I’ve churned through over 150,000 emails, social media comments and messages, and blog comments in the last 6 years.
And that means I’ve fielded a ton of questions.
As you can imagine, some questions pop up more often than others, and I thought it might be helpful to take a little time every month to choose a few and record and share my answers.
So, in this round, I answer the following question:
- What is the Blood Type Diet and should you follow it?
If you have a question you’d like me to answer, leave a comment below or if you want a faster response, send an email to [email protected].
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, Mike Matthews here and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today. Now, as you can imagine, I have fielded a lot of communication and a lot of questions over the years. I’ve easily gone through over 200,000 emails, social media comments and messages, and blog comments.
Since I got into the fitness racket back in 2012, and some questions pop up more often than others, and some are very topical, sometimes they are related to things that a lot of people are talking about, and so I thought it would be helpful to take some time on the podcast now and then and answer questions that people are asking me.
Ones that I think all of you out there may benefit from or may. As well. So in this episode, I’m gonna answer a question from Le Prue, uh, P r u g h, Prue Prue. Not sure how to pronounce her last name, but I think I got the first name right. And lay asks, is there anything to the premise of eating a particular diet corresponding to your blood type as posited by Peter Dimo?
Or is that a. Load of elephant crap. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. And we’re on top because every ingredient.
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All right, so what is the blood type diet? What is Peter DI’s blood type diet? Also called the blood group diet sometimes. And what this is, is it’s a diet that encourages you to eat a certain way depending on your blood type. Pretty simple, right? And it was made popular in the mid nineties by this guy Peter Dimo, who is a naturopathic physician.
And in case you. Familiar with naturopathy. It is a type of medicine that uses practices that are promoted as natural and non-invasive and holistic, um, and self-healing. That’s another word that’s used to describe these types of treatments. And naturopathy is not well thought of generally in the evidence-based medicine space, but I will say, That I myself have not looked into the details enough.
I’ve not looked into the research enough to have a strong opinion on it. One way or another, I could parrot the opinions of other people, of other experts, or would be experts, and to make it sound like I know more than I do about naturopathy, but I won’t do that. I’ll just say that I have not looked into it enough for myself to say, yeah, it’s a bunch of horse.
And let me explain specifically why, and let me explain why. The common counter arguments to my arguments are invalid. If I’m gonna make a strong declarative statement about something, especially something that is important to people or that is controversial, that is the level of understanding that I wanna make sure I have achieved.
Before I share my opinion in a conclusive way. Now I’m okay with saying what I just said. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked into it enough. Here’s what people say. Or maybe I would take it a little bit further if I have looked into it enough to say, based on what I’ve seen, it looks to be this way. To me, if I had to make a small bet, here’s how I would bet if I had to make a medium sized.
This is what I would bet, and if I’d make a big bet, here’s how I would bet. But I haven’t reached a high level of certainty yet because I haven’t looked into it enough yet to put forward, uh, an argument that I think is very compelling, a multifaceted argument, and I have not reached the point where I can argue compellingly against the most compelling counter-argument.
Anyway, so coming back to the blood type diet, we have this naturopathic physician, Peter Dimo in the nineties. He promotes the idea that our diet should be based on our blood type, and that’s because our blood type is associated with how well we can digest and process certain types of foods. And the idea is, That this is a, a genetic factor, something that we can’t change.
We are just born with bodies that do better with certain types of foods versus others. And if we eat in alignment with those genetic predispositions, then we can do better. We can be healthier, we can maintain a better weight or a better body composition. We can reduce our risk for disease. We can thrive.
Is the. And on the face of it, it sounds like a reasonable hypothesis, right? It sounds like something that could be true. I mean, most of us have experienced one type of food sensitivity or another. Most of us have eaten a certain type of food that is relatively unprocessed and nutritious, and had it just not sit well with us maybe.
Gassiness, maybe bloating or gastrointestinal pain or constipation. And maybe it’s something like oatmeal, for example, which is probably objectively speaking, the best grain we can eat. But if some people eat oatmeal, they do not feel. Good. And the same thing goes for many other types of nutritious foods.
