One day it’s carbs, the next it’s gluten, and then it’s dairy…what’s next, avocados?
When it comes to weight loss, the diet industry rarely has nothing to point the finger to. The latest suspect?
Lightheartedly labelled ‘the next gluten’ in 2017, lectins are sticky plant-based proteins that seek out and bind to sugar molecules. Research has associated the proteins to weight gain, heartburn, and even heart disease.
In his latest book, The Plant Paradox Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Help You Lose Weight, Heal Your Gut, and Live Lectin-Free, Dr. Steven R. Gundry discusses why going lectin-free rather than everything else-free is the key to losing weight in a practical and realistic manner.
So, where do lectins come from and what foods are they commonly found in?
The protein is abundant in many so-called ‘healthy foods’, including gluten-free breads, conventional dairy products and even some fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans. Even ‘clean eating’ essentials aren’t safe from lectins – peanuts, courgettes, peas, aubergines, peppers and potatoes are all rich in the protein.
“Lectins bind to receptors on the surface of each cell lining the gut,” Gundry told The Independent, “breaking down the tight junctions that normally make an impenetrable barrier between the intestinal contents including bacteria and ourselves.”
When the lectins pass through the intestinal barrier, they’re seen as ‘foreign’ to our immune system, leading to inflammation. Inflammation leads to fat storage within the abdomen, promoting weight gain as the immune system fights the ‘foreign’ invasion.
“When we lessen lectin consumption, the gut wall reseals and the stimulus to store fat is removed,” Gundry added.
“Lectins no longer bind to insulin receptors, and we no longer store fat aggressively. Weight loss invariably follows.”
He went on to say that those living a lectin-free lifestyle will also notice a “significant glow” and see a “youthful appearance” in their skin in just a few weeks.
As for the myths surrounding carbs and weight gain?
It’s been disproven by nutritionists and dieticians, in addition to Gundry, who now praise whole grains such as brown rice for their rich fibre content.
Some experts even claim that eating carbs can actually help promote weight loss.
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