Author Topic: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets  (Read 8892 times)

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Offline TylerDurden

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Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« on: May 29, 2010, 04:19:07 pm »
 The History And Characterization Of Blood Type Diets

Blood type diets were first popularized by Peter D’Adamo, a naturopathic physician, in his best selling 1996 book, Eat Right 4 Your Type1. The inspiration for Dr. D’Adamo’s book came from subjective clinical impressions of his father, James D’Adamo; also a naturopathic physician who first proposed this concept in his book, One Man’s Food is Someone Else’s Poison 16 years earlier in 19802. As a member of Bastyr College’s first graduating class of naturopathic physicians in 1982, Peter became interested in attempting to validate his father’s subjective and personal observations from reviews of the scientific and medical literature – thus the fundamental reason for Peter writing his hugely successful diet book.

The underlying premise for Peter’s dietary ideas is that ABO blood type is the most important issue in determining healthful diets. He advocates separate diets for people with one of the four most common blood types (A, B, O or AB), and has further subdivided his dietary recommendations into three arbitrary ancestral categories: "African, Caucasian and Asian." Hence 12 subgroups (4 blood types x 3 ancestral categories) exist – each with differing dietary recommendations. Each blood type diet includes 16 food groups which are divided into three categories: 1) highly beneficial, 2) neutral and 3) avoid. For each of the 12 subgroups differing recommendations exist for the three food categories. If these nutritional recommendations sound somewhat complex to you, I had to re-read them about a dozen times to get the drift myself. Although I don’t want to get ahead of the game, for the observant reader, you may be curious to know how Dr. D’Adamo dreamed up this complex dietary system and if a long trail of experimental human clinical trials exist to support Peter’s recommendations? I, too, had to ask myself these same questions.

Before we get into the science or lack thereof of the blood type diet, I’ve got to flesh out a few more of the underlying concepts. Dr. D'Adamo believes that blood group O ("O for Old") was the earliest human blood type and that all humans at one time maintained this blood group before the subsequent evolutionary appearance of blood types A, B and AB (reference 1, pp. 6-13). Accordingly, Peter believes that people with the O blood type had ancestors who were skillful hunters and whose diets were high in meat and animal proteins. For modern people with the O blood type he advocates a high meat, low carbohydrate "hunter" diet, with virtually no wheat, few grains or legumes and limited dairy products. Do these dietary recommendations ring a bell for you, or sound vaguely familiar? Keep this thought in mind, as it may well explain the lasting popularity of Peter’s first book.

Peter now goes on to explain to us that blood group A ("A is for Agrarian") "appeared somewhere in Asia or the Middle East between 25,000 and 15,000 B.C." . . . and "allowed them to better tolerate and absorb cultivated grains and other agricultural products" (reference 1, p. 8). For type A’s, Dr. D’Adamo recommends a mainly vegetarian diet - the diet that he personally follows. However, more importantly he recommends that blood type A’s also avoid wheat and dairy (do these recommendations also sound familiar?) and replace meats with some "highly beneficial" fish and seafood – Hmm, lots of fresh fruits and veggies for type A’s, little wheat or dairy and fish instead of meat? Keep these recommendations in mind.

Peter next tells us that blood type B, "developed sometime between 10,000 and 15,000 B.C. in the area of the Himalayan highlands – now part of present-day Pakistan and India (reference 1, p. 10). Peter suggests that type B’s have evolved the most varied diet and can include both meats and dairy in their daily menu, but again should avoid wheat. Before we move on to the final blood type (AB) it should be noted that Dr. D’Adamo generally eschews highly processed foods (chips, pastries, candy, ice cream, snack food, fast food, etc.) for all blood groups – once again, does this not sound like another familiar dietary suggestion?

From Peter’s diagram on page 6 of his book, he indicates that blood type AB appeared first in humans sometime between 500 B.C. and 900 A.D. He characterizes "AB is for Modern" and states "Until ten or twelve centuries ago, there was no Type AB blood." (reference 1, p. 13). Peter indicates that AB’s are a conglomeration of type A and type B blood types, and consequently their diets should reflect a mixture of the recommendations he makes for these blood groups. AB’s are therefore advised to eat meats, seafood and dairy, and to once again avoid wheat.

