Eat For Your Body Type

The concept of body type is central to Ayurveda, and my experience with that tradition gives me a lot of confidence as to the value of diets for specific body types. Dr. D'Adamo has written a bestseller, Eat Right for Your Type. Naturally, this is a book that would interest me. In fact, I'm fairly confident that the idea of a nutrition program for each body type is scientifically sound and it is something I'd like to continue learning about.

The first time I became really familiar with Dr. Adamo was while doing some research on ghee - one of his FAQS popped up on Google. I respect that Dr. D'Adamo has his facts right about ghee -- most other doctors do not, and they don't even have a mind open enough to look at the current research or historical usage.

I would like to learn more about Dr. D'Adamo's nutrition program. However, my first forays into his work (beyond his ghee FAQ) were not confidence inspiring. In my opinion, blood type alone is not sufficient for determining nutritional requirements.

However, Dr. Fuhrman, in Eat to Live, provides a well-researched and very specific critique of Dr. D'Adamo's program. When I went looking for facts to support Dr. D'Adamo positions, I couldn't find many. Dr. D'Adamo himself doesn't offer much help for those of us who would like to see if he can counter Dr. Fuhrman's analysis. He says,

"I'm actually flattered that someone would go to the trouble of writing a seven page refutation of my theory. However, I don't have the time or energy to write a seven page reponse, so this must do."

And then he doesn't offer any facts or other details to support the specific claims Dr. Fuhrman identified as being unscientific. (And Dr. Fuhrman seems to have ripped apart Dr. D'Adamo's central concepts.) As far as I can see, Dr. D'Adamo doesn't do anything except offer a few quotes about not responding to criticisms.

Finally, I noticed a small (or maybe not so small) factual problem on his website. I wonder how D'Adamo can claim,

"Welcome to the first science that understands you as a biochemical individual."

Maybe he doesn't consider Ayurveda a science, and if that's the case then he will lose more of my respect. And maybe he has not heard of Roger J. Williams (Biochemical Individuality: The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept - John Wiley & Sons, 1956). Either way, his web site's claim is not factual.

My research in support of Dr. D'Adamo lost its momentum as a result of his unsupported boast on his web site. However, maybe some of you reading this blog will pick up where I left off and help me gain back my respect for Dr. D'Adamo. (After all, if he isn't credible, I can't cite him in my ghee research. And I didn't cite him. But if he is truly a good scientist, I'd like to know and I'd like to be able to cite his books or publications in the future.) Who knows, maybe it will turn out that the claim on his web site was created by a web designer without Dr. D'Adamo's approval, and maybe he does have a lot of good scientific support for his nutrition theories.

However, for now, I'll stick to eating for my body type based on Ayurvedic principals. Ayurveda views each person as completely unique. Each person has a unique mind-body constitution as well as a unique set of environmental factors that influence their mind and body. Ayurveda takes all this into consideration when determining the appropriate diet for that individual.

Ayurveda also utilizes this knowledge in prescribing herbs (and other treatments) or even in recommending exercises and lifestyles. Ayurveda is a very comprehensive program.

When one becomes familiar with these principles, it is easy to tailor each day's diet to the specific conditions of the day. For example, I can adjust my diet for the weather. Doing so may be as simple as using a different spice mixture on my food. Utilizing Ayurveda is easy. It is also fun and natural, because the selection of foods is done via the sense of taste. (That said, Ayurveda isn't necessary trivial, so don't expect it all to make sense immediately. There are some deep concepts that might take a while to understand if you are new to Ayurveda). The biochemical reactions in my body are affected by the weather uniquely, so a program that can be this specific is quite powerful and advanced. I'm not sure there are any other modern nutrition programs with this level of sophistication.

To learn more about Ayurveda body types, here is a simple web questionnaire that you can play with. Don't take it too seriously, and don't be concerned if you don't get a clear-cut answer. The Ayurvedic body types are very sophisticated and very subtle, and you shouldn't expect a definitive answer without consulting a professional - just as you would not expect a definitive diagnosis without visiting a competent physician.

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I think the reply you got

I think the reply you got from Dr. D'Adamo says everything. Furhman has not been the only, many others have carefully disproved d'Adamo theories using scientific facts.
D'Adamo has never been able to show scientific facts or replies to those rebuttal with scientific facts.

I don't believe in any kind of diet which is based on body type. For the simple fact that there are no standard body types with same characteristics within the same group. There are no biological markers which make us belong to a standard type among a limited amount of types

Yeah I believe we should tailor our diet to our unique biochemistry and metabolism but the point is that just like our fingerprints our metabolism and biochemicals peculiarities are unique and we can't determine those by looking whether we have certain characteristics but by knowing ourselves totally.
If we weren't to really link certain foods and diets to certain body types we should have at least 100.000.000 of body types not 4 or less

We can't look at our blood type, bone frame, eyes color, height, skin color or whatever to know whether we have this or that metabolism or this or that biochemical characteristic ...

