Research Project

Christina Erben
HTML Research Project
Paul Joseph

Eating Right Hype: The Truth Behind the Blood Type Diet

Is eating right for your type just a bunch of hype? The Japanese beg to differ.  The Japanese believe that a person’s blood type can determine everything from their personality perfections and flaws to what type of condom they should use.  Blood typing in Japan is as common as horoscopes are in America. Western interest arose in this area through the aspects of dieting.  According to the Japanese certain foods are better for certain blood types.  Western enthusiasts researched this idea further claiming that by following the blood type diet, it can keep one healthy and fit to the fullest.  Like all other American diet crazes, the blood type diet weeded its way in among the many Atkins and South Beaches.  Skeptics pass it off as nonsense, however, some swear by it, claiming the benefits of the blood type diet are numerous. 
The theory of blood type personality predictions took off in 1931 when Furukawa Takeji began researching how blood types affected personality and character traits.  Takeji’s work was not taken seriously at first, however, it became such a prominently accepted idea in Japan that during World War II the Japanese Imperial Army began strategizing and forming groups of soldiers based on blood type.  Inspired by Takeji, Dr. James D’Adamo conducted his own research and wrote the bookEating Right for Your Type, which made the New York Times best seller list.  D’Adamo, is one of among many blood type diet enthusiasts, but he is perhaps the most well known. D’Adamo was met with skepticism as critics argued that his findings were worthless because he provided no scientific evidence, while other supporters and researchers had provided adequate amounts of evidence.  Nonetheless, D’Adamo continued his research and determined that some types were more suited for a high protein diet, while others were more suited towards a vegetarian diet.  In his book, D’Adamo splits food into three categories: highly beneficial, neutral, and foods to avoid.
  D’Adamo based his research on lectins.  Lectins he explained are, “…proteins found on the surface of certain foods that cause various molecules and some types of cells to stick together.” He argues that this “sticking action” between lectins is responsible for the onset of certain diseases within certain blood types.  D’Adamo stresses that by following his diet plan, people would be less susceptible to contracting these diseases through lectin action. 

The most common blood type in America is type “O.”   Americans consume the most red meat than any other nation.  In D’Adamo’s diet plan, the number one suggested food for type O’s is beef.  According to D’Adamo, type O’s “…have a hardy digestive tract and thrive on animal protein.”  D’Adamo also goes on to suggest that foods high in carbs should be avoided, but that high protein and high fat foods should be intaken regularly.  D’Adamo’s  suggestions for type O’s follow similar instructions to the Atkins diet.  Aside from being the most common type, type O is also the oldest.  D’Adamo reasons that since human’s ancient ancestor the caveman thrived on a diet high in fat and protein, that type O’s should do the same. As far as for keeping fit, D’Adamo states that type O’s are the most aggressive blood type and therefore need intense physical activity. On the opposite end of the spectrum, type A’s are encouraged to avoid all of these instructions.

Type A’s are encouraged to eat more grains and vegetables.  Type A food recommendations lean more towards a vegetarian diet.  D’Adamo states that since this was the second type to evolve when human ancestors first began exploring the possibilities of farming and agriculture which is why this type is prone to more vegetarian lifestyle.  D’Adamo continues in a more scientific sense, stating that, “…the type A individual hardly produces much hydrochloric acid and therefore does poorly on meat and dairy.”  D’Adamo suggests that type A’s avoid intense physical exercise and participate in meditation and stress relieving exercises like yoga and stretching instead.  Collaborating both type O and A diet plans, the type B plan is extremely flexible.

Type B’s are balanced between the O’s and the A’s. Type B’s get to enjoy “‘…the best of the animal and vegetable kingdoms.’”  They are encouraged to maintain a balanced diet.  D’Adamo explains that human ancestors with type B blood were traveling Nomads, meaning they were hunters, but also planted and gathered crops in order to sustain them.  Type B’s also do extremely well with a high dairy diet.  D’Adamo suggests that type B’s focus on balance in both diet and exercise stressing that moderation is key.  Following in step with diet collaboration, the type AB plan allows the ultimate flexibility.

Type AB’s are pretty well rounded in that they can enjoy both A type diets and B type diets.  However, beef is still not completely recommended, as it falls under the neutral category.  Type AB is the newest and rarest of all blood types.  While the AB type diet is extremely varied, the exercises D’Adamo recommends fall into the Type A category.  He suggests that those with type AB blood should also focus on exercises that will alleviate stress, not increase it.

Dr. D’Adamo presents an interesting theory to the old anecdote, “You are what you eat.” Clearly he presents a detailed argument which has gained many followers.  Although his research is scientifically based but not scientifically proven, D’Adamo’s research has sparked interest in many others.  Despite critics and skepticism, D’Adamo’s research has continued to reach and inspire many.