The Reality And The Science Of Blood Type Diets

The reality of Dr. D’Adamo’s book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, is that it has overwhelmingly become one of the sustained, best selling diet books of the past two decades, and continues to sell well on Amazon and other retail outlets – 14 years after its initial release in 1996. Unfortunately, as I will shortly demonstrate, Dr. D’Adamo’s explanations for the health-promoting effects of his diet have little or nothing to do with ABO blood groups. His claims about the origins of human blood types and the dietary selective pressures which elicited the four common blood types are completely incorrect and have no basis in the current scientific literature. By critically examining the faulty concepts and evidence underlying this book, it becomes almost comical how Peter’s series of errors, incorrect assumptions and conclusions actually ended up with dietary recommendations that may have therapeutic value for about 60% or more of the world’s population. The paradoxical nature of this book (bad science, pretty good dietary recommendations) helps to explain its lasting commercial success.

Actual Origins of Human Blood Types

Peter’s suggestion that O is the original human blood type is incorrect. Studies in humans, chimpanzees and bonobos (a specific type of chimpanzee) show that alleles (different versions of genes) coding for the A blood type was actually the most ancient version of the ABO blood group, and was shared prior to the evolutionary split between chimpanzees and hominids five to six million years ago3-5. Hence, Peter’s suggestion that blood type A appeared 15,000 to 25,000 years B.C. in response to dietary changes brought about by the new foods (i.e. grains) of the agricultural revolution is not only incorrect, but off base by about five million years. Now, let’s play a little game of logic and apply the correct data to Peter’s reasoning that "the original ancestral human blood type should be eating a high protein meat based diet." Since type A is the actual ancestral human blood type (rather than O), if we use Peter’s logic then he - himself a type A - should not be following a vegetarian diet, but rather a high protein meat based diet. These kinds of games of logic - although fun to play - more importantly underscore the fundamental and incorrect assumptions upon which Peter’s book is based.

The next blood type that appeared in the human lineage was B - which split from A - about 3.5 million years ago3-5, not the recent 10,000 to 15,000 years B.C. origin that Peter has proposed. The O blood type split from A about 2.5 million years ago3-5 and consequently does not represent the oldest blood type as claimed by Peter. The only fact that Peter correctly deduced about the origin of human blood types was that AB was the youngest, but once again he completely missed the correct date, as it was actually about 260,000 years ago3 - not the mere 1,500 years ago that he has proposed.

So Peter has got all of his blood group origins messed up, his dates wrong, and the evolutionary splits incorrect. Why does this matter and how does it affect his dietary theories? To begin with, even if we were to believe in Peter’s underlying assumptions that diets should be prescribed upon blood types, he would have to completely revamp his original recommendations. Type A’s should be eating a high protein, meat-based diet rather than the vegetarian fare he suggests. But what about type O’s? With the correct evolutionary information, should they now be eating a vegetarian menu? And what about type B’s and type AB’s – what should they now be eating? Most telling of the logical failings of Peter’s blood type diet is the observation that all four of the major blood types had evolved almost 250,000 years before the coming of the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago. Yet Peter would have us convinced that three of the four major blood groups only came into existence slightly before or after the Agricultural Revolution, and as a direct result from dietary selective pressures wrought by Neolithic food introductions.

So, why has Peter’s book become one of the best selling diet books in the past two decades? Because it works – but only for about 44-62% of the people who adopt it. Remember that for blood type O, Peter advocates a high meat, low carbohydrate "hunter" diet; with virtually no wheat, few grains or legumes and limited dairy products. If we look at the frequencies of the four major blood types for the entire world population, blood type O is by far the most frequently occurring version. It is found in 62% of all the world’s people, followed by A (21%), B (16%) and AB (1-3%)6. In the United States, the four blood type frequencies are O (44%), A (42%), B (10%) and AB (4%)7. So you can see that Peter has essentially advocated a diet similar to the Paleo Diet for between 44 and 62% of his readers. Quite simply, Peter’s diet works for about 44 to 62% of the people who adopt it – not because of their blood type, but because it emulates the same diet that natural selection has designed for us all.

