Eat for Your Type: Using Body and Blood Type to Improve Your Diet

The Problem with Diets

There are dozens of fad diets, cleanses, and meal plans out there today. From Ideal Protein to Atkins to Paleo, the biggest drawback for most of these ways to eat is that they are non-specific. They rely on large assumptions about humans in general, ignoring variation between individuals. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen great results with some of these (Paleo especially) but I’ve seen many people who didn’t benefit from a specific plan where others did.

A New Solution?

I find science fascinating, as you probably know if you’ve been reading for a while. Applying the rigors of scientific study to fitness, I think, is the next wave of ingenuity in our industry. But sometimes complementary theories are ignored between research teams, when the possibility of combinations should be explored. Today we’re going to explore two dietary theories that, when combined, may provide an excellent nutritional guideline that can be more readily tailored to individuals, rather than touted for entire populations.

Author’s Note: This is a theoretical exercise which, as far as I know, has not been studied by the originators of either dietary guideline. The combinations are the result of building a matrix between the two guidelines and looking at the overlap. Interesting things came of it.

Nutrition by Blood Type

What is it?

Blood typing is actually pretty complicated stuff, because it depends on the presence or absence of certain antigens on each blood cell. An antigen is a substance that can trigger an immune response if it’s foreign to the body. For the purposes of this article we’re only concerned with the ABO Blood System, which refers to the presence of antigen A, antigen B, or neither. The types are:

Type A: Has only the A antigen on red cells (and B antibody in the plasma)

TypeB: Has only the B antigen on red cells (and A antibody in the plasma)

TypeAB: Has both A and B antigens on red cells (but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma)

Type O: Has neither A nor B antigens on red cells (but both A and B antibody are in the plasma)

Since you may be wondering, yes these are normally paired with a plus or minus designator. These indicate the presence (+) or absence (-) of the Rhesus (Rh) factor antigen. It matters for blood transfusions much like ABO grouping, but we’re not concerned with it here. So, whether you’re A+ or A-, you’re still blood type A.

How do you eat based on Blood Type?

Credit Where It’s Due: As far as I can tell, Peter J. D’Adamo (a naturopath) is the first person to provide dietary and fitness guidelines based on Blood Type. I credit him and his work for the following blood type guidelines. You can read more at his website: http://www.dadamo.com/program.htm

Type A:

  • Eat: Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Legumes, Whole Grains [Organic, fresh foods]
  • Avoid: Meat
  • Concerns: Sensitive immune systems

Type B:

  • Eat: Green vegetables, Eggs, Game Meat (venison, etc), Low-fat dairy
  • Avoid: Corn, Wheat, Buckwheat, Lentils, Tomatoes, Peanuts, Sesame seeds, Chicken/Poultry
  • Concerns: Poultry increasing stress hormones

Type O:

  • Eat: High-protein (Lean meat, Poultry, Fish), Vegetables
  • Avoid: Light on Grains, Beans, and Dairy
  • Concerns: Indigestion helped by supplements

Type AB:

  • Eat: Tofu, Seafood, Dairy, Green vegetables
  • Avoid: Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoked/Cured meats
  • Concerns: low stomach acid

These are the basic nutritional guidelines provided. Next we’ll look at Blood Type guidelines, and then finally we’ll tie it all together.

Nutrition by Somatotype

What is it?

Somatotype, also known as body type, is split into three categories: Endomorph, Mesomorph, & Ectomorph. These categories are based on body shape, average height/weight, and ability to gain/lose mass (fat, muscle). There are two main methods of somatotyping, but that’s basically a book-length explanation. Suffice it to say that your body falls along a spectrum of these categories, expressing characteristics of each type in varied ways. How *-morphic you are in one area is represented by a rating of 1 (low) to 7 (high) with 4 being average. Here are the descriptions of “pure” examples of each type:

Endomorph: Typically have short arms and legs and a large amount of mass on their frame. Their mass hampers their ability to compete in sports requiring high levels of agility or speed and perform sustained weight bearing aerobic activities such as running. Sports of pure strength, like power lifting, are perfect for an endomorph. They can gain weight easily (fat/muscle) and lose condition quickly if training stops.

Mesomorph: They tend to excel in strength, agility, and speed. Their medium structure and height, along with their tendency to gain muscle and strength easily makes them a strong candidate for a top athlete in any sport. They can sustain low body fat levels and find it easy to lose and gain weight.

Ectomorph: They tend to be long, slender and thin, and therefore power and strength sports are perhaps not suitable as their slight build leaves them susceptible to injuries. While they can easily get lean and hard, they are limited in sports requiring mass. Ectomorphs dominate endurance sports and gymnastics. They can reach very low levels of body fat which can be detrimental to health and for females in endurance sports it can result in a cessation of periods and iron deficiency.

How do you eat based on Somatotype?

