“I’ve tried diet pills, soup fasts, even lap-band surgery — but I never felt healthy and I gained back everything I lost,” recalls Debbie Kasadine, 61. Dealing with high blood pressure and knee pain, the Missouri grandma thought traditional keto might help.
“It made me lethargic.” Then she discovered Eat Right 4 Your Type guidelines (Buy on Amazon, $19.99). As a blood type O, she ate standard keto fare, but this time, skipped dairy and allowed herself more carbs from fruit. She was soon losing more than a pound a day as her energy surged. Now 115 pounds lighter with normal blood pressure, Debbie is spreading the word: “If you want to feel great and live your best life, try this!”
With more than 7 million copies in print, Eat Right 4 Your Type has been a bestseller for over two decades. Devotees insist the book’s strategies — with a diet customized for each blood type — work absolute magic. In large polls, a whopping 85 percent to 90 percent report being delighted by their results. “That’s true across all four blood types,” shares natural-health expert and researcher Peter D’Adamo, ND, who helped pioneer the famous approach. So why mess with a good thing? “People were constantly asking if my plan works with keto,” he says. The answer: “It can actually personalize the one-size-fits-all diet and make it significantly better!” As proof, he created special keto guidelines. Folks using them report turbocharged losses of up to three pounds every day.
How does blood type affect keto?
Basic keto cuts carbs to about 40 grams a day, slashing the production of blood sugar. “Your body must switch from burning sugar as fuel to burning ketones, a type of fuel it makes from stored fat,” explains Dr. D’Adamo. This increases fat burn. Yet some get a bigger boost than others. Why? Complicated science boils down to this: There are compounds in food that only some of us digest well. Eat too much stuff you can’t digest, and it causes a domino effect — “inflammation, bloat, suppressed metabolism and many health problems,” notes the doc. To pinpoint keto foods that’ll block or boost your success, “your blood type is the key to unlock the mystery.”
Turns out, each blood type developed at a specific point in human history and reveals clues about the diet that helped your ancient ancestors survive and thrive. Many studies now link blood type and certain health conditions—for example, type O is least likely to get IBS and most likely to have a slow thyroid. Dr. D’Adamo helped conduct tests to link each blood type to an ideal diet, then melded in keto principles. “In a short time, you see the astonishing difference that comes with eating right for your type!”
What should Type O eat?
Type O traces back 60,000 years to the very first humans. “They were formidable hunters who ate meat as their main fuel,” says Dr. D’Adamo. Fossils suggest their keto-like eating habits “made them quite tall and healthy for their time,” he adds. Today, about 45 percent of us carry their hardy blood type. Studies show O’s are resistant to many diseases and have the lowest heart-disease risk of the four types.
Modern O’s have inherited abundant stomach acid and digestive enzymes needed to thrive on a traditional keto diet. O’s can round out high-fat, meat-heavy meals with keto staples like fish, eggs, greens, berries, and nuts. For best results, go for high-quality protein (like grass-fed meat) and keep carbs to 40 grams a day.
Natural hunters, type O’s tend to produce excess adrenaline that can cause anxiety in ordinary modern life. Fun and games that get the blood pumping are one recommended way to offset the effect. A high-potency B vitamin also helps balance O body chemistry in a way that prevents anxiety and boosts energy, adds Dr. D’Adamo.
Sample Type O Dinner: Enjoy roast beef and turkey on low-carb bread with veggies, mayo, and a side of pork rinds.
Hold the cheese.
There were no milk cows when type O evolved, and O’s are often short on enzymes that digest dairy. Dr. D’Adamo says cheese typically blocks weight loss for O’s on a standard keto plan. Other keto foods O’s don’t digest well: pork, cauliflower, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, avocado, and coconut.
Watch out for gluten.
The wheat protein, often used to improve taste in packaged foods, slows metabolic rate in type O’s, warns Dr. D’Adamo. So check labels on things like broth and roasted nuts.
Shake on iodized salt.
Dr. D’Adamo explains that daily doses of iodine are crucial to keep the thyroid and metabolism of O’s humming.
What should Type A eat?
Around 3000 BC, savvy cave people figured out how to grow stockpiles of veggies, beans, and grain to keep their bellies full. Archaeological evidence hints they gradually developed digestive acids best suited to extracting nutrients from crops. And their immune systems grew tolerant of irritants in plants, Dr. D’Adamo adds. Today, 40 percent of us carry blood type A, courtesy of these first farmers.
Today’s type A’s flourish on a plant-based diet. The keto surprise? Per studies, A’s are at high risk for fattening blood-sugar issues and diabetes — an issue avoided by emphasizing low-carb plants! On the A menu: lots of fiber-rich produce, tofu, nuts, seeds, and quinoa; accent with eggs, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy.
