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Every year, a couple health and wellness books go great guns, saturating the airwaves and selling millions of copies.

You know, books like How Not to Die, Grain Brain, and Why We Get Fat.

The talk of the town is currently Dr. Steven Gundry’s The Plant Paradox, which claims the conventional advice of eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is flawed and in many cases even harmful.

In other words, according to Dr. Gundry, many of the foods you’ve been told were good for you contain substances that spark “chemical warfare” in your body and insidiously undermine your health over time.

Gluten, dairy, and sugar—the usual suspects—are fingered, but so is another component of many fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains that many people haven’t heard of: lectins.

These little “splinters of protein,” as Dr. Gundry calls them, purportedly wreak havoc in the body, causing weight gain, “leaky gut,” cancer, and heart, brain, and autoimmune disease, as well as a slew of nuisances like acne, gas, morning stiffness, joint pain, migraines, and chronic pain and fatigue.

In fact, lectins are so destructive that Dr. Gundry denounces them as the common cause for most health problems, full stop. Thus, he says, it’s time to slaughter the sacred nutrition cow of generally eating more plant food, because it’s making people sick, fat, and ultimately dead.

While Dr.Gundry presents himself as a charismatic caregiver who only wants what’s best for his patients and the world, many of his peers aren’t buying it.

They point to gaping holes in his interpretation of the research, which they say clearly rejects his lectin hypothesis and maintains the nutritional value of getting the majority of your calories from plant foods.

Who’s right?

Well, the short story is this:

The Plant Paradox is rife with inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and outright misinformation, and the diet espoused in it is unnecessarily restrictive and blatantly designed to sell people overpriced and ineffective supplements.

And in this podcast, you’re going to find out why.

Time Stamps:

5:38 – What is the plant paradox diet? 

9:47 – What are lectins and why are they the target of Dr. Gundry’s book? 

12:43 – What are the benefits of lectins? 

16:48 – Do the healthiest people in the world eat a lot of lectins? 

24:06 – Do lectins make you fat? 

33:29 – Do lectins cause heart disease? 

36:38 – Do lectins cause leaky gut? 

41:10 – Were our ancestors diet low on lectins? 

44:22 – Can lectins make you sick if they’re eaten raw? 

46:57 – Are Dr. Grundy’s products and supplements good? 

56:37 – How can you use food to optimize your body composition, physical health, and longevity? 

Mentioned on The Show: 

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hey, Mike here. And if you like what I’m doing on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please do consider picking up one of my best selling health and fitness books, including Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, my flexible dieting cookbook, The Shredded Chef, and my 100 percent practical and hands on blueprint for personal transformation.

Inside and outside of the gym, the little black book of workout motivation. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever. And you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores.

Again, that’s bigger, leaner, stronger for men. Thinner, leaner, stronger for women, the shredded chef and the little black book of workout motivation. Oh, and I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100 percent free when you sign up for an audible account, which is the perfect way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting.

meal prepping and cleaning more interesting, entertaining and productive. So if you want to take audible up on that offer, and if you want to get one of my audio books for free, go to slash audible. That’s L E G I O N athletics slash A U D I B L E. And sign up for your account.

Hello and welcome to another episode of Muscle For Life. I am Mike Matthews. And every year, a couple health and wellness books go great guns. And they saturate the airwaves and they sell millions of copies. And, you know, I’m talking about books like How Not To Die, Grain Brain Wheat Belly, and Why We Get Fat.

And recently Uh, one of the books that was the talk of the town was Dr. Stephen Gundry’s The Plant Paradox, which claims that the conventional dietary advice of just eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains Is fundamentally flawed and often even harmful. In other words, many of the foods that you’ve been told were good for you, actually contain substances that spark chemical warfare in your body and insidiously undermine your health.

Now, gluten, dairy, and sugar, which are the usual suspects, are fingered in this book. But, so is another component of food that we don’t hear much about. A component of many fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains called lectins. Now, these little splinters of protein as Dr. Gundry calls them purportedly wreak havoc in the body, causing weight gain, leaky gut, cancer, an autoimmune disease, as well as a slew of nuisances like acne, gas, morning stiffness, joint pain, migraines, and chronic pain and fatigue.

In fact, Lectins are so destructive, according to Gundry, that he denounces them as the common cause for most health problems. Full stop. Therefore, he says, it’s time to slaughter the sacred nutrition cow of generally eating just more plant foods because it’s making people Sick, fat, and even dead. Now, to support these claims, Gundry stands on the shoulders of his 40 year career as an accomplished surgeon and medical expert, which includes performing over 10, 000 heart surgeries, patenting multiple medical devices widely used in heart surgeries, pioneering new research on heart transplants for infants, serving as volunteer president of the American Heart Association and founding a waitlist only clinic for disseminating his wisdom to a lucky few, the chosen ones.

Now Gundry has also scored major social proof for his teachings, including appearing on just about every major mainstream media platform and receiving a ton of celebrity endorsements. And so some people would say, hey, you can’t really argue with bona fides like those, can you? Uh, yeah, you can, actually, because while Dr.

Gundry presents himself as a charismatic caregiver who really just wants what’s best for his patients and the world at large, many of his peers are not buying it. These people point to gaping holes in his interpretation of the research, which they say clearly rejects his lectin hypothesis. and maintains the nutritional value of getting the majority of your calories from plant foods.

So who’s right here? Well, the short story is the plant paradox is rife with inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and outright misinformation. And the diet espoused in this book is unnecessarily restrictive and blatantly designed to sell people Dr. Gundry’s overpriced and ineffective supplements. And in this podcast, you’re going to find out why.

So let’s start our discussion with an overview of the Plant Paradox Diet. Suppose that in the next few pages I told you that everything you thought you knew about your diet, your health, and your weight is wrong. That is Pulled directly from the first few pages of the Plant Paradox, and it sets the tone for the rest of the book.