The following guidelines are based on research into multiple sources, and much of it is reproduced online and in text without attribution. It has moved from a specialized, credited theory into common knowledge. I have made some basic changes based on my experience as well, so that this is an updated guideline.

Endomorph:

  • Calories: 200-500/day Deficit, 30-40% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6 per day
  • Choices: Non-Processed, Whole Grains, Vegetables, Water
  • Concerns: Gradual changes, not cold turkey cuts

Mesomorph:

  • Calories: Maintenance, 40-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6 per day
  • Choices: Non-Processed, Whole Foods
  • Concerns: Avoid overeating bad foods because metabolism is efficient

Ectomorph:

  • Calories: Maintenance+, 50-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: As needed to hit calories/day
  • Choices: Milk, High Calorie (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, etc)
  • Concerns: Eat foods you enjoy (less healthy = more moderation)

Now that we know how to eat for Somatotype and Blood Type individually, lets look at the matrix combination of these ideas to build a more specialized plan based on both!

Nutrition by Hemosomatotype

My contribution to dietary science today is the term “Hemosomatotype” (HST), which refers to the crossing of ABO Blood Type and Body Type. This merger creates 12 HST categories with guidelines specific to each. In some cases there were minor contraindications between the Somatotype and the Blood Type. In these cases compromises were made that satisfies the requirements of both types.

For example, the Ecto-O HST combines types which do not 100% agree on Milk/Dairy. The Ectomorph recommendation is for increased milk consumption, which provides a boost to calories from protein and healthy fats. Conversely, the O blood type recommends light dairy because of chronic indigestion. The most common reason for dairy-related indigestion is the presence of lactose, rather than the calories or macronutrient contents. The compromise here is to consume a moderate amount of lactose-free milk, and other lactose-free daiy product in low quantities.

ENDO-X Groups:

Endo-A

  • Calories: deficit (200-500 daily)
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed, Whole Grains, Vegetables, Water, Fruits, Beans, Legumes
  • Avoid: Sudden changes; Meat

Endo-B

  • Calories: deficit (200-500 daily)
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed, Whole Grains, Green Vegetables, Eggs, Game Meat (venison, etc), Low-fat dairy
  • Avoid: Sudden changes; Corn, Wheat, Buckwheat, Lentils, Tomatoes, Peanuts, Sesame seeds, Chicken/Poultry

Endo-O

  • Calories: deficit (200-500 daily)
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed, Vegetables, High-protein (Lean meat, Poultry, Fish)
  • Avoid: Sudden changes; Light on Grains, Beans, and Dairy

Endo-AB

  • Calories: deficit (200-500 daily)
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed, Whole Grains, Tofu, Seafood, Dairy, Green vegetables
  • Avoid: Sudden changes; Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoked/Cured meats

MESO-X Groups:

Meso-A

  • Calories: Maintenance, 40-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed Whole Foods, Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Legumes, Whole Grains
  • Avoid: Over indulging; Meat

Meso-B

  • Calories: Maintenance, 40-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed Whole Foods, Green vegetables, Eggs, Game Meat (venison, etc), Low-fat dairy
  • Avoid: Over indulging; Corn, Wheat, Buckwheat, Lentils, Tomatoes, Peanuts, Sesame seeds, Chicken/Poultry

Meso-O

  • Calories: Maintenance, 40-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed Whole Foods, High-protein (Lean meat, Poultry, Fish), Vegetables
  • Avoid: Over indulging; Light on Grains, Beans, and Dairy

Meso-AB

  • Calories: Maintenance, 40-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: 5-6/day
  • Eat: Non-Processed Whole Foods, Tofu, Seafood, Dairy, Green vegetables
  • Avoid: Over indulging; Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoked/Cured meats

ECTO-X Groups:

Ecto-A

  • Calories: Maintenance+, 50-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: As needed to hit calories/day
  • Eat: Milk, High Calorie (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, etc), Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Legumes, Whole Grains
  • Avoid: Meat

Ecto-B

  • Calories: Maintenance+, 50-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: As needed to hit calories/day
  • Eat: Milk, High Calorie (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, etc), Green vegetables, Eggs, Game Meat (venison, etc)
  • Avoid: Corn, Wheat, Buckwheat, Lentils, Tomatoes, Peanuts, Sesame seeds, Chicken/Poultry

Ecto-O

  • Calories: Maintenance+, 50-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: As needed to hit calories/day
  • Eat: Lactose-free Milk, High Calorie (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, etc), High-protein (Lean meat, Poultry, Fish), Vegetables
  • Avoid: Light on Grains, Beans, and Other Dairy

Ecto-AB

  • Calories: Maintenance+, 50-60% Carbohydrate
  • Meals: As needed to hit calories/day
  • Eat: Milk, High Calorie (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, etc), Tofu, Seafood, Dairy, Green vegetables
  • Avoid: Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoked/Cured meats