Lectin Free Diet: Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts, Pros, Cons, And More

Lectin free diet

Paleo, Gluten-free, Keto… all of these are considered popular fad-diets that have a variety of pros and cons that suit some individuals and not others.What about a lectin free diet?


If you are a fan of the former American Idol star, Kelly Clarkson, then you know that she attributes her recent 35-lbs weight loss to the book The Plant Paradoxby Dr. Seven Gundry. This book talks about living a lectin free lifestyle in order to help battle a lot of modern-day illness.


Now, we all know that celebrities endorse some rather… interesting fad diets, so when a big-time celebrity such as Kelly Clarkson says a lectin free diet helped change her life and gether off some of her medications for an autoimmune disease, should fans jump and follow suit?

What Are Lectins?

Before we can talk about a lectin free diet, we need to know what lectins are.


Lectins type of protein in plants that some scientists believe provide a form of defense in plants to keep insects away. While plants have lectins in many parts of their physical makeup, the part of the plant that most people consume is either the skin or the seeds, where much of the lectin is located.


Food that contains lectins is quite literally all around us and in many of the foods that we’ve come to understand as healthy. Some examples include:

  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils
  • peanuts
  • squash
  • eggplant
  • peppers
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • grains
  • dairy

So, the question becomes this: are lectins harmful or beneficial to humans? If they can harm insects, surely, they can cause some harm to the humans that eat them,right?


Here’s the thing… there isn’t enough current research on the subject to make a claim either way.


Some research shows that lectins can have a negative side effect on the human body,including damage to the guy wall that includes inflammation to the gut and leaky guy. It can also cause symptoms such as vomiting rrhea.


Then there is the other side of the research that shows that lectins can be beneficial to the body and could even be used to identify and diagnose cancer and even be used as potential treatments for illnesses that are caused by bacteria, fungi, and different viruses.

What Is A Lectin Free Diet?

So, what exactly is a lectin free diet?


It’s not as complicated as it may sound to some. According to registered dietitian, a lectin free diet “takes out high lectin foods like grains, quinoa, legumes, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes,peppers, and eggplant.”


While that seems like quite a lot of things to cut out, lists a variety of foods that are approved:

  • Cooked tubers – sweet potatoes,
    yucca, and taro root
  • Leafy Greens – Romain, red & green leaf lettuce, spinach, parsley, and fennel
  • Avocado
  • Olives & Extra Virgin Olive
    Oil
  • Cruciferous & “Other Great Vegetables” – Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, garlic, celery, mushrooms, onion

For those who can’t eliminate all foods that are considered lectin-rich, there are a few other ways that may help reduce the number of lectins before consumption:

  • Choose white grains over brown– the hull of brown rice contains all the lectins
  • Peel and Deseed your vegetables and fruits – the skin and the seeds are where most lectins are found in fruits and veggies
  • Consider using a Pressure Cooker – this is one of the best ways to help reduce the number of lectins found in beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and quinoa

Lectin Free Diet: Pros

Lectin free diet

When it comes to the positive side of a lectin free diet, some promising claims have been made not only by doctors but by those who have given it a go.


Take, for instance, Kelly Clarkson, one of the most notable advocates for the lectin-free movement. She claims that she had been on some medications to treat an autoimmune disorder and thyroid issue. Since cutting out lectins from her diet, she claims that she has been able to taper off certain medication and it has helped her lose around 35 pounds.


Cutting out lectins could also be beneficial for those with food sensitivities, much like a gluten-free diet helps those with gluten sensitivities. This also can have a positive effect on the gut and overall digestive track by lowering the overall inflammation in those areas.

Lectin Free Diet: Cons

Lectin free diet

Like many diets that cut a large number of foods from a person’s diet, going lectin free can easily be considered a fad diet, and like most fad diets, they are bound to backfire in some way.


In the case of cutting lectins completely from your diet, you are going to be cutting out many foods that are known to have positive benefits to the body and a person’s overall health. Many fruits and veggies are full of essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants,and cutting them out means your body will be lacking. This could lead to a variety of deficiencies which will have an overall negative effect on your health.


Probably the most important factor at this point is the fact that there simply isn’t enough research to back up claims that lectin-rich foods cause more harm than good.Because of this lack in research, few doctors and scientists are ready to say it is ok to start cutting all these foods from one’s diet simply.

Pros

  • Lower Inflammation in the Body
  • Could be Beneficial for those with Food Sensitivity
  • Could help Avoid Damage to the Digestive Tract
  • Could help with Weight Loss

Cons

  • Cuts out Large Amounts of Foods/Food Groups
  • Can Possibly Lead to Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency Issues
  • Many of the Fruits and Veggies being cut are Beneficial to a Person’s Overall Health
  • Simply not enough research to know the benefits


What Do The People Think?

As of this writing, very few people have decided to jump onto the lectin free diet train, and the main reason being the fact that it seems so very faddy. Think about all the major fad diets that required you to limit your intake on any given food group intensely.


In most cases, those that truly found success had an underlying cause that needed to be treated. Going gluten-free is one example. Those who benefit the most from cutting gluten from their diet are those that suffer from conditions such as celiac disease sensitivity.


Those that don’t have conditions such as these can choose to start cutting gluten from their diet, but it isn’t necessary, and for many, it doesn’t provide the desired results, such as weight loss.


So what do the people think of going lectin free at the moment? While there are a few that swear it has helped them with digestive issues, many are choosing to either consult their physicians for further information, or they are simply avoiding this new diet trend altogether.

Our Final Verdict On A Lectin Free Diet

After looking through the current reviews, comments, and research on the lectin free diet, if we were asked if we recommended it to readers or now, we would have to say no.


The fact that users have to cut their diet so intensely is a major red flag, and that
fact alone is enough to question the validity of this new diet. Then again, the same could have been said for the low-carb diet, the dairy-free diets and even for those who chose to go vegan.


The difference between many of those diets and this one is the fact that they have more substantial studies to back them up as far as their benefits go. They also have more valid alternatives to help those who choose these alternative lifestyles to replace more of what they may be lacking by giving up certain foods.


Vegans have many alternatives when it comes to getting their proteins, and those who are cutting gluten can make alternative choices for products that still give them the necessary fiber they may be lacking by cutting certain carbs, and there are a variety of healthier sugars and carb options that can be used for those being cut.


That being said, when it comes to a lectin free diet, at this point, our suggestion would be to avoid it. There simply isn’t enough data to back up the claims currently being made about its benefits. If you are concerned by anything in your food, then it is best to consult your doctor or a registered dietitian because they will be better equipped to guide you in what is best for your body and your unique makeup.


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