The central premise is that while plants do have health benefits, they also come with serious risks. Hence the paradox. Specifically, many plants contain proteins called lectins, which, according to Dr. Gundry, are extremely harmful to our bodies. In fact, he frequently refers to lectins in the book as killer lectins and claims that they are the root cause of most of the diseases prevalent in the modern world.

For example, Dr. Gundry claims that lectins damage the lining of the intestine, resulting in leaky gut. He says they disrupt your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. He says they kill healthy gut bacteria and help. Bad bacteria thrive. He says they cause kidney inflammation and cause and exacerbate autoimmune disease and more.

And this is problematic because the lectins are hard to avoid. They are in many fruits and vegetables and legumes and whole grains, as well as some meats, eggs, and dairy as well. Thus, Dr. Gundry advises you to eat very carefully. sticking mostly to a short list of plants that you carefully prepare and cook to remove lectins, as well as moderate amounts of fish, grass fed meat, oil.

And if you really must eat some forbidden plants, then you first have to pressure cook them because that’s how you neutralize the offending molecules. Boiling will not get the job done. Pressure cooking is the key. Gluten is prohibited. Two, of course, because it’s a lectin, but you can’t simply replace your favorite foods with gluten free alternatives.

And the reason for that is many of these gluten free foods use flours made from plants like almonds, beans, quinoa, and buckwheat, which are all high in lectins. Thus, it’s possible to go from bad to worse when you are going gluten free, according to Gundry. So, in this way, the plant paradox uses a clever marketing scheme that exploits the general awareness and popularity of gluten free dieting.

Basically, what Dr. Gundry is saying is that yes, you must go gluten free, but you must do it This way or you are endangering your health. In other words, the plant paradox bills itself as the next evolution of gluten free dieting, so to speak. And then for extra marketing firepower, it also incorporates some elements of the paleo diet.

For example, Dr. Gundry insists that meat must be grass fed, wild caught, and free of hormones or antibiotics of any kind. And finally, the Plant Paradox Diet begins with a three day lectin free cleanse, where you cut out all dairy, all grains or pseudograins, all fruit, sugar, seeds, eggs, soy, nightshade plants, roots, tubers, corn, canola, inflammatory oils.

Inflammatory should be in scare quotes really and farm animal proteins. Okay, then what are you supposed to eat during this period? Well, you can eat liberally from a menu that looks kind of like the Mediterranean diet. Low calorie vegetables, lean meats and oil. Um, stuff like cruciferous vegetables, you know, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, different types of cabbage, um, arugula is fine, kale is fine, sauerkraut is fine, celery, onions, chives, carrots, I’m just reading off of a long list, picking random ones, asparagus, um, I think you get the idea.

So that brings us to lectins. What are lectins and why are they the target of Dr. Gundry’s ire? Why does the entire book revolve around them? Well, lectins, which are also known as phytohemagglutinins are a class of protein molecules that bind to particular carbohydrates, including glucose, blood sugar, sucrose, table sugar, and cellulose.

Which is fiber and lectins are present in almost all forms of life from plants to animals to microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and fungi and different lectins bind to different carbs and they go by different names but some of the most common ones in our diets include gluten, wheat germ agglutinin or I’ll see you next time.

WGA, as it’s often referred to, peanut agglutinin and soy kidney and black bean lectins. Now, lectins serve many vital functions in living organisms. For instance, in animals, they help cells latch on to one another so they can carry out various functions that require physical contact. The lectins on the surface of one cell are attracted to the carbohydrates in the surface of another cell, which then draws them together.

Our immune system uses a type of lectin called Mannan binding lectin to help identify germs that should be destroyed by white blood cells. And scientists are even researching the use of lectins as cancer fighting compounds. Now in plants, most researchers believe that lectins are a defense mechanism against bugs because plants can’t flee predators.

So what they’ve done is they’ve developed special ways to protect themselves from being eating. As plants have no way to flee predators, they have developed special ways to protect themselves from being eaten, including tough bark. thorns, irritants, and toxins. Now lectins are one of these countermeasures.

They deter would be eaters by disrupting digestion, causing illness, and in some cases, causing intestinal damage or even death. For example, some genetically modified crops are designed to have an increased lectin content, which then kills many types of predatory insects. Now the most dangerous example of a plant lectin that you might have heard of is ricin, which is a highly toxic chemical obtained from the castor bean plant.

And the reason why you might have heard of this is ricin was used by the KGB to kill a guy named Georgi Markov, who was a dissident Bulgarian writer. And what happened is a KGB agent injected Georgi. with a pellet of ricin using a syringe. So that’s a quick rundown on lectins and they sound pretty bad, right?

But there is a kicker because none of what I just shared with you means that all or even most lectins are harmful to humans. In fact, most are benign and some are even beneficial. And let’s find out why. So, according to Dr. Gundry, the primary reason lectins are harmful to humans is they attack the digestive system, and the lining of the small intestine in particular, which then causes inflammation, and that then causes all kinds of ailments.

So the idea is, over time, As you eat more and more meals full of lectins, your small intestine becomes more and more compromised and then loses its ability to keep bacteria, food particles, and toxins out of your blood. And then real problems begin. Now, if you’ve read anything about gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you’re Probably familiar with this idea, but in case you haven’t, uh, here’s the gist.

So the lining of the small intestine serves as a barrier that keeps the bad things in like large particles of food and pathogens, and then only lets the good things through. into the blood like nutrients. Now this lining is only one cell thick and it’s made up of millions of little hair like fingers known as microvilli and these structures help your body further break down food and then absorb the nutrients that the food.

provides. You can think of these little guys, these little microvilli as an important line of defense between what you eat and what actually makes it inside your body and into your blood in particular. And when these microvilli become damaged, small gaps open up between them, which then allows unwanted stuff, unwanted molecules to pass through and then into the bloodstream.