Chamomile tea and gentle exercise are the best tonics for A’s naturally high stress levels. And lower stress is proven to make weight loss easier!
Sample Type A Dinner: Fill warm low-carb tortillas with seasoned fish or tofu, veggies, avocado, sour cream, and lime. It gives the immunity of A’s a nice boost, says Dr. D’Adamo.
Triple your limit.
Enjoying three times the carbs of other keto dieters stimulates the greatest fat loss in A’s, says Dr. D’Adamo. Why? Extra carbs deliver extra fiber to boost fat-burning bacteria in the GI tract, and A’s are especially responsive to the strategy. Aim for 120 grams of carbs daily.
Skip this big weight-loss blocker.
Dr. D’Adamo says A’s lack stomach acid to handle red meat. Avoid it, and in days, you’ll be blown away by how great you feel as pounds fly off! Type A’s also struggle with tomato, cabbage, and olives.
Go for garlic.
The herb, proven to block the formation of new fat cells, is also called adrenaline that can cause anxiety in ordinary modern life. Fun and games that get the blood pumping are one recommended way to offset the effect. A high-potency B vitamin also helps balance O body chemistry in a way that prevents anxiety and boosts energy, adds Dr. D’Adamo. It gives the immunity of A’s a nice boost, says Dr. D’Adamo.
What should Type B eat?
Blood type B emerged around 10,000 BC, as rugged folks pushed into harsh climates of Asia and Europe, relying heavily on domesticated animals for food. In modern times, roughly one in 10 people carries the blood of these ancient herders. “A healthy type B tends to have the fewest disease risk factors of all blood types,” notes Dr. D’Adamo.
The ancestors of B’s enjoyed a diet fairly similar to a standard keto diet. So you’ll fill up on meat, dairy, fish, eggs, healthy fat, low-starch veggies, berries, nuts, and seeds. For best results, aim to keep carbs around 40 grams per day.
If you eat a lot of dairy, ask your doctor about a daily 300- to 500-milligram magnesium supplement. Dr. D’Adamo explains that calcium-rich foods can throw off magnesium levels, a mineral that fights fatigue and “acts as the main catalyst for the type B metabolism.”
Sample Type B Dinner: Top seared turkey cutlets with pesto; add a side of “zoodles” with olive oil and Parmesan.
Try the game-changing swap.
“B’s are always amazed at the difference it makes when they cut out chicken,” Dr. D’Adamo says. He notes the popular poultry contains a compound that stalls B weight loss and can harm health. Luckily, turkey doesn’t cause issues and can simply be swapped in. Other foods problematic for B’s: pork, tomato, peanuts, coconut, olives, and avocado.
B’s are the one type that handles dairy well, so load up on cheese, yogurt, and sour cream. For a nice boost, opt for dairy from grass-fed cows; studies show it’s higher in conjugated linoleic acid, a compound that helps us naturally burn more fat.
Go for three squares.
Snacks can overstimulate type B appetites and slow weight loss, so stick to three hearty meals, suggests Dr. D’Adamo.
What should Type AB eat?
The rarest of the blood types, type AB is found in less than five percent of the population. It’s also the newest type, a result of intermingling between type A’s and type B’s a mere 1,200 years ago. Dr. D’Adamo says that means AB’s draw strength from both parent blood types, leading to an enhanced immune system and a more adaptable GI tract. AB’s also have brainpower: Studies show they’re more likely to be geniuses than any other type!
Dr. D’Adamo says this chameleon-like type can enjoy a mixed bag of keto-friendly foods, including certain protein, dairy, extra carbs and some plants that are harmful to other types. “Type A and type B can’t tolerate tomatoes, for example, but they’re fine for AB,” he says. AB’s do need to opt for turkey over chicken and lamb over beef or pork. They also want to steer clear of cured meat, avocado, radishes, and cassava-based keto products. For best results, aim to keep carbs under 60 grams daily.
A few glasses of wine a week is a nice treat — one that can help lower blood sugar and prevent Dr. D’Adamo.
Sample Type AB Dinner: Top cauliflower crust with no-sugar sauce, cheese, veggies, and uncured turkey pepperoni.
Be starch smart.
AB’s can handle extra carbs like type A’s and extra protein like type B’s as long as they keep their protein and starch separate. Want to add, say, pinto beans to salad? Then skip meat at that sitting to keep bloat at bay on this blood type keto diet.
Go for yogurt.
AB’s benefit from fermented foods like yogurt, sour cream, and many cheeses. Why? They contain probiotics that boost digestion, helping make up for the lower levels of stomach acid in AB’s, Dr. D’Adamo notes.
Smaller, more frequent meals are yet another little hack that allows for better digestion, helping compensate for low stomach acid. Mini meals for this blood type rev metabolism on keto too!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.