A Thumbs Down Book Review
The Genotype Diet: Change Your Genetic Destiny to Live the Longest, Fullest and Healthiest Life Possible
by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo
Reviewed by Selina Rifkin
Peter D’Adamo, creator of the blood type diet (Eat Right 4 Your Type), has taken his program to the the next level and added a series of genetic and developmental characteristics to his dietary regimen. He has categorized his assessments into six fun and nifty categories which all require slightly different dietary approaches including the Hunter, the Gatherer, the Explorer, the Teacher, the Nomad and the Warrior. As with the blood type diet, he claims that these various genotypes evolved to handle different life and environmental conditions, and he gives considerable focus to the immune system responses of each type to these challenges.
The process of determining your genotype can be done on three levels, depending on how much information you have available. The variables are quite interesting and include the quality of your fingerprints, the proportions of the upper and lower body, length of ring finger versus fore finger, and whether or not you can taste the chemical propylthiouracil, a drug used to treat hyperthyroidism.
The explanations for how these variables arise and affect our health are a great argument for superior pre-natal nutrition. Body symmetry— in the form of fingerprints—is a consideration in the assessments. This is strongly related to pre-natal stresses, and correlates with overall health.
However interesting these variables may be, (they were the reason I bought the book) D’Adamo never offers any clear explanation of how they relate to the genotypes. The book promises further information on its website, but the material there provides no more than the book, except for the opportunity to spend some money to join up for coaching and recipes, and a cool online genotyping tool.
The diets themselves seem rather arbitrary and there is no explanation of why, for example, beef and beef liver are beneficial to the Hunter type, but this type must never touch beef heart or caviar. Some of the food recommendations—as well as some of the foods to avoid—were things that I’ve never heard of and are unlikely to be part of the typical American diet. Explorer types are supposed to benefit highly from camelina oil, for example, but quark cheese is toxic for them. This same genotype is characterized by exhibiting inflammatory conditions, but omega- 3 rich flaxseed and cod liver oils are verboten. In fact, D’Adamo gives somewhat confusing advice about EFAs, suggesting that omega-6s are helpful in reducing inflammation. Perhaps the most absurd suggestion is his recommendation to take supplements instead of real food. Teacher genotypes should take a paltry 400-800 IU of vitamin D daily, yet all forms of liver are purportedly toxic to this type.
No doubt Dr. D’Adamo has been able to help people with his methods, or he would not have such a following. But this is more likely to be because of his general food recommendations, which represent an overall improvement in the standard American diet. He does suggest high quality foods including grass-fed meats, for example, and advises against farm-raised fish and rancid oils. Not smoking and regular exercise are also part of his program, and as with any multipronged approach, it is hard to tell what might be providing the most benefit.
On the whole, despite some intriguing information, The Genotype Diet is a disappointment.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2008.🖨️ Print post
Destroyer of Smiles. says
You are a Disappointment
Way to be a total cop out. “This appears to be a useful book because it can teach you to eat better, but only within the generally accepted guidelines of nutrition because if I say different people will think I am qwack.”
Do you honestly think he would have the following he does if it was as simple as organic produce and grass fed beef? If that was all it took to heal people and send disease into remission than everyone would be doing it. The food pyramid would not produce people with IBS, extreme weight gain, chemical sensitivities, etc, etc, etc…
Recent studies that are common news stories only explicitly talk about intestinal health being the most important thing to overall health. Well D’Adamo’s later work (GenoType and SWAMI Xpress) is purely based on that principle. Is it hard to accept that DNA coding for intestines coincides with the ABO gene, making the ABO (bloodtype) a great indicator for what intestines will work best with?
This book with new approaches to even classic ABO, and with secreter information ABO diets, is a great tool that can also help explain why some felt the original books ER4YT and LR4YT (better one) may not of met all expectation for many people. If that does not fit you like a glove the software SWAMI Xpress is likely to do so…
There is no other pioneer out there that pays nearly as much attention to studies, news, and continuing patients. The longer we go on the more people are starting to catch up and come to similar conclusions.