And some of those. molecules. Some of those things that can pass in your blood can be pretty nasty. For example, there are toxins produced by bacteria in the gut that normally remain safely trapped in the intestine. If they do leak through though, they can cause inflammation all throughout the body, and that can manifest in many different ways.

And this phenomenon is often referred to as Leaky gut, and that’s something that is being talked about more and more these days and something we’re going to talk a bit more about here in this podcast. And while many health gurus blame gluten for most of the cases of leaky gut out there, Dr. Gundry ups the ante by claiming that it’s not just gluten, but it’s all lectins that damage the microvilli and contribute to leaky gut.

And moreover, once they have broken through your intestines defenses, these lectins enter the bloodstream and they continue their rampage through your body, damaging other organs like the kidneys, heart, and brain. In the book, Gundry says that Everyone who has a disease has a leaky gut. He says all disease begins in the gut.

And then to make matters even worse, lectins can also purportedly behave like hormones in the body and disrupt the normal functioning of cells. For example, Gundry says that certain lectins Lactins mimic the effects of insulin in the body, which then causes fat storage and weight gain. That’s the claim, at least.

And it’s hysterics like those that have convinced hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people at this point, that lactins are the work of the devil. But how true is all of that? What does the scientific. Literature really say where does the evidence or the weight of the evidence point? Well while there’s still a lot We don’t know about lectins and it would be dishonest to fully exonerate them as harmless to all people under all Circumstances there are enough high quality studies out there.

There’s enough research to say that we know enough about lectins to blow pretty much all of Gundry’s principal hypotheses out of the airlock and thereby dismantle and disarm the plant paradox. That sounds like fun, right? So let’s get started. So, one of the first problems with Gundry’s theories is the healthiest people in the world eat a lot of lectins.

This is probably the first and most obvious counter argument to the lectin phobia that Gundry is selling. To people in the world who tend to live the longest and enjoy the best health and experience the least disease. eat a lot of lectins. For example, the populations of places like Icaria, Greece, Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica are known for their robust health and impressively long lifespans.

Now, research also shows that they get most of their calories from Lactin ridden fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as a moderate amount of lactans from fish, grain fed meat, and oil. So in other words, these people eat along the lines of the Mediterranean diet, which consists of eating a lot of lactose.

in containing foods and which also has quite a bit of research on its side as a perfectly healthy way to eat. And if you want to learn more about the Mediterranean diet in particular, I recorded a podcast on it. So if you just hit my podcast feed and search for Mediterranean or just med as the jet set likes to call it the med, you’ll find the episode.

So anyways, just to be specific, the people I mentioned, the foods that they eat include potatoes, cereal grains, pasta, whole grain bread, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, nuts, and seeds, and those all come from lectin rich plants, and they’re all on Dr. Gundry’s banned list. And that’s not surprising that they are verboten because there are at least 54 different fruits, vegetables, spices, and other commonly eaten plants that contain large amounts of lectins, like grapes and melons, zucchini, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, quinoa, oats, bulgur, tomatoes, and barley.

Yes, most of those are on the no no list, according to Hair Gundry. Now, all of the peoples that I mentioned above, who live long and live well, they also eat a large amount of legumes, including beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, and others. And ironically, beans contain more lectins than almost any other food.

And, none of the cultures that I mentioned use any food. Fancy cooking methods to remove or nullify the lectins from their food. So riddle me this, Dr. Gundry, if lectins are powerful poisons, how can people who eat extremely lectin rich diets be the healthiest folks in the world? There’s a guy named Dr.

Joel Kahn who asked Dr. Gundry about this in a live debate, which you can check out on YouTube if you want. And Gundry’s response was Okay, so what he said was, it’s not about how long you live, it’s about how well you live, implying that, okay, so yes, the blue zone denizens, as they’re known, they may live long lives, but they don’t live vibrant, enjoyable ones.

Um, yeah, that’s also demonstrably false. Research shows most of these people are physically and mentally active and present and healthy and happy by all means. all modern and relevant standards well into their 80s and 90s. In other words, these guys and gals are enjoying a quality of life as good as any of us can hope for in old age.

Another major problem with Gundry’s assertions is there is no real scientific debate about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. At this point, the weight of the evidence is so uneven that it’s more or less An established fact, a true settled science that eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will make you healthier, happier, and longer lived than eating less.

Now, this line of research stretches back decades. It goes all the way back to the Seven Countries Study, which was published in 1963, and which found that people in certain areas of the world who ate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also tended to live the longest. And since then, a wealth of Clinical trials, research reviews, and meta analyses have been conducted on the matter, and the consensus is overwhelmingly clear.

Plant foods are great for our body. Full stop. Now, Dr. Gundry acknowledges this, because you can’t completely ignore it if you are trying to at least appear to be scientific, but He believes that the health benefits that have been associated with eating more fruits and vegetables and less red meat and saturated fat and sugar are simply masking the harmful effects of eating lectin rich plants.

In other words, by eating plenty of plant foods and few animal or Highly processed foods. People are doing their body enough good to compensate for the bad that’s caused by lectins. That’s the theory. And therefore, these people would be even better off if they just cut out the bad altogether while somehow preserving the good.

Now that argument is pure sophistry. So instead of directly demonstrating negative effects caused by lectins, Dr. Gundry begs the question and then offers an ad hoc hypothesis of why his first unproven hypothesis might be true. And besides, even if lectins were as harmful as Gundry claims, it seems unlikely that the relatively minor health benefits of following a Heavy plant based diet like the Mediterranean diet would counteract their negative effects.

Here’s another way to think about it. If lectins were actually the nutritional equivalent of ISIS, as Dr. Gundry claims, does it really make sense that they can be diffused by just eating more fruits and vegetables and a bit less animal products? Are fruit and vegetables really that powerful? Research suggests that is very unlikely.

