Last Updated on June 28, 2022 by Lori Geurin
Did you know that lectins are present in many foods we eat? And while some lectins are beneficial, others can be harmful.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of following a lectin-free diet. We’ll also discuss the potential risks of cutting lectins out of your diet, including nutritional deficiencies and a lack of human evidence to support the efficacy of such a diet. Finally, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive lectin food list, detailing which foods are high in lectins and which are safe to eat on a lectin-free diet.
- What Are Lectins?
- Natural Toxins in Food
- High Lectin Foods
- Lectin Food List: Foods To Eat on a Lectin-Free Diet
- Is a Lectin-Free Diet Good for You?
- Who Is Steven Gundry?
- Should I Follow a Lectin-Free Diet?
- Risks of Following a Lectin-Free Diet
- Lectin-Free Diet Tips
- Final Thoughts About the Lectin Food List
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What Are Lectins?
Lectins are a type of protein that is found in nearly all foods, including grains, animal products, plants, and legumes.[*]
Lectins serve a variety of functions in the plant and animal kingdom. For plants, lectins act as a defense mechanism against predators. In animals, lectins play a role in gut function, cell growth, and the immune system.[*]
Video About Lectin-Free Diets
Here’s a quick YouTube video about lectin-free diets from Nourishable.
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Natural Toxins in Food
Toxins in food are a real thing. Some foods contain toxins that can cause illness or even death.
For example, ricin is a toxin found in castor beans.[*] It has been suggested that as few as two or three castor beans may be fatal if consumed.
Cyanide is another natural toxin found in cassava, an African root vegetable.[*] If not properly prepared, cyanide poisoning can occur.
Lectins are a type of natural toxin found in some plant and animal foods. They’re not as dangerous as ricin or cyanide, but they can still cause problems for some people if you eat them in large quantities.
Do vegetables contain lectins?
Many vegetables contain lectins, but they are generally not harmful to most humans. Some people believe that a lectin-free diet may be beneficial, but there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim. Most of the research has been done on animals, not people.
More research is needed to know the true effects of lectin in the diet.
High Lectin Foods
These foods are high in lectins:
- Legumes, including raw kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans
- Grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye
- Nightshade foods, including eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers
- Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream
Lectin Food List: Foods To Eat on a Lectin-Free Diet
These fruits and vegetables are low in lectins:
- Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- Leafy greens
Animal protein is generally low in lectins, so, you can include these pasture-raised meats in your lectin-free diet:
Fats that are allowed on a lectin-free diet include:
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds, including almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds
Are eggs high in lectin?
No, pasture-raised eggs are not high in lectins. You can include eggs in a lectin-free diet.
Lower-Lectin Alternatives to Grains and Dairy Products
Foods such as almond flour and coconut flour can be enjoyed on a lectin-free diet.
Coconut milk, almond milk, and other nut-based milks are also allowed.
Is a Lectin-Free Diet Good for You?
There is no human evidence to support the benefits of a lectin-free diet. While some animal studies suggest that a lectin-free diet may have health benefits, more research is needed.
A lectin-free diet may help some people who are sensitive to lectins, but it’s not necessary for most people. If you think you may be sensitive to lectins, talk to your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
Who Is Steven Gundry?
Steven Gundry, MD, is a cardiologist, cardiac surgeon, medical researcher, and author. He’s also the creator of the Gundry Diet. Dr. Gundry has spent more than three decades researching the connection between diet and chronic disease. His book The Plant Paradox explores the role of lectins in chronic illness and weight gain.
The Gundry Diet is a weight loss and wellness plan that eliminates lectins and other plant-based proteins that can cause inflammation. The diet is based on the premise that some plants contain compounds that can promote inflammation and disease. Followers of the Gundry Diet eat a wide variety of foods, including meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The diet also includes some dairy products and gluten-free grains.
Should I Follow a Lectin-Free Diet?
People with certain health conditions and digestive sensitivities might experience negative effects after eating foods that contain high amounts of lectins. Avoiding foods that cause digestive issues is a smart idea.
However, there are many things to think about before starting a lectin-free diet.
Risks of Following a Lectin-Free Diet
There are some risks associated with following a lectin-free diet, including:
You may miss out on important nutrients. Some plant-based foods that are high in lectins, such as legumes and grains, are also good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If you eliminate these foods from your diet, you may miss out on important nutrients.
Lack of Antioxidants in Diet
You may miss out on important antioxidants. Some plant-based foods that are high in lectins, such as nightshade vegetables, are also good sources of antioxidants. If you eliminate these foods from your diet, you may miss out on important antioxidants.
You may have trouble sticking to the diet. Eliminating all foods that contain lectins can be difficult. You may find it hard to stick to the diet long-term.
If you’re considering following a lectin-free diet, talk to your health provider or a registered dietitian first. They can help you create a healthy and balanced meal plan.
Lectin-Free Diet Tips
If you want to avoid lectins in your diet, it’s vital to ensure that you’re still getting adequate nutrients from other foods. Many of the foods eliminated from this diet are high in dietary fiber, which is good for your health. To make up for the slack, eat sufficient fruits and veggies or take a fiber supplement. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
Soak and boil beans before eating them to reduce lectin content.
You can also reduce lectin content by fermenting or sprouting grains and beans.
An elimination diet can help you figure out if you have a food sensitivity to any lectins. To do this, simply remove one food at a time and see if your symptoms improve.
Consider consulting a health provider or nutritionist to ensure that you are not missing out on any critical nutrients.
Final Thoughts About the Lectin Food List
Now that you know all about lectins, it’s important to keep track of the foods that contain them.
Our weekly health tracker can help make sure you’re staying on top of your dietary intake and avoiding any potential problems. By keeping track of the foods you eat, you can make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Have you tried a lectin-free diet? What are your thoughts about the lectin food list? Share below!