More inanity from our friend Null

OK, so it’s a repost from the old blog. I’m on vacation so gimme a break. –PalMD

When I get bored, I sift through the “articles” section of Gary Null’s site to see what kind of stupidity he is willing to host. Thankfully, it never takes long to find the stupid. This time, it was more on the so-called blood type diet. The article (not written by Null, just hosted on his site) is one of those wonderful oeuvres whose very title contains an unfounded assertion. Exposing falsehoods such as this may have its own benefits, but I would like to show how poor logic can easily lead to poor conclusions.

The assertion—that blood type and diet are related—is prima facie false and somewhat bizarre. It’s like saying eye color and urine volume are related—yes, both have to do with the human body, but what possible relationship could they have? On what basis should one assert this?

Let’s dispense with the pleasantries and move on to the take-down.

Anthropologists have speculated that blood types historically evolved due to changes in diet, culture, and social conditions. Due to these differing environmental factors, each blood type has particular strengths and limitations. When these tendencies are known and diet is modified to maximize an individuals genetic strengths, it becomes easier to maintain health. So, the first critical component of the blood type diet revolves around the question of which foods your blood type ancestors had available, and thrived upon.

First of all, ABO blood types are only part of the blood type story. Feel free to refer to any hematology textbook for the long, complicated story of erythrocyte proteins. It is almost analogous to skin color—“eat right for your skin tone!”—but what is your skin color? Black? Light brown? Pale peach? Skin color is a continuous spectrum with no sharp lines, so how would you know where to place yourself? With blood types, there are dozens of measurable types, and even more we don’t measure. There is no way to even know what your “type” would be.

Second, ABO blood types predate modern humans. Other non-human primates also have ABO blood types—there is nothing uniquely human about them.

Blood typing is useful in the fields of transfusion medicine and transplant medicine. There may be some geographic differences of some erythrocyte proteins. Sickle cell trait seems to confer some protection against malaria. It may be that other blood cell proteins are involved in this type of passive immunity as well.

But what you eat and what proteins are on your blood cells are two entirely unrelated topics. To simply assert that “[w]hen these tendencies are known and diet is modified to maximize an individuals genetic strengths, it becomes easier to maintain health” is pure foolishness.

So, the facts of the idea are false, but more than that, the reasoning is poor. Science works by making observations, and formulating testable hypotheses to explain these observations.

The blood type diet idea fails first on the observational level. There is no evidence of blood type and diet interacting to affect health. The fact that there is no plausible explanation of how this could be also raises red flags.

In order for this idea to hold any water at all, observational studies must show a measurable correlation between blood type, diet, and health. Then, someone has to come up with a biologically plausible reason for this correlation. Then, that hypothesis must be tested rigorously.

None of this has ever occurred. The blood type diet folks have made unfounded assertions, and used them to sell books. Either they are stupid, criminal, or both. My hypothesis: they are shameless.


4 responses to “More inanity from our friend Null”

  1. Skysinger

    Whoops! You linked to the wrong article. I’m pretty sure this is the one you meant. The article you linked to recommends acupuncture, biofeedback, and chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel – admittedly just as ridiculous but still a different article.

  2. The blood type diet was marketing genius. Most diets put out two books. One explains the idea with lots of anecdotes, common sense advice (drink more water!), and shameless BS. The other is the companion cookbook. The blood type diet had the usual overview book, but four companion books giving it more than twice the shelf space and visibility of competing diets. I don’t know if their advice was any more or less sound than other fad diets that promise to tune your quantum fields or whatever, but they sure were smarter about selling it.

  3. Theodore

    If you are curious about this you may want to look into Japanese blood type woo. Blood type in their culture holds the same place as date of birth/astrology does in ours. They claim that personality is dependent on blood type and of-course that aggressive driven type A characters have type A blood. Obviously, they are taking a very tiny amount of molecular biology and dramatically spinning it way out of proportion while completely ignoring neuroscience. Anyway, very interesting denialism if you wanted something to write about.

  4. Cheniece Goding

    Why are you wasting your precious time bad-mouthing Gary Null? Obviously you have not taken the time to not only get to know him, but you don’t seem to have a clue how he has and continues to help people. He is out there serving humanity in so many ways.

    What are you doing? Do your deeds match his? It says in the Bible that you can tell a man by his fruits. I feel that you are in need of much self reflection. Before we try to pick the speck out of someone else’s eye, shouldn’t we try getting the log out own first.

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