Plant foods are nutritious and they are health giving, but they are not magic bullets. Not nearly as much as exercise, for example. And that’s why the most logical conclusion here is, wait for it, that eating lots of plants is good for you. And lectins probably aren’t an issue. And that’s probably why the longest lived people on Earth eat a lot of plants and lectins.

Hey, before we continue, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please do consider picking up one of my best selling health and fitness books. My most popular ones are Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, my flexible dieting cookbook, The Shredded Chef.

And my 100 percent practical hands on blueprint for personal transformation, The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever. And you can find them anywhere online, where you can buy books like Amazon, Audible, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play, as well as in select stores.

Barnes Noble stores. So again, that is Bigger Leaner Stronger for Men, Thinner Leaner Stronger for Women, The Shredded Chef, and The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation. Oh, and one other thing is you can get any one of those audiobooks 100 percent free when you sign up. for an Audible account. And that’s a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive.

Now if you want to take Audible up on that offer and get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to legionathletics. com slash Audible and sign up for your account. All right, moving on to the next counterpoint to the plant paradox, lectins don’t make you fat, overeating does. This is no surprise to you, dear listener, but for people who don’t understand energy balance and are very confused why they are unable to lose fat.

A boogeyman like lectins could sound reasonable, especially when you have celebrities like Kelly Clarkson saying that she read the book and it worked and now her autoimmune disease is gone and she lost 37 pounds and according to you. Dr. Gundry, thousands of other people who have followed his dietary advice, also just lose large amounts of weight automatically.

Cool. Neat. Now, is that because eating nothing but healthy foods tends to reduce calorie intake, which has been shown in research, which of course makes it easier to create an energy deficit large enough to result in significant weight loss? No, of course it’s not that. Silly, it is because of Gundry’s breakthrough discovery in the emerging science of metabolic voodoo.

You see, Dr. Gundry claims that lectins mimic insulin in the body, which then promotes fat storage and causes weight gain. Not only that, but lectins can also apparently impair glucose uptake in muscle, brain, and nerve cells, and thus blunt repair and growth. Ooh, scary. And as evidence of this, Dr. Gundry refers to a study that was conducted by scientists at John Hopkins University.

And in this experiment, researchers soaked fat cells extracted from rats in various concentrations of wheat lectins. Then they exposed the fat cells to insulin and glucose and measured how well the lectins adhered to them and how this impacted their sensitivity to insulin and the ability to absorb glucose.

And what the scientists found is that small concentrations of lectins readily attached to fat cells and actually improved insulin sensitivity, whereas large concentrations of lectins decreased insulin sensitivity. Now, as a general rule, you want your fat cells to be sensitive to insulin because this allows them to more effectively pull excess glucose out of the blood and store it where it Can’t harm the body.

And in this way, it may sound like improving insulin sensitivity in your fat cells is bad because it causes weight gain. And thus eating small amounts of lectins would be bad for your waistline, but maybe eating larger amounts would be good because it would reduce insulin sensitivity, but it’s not that simple.

First, insulin sensitivity is not some inconvenient mechanism that just makes you fat. It is a vital component of our health. If it becomes too impaired in our body, we develop type 2 diabetes, which then can kill us if left untreated. Second, no amount of insulin or insulin sensitivity or insensitivity can by itself make you fatter.

Only overeating can do that. In other words, your body weight. is dictated by energy balance, not the foods that you eat or not the physiological effects that they do or don’t have in your body. So with that in mind, the study conducted by scientists at John Hopkins could be considered evidence that lectins may be beneficial in small amounts and harmful in larger doses.

Dr. Gundry, though, ignored the positive findings of that research, and he only focused on the fact that large amounts of lectins decreased insulin sensitivity. And it’s also worth mentioning that the study did not measure the insulin sensitivity of muscle, brain, or nerve tissue, as Dr. Gundry said they did in the book, so we actually have no idea.

What effects lectins may or may not have in those tissues. Now another major problem with how Dr. Gundry represented this study is its results cannot be extrapolated to living people. This was a study that was conducted on isolated rat fat cells in a petri dish, not in living humans. And those are two very different experiments that can produce wildly different results.

Just because cells behave one way in a lab does not mean they behave the same way in a body. And that’s true of human cells to say nothing of rat cells. in a lab versus human cells in a body. Now, by definition, these mechanistic studies, as they’re referred to, are designed to produce exaggerated and unrealistic results that give scientists a clue as to what might be going on at a cellular level.

Inside the body. These types of findings can then point the way for further in depth research to explore the questions and the possibilities that are raised, but they do not provide definitive answers. So, for example, it’s not even clear that plant lectins would be able to reach fat cells without first being broken down or altered by the digestive system, or that they’d be able to reach fat cells in large enough amounts to have any significant effect.

Or, that the body doesn’t have other mechanisms of ensuring compounds like lectins don’t interfere with one of its most critical hormones, which is insulin. More research would be required, and it would need to be done with living, breathing people, not stand alone cells from another species, to determine any of those things.

And as if all that weren’t enough, this is one of the only studies to ever look at how lectins might affect insulin sensitivity or fat cell metabolism. And no scientist has pretended it’s anything other than a curious snapshot of the behavior of in vitro fat cells, except Dr. Gundry, of course. So far as I can tell, Dr.

Gundry’s just following the same playbook as the rest of the shysters who sell fad diets and supplements and who rob people of their time, money, and often their health. So it goes like this. Here’s the playbook. One, tell people the reason they’re overweight is not their fault and has nothing to do with how much they eat or how little they exercise.

Only what they eat. Two, proclaim that you have discovered the real primary cause of unwanted weight gain, and that is eating this one particular food or food group. And three, promise that if people follow your insert food or food group here, free diet plan to the letter, starting with a cleanse or a fast or a detox, then effortless weight loss can be achieved.

