Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blood Vs Diet

The concept behind the blood-type diet is simple: Determine your blood type, follow the diet and exercise plan for that type, and voila, you'll lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic illness, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, avoid common viruses and infections and slow the aging process -- or so the diet claims. The Blood Type Diet contends that chemical reactions occur between your blood and the foods you eat -- eat the wrong food for your blood type and suffer adverse health consequences. So how do you know what foods to eat or avoid? To answer that question, the diet's author considers when your blood type first appeared in history. Type O, for instance, which is apparently the oldest blood type, emerged at a time when people had to hunt for their food to survive, thus the emphasis on meat in this diet. Type A's, on the other hand, were cultivators and ate more vegetarian foods. Type B's were nomads, eating the widest range of foods, while type AB's are called enigmas, for they combine types A and B, requiring meat but in smaller portions.

What You Can Eat

All four plans on the Blood Type Diet (for types O, A, B and AB) have different food requirements which are broken into three categories: highly beneficial (the food is like a medicine), neutral (the food can be enjoyed without positive or negative consequences) or avoid (the food acts like a poison).

Type O individuals, for instance, are encouraged to eat a diet high in animal protein (i.e. lean red meats and poultry) but limited in dairy products, grains (especially wheat) and legumes. Type A's, on the other hand, are advised to follow a vegetarian diet, consuming beans, legumes, cereals, vegetables, fruits and small amounts of dairy products but eliminating all meats. Meanwhile, the type B diet encourages meat (but not chicken), dairy products, all fruits, most vegetables, some beans, no nuts or seeds and no wheat. And those on the type AB diet are allowed to eat some meat, some dairy products, limited wheat products and most fruits and vegetables.

Is the diet healthy?

Not necessarily. While some of the food lists in the diet give healthy options, the fact that so many nutritious foods are restricted is troubling. The list concept is also extremely structured, and this rigidity may doom many people who attempt this diet.

What do the experts say?

There's no scientific proof that eating and exercising according to your blood type will help you lose weight. If you follow the diet and do lose weight, it's probably because you're eating fewer calories, not because there's something magical going on with your blood type and the foods you're eating.

Bottom Line

Each of the four blood type diets is too restrictive, asking you to follow lists and cut otherwise healthy foods from your diets. Categorizing foods into good and bad is simply not a healthy approach, for almost all foods can fit into a diet. And by cutting healthy foods, you'll miss out on valuable nutrients assuring your diet will be unbalanced and not enjoyable.

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