I’m going to discuss blood type diets this time around and next time, tie into how they correlate with metabolic type diets. The ‘Eat Right for Your Type Series’ by Peter J.D’Adamo has been mentioned in various texts by strength coach extraordinaire Charles Poliquin. Some people question his usefulness as an information source for bodybuilders as he primarily works with world-class athletes. This is a monetary decision on his part as few bodybuilders have the cash to throw at him considering the rates he gets from Olympic medallists, pro baseball, hockey, and baseball players. In my opinion he is so far advanced compared to most strength coaches, that he’s in a different league; and I tend to listen to his opinions and book choices. This is one that some of you will already be acquainted with.
If you are like I was when first introduced to concepts on a lifting forum, you will dismiss them outright and perhaps use the logic I did when first reading about the ideas as “too simplistic to explain dietary functions of INDIVIDUALS”. I mean c’mon, we are all very different in our nutritional needs, even though most diets still use a one size fits all approach.
After reading, and more importantly reviewing current training clients, and applying some of the methodology all I can say is that while the diet methodologies are not perfect, they sure are great at pointing out TENDANCIES. As most of us have figured out long ago, one size fits all diets are what good nutritionists and sports coaches have known all along – bullshit. But…this and other books I will discuss in time help explain why one size dieting is doomed to failure, and more importantly they provide important clues as to which diets are suitable for whom.
‘Eat Right for Your Blood Type’ by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo is based on the premise that different blood types have different reactions to different foods, and the evolutionary path of the different blood type people is a determining factor in what foods are tolerated by whom. Type ‘O’ is the original blood type of humanoids and modern man. All other blood types have been built from the base ‘O’ blood type. People that are ‘O’ blood type share ancestry with the earliest humans, dating back to the time when we were hunters/scavengers/gatherers and ate a more carnivorous diet than later blood types, which many scientists believe to be adaptations to both disease and a change from hunter/gatherer to more agrarian lifestyles. According to D’Adamo, type ‘Os’ still thrive on high protein/fat intakes and low to moderate carb intake, much as early man ate. These people tend to be carb intolerant – at least to compare modern day carbs that type ‘Bs’ ‘As’ and ‘AB’ blood types handle more readily.
How can something as simple as blood type make a difference in food tolerance? The big question is how can it not. Anyone versed in even junior high school grade level chemistry understands certain chemicals react to others is specific ways, and all things being equal, the reactions are certain and occur with the same rate and balance within tolerances every time. Nothing magic here. Well, tests done by D Adamo and other Dr’s and scientists have confirmed that various compounds found it certain foods will affect different blood types in different ways. For someone with blood ‘A’ type as an example orange juice increases polyamine levels, while for type ‘Bs’ no reaction occurs.
Many foods contain lectins that cause a wide variety of metabolic issues. These lectins are blood type specific and a food that contains a certain lectin may cause no adverse effects for one blood type, and cause an adverse reaction for others. They are bad news if you want to remain as healthy as possible with optimal energy and performance.
Here is a quick definition of what lectins are, and a link that provides more detail:
Protein or glycoprotein substances, usually of plant origin, of non-immunoglobulin nature, capable of specific recognition of and reversible binding to, carbohydrate moieties of complex glycoconjugates without altering the covalent structure of any of the recognized glycosyl ligands. This group includes monovalent lectins (i.e. bacterial and plant toxins). These lectins bind to sugar moieties in cell walls or membranes and thereby change the physiology of the membrane to cause agglutination, mitosis, or other biochemical changes in the cell. (agglutination- clumping; mitosis-multiplication or division of a cell forming two daughter cells)
Lectins were first described in 1888 by Stillmark working with castor bean extracts. Many members of the lectinic protein family agglutinate (clump together) red blood cells. Research done by Ehrlich, considered to be the father of immunology, has shown that feeding small amounts of lectin containing seeds to rabbits caused partial immunity to the toxicity demonstrating lectins are also antigenic (able to induce antigen antibody reactions).
High levels of lectins (specialized proteins) may be found in grains (also known as cereals or pulses), legumes (that is ‘beans’ including peanuts), dairy and plants in the nightshade family. Many other foods contain lectins but are less well studied and the amounts of lectins present are not thought to be as high or as potentially toxic.
Lectins purified from the germinating seeds of wheat (Triticumspp.); bind to carbohydrate moieties on cell surface glycoproteins and are used to identify certain cell populations and inhibit or promote some immunological or physiological activities.
Lectins purified are used to determine one’s blood type (ABO). Lectins from the castor bean are highly toxic and can kill if ingested in even small amounts. Lectins from kidney beans have been implicated as cause in an outbreak of ‘food poisoning’ with no known pathogen.
Think of a lectin as a protein containing a key that fits a certain type of lock. This lock is a specific type of carbohydrate. All life forms, plant and animal, insect and fungus have cell membranes that contain carbohydrates that sit within and project from the membrane. If a lectin with the right key comes in contact with one of these ‘locks’ on the gut wall or artery or gland or organ it ‘opens the lock’, that is disrupts the membrane and damages the cell and may initiate a cascade of immune and autoimmune events leading to cell death.
Bottom line, is some people are going to have bad reactions to certain foods and unless there are overt symptoms, it goes unnoticed, slowly degrading one’s health and energy levels.
While I have not had enough experience with personal training clients regarding the issue of blood specific foods to draw a firm conclusion on the validity and reliability of the foods presented (there is an extremely wide variety of foods listed, and their actions/reaction to the different blood types), I have had enough experience with them to come to a determination of the validity of the eating patterns most suited to each blood type. While I have only had one ‘AB’ blood type client to get information from, with other blood types I have done Q & A and evaluated progress on diets used with these clients (I work with a clientele roster of about 70 clients at a time) and the accuracy of the predicted preferred easting styles and the consequences of the wrong blood type eating a mismatched diet have been remarkably good.
At this juncture, let me point out I am in no way inferring this methodology of dietary prediction is foolproof and genetic variances won’t outshine the basics of blood type chemistry in some individuals as that is not the case, but it is a great predictive tool to have in the trick bag when working with clients.
People have pointed out on various forums that the paradigm is incorrect as they are blood type ‘A’ and can handle low carbs, as an example. What they are missing is that the concepts behind this do not state that ‘A’ can only function on high carbs and ‘Os’ only on low carbs, just that best results will be achieved that way. In my experience most ‘O’ blood types are carb intolerant. Can you stuff them with 100’s of grams of carbs a day? Certainly, but they will be more predisposed to getting fat than ‘A’ types are, and more predisposed to a wide variety of diseases.
This book covers the basics of blood type ancestry, distribution of blood types over the globe, why and how some of the reactions occur, food type charts applicable for all blood types showing beneficial foods, neutral foods, and foods to avoid with a very brief (too brief for my tastes) description of why they are beneficial or will negatively effect health. Also included is a listing of applicable supplements for the various blood types.
This is a great addition to anyone’s library that is interested in advanced nutrition.
Dieting by Blood Type