Some people cannot eat certain fruits and vegetables, for example, without having a negative physical reaction. And this is not a nocebo effect. It’s not in their minds. This is very cut and dried. They feel good. They eat the food and they do not feel good, not because they think the food is bad or unclean, or because they are quote unquote cheating on their diet.
None of that baggage is associated with the experience and so Dimo proposed that what many of these people were experiencing is they were eating foods that did not play nicely with their genetic. And if they changed how they ate and ate the right foods for their blood type, then their problems would go away.
And on the blood type diet, you have a few different types of protocols based on blood types, right? You have a type A, and these are people who should eat a diet similar to the vegetarian diet. So a lot of plants, no red. Type B people should eat a diverse diet, an omnivorous diet, meat, fruit, dairy, seafood, grains, type A B.
That diet is a seafood, tofu, dairy, beans and grains diet primarily, and they should avoid kidney beans, corn, beef, and. Chicken and type O People apparently should choose high protein foods. They should eat a lot of meat. They should also eat vegetables. They should eat fish fruit, but they should limit their intake of grains, beans, and legumes.
This is kind of like the paleo diet. Now, Dimo extended his hypothesis to exercise as well. He suggested that people with different types of blood should exercise differently. For example, he said people who. A should do yoga or Tai chi, whereas people who are type O should do high intensity aerobic training.
And so Di Damer wrote a book called Eat Right for Your Type. And it’s sold many, many copies, millions of copies. And Dimo has made many claims about how his theory, this blood type diet, and I guess you could say, Exercise regimen, how these things have been supported by research, but we don’t have any high quality research to support or refute his claims.
For example, one review study conducted by scientists at Belgian Red Cross Flanders went through the available research to see if there was any. Evidence that the blood type diet has a beneficial effect on health. And so the initial search found over 1400 studies, but then that got whittled down to 16.
And then of those 16, only one met their study criteria. I mean, they concluded that no evidence exists to validate the purported health benefits of blood type diets, but of course their study was fairly limited in its power. There was another observational study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Toronto after.
Uh, red Cross, the Belgian Red Cross Flander study, and this one offers a little more insight because what they found is that following the type A, type a B in type O diets, that those types of diets were associated with better health, including measures like, um, lower bmi, lower waste circumference, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides.
But here’s the key, here’s the kicker. Those findings were independent of the individual. Blood type. In other words, what the researchers found is that anyone who followed the Type A AB or O Diets showed some improvements regardless of whether that was the quote unquote right diet for them, and that’s reasonable, right?
If we go back and look at type A, okay, what do you eat on Type A? Oh, it’s a vegetarian diet. You eat a lot of plants, you don’t eat red meat. Okay? It might be hard to get enough protein with that, but you can certainly do it if you know what to do. If you. how to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. But of course the baseline diet is gonna be pretty strong.
You’re gonna be eating mostly plant foods, and that means you’re gonna be eating a lot of nutrients. And then the type AB diet, if you remember that one. That was the seafood, tofu, dairy, beans, and grains, and you should avoid kidney beans, corn, beef, and chicken. Okay, A little bit of a. Of an odd diet, but it’s gonna be fairly high in protein.
If you’re eating enough seafood, you’re gonna be getting a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids and you are gonna be getting some nutrients from your beans and your grains and your dairy. Kinda a little bit of a, of an eccentric diet, but far better than the average person’s diet. Right? And then the type.
Was the high protein one. So that’s gonna be a lot of meat, a lot of vegetables, fish and fruit. And you limit your grains. You don’t have to restrict them completely, but you limit your grains, beans, and legumes. And again, this is kind of like a paleo diet, which is a perfectly reasonable way to eat if you want to eat that way.
And many. Forms of, of paleo eating are unnecessarily restrictive. Like you’re told to not eat potatoes or not eat sweet potatoes, or not eat any grains at all, or not eat certain legumes and all that stuff is, is pretty nonsensical and unnecessary, but, When you do follow a paleo style diet, you are gonna be eating enough protein and you’re gonna be getting in your servings of fruits and vegetables, and depending on which one you’re following, you may also get a little bit of whole grains in there.
You’re gonna be getting plenty of healthy fat. So on the whole, it’s a perfectly healthy way to eat, and so we shouldn’t be surprised that researchers found that following those diets, AAB and O helped people. When you look at how the average person, especially the average American Eats, I mean the average American’s diet, Awful.
