Food for Your Blood? (cont.)

Potential for Harm?

In fact, some experts go so far as to say the diet may be harmful. Michael Klaper, MD, a general practice physician in Pukalani, Hawaii, says eating large quantities of meat, for instance, is discouraged by most diet plans, because the fat can add up and it may leave you too full to eat other crucial foods. In another example, a lactose-intolerant Type B, who would be encouraged by D'Adamo's plan to eat a variety of dairy foods, would have significant difficulties, Klaper says.

One East Coast physician interviewed for this story (who didn't want to be quoted directly) says he has recently cared for three patients who were adversely affected after following the blood-type plan for a few months. One gained weight; another experienced joint pain. A third had an increase in blood cholesterol, from a respectable 183 to an undesirable level of 272 (over 200 is considered abnormal).

Even supporters of the diet say it is difficult to stay within its confines, given the long list of foods to avoid. For instance, the diet advocates that type B's forgo shrimp, pork, chicken, ice cream, American cheese, peanuts, black beans, granola, whole wheat bread, wild rice, and tomatoes, among many other foods. If family members have different blood types, following the diet can be even more difficult.

Not Proven, But Still Popular

Like many other scientists, Wiley is puzzled as to why the blood-type diet has gained such a following. "Dieting is one of those things people feel desperate about," she says. "The blood-type diet sounds more scientific [than some others]." And that, she says, could help explain why it has been embraced even by people who don't generally follow fad diets.

Michelle Murdock, for one, plans to stay on the blood-type diet for life. She has a strong family history of colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease and hopes that following the diet -- despite the inconvenience -- will reduce her risk of developing these ailments. The few meals she, her husband, and daughter can eat together are sushi, some vegetable dishes, certain soups, and fish. "But we have gotten used to it," she says.

Kathleen Doheny is a Los Angeles journalist and a contributing editor for WebMD. She also writes for The Los Angeles Times, Shape, Modern Maturity, and Working Woman.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 10:40:12 PM