Effects of Diet on Human Genotype. Genotype-Diet Relationship.



The underlying theory of blood type diets is that people with different blood types digest lectins differently, and that if people eat food that is not compatible with their blood type, they will experience many health problems. On the other hand, if a person eats food that is compatible, they will be healthier.

That theory is, in turn, based on an assumption that each blood type represents a different evolutionary heritage. “Based on the ‘Blood-Type’ diet theory, group O is considered the ancestral blood group in humans so their optimal diet should resemble the high animal protein diets typical of the hunter-gatherer era. In contrast, those with group A should thrive on a vegetarian diet as this blood group was believed to have evolved when humans settled down into agrarian societies. Following the same rationale, individuals with blood group B are considered to benefit from consumption of dairy products because this blood group was believed to originate in nomadic tribes. Finally, individuals with an AB blood group are believed to benefit from a diet that is intermediate to those proposed for group A and group B.”

The theory is based on the premisedepending at what point in human development the blood type evolved:

Type O: this is considered the “ancestral blood group” in humans, so the plan suggests a high-animal-protein diet, typical of the hunter-gatherer period.

Type A: this blood type is believed to have evolved when humans settled in agrarian societies, so the plan suggests a vegetarian diet.

Type B: this blood group is believed to originate in nomadic tribes, so the plan suggests a high consumption of dairy products.

Type AB: the plan recommends a diet similar to that of type B, but there are certain restrictions, for example, only eggs and fish are recommended as sources of meat.

Based on the GenoType premise, D’Adamo makes specific recommendations for what you can and cannot eat to maximize your health once you’ve identified the group you belong to. For example, those who fit D’Adamo’s hunter profile — with characteristics including type O blood, long legs, nervous energy, light hair, and a ring finger longer than their index finger — are said to be thrifty with calories, making the most of what a hunter-gatherer might subsist on, but tend to put on weight when faced with a high-calorie Western diet and reduced physical activity. Diet and exercise recommendations are made accordingly, with an emphasis on proteins.

In his latest book, “GenoType Diet”, Dr. D’Adamo, claims that a person can change their genetic makeup. At first, this sounds like something pulled from a science fiction novel, but D’Adamo again backs up his theories with scientific research, and promising data on epigenetics. What exactly does this mean? Epigenetics in layman’s terms is explained as “post-genomic changes to the structure of DNA that does not involve changes to the pattern of sequencing itself.” In relation to your health, these epigenetics are influenced by nutrition and the environment. While your personal genome is permanent, the path to health through your epigenetics gives you a measure of control through the GenoType Diet. Dr D’Adamo explains that an individual’s DNA is unique, and that is why a “one size fits all diet” is ineffective. While nutritionists are quick to label the theory “another gimmick”, two recent landmark studies have found that an individual’s genes have a lot to do with how their bodies react to certain foods. A study of 32,000 people by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometic Traits, found six genes linked to appetite control and obesity, five of which are active in the brain.

Geneticist Jose Ordovas says research is uncovering the complex interactions between diet and a person’s DNA, which could lead to more personalised advice about what to eat and drink to stave off heart disease, cancer and other chronic conditions. In future, scientists hope to use gene technology to promote weight loss.

Which genotype are you:

The hunter

Tall and thin, full of nervous energy and prone to allergies and asthma.
Eat: Meat-rich, low-gluten foods.
Superfoods: Beef, lamb, salmon, hard cheese, wild/brownrice, artichokes,broccoli, grapefruit.
Avoid: Nuts, grains, wheat, sugary foods, soft cheese.

The teacher

Strong and sinewy, withgreat stamina.
Eat: White meat and fish.
Superfoods: Turkey, white fish, black beans, peanuts, peas, tofu, flaxseeds, .
Avoid: Sugary food, white carbohydrates, red meat.

The explorer

Muscular, broad shoulders, narrow hips and low body fat.
Eat: Legumes, liver, beans, cheese and meat.
Superfoods: Liver, lamb, ricotta, mozzarella, lentils, parsnips, ginger, raspberries.
Avoid: Alcohol and caffeine.

The gatherer

Full-figured, gains weight easily, has trouble processing alcohol and caffeine.
Eat: High-protein, low-GI.
Superfoods: Liver, lamb, ricotta, mozzarella, lentils, parsnips, ginger, raspberries.
Avoid: Fried and microwaved food.

The warrior

Long and lean when young, tends to gain weight with age.
Eat: Plant-based, low-GI diet.
Superfoods: Seabass, cottage cheese, peanuts, pine nuts, edamame beans, tofu.
Avoid: High-GI foods,high-fat dairy and meat.

The nomad

Large-boned and muscular, long legs. Usually sensitive to immune problems.
Eat: Foods rich in essential fatty acids (salmon, mackerel), red meat and dairy.
Superfoods: Beef, liver, herring, caviar, cheddar.
Avoid: Gluten, barley, oats.

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No Evidence to Support Diet-genotype Theory

Research on ABO blood types has advanced rapidly in the past few years and decades. There is now strong evidence that people with certain blood types can have a higher or lower risk of some diseases. For example, type Os have a lower risk of heart disease, but a higher risk of stomach ulcers. However, there are no studies showing this to have anything to do with diet.

In a major 2013 review study where researchers examined the data from over a thousand studies, they did not find a single well-designed study looking at the health effects of the blood type diet. Examining 1,455 participants who were mostly young and healthy adults, the team collected information about their usual diets, as well as fasting blood samples that were used to determine blood type and cardiometabolic risk factors -insulin,cholesteroland triglycerides. The researchers also calculated diet scores, based on the food items in D’Adamo’s book, in order to determine the participants’ adherence to the four blood type diets. However, they emphasize that these markers of health were independent of the participants’ blood types.

In detail, adherence to each blood type diet yielded associations with the following benefits:

Type O: lower serum triglycerides
Type A: lowerBMI,blood pressure, waist circumference, triglycerides and insulin levels
Type B: improved HDL cholesterol levels
Type AB: lower blood pressure, serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels.

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D’Adamo P. J. (2009). Eat Right for your Type. Harmony, England.

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