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Does Your Blood Type Affect Weight Loss

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The journey to finding a diet that works for you can be frustrating. What works for a spouse or sibling may not lead to results for you, and there’s no shortage of specialty diets to choose from, all promise outstanding results.

One diet proposes that people could lose weight and be healthier if they ate a specific diet based on their blood type, A, AB, B or O. The concept is that your body is predisposed to a certain style of eating like animal protein or plant-based. The diet also suggests avoiding certain foods based on your blood type, like radishes, lentils, chicken or oranges. 

“Your blood type is determined by whether you have specific antigens on your red blood cells, and your red blood cells are not involved at all in how your body digests or metabolizes food,” said Kandice Abramson, registered dietitian with Samaritan Weight Management Institute. “This theory has a lot of observational data, but I am wary of a diet that has so many restrictions without a scientific basis.” 

However, that doesn’t mean the general guidelines in the blood type diet are poor.

“The blood type diet recommends eliminating processed food and refined fat and sugar, and emphasizes whole foods, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, which are healthy swaps to make for anyone looking to improve their eating habits,” said Abramson. “It’s also true that the same eating style doesn’t work well for everyone.”

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that participants who followed the blood type diet improved some cardiometabolic risk factors like cholesterol, BMI and waist circumference. However, the improvements were consistent whether or not they followed the correct diet for their blood type.

Instead of sweating over the finer points of whether you should be eating mustard greens and kidney beans, Abramson recommended a whole foods Mediterranean-style diet.

“Everyone has different foods that they enjoy and that work for their lifestyle. Eat from all the food groups and follow a Mediterranean-style diet that focuses on lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit and healthy fats. When you can choose the foods that work for you within that framework, it makes the diet less restrictive and more likely that you’ll make healthy choices and stick with it,” said Abramson.

Give your shopping cart a Mediterranean makeover.

Get more dinner inspiration. Search recipes from Samaritan dietitians.