercise that challenges their mind as well as their body. Again, B’s need balance. Type B’s need to balance meditative activities with more intense physical exercise. “You tend to do best with activities that are not too aerobically intense, have an element of mental challenge and involve other people.” Says Dr. D’Adamo. Excellent forms of exercise for Type B’s include tennis, martial arts, cycling, hiking and golf.

Type AB: D’Adamo calls this type “the chameleon.” It is the rarest and newest of the blood types. Unlike the other blood types, it did not emerge from environmental factors, but from intermingling. Foods to focus on include seafood, lamb, dairy, tofu, green vegetables, and grains, but no buckwheat, smoked or cure meats, caffeine, and alcohol. He says that people with type AB blood tend to have low stomach acid, so supplementation may be needed to digest foods properly.

Is The Blood Type Diet For You? 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that this is a very restrictive diet, and restrictive diets are not recommended for long-term success. The American Diabetes Association recommends a more practical approach to your day-to-day eating. Since the diet dictates what you can and cannot eat, if you’re a lover of meat and potatoes, you won’t exactly be thrilled if you happen to have blood type A, which calls for a mostly vegetarian eating style.

Does It Work? 

Right off the bat, a 2013 major review concluded that no evidence exists to support benefits of blood type diets.

Furthermore, one study conducted with 1,455 subjects, found that participants who followed the blood type diet were able to improve all of their specific biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. This sounds great but, those in the study that did not pair their food with their corresponding blood group, also experienced improvement in their biomarkers. This is because this type of diet cuts out processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and adds in lots of vegetables and lean proteins. Simply put, all participants began to eat healthier, and so their health improved.

Improving your health and energy isn’t limited to eating based on your blood type.

Another fact to keep in mind, this diet only makes recommendations based solely on your blood type. It does not take into consideration any disease or conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol. If you’re doctor has advised you to stay clear of certain foods that interfere with your health, those very same foods may well be included if you have the matching blood type.

Final Word

On The Blood Type Diet, just like many other diets, you’ll cut out processed foods and simple carbs. That right there may be enough to help you lose some weight, and feel better. But these results have nothing to do with your blood type, and instead, with the quality of food, you’re eating.

Science does not back this diet at all. The restrictive nature of it may cause you to fall off the wagon and may add unnecessary stress to your life. You are better off just reducing your consumption of processed foods, simple carbs, sugar, and alcohol.

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22 comments on “The Blood Type Diet: What is It & Should You Try It”

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    Private  | 

    Hi Zuzka! Here’s a question, not related to this article, but more for a next coffee talk, and I would love if you would address it. I know you have a really sensible approach to food, but do you ever have days when you feel kind of down for not sticking to your diet? I’ve been on vacation the past few days, and while I’ve by most standards not been very excessive, I’ve definitely indulged in a fair amount of bread and wine (I’m in France) and a few desserts, and I feel… not in top form, a bit bloated, and just not my best. I know if I just get back to my routine I’ll feel better in a few days, but I have to ask: When this happens to you, what do you do? Do you have any tips on kick starting your way back to feeling great when you’ve indulged? And in a sensible way? In the past I would have just starved myself and exercised like a maniac (I used to have very disordered eating), and I always get this sense of panic and temptation to do that again. I don’t want to do that this time but also want the panic to subside. Any tips for getting back to a healthy routine and also shedding the water weight quickly, when you’ve gone astray (without losing your mind)?
    Thanks a lot and as always, love you and everything you do!
    -Your very loyal follower and daily exercise partner in Belgium, Caroline

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      Private  | 

      Hi carolinesfeast: Was reading your post and wanted to respond. In general, I’m pretty steadfast on my healthy lifestyle; however, when I go on vacation or it’s a holiday, I like to indulge and not feel guilty. The not feel guilty part is always a real challenge; but I think a key for me is that I always get back into it soon after; I don’t let the weeks keep piling up. So, I have built trust with myself this way.
      When I start back up, I usually do the easier Zuzka workouts….but I build back up quickly.
      Another thing I like to do is to do some cleansing…e.g. I like to get a colonic and sit in the infar red sauna.
      A few mini fasts can also help. e.g. I like to fast from 7pm at night till 11:00am …..