Why not spare us the elementary buffoon look on food? For example the “Teacher” diet is meant to help prevent low amount of a nutrients getting to the body, and prevent intestinal bacterial overgrowth. For these people that lack the proper ability to digest red meat, red meat liver would be a bane to them as it would promote and unhealthy environment in the intestines in which bad bacteria could thrive. That is one reason it is not recommended for them. Also the diet has recommended supplements, they are not part of the diet. You might take heart in realizing this diet is also about healing so is it any surprise supplements are suggested, especially for people in poor health that need all the help they can get?
Have you looked at the Individualist? ( http://www.drpeterjdadamo.com/wiki/wiki.pl/Welcome )
What about the type base?
( http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/typeindexer.htm )
Lack of information? How about a forum he regularly posts on full of information by other members as well?
If you are going to criticize something why not at least make a good effort? Why not actually ask questions about real loop holes, real lacks of information, and all from understanding the information to begin with? You are just spreading slander. I may be defending D’Adamo’s work but I welcome any real sceptic that can articulate concerns instead of trying to create them. That you are not.
By the way how many health problems do you have? Easy to criticize when you lack them seems to be the story…
I’ve been on the Blood Type Diet for 11 years. I started the Geno Type Diet about a year ago and it’s helping even more than the blood type diet did. This diet is not for everyone as it requires a lot of your time and effort. But, it’s been worth it for me.
What’s wrong with pesonalized nutrition?
Dr. Weston A. Price himself showed that there are many healthy diets, not just one “perfect way for all humans to eat.” We’re all individuals, with slightly different nutritional needs.
I see Dr. D’Adamo’s work as a continuation of Dr. Price’s work. Dr. Price showed that humans can thrive on a variety of different diets, and Dr. D’Adamo helps us figure out precicely which diet is best suited to each individual. The Genotype Diet book is only one part of Dr. D’Adamo’s work- he also wrote a whole series of Blood Type Diet books as well as software that creates individualized diets.
I know I would do very poorly on a diet emphasizing whole grains and beans, with limited animal protien, even if those grains were properly prepared. Others would do poorly on a high-meat diet and thrive on more grains and beans.
Blood Type B Genotype Nomad says
I wish you all would stop the Thumbs down or Thumbs up book reviews. It’s taking away from your mission. How can you condem other people for searching for answers. Your egos are starting to get in the way of your mission. Dr’ D’Adamo is a scientist who is constantly researching and looking for new ways to help people. If Weston A. Price was alive today, he would be updating his researching and looking for more truths. I don’t think Weston price would be happy to see you using his name to put down others.
lisa truitt says
I have followed the blood type diet in the past. There were elements of it that worked for me and others that did not. I am a type O and do digest meat well, and particularly crave red meat. However, I have colitis. It is triggered by starchy foods and sugars. None of the grain foods, starches, etc. that this diet says are o.k. for type O’s are tolerable for me. Also I have found kefir made with real kefir grains, and homemade sauerkraut, highly beneficial, and this diet advocated they are not beneficial for type O’s. I couldn’t understand why I reacted to all starchy foods and sugars until I read the specific carbohydrate book by Elaine Gotschall. Almost everyone else says that people with inflammatory bowel disorders are having reactions to certain foods, containing gluten, etc. This left me puzzled, because there were no distinctions like this for me. I react to all grains, starchy foods such as potatoes etc. In Elain’s book she explains that this is because the damage to the gut has destroyed the ability to digest all sugars except monosaccharides. This is because the cells in the gut make enzymes to break apart dissachardies and polysaccarides but since they are damaged they cannot. So undigested sugars go on into the intestines and feed bad microbes which make inflammatory chemicals that irritate. Ripe banana and honey contain monosaccharides, and are digesable to most IBD people in varying quantities. I have experimented and found this to be true in my case. I believe that Dr. D’Adamo’s work contains assumptions that are not correct and that it is a gross oversimplification. I do not doubt that it has helped many people as it is an improvement over what a lot of people eat, but many people are going to have things that don’t work for them as I did. I also am highly skeptical of the extensive list of foods to avoid and foods that are supposed to be highly beneficial. People are so individual there is no way that there could be only four diets that fit them all. Also I agree with the article on the Blood Type Diet that the types may be prone to certain problems like low HCL, but the thing to do is to correct or compensate for this rather than to not eat meat.
