FROM South Beach to Flexitarian diet, people go through different lengths and try every sort of routine just to lose excess pounds. Even if dieticians do not recommend most of these diets, some can’t help but be drawn to the promise of a fit body. One example of these is the Blood Type Diet (BTD).

BTD is the brainchild of Peter D’Adamo, a naturopath, or a physician who studies treatment of illnesses by natural means and without the use of drugs or surgery. BTD promises that ideal dietary habits can be determined through the four basic blood types of the ABO system—A, B, AB, and O. This is not only limited to the food that we eat but also our exercise and intake of supplements. Also, it aims to explain why some people lose weight quicker, despite having the same lifestyle, and why some recover from diseases faster.

In his book “Eat Right 4 Your Type,” D’Adamo explains that one’s blood type can serve as a guide in understanding the unique genetic composition of a person and can help us better understand why each of us respond differently to health-concerned situations. He believes that compatibility exists between ABO blood types and food, and that each blood type has genetic traits from our ancestors that includes which diet is best for our health.

The science behind

Chemical reactions occur between blood types and the food we eat. This is usually caused by lectins, a protein found in most organic food such as beans, grains, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Also, pure lectin extracts from plants are used as a reagent, a substance used to test the presence of another substance by chemical reactions, in blood typing.

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According to D’Adamo, if the lectins that enter our body are incompatible with our blood type, it may bind to the sugar molecules of our blood which causes clumping.

Clumping of blood, also known as hemagglutination, occurs when a foreign substance enters the body and stimulates our antibodies—a substance that is released to protect our body from diseases or potential diseases. These antibodies will bind to the foreign substances causing clumping.

Lectins bind to sugar molecules that stick to the linings of the human tissue that may cause various diseases and even weight gain. BTD provides a diet plan and list of food that are compatible for each blood type that may help avoid this reaction.

A, B, AB, and O

According to D’Adamo’s website, dadamo.com, people with blood type A have a sensitive immune system and are susceptible to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. He recommends a vegetarian and organic diet for people of this blood type. Avoidance of meat, wheat, dairy, and beans are encouraged. He added that calming exercises, like yoga and tai chi, are also encouraged. If an individual with blood type A is aiming to lose weight, consuming vegetable oil, soy foods, vegetables, and pineapple may help.

In contrast to those with blood type A, blood type B individuals have a very resistant immune system and can survive diseases better. They can eat vegetables and meat, except chicken and pork. But they should avoid wheat, lentils, corn, nuts and tomatoes. Moderate physical exercises that demand mental balance like hiking, cycling, tennis, and swimming are the best exercises for blood type B individuals. Greens, eggs and teas are also recommended for those trying to lose weight.

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Meanwhile, a high-protein diet is recommended for blood type O individuals. Health risks are usually due to high-gluten food such as wheat, grain, and dairy products. Seafood, salt, red meat and broccoli are best to take if you’re trying to lose weight. Intense physical exercises, such as aerobics, martial arts, contact sports, and running, are ideal for individuals of this blood type.

Blood type AB is the most complex of all the blood types because it is a combination of blood type A and B. This mix also gives them a longer menu when it comes to food. They may eat vegetables, seafood, and occasionally, red meat. People who possess blood type AB may practice calming exercises and moderate physical and mental balance exercises, just like those of blood types A and B.

Critics

D’Adamo has reported cases wherein his patients responded ideally to the diet.

"Most of my patients experience results within two weeks of starting the diet plan,” he said in an interview in the Alternative Medicine Digest. “They experienced increased energy, weight loss, a lessening of digestive complaints, and improvement of chronic conditions such as asthma, headaches, and heartburn."

But several critics question these results. “To follow any prescribed dietary program with rules and restrictions represents a significant commitment of mental energy toward self-improvement,” says Andrew Weil, a physician and author of various books on alternative medicine. “That alone can lead to a greater sense of well-being and better health.”

Diane Mendoza, a nutritionist and dietician, and a professor from the College of Education, said that the effectiveness and validity of BTD has no concrete evidence. “As dieticians, we always go with evidence-based practice which BTD lacks. This diet may have too many restrictions which may cause certain nutrient deficiencies.”

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Traditional diets

According to Mendoza, losing one to two pounds of weight per week is considered as healthy weight loss. This can be done by reducing one’s intake by 500 to 1,000 kilocalories per day.

“For weight loss, it is still better to balance your energy intake and energy expenditure,” she said. It is still best, Mendoza said, to cut down on sweets, sodas, chips and fastfood items for these have concentrated calories and low nutrient content.

“Crossing out food items is not necessary. There is no such thing as “bad food” as long as you take it in moderation.”

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