Healthy diet for ABO blood group type has no scientific explanation

31 May 2013, 11:14
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There is a widespread notion that people who have different blood types ought to eat different foods depending on their place in the ABO classification. Supporters of this theory think that eating only the foods favourable for your blood group can help you to be healthier, loose excessive weight and extend the lifespan.


Belief that blood type can affect people's physiology, personality traits and even fate has for ages been popular in Asia and some other parts of the world.

blood tests Originally, the blood type diet was thoroughly described in the book “Eat right 4 your type” by Peter D'adamo. D'adamo's devided entire Earth's population into four nutritional groups in accordance with ABO blood type classification.

Blood group O belongs, according to D'Adamo, to the hunter. People with this group should eat lots of proteins. As the very first blood group  that had originated 30,000 years ago, D'adamo says, it belongs to bloodthirsty meat-eaters. On contrary, numerous scientific studies name group A as the oldest.

piece of meat and knife

Group O is the most common blood group in Great Britain. Dr D’Adamo says that our digestive organs keep the memories of ancient times, and so type O's should consume a typical hunter-gatherer type products. In other words, type O's have to follow a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet including lots of meat and fish but no dairy products, grains and cereals.


Foods you can eat freely include meat, fish and olive oil; foods you can eat in moderation include eggs, nuts, seeds, certain vegetables and fruits; and foods to avoid include dairy products, beans, cereals, bread, pasta and rice. To complement your food intake, Dr D’Adamo recommends lots of vigorous aerobic exercise such as aerobics and running – just like our hunter-gatherer ancestors did!


Blood group A is of cultivator or the agrarian by D'Adamo. The group originated 20,000 years ago along with development of agriculture. Individuals belonging to this blood group are tailored for eating plants, fruits and vegetables. Their diet should be mostly vegetarian.

high grass

Group A is the second most common blood type in the UK. Again according to Dr D'Adamo, digestive system is apparently very good at remembering that our ancestors had settled, farming lifestyles, which included eating lots of grains and vegetables but little meat. Consequently, blood type A’s should follow a vegetarian diet but still avoid dairy products. This means nuts, seeds, beans, cereals, pasta, rice, fruit and veg are all on the ‘to eat’ list. Meanwhile, calming exercises are thought to be best for blood type A’s such as yoga or golf.


Blood group B is the nomads by D'Adamo, who says it formed 10,000 years ago. Individuals from this group have quite flexible digestive system and stronger immune system. Dairy products should be in the first place for this group's representatives. Scientific evidence, on the other hand, shows that most B group people live in Asia (specifically, India and China) while intolerance for milk (lactose intolerance) is also the most common among people of Asian, African, and South American origin. Instead, people who come from northern Europe and north-western India where B group is a minority are least likely to have lactose intolerance.

bright cheese tray

Only one person in 10 has blood type B – a real shame when you consider this blood group has the least dietary restrictions! As our type B ancestors were able to thrive on all sorts of foods, thanks to all that travelling, very few foods need to be avoided and this is the closest you’ll get to a healthy, balanced diet from Dr D'Adamo.


The only foods that need to be avoided are processed foods, although nuts and seeds aren’t recommended and only small amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods should be eaten. When it comes to exercise, Dr D’Adamo recommends activities that have mental component, such as hiking, tennis and swimming – clearly our ancestors did a lot of thinking while they were walking!


Blood group AB is the enigma. Doctor D'adamo considered it the most recently evolved group. Its history goes back to only 1,000 years ago. As for nutritional qualities, this group is somewhere between A and B.

salad with grapes nuts and cheese

People with this rare blood type should eat a combination of the foods recommended for blood groups A and B. Somewhat confusing when type B allows you to eat most foods, while type A suggests a vegetarian diet! Dr D’Adamo gets around this by suggesting that type ABs follow a veggie diet most of the time with some meat, fish and dairy products occasionally. It’s the same when it comes to exercise too – blood type ABs should combine calming exercises with moderately intense activities.


Recently, there has been an interesting study in Bilgium that looked at D'adamo classification and tried to find any solid scientific proof for it.


After searching scientific databases and browsing studies, researchers were able to find only one that could be indirectly linked to D'adamo beliefs. The study analysed the effect of low-fat diet on cholesterol levels in people with different ABO blood groups. And even in the mentioned study, the results were rather vague and inconclusive.


The traditional ABO classification is based on the presence of particular proteins on the surface of antibodies and red cells in our blood. People from A and B groups have A and B proteins on the membranes of their blood cells consequently, while people from AB group have the both types of proteins. Both A and B proteins are lacking on the cells of people in O group.

The notion of blood type affecting people's personality traits and even fate has for long been popular in Asia, and other part of the world.


Earlier mentioned Belgian scientists analysed 1,415 articles regarding the blood type topic in some way, but only 16 of those looked valuable. After more thorough analysis, 15 of them were dismissed since they were found to be poorly planned either in terms of participants' numbers or other design factors.


To sum up, at the moment there is no scientific evidence that could support ideas expressed by D'adamo. Of course, this fact will not turn many people away from believing into blood type diets, especially as most of them probably don't even know the origins of such ideas. At the same time there is no scientific proof that blood type diets are not healthy or harmful in any way, so we may successfully continue being guinea pigs for the future generations.

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