How The Blood Type Diet Works, According To Nutritionists

by Isadora Baum, CHC

We know what you're probably thinking: the blood type diet? Yes, it might seem more outdated or ambiguous, but it's actually pretty interesting. Knowing what to eat based on the blood type diet can maybe save you time in battling digestive woes and just not feeling as healthy as you could, if they're a few benefits to eating in a preferred way that's more fitting to your genes. Health is heavily influenced by genetics, in tandem with the environment, so eating in a way that is suitable for your blood type could maybe help you thrive in ways you never thought possible.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding different foods that uplift them and weeding out those that don't. If you feel any pain after eating certain foods, it could be a clear sign that your body can't tolerate it well, and it could benefit from eliminating it (or at least limiting the intake). Likewise, you might notice a boost in energy and alertness after eating other foods, or perhaps you might feel slimmer and less bloated after cutting out certain food groups (like dairy, for instance). It's all about trial and error, but if you have a point of reference regarding blood type, it can be a shortcut for finding the ideal type of diet. Or at least, you'll be cutting out some dietary offenders that you're more inclined to notice during these changes. Here's what you need to know about the blood type diet if you're looking to try it out. While all recommend fruits and vegetables, they certainly differ on some other food groups.

1. Type O

According to experts at WebMD, if you're type O blood type, you will thrive off a high-protein diet, mostly based off lean cuts of healthy meat. Great choices include chicken, turkey, red meat (in moderation), and fish. There's less of an emphasis on whole grains, beans, and dairy products. Instead, eat vegetables with protein for the ultimate combination.

Here's what's even more interesting: because the diet is heavier in protein, type O's are recommended to engage in more rigorous, aerobic exercise, explained the experts at WebMD. Try spinning, biking, running, or HIIT training.

2. Type A

According to Kristen Johnson Brogan, Chief Nutritional Officer at On Target Living, over email with Bustle, type A blood types thrive off a vegetarian, or plant-based diet. Think more in terms of ancient grains, vegetables, beans, legumes, and tofu, rather than beef, poultry, and eggs, explains Brogan. Fish is pretty well tolerated for type A's, too. Try preparing meat-less foods as you would meat for an easier transition. For instance, you can make cauliflower steak and use mushrooms and beans for burger patties. There's also less of an emphasis on dairy, as well.

For type A's, lighter workouts, such as yoga, might be easier on the body, explained the WebMD experts.

3. Type B

According to Dr. D'Adamo, founder of The Blood Type Diet, on his website, type B's are the most versatile and well adapted to different climates, tastes, and food groups. So, you can eat dairy without much worry (yay). If you're type B blood type, you might thrive off low-fat dairy, protein, and vegetables. However, chicken is off the table. Chicken has an agglutinating lectin that can lower immunity and put type B's at risk for disease. Replace it with lamb, beef, mutton, or goat, advised Dr. D'Adamo. Also, grains and legumes might not sit as well as these other foods, so just eat with caution and see how your body holds up.

As for workouts, Joseph Christiano, a naturopathic doctor, author of Blood Types, Body Types, and You, and co-creator of The Blood Type Workout explained to Prevention that type B blood types can still handle aerobic, cardio exercise, just not as intensely as type 0's. Choose dance, tennis, cycling, and other more moderate level cardio activities.

4. Type AB

Whether you're AB positive or negative, the preferred diet remains the same, explained Dr. D'Adamo. For type AB's, it's all about balance between A and B foods, explained experts at Healthline. These experts said that an AB blood type diet can include low-fat diary, lean protein, and vegetables, much like type B; yet, meat (not just chicken) should be eaten in more moderate doses. Instead, amp up your tofu and seafood, which is more aligned with type A. See, it's a blend.

For exercise, again it's a mix. Include bouts of high-intensity and a restorative yoga practice, said the experts.

So, does it work?

"Eating for your blood type can work synergistically with your body and processes allowing you to feel better from the inside out," says Brogan. That's a good sign. Plus, it can help guide people towards making healthier food choices through the power of whole, unprocessed foods, says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, over email with Bustle.

Similarly, "What I like about the blood type diet - the foods on the blood type diet variations are all whole, natural foods, so it could (likely) be an improvement," says Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, author of The MIND Diet over email with Bustle. It's also similar to the Mediterranean diet, paired with exercise, explains Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, over email with Bustle.

Yet, no real studies have claimed that the blood type diet is in any way correlated to a preferred way of eating, explains Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medicine, over email with Bustle. So, you don't need to be as stingy. Most of the foods that are eliminated are much like an elimination diet, where the body can't tolerate it well, adds Ashe.

"What I don't like about it - it's restrictive and challenging to maintain and leaves little room for personal preference; to me, taking away options and choice like that sets someone up for failure not success," Moon adds. Perhaps finding a healthy balance, where you take out some of the poor choices that are avoided in the blood type diet, in favor of better staples, is the best plan (rather than following the diet too restrictively).

You also need to consider your whole health and lifestyle. "The diet should not suggest one diet over another without taking into account the patients overall help status. For example, Type O suggest a high protein diet, however, if you have kidney disease, you should consult your physician about how much protein you intake," says Ashe. And, "it doesn't take into account health conditions, like Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol," says Schapiro.

It's worth a shot. Check with a doctor first, see if it makes a difference after a week or two trial, and if you feel awesome, you may have just found your new of eating.