The naturopath, Dr Peter D’Adamo, created the Blood Group Diet. He claims that by eating for your blood group, you’ll lose weight, feel healthier and lower your risk of many diseases.
Unfortunately, none of his claims have been scientifically proven and therefore dieticians, as explained below, cannot recommend the Blood Group Diet.
According to Dr D’Adamo, people with Blood Group O need to eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet with large quantities of meat and fish and no dairy products, wheat or grains. This diet closely resembles the Atkins diet, which also claims that eating large amounts of meat will make you lose weight. Unfortunately, eating large amounts of meat will put strain on your kidneys, which can cause gout and kidney stones.
Meat is also high in saturated fat, thus increasing your saturated fat intake, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Limiting intake of dairy products will also limit calcium intake, which may lead to osteoporosis.
It is alleged that people with Blood Group A need to avoid meat and dairy products, and increase intake of grains, vegetables and fruit. However, meat is a good source of iron and anemia or iron deficiency can arise if meat is avoided. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables is always healthy, but do it gradually to avoid digestive discomfort.
Dr D’Adamo states that people with Blood Group B should avoid processed foods, always a good tip. However, nuts and seeds are not recommended and only
small amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods are recommended, which is unhealthy. If we refer to the Food Guide Pyramid (1) we see that the opposite is true: carbohydrate- rich foods should form the basis of a healthy diet.
If we come to Blood Group AB, Dr D’Adamo advises that a combination of Blood Group A and B’s diet should be followed, which is very confusing, since no specific guidelines are set.
Therefore, it would be wiser to follow the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid, which states that our daily intake should be as follows: 6-11 servings of starch, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of meat, 2-3 servings of dairy products and to use salt, oil and sugar sparingly. You can use your exchange list in following these guidelines.
One positive thing about the Blood Group Diet is that it does encourage daily exercise, which your dietician will also recommend.
Quick recipe: Cabbage and Apple salad – Serves 4 (One serving = 1 fat and 1 fruit exchange and unlimited vegetables) (2):
Ingredients: 1 red apple; 1 green apple; 10-20 ml lemon juice; 2 cups chopped/grated cabbage; 60 ml plain, low-fat yoghurt; 1⁄2 cup light mayonnaise; 10 ml sunflower seeds. Method: Wash the apples. Leave the skins on. Slice thinly or cubed. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add to cabbage and mix lightly with a fork. Mix yoghurt, mayonnaise and sunflower seeds. Pour over cabbage and apples. Toss the salad and chill for 2 hours or longer before serving.
Information supplied by: R. Tydeman-Edwards, Registered Dietician
(1) US Department of Agriculture. 1992. The Food Guide Pyramid, Home and Garden Bulletin No 252, Washington DC, US Government Printing Office. (Figures.15-2 and 15-3). Delport L and Steenkamp G. Eating for sustained energy, 1st edition, p. 52.