Archives for: January 2008
Last night I gave a second lecture at the Wilton Library. This was sponsored by the library and open to the general public, so I was surprised and pleased to see standing room only. Despite the fact that I wasn't exactly feeling all that terrific (exhaustion from doing 17 radio interviews the day before and perhaps a bit of food poisoning as well) I gave what I think was one of my best lectures ever. Funny how all the fatigue, aches and pains disappear in me when it's time to talk about this material. Expression really is the best medicine. Signed a lot of books, which were supplied by the local town book shoppe, who sold out their stock. This is a really good thing since Wilton is one of the few towns that still has a local bookseller, versus most towns with their B&Ns and Borders, who have taken over the industry.
Random House has made available a small number of signed first editions of The GenoType Diet. You can read more about it here. They cost a bit more than the jacket price of the book, but I will be donating any of my royalties to a wonderful charity in Africa that helps women develop entrepreneurial skills. Teach an person to fish.. and all that.
Yesterday featured an interesting day of sorts. The amazon.com 'Health Bestsellers' featured 5 books that I have written as part of their top 25 bestselling health books. Cool.
Got a very nice note from Professor Gerhard Uhlenbruck, who had received his copy of The GenoType Diet. The good professor (the only scientist I have meet who has read Emil Cioran) shared these thoughts:
When I worked in the earlier sixties at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, my famous teacher, Prof. Dr. W.T.J. Morgan, who elucidated the biochemical structure of the ABH(O) and Lewis blood group antigens, used to say at various occasions: "Its all in the genes!". In fact, having experience in more than 50 years in clinical science and immunochemical research, I was so often confronted with this sentence, that it became a credo to me with the value of a proverb, which explained so many phenomena of patients and their very different reactivity to the susceptibility of illnesses, chronic diseases and early aging processes. When I first heard of Peter D'Adamo's blood group diet, of course I was very skeptical: Should we have missed in our book (Prokop/ Uhlenbruck: Human Blood and Serum Groups) such an important aspect? But years later, my interest switched to the nutritional field while working on the so-called Metabolic Syndrome, my interest increased in studying the role of genes in metabolic processes. I found out, that Peter D'Adamo's blood group orientated diet could probably be a first step in the right direction, however it could not be the whole story.
So I was not surprised at all, when now a book on The Genotype Diet by him was published as a next step in this new area. And I am sure it will not be the last one by him, as the role of genes and a subsequent personal, individual view of illness, diseases and health, including aging problems, has widened the approach of medical treatment, lifestyle change and a healthy nutrition.. We all live driven by our genes, sometimes feeling to suffer under their government,, and sometimes having the wish to change over our genetic outfit, to jump over the hurdle of genes or to influence their expression. Fat is not fate! I can confirm Peter D'Adamo in so far, as I have own experience in sport medicine, exercise immunology and in treating the Metabolic Syndrome.
According to the vision of D'Adamo, it seems also to me, that we can switch on the "good genes" and turn off the bad ones. In this context we must keep in mind that more than fifty percent of all illnesses are due to an inadequate nutrition. We know now much about anti-aging genes, which can be influenced by lifestyle (exercise) or by nutrition (as a curious example the action of red winew has been investigated). Looking on Peter D'Adamo's six Genotypes, being a medical doctor too, I must admit and I am a little bit amused, that one has so often met such types in the general medical practice. In any case, the book of D'Adamo is very stimulating, full of new ideas and creative concepts. Of course it will rise criticism and controversy, but at least I have observed, that people are very faithful to these diet suggestions, much more than to other diet programs: Who heals is right?
The sentence "Its all in the genes" has to be enlarged in that way that "its all in genes we ca influence". In this respect, Peter D'Adamo's approach is very optimistic, but this may be good in order to motivate people. To alter the genetic destiny is an old dream of mankind. What can be done in this direction, is limited but very understandably outlined in this book, written in a fascinating language and produced with many pictures and tables. It demonstrates also the profound knowledge of the author, its not a superficial "quicky", but with the aim not to become something like a dogmatic "bible", but a guidance book: Health as a creative process by activating personal thoughts and ideas about a longer healthy life, which is not permanent under the threat of disease. Life-style change means a revolution in the
personal life history.
We generally have the freedom to decide on our health. This book is showing a way, walking this way we must do alone, personally, guided by the genes we activate or suppress. Let me put it together: A person can keep healthy, fit and wise, by doing his diet and daily exercise! What motivates him maybe modified individually and in future. So I can recommend this book of my colleague as a start for a personal, individual life-style change. And
for that it is never too late.
What I so like about this guy (and surprisingly for an academic) is that he understands that there is a bigger game to be played, a greater goal to be achieved, in writing books such as the GTD than just winning some sort of nebulous intellectual argument between scholars. That is important too, but more often than not it is also irrelevant.
Who heals is right. Gotta love that.
Click on the image to listen to this broadcast.
A one-hour interview of Dr. Peter DAdamo by Cary Nostler of KSTE Radio, Sacramento California. The discussion includes the basics of blood type dieting, and how it lead to the development of Dr. D'Adamo's interest in epigenetics and The GenoType Diet.
This week's TIME magazine featured an execrable perspective on The GenoType Diet courtesy of columnist Andrea Sachs. In a column called Calorie Countdown she treats TIME readers to an array of her opinions on the various 'notable diets of 2008.'
