Nutrition

Dieting and Blood Types

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Recently I attended a bodybuilding competition and I noticed that there is a trend being mentioned among trainers and athletes, namely diets based on one’s blood type. Everyone that I spoke with asked about my training and diet regiment, and when I mentioned that I follow a plant based diet, each time the response was something along the lines of “Well that’s great. If it works for your blood type than go for it”. Now, I had never heard of this before, so naturally it ignited my curiosity and after a bit of research I am happy to share and explore this topic with you today.

The idea behind diets based on blood type is that food affects people differently depending on what their blood type is; meaning that blood type determines how the body reacts to consuming specific types of food. This is why some people can thrive on either a plant based diet or high animal protein, totally dairy free or a gluten free diet and others just can’t make it work…or so the theory claims. Essentially, so many diets don’t work because everyone is different and our bodies react differently to each diet; a person’s blood type determines whether or not they will succeed with a specific regiment.

So here is the breakdown of the “ideal diet” for each blood type:

Type O – Individuals with this blood type typically have higher levels of stomach acids and are able to digest higher protein and fat meals, meaning that they have a better ability to metabolize dietary cholesterol than other blood types can. Also, fast digesting (simple) carbohydrates and grains are more easily converted to body fat. The focus here should be on lean meats, fruits and vegetables, while avoiding all dairy and wheat.

Type A – For these individuals, there is a greater emphasis on the ability to easily digest carbohydrates. This diet type leans more towards vegetarian and plant based, but as Type A tends to have a sensitive immune system there must be a focus on organic, fresh soy proteins, grains and vegetables as close to its natural state as possible.

Type B – This blood type has very specific foods listed to avoid altogether and others to consume. Most notably to avoid are wheat, lentils, corn, tomatoes, peanuts and chicken. Whereas to consume it includes lean “game-type” meats such as venison, mutton, lamb and rabbit along with green vegetables, eggs and low fat dairy.

Type AB – Those with this rare blood type are encouraged to consume foods such as tofu, seafood, cultured dairy (for example yogurt) and green vegetables and are advised to avoid any smoked/cured meats.

There is a lot of research out there on pretty much every “diet” in existence today, including this one, from health experts, medical doctors and so on. As I have mentioned previously, I am not a health care professional so I can only speak based on my own personal experience. As such, I am Type O and have been vegan for about 5 years now; I have never been in better shape or felt as good as I have since shifting to a plant based diet. I do agree that we are all different and some lifestyles and diet regiments will work for some and not for others, but whether or not a person’s blood type has that big of an impact is not very clear. There’s so much more to take into consideration as well including external factors such as career, family/home life and financial stability. All of these factors can affect a person’s overall stress and well being, not to mention one’s ability to manage time efficiently without ripping their hair out. Truth be told, most of us don’t have the ability to completely change every single aspect of our lives in order for it to match the “ideal” lifestyle for our blood type. There’s work, family commitment, daily chores and errands to take care of that do take a toll. So just do what you can based on what you’ve already got going for you; if you try to take every tiny thing into consideration for your lifestyle, you’ll probably end up with a bit of a headache, so don’t stress about it too much.

Ultimately just go with what makes you feel your best; choose a nutritional regiment that energizes you and fuels you for your busiest days. But please don’t let yourself get sucked in to some new trendy diet just because someone told you that it totally worked for them. I will never forget last year when I attended a work related event and a woman proceeded to tell me about how whole grains are so bad for you … never mind the fact that she was downing her third vodka martini before practically diving into a rib-steak. I try not to be judgy and all, but sometimes people are idiots. I find it very hard to believe that a fatty piece of meat and vodka are healthier than brown rice, millet or barley, please don’t buy in to any kind of diet advice without doing your research and due diligence first.  If you’re not sure where to start or if you’re still confused as to what’s best for you, consult with a medical professional including a nutritionist or dietician to get a better idea of what you can do now and maintain for the rest of your life.

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