The Lack of Science Behind The Plant Paradox Diet’s Lectin Foods
Among the diets sitting at the top of the fad list at the moment is The Plant Paradox, and its war against lectin foods. Though this eating strategy had been maintaining a certain degree of popularity for a while, it wasn’t until singer Kelly Clarkson started crediting her 37 pound weight loss to it. She stated that she mainly followed it to overcome a thyroid problem, but that the weight came off as a pleasant side effect of this eating style.
Clarkson claimed that she had a thyroid issue and an autoimmune disease and that because of the Plant Paradox book she’d read, she is no longer on medication. Moreover, by avoiding lectin foods, she was able to lose a substantial amount of weight.
Why Doctors Are Not Recommending the Plant Paradox
It’s easy to want to start tossing lectin foods and following the Plant Paradox diet’s rules after hearing a testimonial like that. It’s this type of feedback that has sent Dr. Steven Gundry’s book – and cookbook – into top seller status. However, as much as Gundry may be a respected doctor, the science behind his eating strategy does not have nearly as much backing from the medical community.
The entire concept behind the Plant Paradox diet is to leave out a massive group of plant proteins called lectins. Some of the top lectin foods include grains, legumes, beans, fruits, nuts, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc), and dairy. Gundry claims those foods are the source of modern illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal problems to obesity, allergies and autoimmune disorders.
Should You Avoid Lectin Foods?
According to Gundry, lectin foods bind to sugar molecules within the cells throughout the body. This changes the way the cells function.
That said, the recommendations made by the Plant Paradox fly in the face of everything modern medical and nutritional research has shown in multiple large-scale long-term respected studies. Moreover, it contradicts top recommendations made by highly reputable organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and many others.
Gundry claims that his battle against lectin foods is backed by substantial research, but other researchers disagree with his claim. Studies on lectins have been ongoing since the 1970s. That said, the claims about them are highly controversial because research results are extremely inconsistent. Just as Gundry can pluck out a number of studies that would back his claims, it would also be possible to select just as many that would suggest the exact opposite. At the moment, any claims that lectin foods are harmful are not considered to be adequately supported by research and cutting them could risk eliminating easy, affordable and available sources of many essential nutrients.