And yeah, that’s what you find in the plant paradox with the cleanse and all the rest. of it. You eat the right foods, you avoid the wrong ones, and then your body just takes care of the rest, regardless of how much you eat and how little you exercise. And yeah, that is music to many people’s ears who want to believe that they can get lean and healthy and fit without really having to pay much of a price, without having to restrict calories or even pay attention to calories or macros or anything other than Just the specific foods that they put into their mouths.

And that’s malarkey. In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s a blatant lie because as far as your body weight is concerned, how much you eat is far more important than what you eat. And if you’re not on board with that, if that doesn’t quite make sense to you, check out the podcast that I recorded maybe six months ago now on energy balance.

Just go to my podcast feed and search for energy balance. You can learn all about it. about that. And it’s important to understand energy balance because it is a fundamental law of the human metabolism. And it’s something that Gundry wants to avoid altogether because it’s unsexy to the average person who wants to drop pounds.

Yeah. Eat less than I want to, uh, hard pass, right? That’s how most people think about dieting. So instead, Gundry, he wants to pander to these people by blaming. Dens for their excess weight and offering a more palatable and profitable solution. Now, that said, there are people out there, plenty of people who have lost quite a bit of weight on the plant paradox diet, and you might be able to lose weight on the diet too, but.

Not because of lectins. The real reason Dr. Gundry’s diet works for some people, as far as weight loss goes, is the primary sources of excess calories in the American diet come from processed refined. Grains. So, what I’m saying is, what do you think happens to people’s average calorie intake when they completely eliminate donuts, cakes, pies, breakfast cereals, cookies, pop tarts, pasta, bread, and all of their other flour filled Goodies.

And that’s right. Calorie intake plummets. And this has been shown in research and often beneath their total daily energy expenditures. So now they’re in a situation where they are burning more calories than they’re eating regularly. And when you do this, you lose weight. Weight. And this is especially true if people are exercising as well, which many people do.

Many people who start a diet, like the plant paradox, also start doing some form of exercise because they are trying to improve their health. They’re trying to lose weight and they know that even if it’s just going for an hour walk a day or a 30 minute walk a day, that can add up over time in terms of weight loss and health effects.

Alright, let’s move on to another problem with the claims in the plant paradox and that is regarding heart disease. Lectins do not give you heart disease. And in the book, Gundry repeatedly claims this, that lectins contribute to or even cause heart disease. And as usual, of course, he says nothing about the large body of evidence that shows people who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a lower risk of heart disease regardless of the lectin content of their diets.

And instead, to validate his allegation, Dr. Gundry cites a study that he conducted with another researcher that isn’t a study, but it’s actually just an abstract of a poster presentation for the medical community. One that has not been peer reviewed, has not been published in a journal, and has actually not even been shared as a complete research paper.

It’s literally a paragraph about a study that the two researchers Said they did somewhere at some point. And according to the presentation, Dr. Gundry and his buddy took 200 patients with heart disease and put them on a diet that involved large amounts of green leafy vegetables, olive oil, near elimination of grains, legumes, nightshades, and fruits, large amounts of grass fed animal products, large amounts of Shellfish, little or no commercial poultry, and a supplement regimen including fish oil, grapeseed extract, and pycnogenol.

And we’re told that six months later, most of the patient’s blood vessels became more pliable, which is a sign of improved cardiovascular health. Now conspicuously missing was any mention of more advanced or accurate testing methods like looking at plaque buildup in their arteries. But, assuming that Dr.

Gundry is telling the truth about this. There still are several major problems with the research. One is, it’s not a real study. As of yet, it’s just a collection of observations. Two, there’s no mention of a control group. There’s no mention of blinding, randomization, statistical analysis, or any other steps normally taken to ensure the results observed are valid.

Three, Dr. Gundry had the patients make many different dietary changes at once. So it’s impossible to say that reducing lectins was the reason that their health improved as opposed to. something else, like maybe eating more fish or olive oil or leafy greens. And four, there’s no mention of how well the patients followed the diet or how the researchers tracked their adherence.

For all we know, the patients simply ate whatever they wanted and got better for some other reason. And what’s more, Dr. Gundry has also made no mention of getting the research peer reviewed and published, which is what you usually do with legitimate research or doing a follow up study to further explore the matter.

and build a convincing line of evidence and that’s strange considering that this is supposedly the single best way to prevent and cure all disease. Why would he not want to share that breakthrough? revelation with other medical practitioners in the scientific community at large. Instead, it’s just something that Gundry can trot out again and again to science wash his book and browbeat his naysayers.

All right, moving on, moving on. Let’s talk about lectins and leaky gut because lectins do not cause leaky gut unless you have celiac disease. Now, leaky gut, as I mentioned earlier, is a term that’s used to describe a condition where the lining of the intestine has become compromised which then allows harmful substances to enter the bloodstream.

And as you learned earlier, Dr. Gundry claims that lectins cause this and then cause all other types of physical and even mental. Maladies. Well, lo and behold, the scientific evidence does not agree with him at all. So first we have to note that leaky gut is not a medical diagnosis. It’s a buzzword that health and diet gurus use to describe something known as excessive intestinal permeability.

Now in case you are not familiar with that, intestinal permeability is a functional feature of the intestine that regulates the amount of nutrients, bacteria, and other substances that can pass through the intestinal barrier and then into the bloodstream. And this function can vary greatly based on your action.

activity levels, health status, and even genetics. For example, research shows that high intensity exercise can increase gut permeability during and after a workout. And it’s not exactly clear why this is, but it’s likely due to the body attempting to absorb more nutrients from the food in your digestive tract to fuel.

Your training to fuel your muscles. Research also shows that this exercise induced increase in intestinal permeability is temporary and usually doesn’t cause any negative symptoms or effects in the body. Now, self styled health experts and fake internet doctors will conveniently ignore stuff like that.