      Try to go easy on yourself…mentally I mean. If I were in France, I would definitely indulge on their bread and wine too!!!!


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        Private  | 

        Thanks a lot Anna, I appreciate your message. I know – I always tell myself it’s fine to indulge without worry on vacation- I’ve reached a point where I have a pretty clean diet most of the time and am very consistent with workouts, so I know intellectually that a couple vacation pounds are no big deal and that it is sensible and healthy to relax a little no and then, and that my body can deal with it, that I can deal with it. But sometimes the guilt creeps up anyway, and it’s hard for me to deal with in a sensible way. The mental challenge of relaxing – as strange as it sounds – is just as much a discipline for me as sticking to a clean lifestyle – if not even more challenging.

        I like your advice though, it’s perfectly sensible without being extreme. I think I’ll start off with a mini fast tomorrow.
        Take care and thanks again!

  2. private avatar image

    Private  |  Michigan, USA

    I found this really interesting! Thank you for sharing this and your opinion on the matter.
    It seems my type O was described very accurately with personality. I NEED vigorous exercise to help balance my emotions for sure. but I can see how just like with Astrology there are so many interpretations that could apply to any one.

    Out of curiosity and fun, what blood type are you Z? 😊

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      Private  |  Astoria, OR, USA

      I agree! Very interesting! My husband and I are type O as we’ll and it hit close to home with the personality for both of us. He needs that release of vigorous exercise every now and then. I just need exercise in general. Even if it’s just yoga 🙂 But I will never give up caffeine!

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    Private  | 

    I’m B positive and the only things this gets right for me is type of exercise and succumbing to stress. I read about this years ago and I think it basically made you focus on eating healthier. While it seems ideal it’s impossible to really pinpoint a diet based on blood type.

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    Private  | 

    Thank you for this article, Z! As someone who is in the healing arts, I get asked this question all the time from friends, family, patients, etc. I have not read the book myself, but I have read research that has tested the theory. Personally, I think this diet makes little scientific or even logical sense. Perhaps that is because I am naturally analytical and skeptical of such claims. Blood typing is very complex. The genetics behind blood typing is not as simple as what we learned in our middle school biology class. One’s blood type does not necessarily replace, or represent, the variety of genes that a person has inherited by chance, by his or her ancestors. We each share a unique combination of genetics with a unique combination of ancestors. It’s very random. EVEN IF we have the same blood type as our sibling from the same parents, for example, we can have wildly different genetics! That is why same-parent siblings that get DNA testing have different results. What chromosomes happen to line up when your first cells start to grow in your mother’s womb is totally random. And THAT has far more influence on how your body will metabolize and respond to food.

    Also, EVEN MORE influential of how one metabolizes and responds to food is one’s upbringing, emotional state, environmental toxicity/exposures, conditioning, LIFESTYLE HABITS, etc–basically, what happens AFTER birth. This influences our genes, which we call epigenetics. This has far more influence on our health and what diseases or health conditions we end up having.

    That is why I agree with what you’ve implied in your post, Z. Diets need to be designed to meet the needs of an individual’s pattern in a wholistic manner, not just reliant on their blood type. Their many characteristics, their particular disease/condition, their particular goals and needs, and also a much wider range of testing, such as labs and other forms of testing (kinesiological, muscle, nutritional profiling, etc).

    But hey, D’Adamo probably made a killing with his books! His solution offers the simple 1+1=2 approach that people idealize so much………never works……..Living a healthy lifestyle is simple. Reversing disease and changing unhealthy habits are not as easy.

