As far as health advice goes, one of the more interesting diet plans is the blood type diet. It claims that there are certain foods you might want to avoid based on your blood type, and certain foods you can seek out, in order to improve your health. The idea was coined by the naturopathic doctor Peter D’Adamo, in his book Eat Right for Your Type, which was first published way back in 1996.
In it, D’Adamo breaks down the four blood types — A, B, AB, and O — and explains why certain foods might be either healthy, or detrimental, for each. The thing is, while it’s definitely something interesting to consider, there isn’t much scientific data to back it up.
"According to recent systematic reviews looking at the scientific literature on the blood type diet, there isn’t much evidence to support the effectiveness of blood type diets," Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, tells Bustle. Basically, what the blood type diet does have going for it, is it recommends eating healthy foods and getting some exercise.
And that’s advice anyone can agree with. "Eating a varied, nutrient-dense diet is more important than basing your diet on your blood type," Dr. Axe says. "One thing I do think the blood type diet does right is this: it encourages you to limit or avoid foods that are highly-processed, sources of empty calories, and those that are generally not well-tolerated and lead to poor digestion and other symptoms."
While it’s fine to eat processed foods occasionally, there’s no denying your diet should include colorful, fresh foods. Here are a few healthy takeaways from the blood type diet that you can apply to your life — regardless of your blood type. Just be sure to check with your doctor first.
1Blood Type A
As Dr. Axe says, "Some refer to blood type A people as ‘agrarians’ or ‘cultivators’ because connections have been made between this blood type and ancestral farming or horticultural practices. According to D’Adamo, type As are better at digesting carbohydrates than other blood types, but they struggle to digest and metabolize animal protein and fat."
So, for Type A folks who are eating for their blood type, they may want to stay away from eating a ton of meat. They might do best with a mostly vegetarian diet that’s full of veggies, fruits, legumes, and gluten-free grains, Axe says. Great choices are apples, avocados, berries, peaches, pears, plums, broccoli, and leafy greens.
They may also want to avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine, due to how it interacts with their blood. Dr. Axe recommends sipping on herbal teas and water instead.
And finally, Type A people might want to cut back on grains. Dr. Axe says it’s best them to stick to a gluten-free diet by minimizing all wheat and all foods containing wheat flour, barley or rye.
Does this sound like it would suit you? If so, then you’re likely already eating close to the recommendations for the blood type diet. Of course, you don’t have to eat this way — especially if you enjoy grains and meat. But if you and your doctor agree it’s a good fit, why not give it a try?
2Blood Type B
If you have Type B blood, there are a few foods you might want to stay away from if you’re looking to eat for your blood type. "Type Bs are sometimes referred to as ‘nomads’ because they are believed to have ancestral ties to nomadic people who moved around a lot and covered large areas of land," Dr. Axe says. "This is said to have helped type Bs develop a high tolerance to a variety of different foods, which means they do best with a balanced diet that includes moderate amounts of all macronutrients."
That said, Type Bs may want to minimize their intake of peanuts, corn, lentils, and chicken, Dr. Axe says. These foods are best avoided by people with Type B blood due to how the affect the metabolic process, according to D’Adamo’s theory. But again, since it hasn’t been supported by research, it’s absolutely fine to eat these foods, if you like them and they make you feel well.
3Blood Type AB
If you have Type AB blood, and want to eat for your blood type, you’re lucky. "Type ABs are said to have an advantage over other blood types in that they can digest many different foods and even meals that contain both protein and fat," Dr. Axe says. "According to D’Adamo, ‘Type AB is the only blood type whose existence is the result of intermingling rather than evolution and environment. Thus, they share both the benefits and the challenges of both Type A and Type B blood types.’"
That said, Type ABs should refrain from eating too much red meat. They may also want to eat less grains and seeds, especially if they cause indigestion, Dr. Axe says. Other foods to avoid: beans, corn, and too much alcohol.
4Blood Type O
If you have Type O blood, it’s said that you have "ancestral ties to hunters who consumed a lot of meat, fish and animal foods," Dr. Axe says. "Type Os are said to have certain digestive advantages because they can metabolize cholesterol found in animal products more efficiently than other blood types and also better assimilate calcium from dairy products."
As far as the worst foods to eat? Folks with type O blood that are looking to eat for their blood type might want to eat less carbs, and instead stick to a low-carb diet, while going for foods "high in protein, such as … fish, meats like lamb, veal, mutton, eggs, and other animal sources," Dr. Axe says.
They also might want to eat less sugar, "such as from fruit and grains," he says, as well a peanuts, corn, legumes, and grains most of the time. "You can think of blood type plans as ‘suggestions,’" Dr. Axe says. "But also include some foods that are limited according to your blood type in moderate or small amounts."
Of course, before changing your diet for any reason, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor first. When it comes to the blood type diet, it’s most about eating healthy foods, avoiding certain ones that might disrupt your body, and getting exercise. Anyone who does this — regardless of their blood type — will be sticking to typical, recommended health advice from doctor’s the world over.