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Many people follow this diet to improve their overall level of health. Although weight management is not the focus of the diet, Dr. D’Adamo believes that weight loss is a natural consequence of following a diet tailored to your blood type.
Dr. D’Adamo has spent years researching the physiological effects of substances called lectins. Lectins are proteins found in many commonly eaten foods, particularly the seeds of leguminous plants; they can be absorbed intact from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. According to Dr. D’Adamo, certain lectins are incompatible with certain blood types. This incompatibility allegedly causes the lectin to attract and clump red blood cells, a process known as agglutination. Dr. D’Adamo blames lectin-caused agglutination as the origin of many common health complaints.
Dr. D’Adamo has tested most common foods for blood-type reactions. He organized the results of this testing into food lists that allow people to avoid eating foods containing lectins that are incompatible with their blood type.
Some physicians and nutritionists argue that Dr. D’Adamo’s theory about lectins lacks solid scientific support. These critics point out that the research that has been done on lectins has been performed mostly in test tubes. Therefore, it is not yet known what, if any, physiological effects lectins have in humans. Furthermore, many food lectins are destroyed by cooking and/or digestive enzymes, so many critics argue that the number of lectins absorbed intact through the digestive system is minimal. Other critics point out that Dr. D’Adamo’s emphasis on the ABO blood-typing system is somewhat arbitrary. In a book review, Alan Gaby, MD, points out that the ABO system is only one of many different blood-typing methods, and to date, more than 30 unique markers have been identified on the surface of red blood cells. Consequently, if Dr. D’Adamo had based his diet on a different marker, his diet recommendations may have been very different.
Most critics believe the diet is associated with no real health hazards. However, critics caution that people with Type O blood may increase their risk of heart disease by adhering to Dr. D’Adamo’s Type O diet recommendations. Registered dietitians caution against classifying foods into “good” and “bad” categories, advocating instead the idea that “all foods fit” into a healthy diet in moderation. Restricting certain foods or food groups altogether makes it difficult to eat the balanced diet that most health professionals recommend.
Although most critics concede that the Blood Type Diet produces weight loss in some people, they argue that this diet is merely a calorie-restricted diet. As with any other low calorie diet, weight loss is likely to occur.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.