References:

   1. D'Adamo, P. with Whitney, C. Eat Right 4 your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1996.
   2. D’Adamo, J. One man's food--is someone else's poison. R. Marek Publisher, 1980.
   3. Calafell F, Roubinet F, Ramírez-Soriano A, Saitou N, Bertranpetit J, Blancher A. Evolutionary dynamics of the human ABO gene. Hum Genet. 2008 Sep;124(2):123-35.
   4. Saitou N, Yamamoto F. Evolution of primate ABO blood group genes and their homologous genes. Mol Biol Evol. 1997 Apr;14(4):399-411.
   5. Lalueza-Fox C, Gigli E, de la Rasilla M, Fortea J, Rosas A, Bertranpetit J, Krause J. Genetic characterization of the ABO blood group in Neandertals. BMC Evol Biol. 2008 Dec 24;8:342.
   6. Mourant AE, Kopec AC, Domaniewska-Sobczak K. The Distribution of the Human Blood Groups and other Polymorphisms. Oxford University Press, London, 1976, p. 6.
   7. Stanford School of Medicine, Blood Center.

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Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 09:59:56 pm »
In the realm of emergency life saving medicine (non western med), blood typing is a VERY BIG DEAL.
So says my friend the professional healer Vander Gaditano.
Who is Vander? http://www.myhealthblog.org/2009/04/11/vanderbilt-gaditanos-healing-farm-is-a-sanctuary-for-the-sick-and-terminally-ill-looking-for-a-cure/
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Offline Roselene

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2010, 12:31:04 pm »
Goodsamaritan, would you give us an example of how your healer friend uses blood type?

Offline battleforhealth

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 06:48:01 am »
Tyler,

"You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law."

That is the first sentence of the user agreement on the Raw Paleo Forum, as you might or might not remember upon registration.  I believe your post about the Blood Type Diet is precisely that - False, defamatory, inaccurate, and hateful. 

It sounds to me like you've never actually read Eat Right for Your Type past the first chapter.  If so, you would understand that the basis of the blood group diet system is the fact that there are hundreds; even thousands, of peer-reviewed scholarly articles that show a definite connection among the blood groups and various diseases.  It's been known since the 1950's that As get more heart disease than any other blood type, and that type Os are more prone to ulcers.  Breast cancer is statistically higher in type A, and certain autoimmune diseases are found more in B.  So what doctor D'Adamo did after discovering this connection is what any good scientist would do - he discarded his "gut" impression that his father's idea was nonsense (much like you believe), and began doing more research. 

The scientific method follows that ideas and correlations need to be repeatedly tested in order to come to a logical conclusion about a hypothesis.  These tested and proven hypotheses then become theories. What Dr D'Adamo has done since the 1980's is test his hypotheses about blood group and digestive discrepancies, based on information from medical literature, and put them to the test.  He has clocked countless hours of laboratory research with food-bourne lectins and how they interact with the oligosaccharide chain of the ABO antigens.  The effect of selective RBC agglutination could be observed over and over again with a microscope.  But it wasn't even D'Adamo who figured this out in the first place.  First it was Hermann Stillmark in 1888, and then William Boyd of the Boston School of Medicine in 1945.  Both scientists observed the effects of food lectins, and found that they cause red blood cells to "agglutinate" or bind together.  It just happened to be Dr D'Adamo who put the pieces together and realized that this agglutination is unhealthy for humans.

http://www.dadamo.com/science_boyd_discovery.htm

For the next twenty years, Dr D'Adamo was applying his research in his clinic with his patients.  Time after time he found that people of blood group O do better by eliminating wheat, corn, peanuts, potatoes, and dairy from their diets.  While Bs get better by avoiding chicken, sesame seeds, artichokes and tomatoes.  These blood type-specific food lectins lead to inflammation and gastrointestinal disturbances, weaken the immune system, and etc.  The issue with who eats steak and who doesn't has to do with gastric acid production, and subsequently the activation of pepsin.  Os get more ulcers because Os produce more stomach acid, which is what turns pepsinogen into the meat-digesting enzyme.  So it makes sense that Os do better on high protein diets.

