Doctors in the UAE are seeing a rise in weight-loss enthusiasts turning to the trendy blood type diet, that has hit social media by storm. Medical experts are warning people not to simply jump on the fad diet wagon, as it could cause severe damage or side effects on their health.
The blood type diet, founded by naturopath Peter J D’Adamo, creates a diet plan based on the different blood types which he claims allows bodies to digest food efficiently and provide more energy.
However, doctors explain that taking up diets that are not backed up by any scientific evidence be detrimental, particularly for those already suffering from health issues.
Dr Anita Das Gupta, clinical dietitian and head of department at Burjeel Hospital, said the popular diet fails to address kidney problems, heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
“If you have kidney problems, a high protein diet must be avoided, which is the dietary recommendation for blood type O in the blood type diet. The urine cannot pass and protein will build up in the blood, which may necessitate dialysis. The blood type diet doesn’t have any scientific evidence, so we don’t practice it.”
Dr Gupta pointed out that people looking for quick weight loss solutions tend to search for ideas online and on social media, suddenly becoming their own doctors.
“It’s crucial to consult a health expert before taking up diets like these, because each body type will react differently, especially those already suffering from medical conditions. Fad diets that require high protein or fat intake can be dangerous.”
Dr Gupta advises those looking to shed weight to do so the healthy way. The healthy plate diet consists of all food groups, with almost half the plate filled with vegetables, ¼ with protein and ¼ with carbohydrates. But one diet that she does recommend is the food intolerance diet.
Don’t diagnose yourself online
Shebni Hameed, dietitian and nutrition specialist at Universal Hospital, said it is crucial to not become blindsided by the so-called medical experts on the internet.
“Nowadays, the internet has no limitations. Anyone who is not medically qualified is giving information to the public about diets, yet people are just blindly following it and risking their health,” Hameed said.
“There is no proper research about the blood type diet that balances its popularity. For those with blood group O, it’s a high protein-based diet, rich in meat, fish and poultry – this is not suitable for those suffering from kidney problems,” she pointed out, adding that the diet cannot work for everyone.
“Type A diet is plant-oriented, which means the person will lack the protein and iron their bodies require from meat. The type B blood group diet tells people to avoid wheat and lentils, which could lead to carbohydrate deficiency. Moderation from everything is key, along with daily physical activity,” noted Hameed.
What each blood type diet entails
1) Type O – High protein, lean meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and light grains, dairy and beans
2) Type A – Mainly green vegetables, eggs, low-fat dairy and some meats, but avoid wheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts and chicken
3) Type AB – Lot of seafood, green vegetables, dairy, and to avoid caffeine and smoked meats
The diet can be even more restrictive with physical activity, as it suggests what type of exercise each blood group should take-up. For instance, biking or running is for type Os, whereas type As should follow a yoga lifestyle.