What’s the Difference?
If you keep up on the latest diet and nutrition trends you likely saw that Kelly Clarkson credited The Plant Paradoxdiet with her recent weight loss. The Plant Paradoxdiet calls for avoiding lectins, a type of protein found in plants that scientists believe are part of the defense mechanism plants use to paralyze predatory insects. Lectins pass through your body without being digested and are categorized as an ‘anti-nutrient’ since they lower your ability to absorb key vitamins and minerals.
Lectin-containing foods include nightshades (such eggplants, tomatoes, red peppers), out-of-season fruits, grains, and raw legumes. Cutting out these lectin-containing foods reportedly reduces inflammation, repairs gut health, and prevents weight gain.
In a recent blog, 15 Ways to Reduce Lectins in Your Diet, the diet's creator, Steven Gundry, M.D., writes that “lectins are like little barnacles that look for specific sugar molecules in our blood, the lining of our gut, and on our nerves. When they find a good spot to land, they cling to those cells, breaking down their ability to communicate with our immune systems.” They literally tear open little holes between the cells that line our intestines. This perforation is the cause of leaky gut syndrome (LGS), which, in turn, may lead to autoimmune issues or symptoms similar to those of food poisoning.
Research shows that it is widely accepted that lectins can have negative health effects in certain contexts. For example, people with celiac disease, gluten, a type of lectin, damages the small intestine. And, according to one studypublished in the US Library of Medicine1, eating high concentrations of lectins has the potential to "cause nutrient deficiencies, disrupt digestion, and cause severe intestinal damage."
The Keto Plant Paradox Program, while less popular, is an intensive program for those diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other forms of dementia. The program is detailed in Chapter 10 of Dr. Gundry’s book, The Plant Paradox2.
Essentially, the program is designed to help the good microbes repair your intestinal system. The difference between the two programs is that, unlike with the regular program you won’t be increasing your fat intake. Rather you will gain ketones through plants such as solid coconut oil, red palm oil, goat butter, ghee (clarified butter), and butyrate. In additional, only green fruits like avocados, green mangoes, green bananas, green papayas, okras, and green plantains are allowed. Animal proteins are also reduced, from 8 oz. per day to 4 oz. per day.
But don't overhaul your diet and nutritional plans just yet! A number of studies on lectins concluded that, at least in the case of cooked foods, lectins don't carry negative health effects, and the nutritional benefits from these fruits and veggies far outweigh any limited evidence of potential harm from the lectin. Not to mention, the diet calls for cutting out a lot of foods that research shows are crucial for gut health.
The simple truth is, lectins are everywhere but here are some simple ways to reduce or avoid them:
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