Eating for your blood type means sticking to food that suits your blood, but is it just another fad diet like ketogenic, the Whole30, or Atkins?
The “Eat Right For Your Type” theory was created by Peter J. D’Adamo, a naturopath who put forward the idea that your blood type reacts chemically with food, and you can, therefore, benefit from eating certain food groups.
What Are the Benefits of Following an A Positive Blood Type Diet?
Eating food suited to your blood type may lead to better digestion and improved well-being, such as increased energy, a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of disease.
It makes sense in theory, but does it work in practice?
Does It Work?
Your blood type certainly matters when it comes to transfusion, and there’s evidence that some blood types are more at risk of disease. For example, individuals with blood group O may have a reduced risk of venous thromboembolism.
There’s no scientific evidence that eating an A+ blood type diet or an A- blood type diet makes a difference or will improve your health, but anecdotal evidence from followers says it has made them feel better and helped them shed excess pounds.
There’s no scientific proof these diets work, but the absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ineffective—and the idea has certainly proven popular with the public.
What’s Behind the Blood Group Diet?
The theory is that your blood group reveals the dietary habits of your ancestors.
Type O was the first blood type (although this is a matter for hot debate among researchers).
Type O early humans, identified as far back as the 40,000 BC Cro-Magnons, ate the high animal protein diet of hunter-gatherers, but as they moved into a more settled agrarian society, type A blood evolved to help them digest cultivated crops, fruits, and vegetables.
Rarer B blood types are thought to descend from the ancient nomadic tribes that consumed more dairy from their herds.
In short, it means that your blood type is better at digesting a certain type of food over others.
RELATED: Eating for Your Blood Type—B+ & B-
Type As may have a digestive system with low levels of hydrochloric acid and high intestinal disaccharide digestive enzymes.
This enables them to digest carbohydrates effectively, but they have difficulty digesting and metabolizing animal fats and proteins.
The proteins in food are called lectins. The blood type diet suggests that when our blood mingles with lectins, it creates a chemical reaction. This reaction either benefits or causes difficulties depending on your blood type.
So, type A blood would have no issues with seeds or nut lectins, but it would cause clumping and other issues when combined with animal-based ones.
I’m A Negative Blood Type—Does That Make a Difference to the Diet?
It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re A positive or A negative.
Positive blood has a protein on the surface of red blood cells known as the Rhesus antigen. If you don’t have this protein, your blood is rhesus negative.
Around 85% of people in the USA have positive blood. Negative is rarer at around 15%—but this doesn’t affect the blood type diet.
You should eat based on whether you are blood type A, O, B, or AB.
What Are The Best Foods for Blood Type A?
A positive and A negative blood types should eat a predominantly vegetarian diet that’s as fresh and organic as possible.
Foods for A positive blood type diet include:
- Soy protein like tofu
- Whole grains
- Seeds and nuts
- Fruit (excluding some below)
- Beans and legumes
- Dark leafy greens
- Onions and garlic
- Salmon and sardines
- Small amounts of white meat, like chicken and turkey
- Olive oil
What to Avoid on the Blood Type A Diet
The list of foods that A positive or A negative blood types should avoid is very long and restrictive.
- Red meat beef, venison, and lamb
- White meat pork
- Cow’s milk and cheese
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams
- Vegetables, such as cabbage and pepper
- Fruits like tomatoes, oranges, melons, mangoes, and strawberries
- Fish other than sardines and salmon
- Oils other than olive oil
- Refined carbs like white bread and pasta
- Artificial ingredients
Blood Type A Characteristics
D’Adamo also conducted experiments into characteristics of A+ and A- blood types.
Through questionnaires, he found that Type As thought they were more likely to be sensitive to others, detail-oriented, creative, inventive, and good listeners.
Type As should also avoid loud noises, crowds of people, smoke, extremes of weather, strong smells, lack of sleep, and high-intensity workouts in favor of tai chi, meditation, and swimming.
This is because their stress response pumps out more cortisol, potentially leading to more internalized stress and anxiety than other blood types.
Is the A Blood Type Diet Risky?
A typical type A blood diet is full of fruit, vegetables, and reduced amounts of meat, sugar, processed foods, and artificial ingredients—so it’s not found to be harmful.
Should I Follow the A Positive Blood Type Diet?
If you want to follow the type A+ or A– diet and you have no specific dietary needs to consider such as diabetes, then you may find it beneficial.
Studies have shown that the A blood type diet can increase your health, but not necessarily due to blood type. A diet based on fruit, vegetables, and whole grains is a healthy diet that’s associated with a lower risk of life-limiting illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
However, the A blood type diet is restrictive, and if you’re used to eating meat and dairy, you may struggle to stay on it.
Whatever diet you choose to follow, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for good overall health.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to seek professional medical advice first.