Bekki Shining Bearheart says
Lisa, I really get what you are saying, but I see that you used the first incarnation of Dr. D’Adamo’s material. You would probably find, if you checked into his more recent work, that some of your concerns have been addressed by more recent research included in his later books. For instance, as an O+ non-secretor (a topic added to his 2001 book “Live Right 4 Your Type”), I have found that I am much less tolerant of any grains and starches than other Os. Non-secretors are much more prone to all kinds of inflammatory processes in the body, of which IBS/colitis/Crohn’s are just a few. I can eat rice occasionally, but mostly I avoid it, and I am not supposed to eat most sugars (honey and almost all sugars are avoids for me). And in fact wheat, corn, potatoes,and a number of other grains and starches are avoids for ALL Os. His newest book, Change Your Genetic Destiny, a later version of The Genotype Diet, added many epigenetic factors to the original material. The SWAMI computerized diet, which I now follow, is personalized and unique to each person. It costs more than the books, but much much less than the services of a doctor, let alone the specialists who deal with severe problems like colitis. And many people who have been using his diets have found that their diets end up being much less restricted in the long run, because they are able to identify the real food “culprits” responsible for their health problems. They also have found, like I have, that it is possible to regain one’s health, and more rapidly than one might imagine. My problems were different from yours, but likewise debilitating. Good luck with your journey toward good health.
Something to it
I’ve tried many ways of eating, including recommendations of Weston Price. I’ve seen real results from the blood type diet. Anecdotal information yes, but the results were positive just the same. I am a healthy eater, but I’d noticed a sluggish digestive system, lack of energy and poor elimination on “healthy diets”. By following the blood type diet, I always see in myself an increase in energy, better digestion and mood, and better body fat ratio. I have also seen excellent results in those I know, who because they are a different blood type are eating completely differently than me yet getting amazing results.
I know the blood type diet hasn’t worked for everyone, but the Genotype diet has helped a friend I know who has tried everything overcome some real health challenges. She now feels fantastic, and looks amazing by the way, with better energy and sleep patters. She is also taking the supplements prescribed by the book.
The diet also helped me to build sensitivity to know what food worked better for my body.
I agree with the comments above about this review seeming dismissive and judgement. Weston Price gathered his information by studying traditional cultures and observing what worked for people, then making sense of it all. Isn’t this the same approach? Something is working, and it isn’t just about “eating healthy” which has such a broad meaning these days. I think it’s worth a closer look.
By the way: There are free resources on Dr. A’Damo’s site including more research and scientific backing for his approach.
Read the 1st Book
You said, “there is no explanation of why, for example, beef and beef liver are beneficial to the Hunter type, but this type must never touch beef heart or caviar.”….that is because that particular explanation about what foods DO and don’t do to certain blood types is in his first book “Eat Right for your Blood Type.” You need to read the 1st book. Your review can be compared to someone rating a sequel to a book or movie without ever having seen the original/1st one.
Maria J Allen says
I see pro’s and con’s with eating according to your blood type AND recommendations put forth by Weston A. Price. I am a TYPE O and currently focusing on what each “philosophy” have in common. Each one eliminates junk food, as with any modified diet. In addition, reducing caffeine and getting daily exercise is paramount, but that is nothing new either. I think what it boils down to is peace of mind. We need to have quality of life and enjoy our favorite foods in moderation. If some of these favorite foods cause a negative reaction, it will serve us well to avoid them. It is hard work, as there are hard truths. We need to give back to our bodies for all they do for us. Better nutrition with some treats will give us more joie de vivre than following a diet too strictly.