Reviewed by Jule Klotter
The Townsend Letter for Doctors
Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer and Achieving Your Ideal Weight by Peter D'Adamo with Catherine Whitney G.P. Putnam's Sons, 200 Madison Ave., New York, New York 10016 USA Hardback, 392 pp., 1996, $22.95
While all natural health advocates recognize the importance of a good diet, not everyone agrees on which diet plan is most healthful. Vegetarian diet, macrobiotic diet, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet.... The list of prescribed diets grows, partly because no single diet plan benefits everyone. Now, two naturopathic physicians (father and son) have moved beyond the one-diet-fits-all scenario. They have found an uncomplicated system for helping individuals determine which foods are most beneficial for them.
The story began when James D'Adamo worked and studied at several European health spas after graduating from naturopathic school in 1957. As part of its program, each spa served strict vegetarian and low-fat diets. Despite the rationale and beliefs supporting such diets, James noticed that "a certain number of patients did not appear to improve, and some did poorly or even worsened." He sought a system for determining individual dietary needs. Because blood brings nourishment to body cells and organs, James looked for correlations between diet and blood type. Over the years, he recognized that each of the 4 blood types thrived on certain foods and physical activities. In 1980, James D'Adamo published his observations on diet and exercise patterns for each blood type in a book called
One Man's Food.
Two years later, James' son Peter, then a senior in Bastyr's Naturopathic program, began to substantiate his father's
theory with objective research. For over 10 years, Peter, with the help of Bastyr students, collected over 1,000 scientific articles on blood types and their correlations to disease, biochemistry, nutrition, and anthropology. In the laboratory, he tested each blood type's reactions to common foods. As a practitioner, Peter recommended the Blood Type Diet to 4,000 patients. He learned that, in addition to determining an individual's optimal diet and exercise practices, blood type indicates one's metabolic efficiency, energy level, emotional response to stress, and susceptibility to various diseases.
By following the Blood Type Plan, patients were able to combat serious illness, avoid common viruses and infections, slow cell deterioration that accompanies aging, and lose weight, as the body automatically eliminated toxins and fats. His findings generated much interest at the 1989 Annual Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Now, Peter D'Adamo, with the help of writer Catherine Whitney, presents this simple, yet effective, individualized plan for determining appropriate diet and exercise for individuals in Eat Right 4 Your Type.
Each of the four blood types, which develop at separate times in human evolution, exhibit biochemical differences. Type O, the oldest and most common blood type, has no true antigens (chemical markers that incite antibody production). Because of this, type O, also called "the universal donor," does not cause antibody production when given to people with other blood types. The next oldest, Type A, first appeared in Asia or the Middle East between 25,000 and 15,000 BC as an evolutionary response to the rise of densely populated agrarian communities. The Type A antigen causes antibody reactions in Type O and Type B, the third blood type. The Type B antigen appeared between 10,000 and 15,000 BC among nomads in the Himalayan highlands. The most recent and least common, Type AB, has the antigens of Types A and B, combining many of the characteristics of the two. People with AB blood can receive blood from A, B, as well as AB and O donors without experiencing an antibody
What do these blood types and their antigens have to do with diet? Foods contain lectins, compounds that interact with antigens on a cell's surface. Many food lectins have characteristics that are similar to one of the blood type antigens. If a person with Type B blood eats a food with B-like lectins, e.g. milk, the body accepts those lectins as compatible and familiar to its own B-antigens. If a person with Type A blood, however, drinks milk, the B-like lectins cause blood cells to clump together (agglutinate), gumming up the works. Besides causing agglutination in body organs and systems, incompatible lectins interfere with digestion, food metabolism, insulin production, and hormonal balance.
Compatible foods and food lectins tend to correlate to the evolutionary and environmental lifestyle of humans at the time that the blood type first appeared. For example, Type O, the oldest blood type, reflects a time when humans survived by hunting their food. Small but frequent servings of meat (excluding pork), poultry, and fish along with vegetables and fruit form a healthful diet for Type O. Grains (especially wheat), legumes, and dairy products - largely unfamiliar to those hunting ancestors - are incompatible with Type O biochemistry.
While animal protein energizes Type O, it has the opposite effect on Type A, the Cultivator. Type A's thrive on vegetarian fare: beans, legumes, cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Type B, the Nomad, has the greatest range of food choices. Fish and meats like lamb, mutton, rabbit and venison are highly beneficial for B's. Chicken, however, is not; it contains a Type B agglutinating lectin. Unlike the previous blood types, B's benefit from eating dairy products, as does Type AB. Type AB represents a merging of Types A and B. Like Type B, AB's require meat protein; but, because of their sensitive digestive tract and naturally low stomach acid, which they have in common with Type A's, AB's need smaller and less frequent portions.
For each of the four blood types, D'Adamo provides easy-to-use lists of highly beneficial foods, neutral foods, and foods to avoid under the following categories: meats and poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs, oils and fats, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, cereals, breads and muffins, grains and pasta, vegetables, fruit, juices and fluids, spices, condiments, herbal teas, and beverages. The highly beneficial foods promote health. The neutral foods have no overt positive effects beyond providing necessary nutrients. The foods to avoid are actually harmful. Sample meal plans (standard menu and weight-control alternative) for 3 days along with a dozen recipes are included for each type. Supplement advice and exercise guidelines that correspond to each blood type's stress reaction complete the picture.
In his book, D'Adamo relates several case histories representing his and other doctors' experiences with the Blood Type Plan. In one case, a 30 year-old woman with type A blood was suffering from kidney failure as a complication of lupus. She had spent several weeks on shunt dialysis and was scheduled for a kidney transplant within six months. The woman ate substantial amounts of dairy, wheat, and red meat -"all dangerous foods for a Type A person in her condition." Her doctor prescribed a strict vegetarian diet (type A), hydrotherapy, and homeopathic remedies. Her condition improved within two weeks. Within two months, the woman no longer needed dialysis or a kidney transplant.
A second case involved a 52 year-old Lebanese woman with Type O blood who had advanced cardiovascular disease: cholesterol level over 350 (normal is 200-220) and over 80% blockage in three arteries. Her diet, following the traditions of her culture, included lots of fish, olive oil, and grains - foods currently recommended to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. After performing a balloon angioplasty on her, her cardiologist suggested that she take Mevacor, a cholesterol-lowering drug. Preferring a more natural approach, the woman sought help from D'Adamo. Because she had Type O blood, D'Adamo suggested that she eat more red meat. His suggestion made her nervous since prevailing medical knowledge indicates that red meat should be avoided by people with heart disease. After consulting her cardiologist, who again urged drug therapy, the woman decided to follow the Type O Plan for 3 months. In addition to eating more red meat, she followed D'Adamo's suggestions for substituting other grains for her high intake of wheat. D'Adamo prescribed an extract of hawthorn, an herbal tonic for the cardiovascular system, and niacin, a B vitamin that helps reduce cholesterol levels. He also started her on a walking program to release the stress caused by her job as an executive secretary. 'within six months," D'Adamo reports, "[her] cholesterol plummeted, without medication, to 187, where it stabilized."
The Blood Type Plan for diet and exercise gives natural health practitioners a profound tool for promoting healing in their patients. Although it is not a panacea, the Blood Type Plan benefits digestion, metabolism, immune function, and prevents cell deterioration. Eat Right 4 Your Type presents this cohesive theory in a clear, accessible manner. This book makes a valuable contribution to health care.