And instead just point to studies showing that people with autoimmune disease. often have abnormally high levels of intestinal permeability, and that eating certain foods like gluten and kidney bean lectin can increase intestinal permeability. Therefore, wherefore, heretofore, ergo vis a vis, abracadabra, eating foods containing lectins causes leaky gut and autoimmune disease.

Yay! Yeah, or not. The only high quality evidence that particular foods can cause excessive intestinal permeability is in people with celiac disease. So when these people eat the lectin gluten, yes, bad things happen in their intestine. Now, the reason for that is celiac disease is a genetic. autoimmune disease where eating gluten triggers the immune system to attack intestinal cells.

And if that happens often enough, it destroys the microvilli of the small intestine, the little fingers that help with the absorption of nutrients. And then that increases intestinal permeability. And eventually can cause death if untreated celiac disease is no joke and there’s also evidence that people with irritable bowel syndrome may experience an increase in symptoms from eating certain plant foods but it’s not clear if this is due to lectins or some other components in the foods like fodmaps for example f o d m a p And if you’re not familiar with FODMAPs, these are a type of carbohydrate and you can learn more about them over at legionathletics.

com. If you search for FODMAP, you’ll find an article I wrote. I don’t think I’ve recorded a podcast on FODMAPs, just an article. So you’ll find an article on the beginner’s guide to the low FODMAP. diet. Check that out. Anyway, for the rest of us who don’t have either of those relatively rare conditions, celiac disease or IBS, there is no reason to believe that eating lectins is going to cause us any gut issues.

There are a few studies that are bandied about by lectin haters to try to substantiate. Such a claim, but these are animal studies and some of them are not even conducted on live animals, but again, isolated cells in Petri dishes. For example, one study that was conducted by scientists at Lund University found that force feeding baby rats large amounts of red kidney bean lectin caused damage to their microvilli, which yes, that’s bad news.

If you are a. We rat lad who likes chili, but it is completely irrelevant if you are human, because although we do share 98 percent of our genes with these little furry rodents, we are not big furry rodents. So many findings from rodent research do not necessarily apply to us. Let’s move on to the next issue with Gundry’s claims in the plant paradox, and that is that humans have been eating lectins for a very, very Long time.

Now, if you want to convince somebody of something, if you can appeal to science or history, you’re going to have a much easier time of it. There’s a quick and dirty persuasion lesson. And therefore it’s not surprising that Gundry claims that his lectin free diet is in line with ancestral living as well as modern science.

You see, Gundry claims that early humans subsisted on relatively low lectin meat, fruits, and vegetables, mostly because their foods just contained fewer lectins than now. And why is that? Well, Uh, don’t look into it, but uh, apparently it’s because in season fruits and vegetables are just naturally lower in lectins than those that are harvested out of season or artificially ripened, which were not options for our forebears.

Now there’s no evidence for any of that, of course, but Dr. Gundry is not one to let that get in the way of a good sales pitch now, is he? Ironically, to the contrary, anthropological studies show humans have been eating lectin containing foods for at least 10, 000 years, and quite possibly millions of years.

A good example of this comes from a study conducted by scientists at the University of Chicago, and in an in depth review of 178 studies on our early ancestors, researchers found strong evidence that humans have been eating hard, fibrous plants chock full of lectins for at least 4 million years. They also determined that an early human ancestor that lived 1 to 4 million years ago likely had larger molars with a stronger enamel than us modern humans, which would suggest that they had evolved to chew open tough nuts and seeds.

And other scientists. Think that those early ancestors may have gotten a significant portion of their calories from lectin rich tuberous plants, which are similar to modern potatoes. And yet another group of researchers estimated that pre agricultural humans who lived more than 12, 000 years ago got around 65 percent of their total calories from plant foods that likely contained a considerable amount of lectins, which is normal with most plants.

And finally, several studies show that existing primitive cultures like the aborigines in Australia And the Kung in Africa get a significant portion of their calories from beans, nuts, seeds, peas, and other high lectin plants. And that this has likely been the case for a very long time. Now, Dr. Gundry says that eating more and more lectins over the last 10 millennia or so has made us smaller and weaker.

as indicated by the reduction of the height of the average human from about six feet tall to just five six today according to most anthropological evidence however men were about five foot six ten thousand years ago so once again we can only wonder what the hell Gundry is talking about okay now let’s talk about cooking and how this affects lectins because Gundry is right about one thing.

Some plant lectins can make people sick when eaten raw. So one of the best examples of this comes from a case study in which a British hospital served its employees a dish that contained uncooked red kidney beans for lunch and then several hours later the staff were uncontrollably puking and pooping for the rest of the day.

Now, All of these people had recovered by the following day, and at first, everyone thought it might have been food poisoning, but then bacteria tests of the food came back negative, and instead, they concluded that the illness was caused by eating the uncooked kidney beans. And for good reason. Raw kidney beans contain some of the highest concentrations of lactobacillus.

And it’s actually been general knowledge for some time now that they, along with certain other raw beans, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach aches. And this is why almost everyone eats beans only. if they’ve been soaked, cooked, or canned because that greatly reduces their lectin content and makes them fine for consumption.

Now, Dr. Gundry acknowledges that, but he says it’s not enough. He says to truly make beans and other high lectin plant foods safe to eat, you must pressure cook them to eliminate most of the lectin. Yeah, and he’s wrong again, of course. So, according to a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Sao Paulo, boiling beans and other lectin containing foods for just 15 minutes is enough to eliminate almost all of the lectin content.

Now, if you use a pressure cooker, you can achieve the same effect in just 7 and a half minutes, but the end result is the same. Let’s put it in relation to lectins, there seems to be no residual activity left in properly processed legumes. Now soaking is another effective method for nullifying lectins.