The manner in which you presented the Blood Type Diet to the readers on the forum began factually and well-researched.  But then it turned into a mud-sling where you tried to disprove the man's credibility because of a few discrepancies of human evolution.  Since Dr D'Adamo's research and advocacy of selective food choice was not based in human evolution, you ended up entirely missing the point. Your Straw Man attack on the Blood Type Diet is evidence that you haven't taken the time to properly examine the premises of D'Adamo's work, which not only makes you a poor researcher, but also inhibits other people from investigating what could possibly benefit them and their health.

I know you like your diet system, and it works well for you.  I also understand that it's much easier to think of people in terms of "one-size-fits-all".  Ergo when somebody comes along with a claim that requires more depth of understanding, it's much less work just to shrug it off as you have done.  You appear to be an intelligent person who appreciates good science & research.  What you have done is not science, but an appeal to ignorance. 

I hope you will re-consider your remarks after doing a little more reading into the blood group diet system.  I am willing to provide references and links to scholarly articles if interested.  Thank you.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 09:03:46 am »
I am a blood type skeptic. I have read the eat right for your type, and its all well said and seems feasible, but its still just a theory that uses to many generalities. I am a type A negative and according to the blood type theory my ancestors were more agrarian and could handle grains, and beans, and such; much better. There is even a notion that type As' do well on soybean.(bolderdash)

There may be some essences of truth that people with such and such blood type can tolerate certain foods better than people with another type, but it doesn't mean that such foods are in anyway optimal. I feel optimal on a more carnivorous diet. I am type A and I have had issues with weak stomach acids, and poor digestion, but I have found that meats digest just fine , while the vegetable foods recommended for type As' seem to give me trouble.(of course I may just be a freak of nature)

Just because type As' have weaker stomach acid doesn't mean that we cant digest raw meats. Its false assumptions such as this that seem to ruin the credibility of the whole blood type diet fad. So what if one group can tolerate certain plant letchens better than another, that doesn't prove that those foods are in anyway optimal, even for the bloodtype groups that can tolerate them.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 09:12:10 am by sabertooth »
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Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 10:40:40 am »
Just for clarification, the above was a Cordain-derived piece, not my own words. As for the post itself, it was fair comment and I posted it here as I had previously often come across a number of people on other RVAF diet forums who had stated that D'Adamo's dietary recommendations re blood-type/diet did not work for them at all.
"During the last campaign I knew what was happening. You know, they mocked me for my foreign policy and they laughed at my monetary policy. No more. No more.
" Ron Paul.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 08:29:52 pm »
The research that shows that type As have higher rates of heart disease and such is based upon subjects that eat a non paleo diet. It seems that the whole premise of the blood type research is focused upon attempting to justify the use of dangerous plant foods for people who are more adapted. This does not mean that those foods suggested in the book are optimal. Nor does it mean that you can blame the high rates of heart disease in type As' on meat consumption. The facts are that, yes, certain blood types do have difficulties in handling modern food combinations, and yes If one wants to continue to eat neolithic foods then one might want to understand which processed plant foods might not be tolerated by your blood.

My contention is that no matter what your type is ,if you avoid all the foods which contain high levels poisonous lectins and anti nutrients then you will be far better off than if you try to cherry pick trouble foods based on what some scientist claims about how certain blood types can handle it better. (Bull crap), Just because a bloodtype group can tolerate poison don't mean you should eat poison.

Paleo over all.
In paleo I trust.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:43:51 am by sabertooth »
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Offline MaximilianKohler

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Re: Cordain Newsletter Criticising Blood Type Diets
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2011, 04:03:39 pm »
You could at least try some aspects of this blood type theory. Like for me, I'm AB- so I'm going to try to get lamb/mutton and the other types of meat that are recommended for me instead of eating beef, pork, & chicken - which are not recommended for me.

This isn't the first time I've heard someone claim that blood type effects what works in different people.

 

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