"Eat Right for Your Type," the diet plan and popular book by Peter D'Adamo, a naturopathic physician, recommends people eat according to their blood type. An intriguing approach to food prescriptions, Dr. D’Adamo claims that following his plan is the key to controlling weight and preventing illness. According to this plan, people with type B blood are historically nomadic, and should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, most meats and some grains -- but avoid foods such as corn, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts. While eating according to this plan may help achieve some health goals, there is no research that any health benefits are related to blood type.
Fruits and Vegetables
The diet for blood type B encourages most vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lima beans, mushrooms, mustard greens, sweet or hot peppers, sweet potatoes and yams. Most fruit is permitted, including berries, bananas, grapes, apple, peach, pear, pineapple, apricot, mango and papaya. Home grown or locally grown produce is encouraged.
Grains, Beans, Nuts and Seeds
D’Adamo’s plan restricts some common grains including wheat, corn and rye, advising millet, oats, rice and spelt instead. Recommended breads include those made with sprouted grains, and crackers or snacks such as rice cakes, sourdough rye or whole wheat crackers. Beans appropriate for blood type B include kidney, lima and navy beans. While no nuts and seeds are considered optimal on the type B diet, neutral selections include almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and walnuts. Olive oil is the preferred oil.
Meat, Fish and Dairy Foods
According to D'Adamo's plan, preferred selections of animal protein include lamb, venison, mutton, rabbit, and fish such as salmon, sardine, trout, flounder, halibut and cod. Ideally, meat should be organically raised, free-range, cage-free or wild. Free-range eggs are also acceptable in moderation. Recommended cheeses for blood type B include farmer, feta, goat, cottage, ricotta and mozzarella. Kefir, cow’s milk or goat milk are also good options.
Teas and Spices
Tea is a preferred beverage in D'Adamo's plan. Green tea and herbal teas including ginger, ginseng, licorice, peppermint, and rose hip tea are considered beneficial. Healthful and preferred spices include curry powder, horseradish, and parsley.
Despite the clear, specific nutrition guidelines for this diet, there isn’t any published, scientific research showing that it works. In a study published in the January 2014 “PLoS One,” researchers from the University of Toronto interviewed 1,455 adults, comparing their health and adherence to the recommended plan for their specific blood types. While certain blood type diets were linked to improvement in cholesterol, blood pressure or other health risks, researchers found that the noted benefits were not related to the individual’s blood type. A review published in the May 2013 issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” also found no published research supporting the claims of blood type diets.
Precautions and Next Steps
While the blood type diet does not have research supporting its premise or benefits, with focus and diligence, this plan can provide a nutritionally balanced diet. Another advantage of the blood type diets is the restriction of processed, low fiber foods, junk foods and unhealthy snack items -- and any diet that restricts these foods is likely to provide health benefits. If you are ready to make improvements to your diet and health, talk to your doctor as a first step. Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian, who can tailor a meal plan to your preferences, and to factors that are evidence based -- such as energy needs, medical conditions and other health requirements.
Reviewed by: Kay Peck, MPH, RD