For example, in a study conducted by scientists at Michigan State University, soaking red kidney beans for 12 hours reduced the lectin content by 50%. Now similarly, although Dr. Gundry tells people to avoid Farm raised meat, eggs, and dairy due to their lectin content. Most people consume these foods cooked or pasteurized, which eliminates most of the lectins.

And in any case, research shows that most of the residual lectins in properly prepared food that do make it into your body bind to carbohydrate molecules, which renders them inert. Okay, so those are The main points that need to be debunked regarding the plant paradox. And now, let’s talk about Dr.

Gundry’s products, his supplements, which are bullshit. Because he not only has dubious diet advice for you, he also has an extensive line of Suspicious supplements, pills and powders to sell you that are essential for protecting your body against the negative effects of lectins. As he writes in the plant paradox, getting all of the nutrients you need simply cannot be done without supplements.

Hmm. Convenient. For example, one of the flagship products he sells is lectin shield, which is supposed to bind to and block the. plant proteins acting together to give your body full anti lectin support, making it easier for you every time you eat lectin foods. That’s right, chump, I mean friend, if you don’t want to or can’t follow Dr.

Gundry’s highly impractical restrictive dietary advice, don’t worry. You can just take his supplements instead, and then you can eat whatever you want. Forever and ever. So, how does Dr. Gundry’s Wonder Pill, uh, accomplish this exactly? Well, here are the ingredients of Lectin Shield. 300 milligrams of and 100 mg of D Mannose, 100 mg of Okra Fruit, 100 mg of Sialic Acid, 50 mg of Vegetable Peptase, 50 mg of Methyl Sulfonyl Methane, and 50 mg of Arabinogalactin.

Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t even know what some of those compounds were because you basically never see them included in any supplements ever. So I asked Curtis Frank, who is the director of research and development of my sports nutrition company, Legion Athletics, and the co founder of examine. com and the former lead researcher and writer.

And the first thing that. he noticed about this formulation is most of the ingredients are some of the cheapest stuff you can possibly buy. I mean, the kinds of things that are usually included because they cost nothing and they just look nice on the label. The second problem Curtis noticed is although Dr.

Gundry’s claim that some of the ingredients bind to and neutralize lectins isn’t incorrect, what he fails to mention is almost anything that contains carbohydrates does the same thing, including the carbs that we eat. So in other words, you don’t need to swallow expensive pills and powders to achieve this effect.

A mouthful or two of rice will work just as well. The third point Curtis brought up is almost none of the studies that are cited on the lectin shield sales page have anything to do with the claims they’re connected with. So for example, Dr. Gundry’s crappy copywriter claims that Anacetyl D glucosamine binds to harmful lectins from wheat, and since wheat lectins have been associated with joint problems, this wheat lectin blocker is also a popular ingredient in joint health supplements.

Yeah, there is a single study showing that anacetyl glucosamine binds to gliadin, which is one of the proteins that make up gluten, and this might benefit someone with celiac disease, but there’s not enough evidence to even say that for sure. Let alone how it might benefit those of us who don’t have any problems with gluten, who aren’t gluten sensitive and who don’t have celiac disease.

So anyways, back to the sales page, a few paragraphs later, Dr. Gundry cites another study in support of using N acetyl D glucosamine, but it was on regular. Glucosamine instead. Yeah, that’s a problem because those are two different molecules. N acetyl D glucosamine is different than glucosamine and has different effects in the body.

But, lol, whatever. Will that be cash or credit? Moving on, on the sales page, the study that was cited to support the theory that lectins cause joint damage doesn’t even include the word In fact, it’s the same case study of the hospital workers who ate the raw kidney beans and got sick. Now, even goofier is the bit about okra’s ability to help negate lectins.

The study referenced to support this benefit found okra binds to the lectins in mistletoe, plus a few other plants that nobody eats. Now, I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Every single study cited to convince you to pay 80 fucking dollars per bottle has little or nothing to do with the copy and the claims.

Since we’re talking numbers, a back of the envelope estimate of Dr. Gundry’s cost for lectin shield. It’s about 5 to 7 per bottle and I should know because I’m in the game of making and selling supplements. This is not an expensive supplement to make and that means that there’s a nice profit margin there of just over a thousand percent, which is actually far more exciting than the product itself.

Now, Dr. Gundry’s line of fake cat crap clap trap supplements has some striking examples of underdosing as well. For example, his. Total Restore supplement, which promises to help your body fight leaky gut contains three milligrams of berberine. Now, berberine is a great ingredient. It is an effective supplement for improving glucose absorption into the muscles and for reducing inflammation in the gut.

But the clinically effective dose is about 1500 milligrams per day. Yeah, well, 3mg, 1500mg, tomato, tomato, whatever, science is fake anyway, like math and triangles. Dr. Gundry’s many other products purportedly provide special nutrients you can’t get anywhere else and include various goop like gym cracks like probiotic skin cream and polyphenol pearls and resveratrol rich chocolate.

In other words, Gundry is a shameless Shill, who foists low quality junk on people who don’t know any better using slimy sales tactics that have been perfected by other pill and powder pushers. And despite his impressive credentials, Gundry is no better than the white coat wearing alkaline water salesman on YouTube.

So, the Plant Paradox Diet is Ridiculous. Full stop. Of all the fad diets you can choose from these days, this one is singularly bad. Because unlike most others, which are exploiting the clean eating trend, the diet espoused in the plant paradox shuns most fads. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, which we recall are the foundation of healthy eating.

So, while it’s helpful to eat a high protein diet if you want to improve your body composition, nothing improves health, vitality, and longevity like getting the majority of your calories from relatively unprocessed plant foods. Dr. Gundry upends this well established fact, however, and he says that only some fruits and vegetables should be eaten because the rest dump lectins in your body that then wage biochemical warfare against your organs.