Here are two interesting articles that point out how physical or even hematic characteristics are not reliable markers to determine what kind of metabolism or tendencies we have:

@Danny: thanks for the links.

@Danny: thanks for the links. I have taken a look at the second one already, and it's very interesting. This discussion reminds me of why I like Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Campbell (and others, such as Paavo Airola). They recognize good science. For any of us interested in staying healthy, the ability to recognize good science is very important. (And it isn't always what the mainstream thinks is good science - The China Study is a perfect example.)

In regard to your point about body types, Ayurveda goes much further than 100,000,000 types. It goes so far as being able to identify every single person as unique and to prescribe diets and herbs for that unique person. In fact, Ayurveda can identify the "type" of unique person as that "type" constantly changes over the course of time. Your "type" will not be exactly the same tomorrow as it was today. Your ideal diet for tomorrow may be slightly different from what it was today. With Ayurveda, a trained person can discover exactly how to eat their ideal diet each day.

On the other hand, Ayurveda also understands that complex things have to be made simple in order to be broadly useful. Therefore, the complex subject of biochemical individuality can be simplified into a few body types at the introductory stage. These few simple body types do provide useful information.

You mention that the ideal solution is to know ourselves totally. I agree with that. And I would go so far as to say that we cannot know ourselves totally until we learn to utilize the tools and technologies of a traditional system such as Ayurveda (or TCM, for example). I promise you that you will learn something about your body type if you master Ayurvedic pulse reading. (Mastering it takes some time, of course.)

It would be nice if you can

It would be nice if you can share some more general rules/guidelines that Ayurveda has on the following factors affecting the diet --
1. Change of the seasons
2. Changes in the phases of the moon
3. Changes in the tide pattern in the oceans

Also, are there any authentic translations of the treatises in Ayurveda - available in English?

Yoga does not go down to as elaboate a detail as Ayurveda, and it also does not subscribe to an outright specification of calorie intake. It simply lays down a broad (yet finite) spectrum of food to choose from - & it is upto the individual to see what food is pleasing to them, what combinations work better for them, etc.

* An exception here may be Ayurveda, which although not well validated by bioscientific medicine, does have a very long and historical tradition. Interesting, many foods for the individual Ayurvedic 'doshas' match the blood type diets with uncanny acuracy (as high as 75% concurrance according to one authority.)

@Joyce: thanks for the link.

@Joyce: thanks for the link. Very interesting.

@yogi: My own dilemma about

@yogi: My own dilemma about Ayurveda is that it is very difficult to find good texts. I don't really know of any book that provides a good, modern and scientific presentation of Ayurveda. Dr. Sharma does a good job explaning some narrow aspects of Ayurveda from a scientific standpoint in "Freedom From Disease". Deepak Chopra has some nice discussions in a couple of his books. But neither one of these are what I think you are looking for.

It frustrates me that I can't point people to a single Ayurvedic book that meets my standards. One can read a lot of the available information and get completely wrong ideas. Sometimes that is because the books were translated by people who didn't really understand Ayurveda fully to start with. Other times it is because they have not kept the knowledge very "pure." For example, a lot of Ayurvedic experts have started telling people not to eat ghee if they have high cholesterol. To my knowledge, this is not an Ayurveda recommendation. It comes from today's accepted view on saturated fat, but as my other articles here mention, there is research showing that ghee lowers LDL cholesterol. The end result of all this is that much of what is written about Ayurveda is neither accurate from a historical point of view nor is it accurate according to modern science. However, Ayurveda itself accurate in both these senses. There are several physicians who practice Ayurveda in this sense: accurate historically and scientific. And some researchers have done good science to establish various facts, but to my knowledge no one has yet written the complete and definitive book on Ayurveda.

Mastering Ayurveda probably requires starting with a really solid foundation in modern science and in Vedic science. With this foundation, one could read the various Ayurveda texts and weed out all the crap, while also tying in the relevant modern research.

@Joyce: In response to Dr.

@Joyce: In response to Dr. D'Adamo's comment about questionnaires being inadequate to determine body type, you might find it interesting to know that an experienced Ayurvedic physician can determine a person's body type without asking any questions (although taking a medical history would probably be part of their standard routine). Furthermore, many Ayurvedic physicians work with Jyotishis, and the two often collaborate to precisely determine one's body type using both systems.

"that an experienced

"that an experienced Ayurvedic physician can determine a person's body type without asking any questions"

Funny you should mention that... more often than by chance I can tell whether a person is blood type O [in particular] when I meet them - sometimes even online!
Our 'sciences' can't measure everything!

@Joyce: That is interesting

@Joyce: That is interesting about the blood types. Do you often ask the people in order to confirm your guesses about their blood types?

I'm going to read more on Dr. D'Adamo's work (both his own materials and that of his critics).

"Do you often ask the people

"Do you often ask the people in order to confirm your guesses about their blood types?"

Certainly! Haven't had anyone run away yet!!
Unfortunately not many folks in UK actually know.