Basically, all of their calories come from highly palatable, highly processed, highly nutritionally challenged, let’s put it that way, food. And so when you take someone who eats like that and then you put them on one of the diets that I just described, you would expect to see improvements. Right? And I suspect that that is why many people have had success with the blood.
Diet. I think it has everything to do with positive changes in their diet that are good for everybody. It’s good for everybody to eat more vegetables, more fruits, whole grains, good sources of protein, and to limit their highly processed, more sugar-laden nutritionally bankrupt. That said, one of my primary criticisms of diets, like the blood type diet, the paleo diet, the ketogenic diet, Tom Brady’s diet, I admire the dude, but his diet is off the wall.
Is all of those types of diets, those fad diets, or maybe we can call them mass marketed diets, is they are unnecessarily. Restrictive. There are just too many things that you are not allowed to eat and the reasons given for why you are not supposed to eat these foods are always dubious. They are always based on misinterpreted research or misrepresented research, or in some cases non-existent research or like in the case of the paleo diet mythology, you can’t say history because that’s not how our.
Ancestors ate it. It really is just an invented mythology to help sell the diet. And when you just objectively look at the weight of the scientific evidence on what you should or shouldn’t eat, you realize that you have a lot of latitude in your diet. There are no foods that you should never eat or always eat if you want to be healthy.
If you want to have a great body composition, if you want to live long and vital and disease. Life. There is nothing that is off the table to use an apt metaphor. That said, you should stay away from foods that make you feel bad. As I was mentioning earlier in this podcast, if when you eat something and it could be something perfectly nutritious, it does not sit well with you.
You get bloated, you get gassy, maybe lethargic, maybe GI pain, maybe constipation. Just don’t eat it. And if you wanna learn about a specific example that is tricky, a lot of people don’t know about it, go over to legion athletics.com. Search for fodmap, F O D M A P. It is an acronym for a long multicell word that is a certain type of carbohydrate that is found in many different nutritious foods.
Some people cannot process well, and that’s why some people can eat onion and feel bad, can eat beans and feel bad, can eat certain fruits and certain other vegetables and feel bad. So legion athletics.com and search for FOD Map, F O D M A P, and you can learn about it and definitely go check it out. If I have just described your situation, or if it sounds like it may be your situation, for example, if you have found that a rather random seeming group of nutritious carbs just don’t do well with you if they cause gastrointestinal problems, it may be a FOD map sensitivity.
And if that is the case and you just remove the foods that are rich in this FOD map, this. Carbohydrate that may resolve all of the issues, it may change your life. Anyway. So coming back to my criticism of these mass marketed diets, the more restrictive a diet is, the harder it generally is to follow. The less enjoyable it is, the more you have to eat stuff that you don’t really like, and the more you have to avoid stuff that you do, like, you may even have to cut out some of your favorite foods altogether.
And when you have to force yourself into that dietary straight jacket, you can get used to it. I guess you can just say, well, this is life now, but it would be much better if you could achieve the health and body composition outcomes that you’re going after while eating stuff that you like every meal every day.
Right. And that’s why I am a big advocate of flexible dieting and of personalizing it. Figuring out what foods you like to eat and don’t like to eat, and what foods do well with your body and do not do well with your body, and you don’t have to completely avoid the ones that cause issues. You probably just want to limit your intake of them.
For example, let’s say that you love dark C. But your gastrointestinal machinery does not. Let’s say that if you have more than a hundred calories or so, you get diarrhea. You squirt the chocolate back out. I wouldn’t say don’t ever eat dark chocolate. I would just say, why don’t we have it now? And then why don’t we save that for your quote unquote cheat meals.
Maybe when you’re gonna have a, a dessert, have that, uh, chocolate souffle, or have that molten chocolate cake, and just know that you’re gonna pay a small price for it, but it’ll be worth it. I would not recommend. Eating it every day though, because you don’t want to be screwing up your stomach every day like that.
So anyway, if you wanna learn more about this enlightened approach to eating, head over to legion athletics.com, search for how to eat healthy, and you’ll find an article that I wrote that breaks it all down. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.
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I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is c. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email. That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com.
And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.