And so if you really want to maximize your health and well being, you have to eat. eat only lectin free fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and you have to carefully cook all lectin containing foods in a pressure cooker, and you have to take the fancy supplements to avoid the devastating effects that lectins can have on your body, even trace amounts.

So in other words, you have to eat like an orthorexic, and you have to give Gundry a bunch of your money. every month. Now, Gundry is not a doctrinaire, though, and he understands that many people won’t be able to do the first and second steps consistently. And that’s why he says, well, you can’t just actually skip them altogether and you can just take his supplements.

Isn’t that great? Don’t you just love miracle pills? One must also wonder why Gundry somehow failed to include a single word about lectins in his first best selling diet book, Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution, which was published in 2008. And when asked about this in an interview with The Atlantic, Gundry blamed his publisher.

He said, he really wanted to talk about lectins, but the big bad editor wouldn’t allow it because The editor was afraid it would depress book sales. I don’t care if you can prove it, the editor supposedly told Gundry, I need to sell books and you’re gonna help me. Geez, what an asshole. Yeah, paint me skeptical.

I guess it’s possible, but including information about lectins would not have even changed the dietary advice of the book all that much, and quite frankly, probably would have improved the book’s marketability. Especially if we look at the success of the plant paradox, because when you have a single bogeyman that you can attack, that makes for a simpler and stronger hook.

And so anyway, in the final analysis, the plant paradox is a pseudo scientific reject, and Dr. Gundry is a hypocrite. And a liar, he has capitalized on the groundswell of fear and misinformation surrounding gluten, which is a lectin, by claiming that all lectins are harmful. And he has been laughing all the way to the bank ever since.

All right, so by now, if you’re still listening, you’ve probably decided the plant paradox site is not for you, or at least not the form. that Dr. Gundry recommends with all the supplements and everything. What should you do instead? How can you use food to optimize your body composition and your physical and psychological health and well being and longevity?

Well, it’s actually easier than you might think. The first Most important thing you need to do is eat mostly whole, minimally processed, nutritious foods, and that includes all kinds of fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether or not they are organic or seasonal or non GMO or high in lectins or low in lectins.

The second most important thing you need to do is make sure you eat the right number of calories every day. So if you want to lose weight, you have to consistently eat fewer calories than you’re burning. If you want to gain weight, you have to want to optimize muscle gain. It’s probably a better way to put it.

You have to eat more calories than you’re burning consistently, and if you want to just maintain your weight, maintain your body composition, you want to eat more or less the same number of calories that you’re burning. And once you know how to do those things, you will have unlocked a major secret to building the body of your dreams.

It really is the foundation of effective dieting. Dieting. One of the next important things you need to make sure you do if you want to be healthy and strong and vital is eat enough protein and research shows that a high protein diet benefits your body in many ways. It increases satiety, fullness. It helps control blood sugar levels.

It helps reduce muscle loss and increase muscle gain. It helps increase fat loss and more. In short, for most people, and especially physically active people, a high protein diet It is just superior to a low protein one in just about every way. And lastly, as far as dietary recommendations go, if you’re going to take supplements, at least take the right ones.

And I saved this for last because it is the least important. No amount of pills or powders are going to give you the body you want. Most supplements are actually worthless and that goes for everything. Fat burners, muscle builders, health and wellness, boosters, cognitive enhancers, and all the rest. But if you are eating correctly.

And also exercising regularly and correctly, then the right supplements can help you get results faster. For example, if you want to gain muscle and strength, creatine is going to help. If you want to maintain optimal health and performance, ensuring that you get enough omega 3 fatty acids is very important.

That’s hard to do with food alone. And so, if Fish oil supplement can be very beneficial, supplementing with vitamin D can make a lot of sense, taking a high quality multivitamin that plugs nutritional holes and then provides your body with other ingredients that are hard to get from food that can boost health and wellness is advisable and so forth.

I won’t go into a whole supplement spiel here. If you want to learn more about effective supplementation, just head over to legionathletics. com, head over to the blog and check out the supplements category on the blog. There are a lot of articles that talk about a lot of different supplements, individual ingredients like creatine monohydrate, for example, and just product categories like pre workout supplements and greens supplements and multivitamins and so forth.

Anyway, let’s wrap up here on the plant paradox, which is nothing but yet another cleverly crafted fad diet designed to exploit Dr. Gundry’s authority as a once respected doctor, as well as the widespread concern about hidden toxins and poisons lurking in our foods and beverages and just environment in general.

Fortunately, You don’t need to force yourself into Gundry’s dietary straitjacket hand over your credit card to improve your body composition, health and longevity. You can just stick to eating plenty of relatively unprocessed, highly nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes.

And yes, you can eat the ones that you like regardless of their lectin content. Throw in some high quality protein and some high quality healthy foods. fat and exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body composition and you’re doing it right. And if you really want to do it extra right, don’t drink and don’t smoke.

You do all of that and you are going to be a paradigm of health and vitality and chances are you’re going to live a long, active and enjoyable life. Hey, Mike here. And if you like what I’m doing on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please do consider picking up one of my bestselling health and fitness books, including bigger, leaner, stronger for men, thinner, leaner, stronger for.

Women, my flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded chef and my 100 percent practical and hands on blueprint for personal transformation inside and outside of the gym. The little black book of workout motivation. Now these books have sold well over 1 million copies. And have helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever.

And you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play. As well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. Again, that’s Bigger Leaner Stronger for Men, Thinner Leaner Stronger for Women, The Shredded Chef, and The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation. Oh, and I should also mention that you can get any of the audiobooks 100 percent free when you sign up for an Audible account, which is the perfect way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning.

more interesting, entertaining, and productive. So if you want to take audible up on that offer, and if you want to get one of my audio books for free, go to www. legionathletics. com slash audible. That’s L E G I O N athletics slash a U D I B L E and sign up for your account. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode.

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