A New Food Fad – In a Fog of Misinformation

June 26, 2018 in Health Claims, Nutritionism by Joyce Bunderson

Have you started watching the little video on the Internet that tells us that the biggest danger in the American diet is lectin? I did. It just zaps my strength when I read or watch this type of bizarre information. It’s especially discouraging when I read that a medical doctor (Steven Gundry is supposedly a cardiologist; not that it really qualifies him to be giving nutrition advice.) The fact is that he’s joining some other medical doctors by entering into the lucrative supplement sales arena.) I hope this one doesn’t last as long as the gluten-intolerance fad has. (Yes, I know that some 2% to 4% of people have real gluten-intolerance.)

In short, Gundry suggests that you should avoid beans, seeds, whole grains, and quite a few other plant foods because they contain lectins. Before I go too far, I want to point out that these are foods eaten by some of the healthiest peoples on earththe Blue Zones – the Longevity Hot Spots. You will not find that information in Gundry’s ads.

So what’s the reality? It is a fact that most plants contain a protein called lectin; and beans and whole grains are an especially high source of lectins. The purpose of these proteins is to protect the plant against invaders.

It’s also a fact that lectins eaten in large amounts can damage the gut; we know that because scientists have done animal studies, where animals were fed raw beans or pure lectin. But when was the last time you ate raw beans or pure lectin? Like never? Gundry will not inform you of the fact that ordinary food preparation removes the lectin threat. His advice is to cut these healthy foods out and take his supplement. If you ate a batch of raw beans you likely got lectin toxicity and possibly suffered from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for several hours. We don’t eat whole grains that way either. Regarding the beans, the group of foods with the most lectins; first we soak them; pour off the water and cook them until tender. If you choose canned beans, they’re already cooked and safe. If you use the pressure cooker, voila! the protein lectin is denatured and won’t hurt your tummy. Regarding the whole grains, we should bake, fry or cook them too; which denatures the protein lectin.

Please refer to last week’s post. Plant foods are a powerhouse of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber and the package of nutrients they contain are highly correlated to reduce risk of disease and increased health. Don’t take a sidetrack into cutting out foods with lectin because of profit-oriented misinformation. Create your own Blue Zone; eat plenty of legumes/beans, whole grains and plant foods.

An additional resource is:  https://www.verywellhealth.com/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-overview-4013146