The blood-type diet: Weight loss need not be in vein
Your blood type might determine your ideal diet, says Celia Walden.
Ever since Cheryl Cole put her steadily dwindling figure down to the blood-type diet "Eat Right For Your Type", women have been pulling up their sleeves and baring their veins to nutritionists all over the country.
First advocated by Peter D'Adamo, a naturopathic physician who believed he had found a link between a person's blood type and the foods their bodies would best be able to digest and absorb, the blood-type diet claims to be as much about health, energy and longevity as it is about weight loss. Still, it's the promise of shrinkage after just a few weeks following a personalised eating plan that appeals the most.
"Generic diets like Atkins that cut out the same food groups across the board will soon become a thing of the past," insists Carole Symons, a medical herbalist and nutrition adviser. "It's absurd to think that just because something has worked for someone else, it'll work for you, so the future is clearly in the more accurate science of nutrigenomics."
This new science involves studying the effects of food on our genes in order to understand the relationship between nutrition and health. To get to the bottom of my nutrigenomic make-up, Symons has examined every nuance of my family history and scrutinised my eating and exercising patterns along with my work/life/stress balance. Having ascertained that I'm blood type A Rhesus negative, she makes a few preliminary diagnoses.
Generally speaking, type As should stick to vegetarian-based diets; Bs to a varied diet of meat, grains, dairy and vegetables; ABs should be mainly vegetarian, with occasional meat, fish and dairy; and Os should stick to meat-based diets.
Gluten, we've established by the end of my first 90-minute session, is pretty much the devil, and should be banished from my world, together with dairy.
The gluten-free life proves easy (this industry is one of the fastest growing), but avoiding dairy is a constant torment. I switch to soya (after a brief, deeply regrettable flirtation with rice milk) and after just a week my stomach feels flatter and my afternoon energy dips are less noticeable.
When the results of my blood tests come in, my food choices are narrowed further. Beans and chickpeas are out, brazil nuts, pistachios and peanuts are banished, as is corn oil and a variety of fish, including haddock, halibut and all crustaceans. I've always assumed you can't go wrong with fish and vegetables, but a large proportion of group As, I'm told, do not tolerate such dense proteins.
Two weeks in, with the help of some Vitamin B supplements, my cravings have decreased, my moods have stabilised and I have lost a kilo. If Symons promises to stay away from my veins, I may start to think of this as less of a diet, and more a way of life.