The GenoType Diet gets short shrift from the pen of Ms. Sachs. In an analysis which appears to me no deeper than the back cover of the book's dust jacket (while also deriving substantial inspiration from The Fifth Dimension) she writes:
By Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo, with Catherine Whitney (Broadway; 317 pages). Naturopathic physician D'Adamo has identified six "GenoTypes"--the Hunter, the Gatherer, the Teacher, the Explorer, the Warrior and the Nomad--and gives food dos and don'ts for each. The book comes off about as scientific as telling Scorpios they should eat only food grown when Jupiter aligns with Mars.
Trying to learn more about who writes this type of article for America's most beloved weekly illustrated magazine, I retrieved this biography off the TIMES.com site:
Andrea Sachs is a former English major whose dreams were fulfilled when she became TIME's publishing reporter in 1995. What could be better than interviewing authors, reading fabulous new books, and going to publishing parties?
I guess Goethe was right. You do see what you know. Ms. Sachs never interviewed me, and seems to have not actually read my 'fabulous new book.' As far as the parties... well.
Some people seem to just get things wrong. One can only suppose that in world of Andrea Sachs I actually think that the universe splits up into Teachers and Nomads and that Teachers should teach stuff and Nomads should wander around. Those are just memes. Science writers often do this in an attempt to bring complex characterizations to life for laymen. That, as any good English major should know, is called a literary device. Read The Seven Daughters of Eve by Brian Sykes for a similar treatment. In the last third of the book Sykes writes narratives about fictional clan mothers ('Helena', 'Tara', etc.) which correspond to one (or more) human mitochondrial haplogroups.
A friend of mine was fond of saying that "You can always spot the pioneers. They are the folks with the arrows in their backs."
Now, that's real science.
*. The phrase 'file under futile' is from 'Back In Judy's Jungle' by Brian Eno
Some of you might not remember this, but about six years ago I wrote a book called 'Live Right For Your Type' (LRFYT). It was a fun book to write since I was not hamstrung by the extreme limitations I experienced in the writing of my first book 'Eat Right For Your Type' (ERFYT). First books are hard to write, mostly because you have to encapsulate the universe into a teacup, and like the blacksmith in the Bible who wanted to learn the whole Torah while standing on one foot,* you don't have an unlimited amount of time. Plus, you have to write something that the average man in the street can understand. Yet because it was so simple, and because it heralded a new way of looking at nutrition, 'Eat Right' has always topped the list of my bestselling books, still selling quite well despite to this day, being only available as a hardcover.
When it came time to write a followup, it was easy to see what had to be included. We had been secretor testing patients in our clinic for over ten years and knowing secretor status can be a very helpful way to get the most out of the blood type diet associations. Simple enough.
However, there were problems. One, secretor status testing is not easy to perform. It is not a common lab test, and the two most common methods (saliva and testing for Lewis blood group status) are not amenable to home testing, like ABO and Rh. So when 'Live Right' was released, a lot of people responded with something like "Oh great. It took me a year to find out my blood type and begin following the Type (A,B,O,A diet. Now I've got to find out my secretor status."
Then they took a look at the changes to the food lists. That's when things really took off.
All of a sudden, certain foods changed value, not just depending on whether you were A,B,O or AB, but also whether you were an ABO secretor or non-secretor, and not always for the worse (i.e taking new foods away.) Sometimes a food was 'given back' (restricted in for type O in 'Eat Right' but perhaps returned in 'Live Right' if you discovered that you were a non-secretor type O. One thing I noticed about the reactions was that there was a certain type of reader who was more disconcerted by having a food returned back to their diet than they were by finding out that even more foods were now restricted. This type of personality had the hardest time with changes.
Well, feathers flew, folks came and went, but if you visit the boards and leave a story about how you need the Blood Type Diet to work better in your life, ten responders will post back to you with the advice to get yourself secretor tested.
Now, you don't need to be a graduate of the Harvard Business School to understand a new version of 'classic' is is released, you risk a certain degree of backlash. I'm sure that Coca Cola is still smarting from the 'New Coke' fiasco of years past. They did not do the market research to realize that people could turn against them if they felt they were not being listened to or neglected. Coca Cola's problem was not that they were introducing a new formula. That would have been a non-event. The problem was that they were planning on eliminating the older formula.
The GenoType system is really another turn of the same wheel. I think of it like this. Say you came to my clinic and I put you on a blood type based diet. Say in 6/10 circumstances it works just fine. But you're one of the 4/10 that it didn't. So we get you secretor tested. But you are one of the 2/10 that blood type and secretor status doesn't get the results that you need.
So, what should I do? My clinic doesn't have a back door, so I can't just run out on you, and I'm too obstinate to admit defeat. So back to the blackboard I go. Five years and thousands of man hours later, out comes The GenoType Diet. Still part of the overall continuum, still the same blood (and secretor) types, but incorporating these with the physical manifestations that also serve to make us unique; measurements, fingerprints, etc. And, for the first time, with a definable end-goal in mind: the optimum control of your day-to-day genetic interactions with the environment.
But behind it all is the continuity that Coca Cola forgot about; as I posted on the BTD forums the other day, if you are a type A with sinusitis, you're a type a with sinusitis pretty much whether you are an Explorer, Warrior or Teacher. Collinsonia will still work pretty well on you. But if you've read in my earlier books that type A is more prone to cancer and heart disease, your might be interested to learn that these risks split up along GenoTypes, and so the preventive measures that you can take will be more effective.
Like ABO and Secretor Status, Blood Type and GenoType need and benefit from each other.
* To his demand that 'As a busy man, I've not the time to spend studying and reading,' he was advised that the Bible essentially taught that he should 'Not do to someone that which you would not want done to yourself. The rest in just commentary.'