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    Private  |  GA, United States

    I’ve heard of this before, and thought it seemed like an interesting though…but was highly skeptical…and after a closer look, didn’t take any stock in it at all. I’m AB+. Foods I’ve seen before on the list of “stay away from”, I’ve never had trouble with. Ha ha, and as far as digestion issues go…for the most part, I don’t have issues with that and haven’t needed to supplement (except for maybe a “once in a blue moon” exception). From what I’ve seen, the “Final word” is spot on!

  6. private avatar image

    Private  |  Jura, France

    I read the book several years ago. Since then , Dr D’Adamo published another book (eat right for your genotype) that is interesting too, but requires a test that I have not been able to take.
    His experience and success with thousands of patients does cover for me a better success than a specific study that would back-up his findings.
    Sometime we just need empirical things.

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    Private  |  Curitiba, Parana, Brazil

    Nice! I read about it…I am A…so eating accordingly…which type are you Zu? See you and take care.

  8. private avatar image

    Private  | 

    I am type A. Type A should “engage in gentler forms of exercise such as tai-chi and yoga.” Does that mean my body will benefit from gentler form of exercise than vigorous exercise? Lifting weights and intense workout is not good for type A? Should I stop doing Zuzka’s intense workout?

  9. private avatar image

    Private  | 

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of promoting voo-doo science and I think it undermines the pieces that are posted that have value. Getting to the end of this article it is clear: there is no science backup. I know you wrote it, but too many people don’t bother to look at that.

    And Z, quite frankly I’m surprised… if we were to buy into this than your weekly workout routines are only effective for type O (so I guess you’re clearly not self-promoting?)

    I DID learn from genetic testing that there exists, and I have, a “warrior gene” which is related to athletic ability and there is a strong correlation between people with that gene needing high intensity workouts in order to lose weight. But this blood type stuff sounds like the chinese zodiac to me…

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      Private  |  Jura, France

      this is not voodoo science. probably not brought to lambda readers with the scientific background, because they are not interested or not having the background for understanding it.
      I read it because I was curious about what is indeed the scientific rational, and there is one.

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        Private  | 

        This article clearly states that a study with nearly 1500 participants was done and there was no relationship found.

        Additionally, the history of blood types presented with O as the oldest is one of two hypothesis, the second is completely opposite. It is true that blood types are very strongly connected with geographic locations and current research supports the antigen type as being a predictor to resistance or lack thereof of a variety of infections (O being the most resilient, which supports the AB first theory…why would we evolve to get sicker?).

        D’Adamo has clearly worked very diligently to sell a product that looks like it’s based in science, but without reproducible research to back it up, it’s not science, no matter how many big science-y words he uses. He’s marketing himself to sell his supplements. I mean.. would you buy a car that someone promised you was the safest car ever because of it’s “elite structure and innovative design that absorbs impacts due to the sheer forces exerted by the car frame’s momentum absorbing and destroying the kinetic energy upon impact”… but it hadn’t actually been tested in a crash course? Probably not! (By the way, I misused every physics word, could you tell?)

        Nutritionists and Researchers agree: there is no evidence and this is supported over and over again. But a diet that is balanced in calories, high in whole foods and omits processed and junk food is going to lead to overall better health.

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          Private  |  Jura, France

          call him a quack then!

  10. private avatar image

    Private  |  Minnesota, USA

    I think the blood type diet is a gimmicky thing, but coincidentally there are lot of parallels for me. I am type O & I need to avoid wheat due to celiac disease, and I avoid caffeine because it causes painful, searing, headaches. I need to go for vigorous runs or practice martial arts to keep my anger in check (my husband says I seem like I’m part Klingon if I don’t do those things). I am absolutely not giving up dairy unless I develop an allergy to it, though! I love cheese! Anyway, I can see how people who see parallels between their blood types and the descriptions can be pulled into it. For me it is just fun to read, but I don’t take it seriously.

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