Inflammation, depression, heart disease and cancer…all from eating plants?
Dr. Steve Gundry is not exactly a quack. He is a cardiac surgeon who at one time was head of the National Heart Association. He was a pioneer in infant heart transplants. He has done pioneering research at Loma Linda Hospital and got his undergraduate degree in genetics at Yale.
So, when someone with his credentials makes such bold claims, I think you should at least listen.
While Dr. Gundry wants to avoid eating meat for religious reasons (he is a Seventh-Day Adventist), he is warning everyone about certain plants which have high levels of lectins as being a serious danger.
The lectins, according to Dr. Gundry, are present to protect the plants from predators.
According to his evolutionary theory, plants that put their genes into the future have defenses against being eaten and digested.
Lectin is a protection for the plants which keep insects and other predators away from its seeds.
While many, if not most, in the medical community do not endorse Dr. Gundry’s conclusions, it is not because they can disprove his hypothesis, they just have not seen any studies which conclusively prove his claims.
Dr. Gundry points out that kidney beans have been proven to be extremely harmful, if not fatal, if eaten before being cooked at high temperatures.
It turns out that the lectin levels on undercooked kidney beans can kill you.
(Click here to to read more information about the dangers of kidney beans.)
Some people say that the antioxidant properties of most lectin-containing plants protects people from any harmful effects of the lectins.
In short, plants are made up of a myriad of chemical compounds, and just zeroing on the lectins and not making an allowance for other products may cut people off from potentially healthy foods.
But Dr. Gundry believes that removing a relatively small number of plants from the diet would be worth it because he believes this will serve to cut down on dangerous inflammation in the body.
Also, he believes the evidence suggests that lectins actually make it easier for harmful bacteria and other toxins to cross the gut barrier.
People following a “keto” or carnivore diet would have no problem following the program because most of the doctor’s recommendations are getting rid of starch vegetables and grains, and they don’t eat those anyway.
Dr. Gundry recommends staying away from:
Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils (which includes peanuts)
Certain Vegetables: Squash, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes
Fruits that are not in season in your area, and then make them local and only in strict moderation.
ALL GRAINS: Especially corn, and that applies to corn-fed meat in his recommendations.
While there is not much evidence to support Dr. Gundry’s theory, there are certainly reasons to follow many of his recommendations.
Avoidance of most lectins will greatly help with most inflammation problems, especially corn. Any bean or high lectin vegetable should be cooked long enough to destroy the lectins.
You can also test yourself to see if you have lectin sensitivity by doing a strict carnivore diet for six weeks and then add one lectin vegetable back into your diet at a time and see if you have any negative effects.
Not everyone may be particularly sensitive to lectins, but it might be worth checking to see if you are.
There is absolutely no evidence that you need any of the foods listed as being dangerous according to Dr. Gundry’s recommendation, but he does make a compelling case that you may be putting your health at risk for eating them.