The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain
You think you know which foods are healthy and which are not?
Steven R. Gundry, MD, thought the same as well– until he decided to go with an against-the-grain diet (pun intended) and started feeling a lot better.
He shares his findings in perhaps the most controversial book on the topic published during the past few years:
Who Should Read “The Plant Paradox”? And Why?
If you are already aware of your unhealthy dietary habits, then we don’t need to tell you that any food-related book written by a doctor or a scientist is the next book you should read – nay, implement in your life; the same holds true if you feel uncomfortable in your body due to obesity or overweight.
The Plant Paradox goes a step further: as its blurb states, the book “illuminates the hidden dangers lurking in your salad bowl,” meaning that it attempts to show you which parts of your regular healthy foods are actually unhealthy.
Think gluten in relation to wheat: you can eat the latter, but, as we recently found out, the former can cause severe inflammations in your body. Well, according to Gundry, gluten is just one of a variety of very similar and equally toxic plant-based proteins called lectins.
Want to do away with them? Think that you’re actually eating healthy but still having problems trimming down your weight or doing away with some nagging pains and inflammations suggesting autoimmune diseases?
Then The Plant Paradox may be for your; but, please, before reading the book, read our summary first and find out more about the benefits and risks of a lectin-free diet.
About Steven R. Gundry
Steven R. Gundry is an American cardiac surgeon, bestselling author, and a researcher in food and nutrition.
After graduating cum laude from Yale University, Gundry went on to earn a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1977. A pioneering researcher in cardiology, Gundry invented a few devices that reverse the cell death in heart attacks and was featured in a story by People magazine in 1990.
After completing a fellowship in congenital heart surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children, and two years as a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Gundry was recruited as professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, a Seventh-day Adventist health sciences university.
In 2000, after supposedly curing an “inoperable” patient via a combination of nutraceutical supplements and dietary changes, Gundry left Loma Linda University and established the International Heart and Lung Institute in California, where he currently devotes his time to researching the possibilities for “dietary and nutraceutical reversal of most diseases.”
He has published several books on the topic, including Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution and The Plant Paradox.
Find out more at https://gundrymd.com/
“The Plant Paradox PDF Summary”
“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” – writes Steven Gundry in the very first sentence of The Plant Paradox.
If you’re overweight and unhealthy even though you’ve tried every single diet (low-carb, low-fat, paleo, low-glycemic) and every single exercise regime (running, speed walking, weight training, aerobics, CrossFit, yoga, core training, spinning, high-intensity interval training), then could it be that the problem is not with you, but with the diets and the regimes?
“Your health problems are not your fault,” states Gundry explicitly before confidently pointing out that his book intends to change all of that:
You see, with all modesty, I’ve found there is a common cause for most health problems. It is based on ample research, including my own papers, published in peer-reviewed medical journals, but no one has put it all together before. While health ‘experts’ have pointed to our laziness, our addiction to fast food, our consumption of beverages full of high-fructose corn syrup, and the host of toxins in the environment as causes for our current ailments (among many others), sadly, they are wrong. (Not that these things don’t contribute to poor health!) The real cause is so well hidden that you would never have noticed it. But I am getting ahead of myself.
And so are we – so let’s walk you through Gundry’s arguments and findings.
The Attack of the Lectins
Consequently, if you are as small as a mosquito or as slow as a sloth, you better have another defense mechanism at your disposal, for unless you are capable of biting or your flesh has an awful taste, then evolution is not exactly going to be your best friend.
But where does this leave plants then?
Apparently, they are no different – they too have defense mechanisms, even the most innocuous among them; in other words, a plant doesn’t need to be poisonous for you to think that it is unwilling to be eaten by you.
Now, the most common defense mechanism in plants is a group of complex proteins called lectins; you can find them in the grains, skins, seeds, and leaves of most plants.
What they do is, when you consume a plant which contains them, they bind to the sugar molecules in your brain and nerve endings causing something known as “brain fog.”
You know what we’re talking about: it’s when you get all drowsy, have trouble focusing and experience memory difficulties.
Additionally, some of these lectins also result in you gaining some weight:
The reason that wheat became the grain of choice in northern climates is thanks to a uniquely small lectin in wheat, known as wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is responsible for wheat’s weight-gaining propensity. You read that correctly. Wheat helped your ancestors gain or maintain weight in ancient times when food was often scarce; back then, a ‘wheat belly’ was a great thing to possess! And guess what? That WGA in the ‘ancient’ forms of wheat is just as present in modern wheat—hence the weight gain.
We’ve told you before: lose the wheat, lose the weight.
But there’s more to it.
The Microbes in Your Belly
You contain multitudes: about 90% of the cells in your body are non-human microbes, most of which you need to survive because they are the ones which convert the food you eat into energy.
And most of these microbes are imprisoned in your belly; if some of them leave your intestinal tract, then you’re in for a serious problem: your body treats these microbes as imposters, and your immune system suddenly goes haywire.
So, you have a proper Civil War inside your own body: some cells are attacking other cells even though, in essence, they are on the same team.
And this is what we call an autoimmune disease.
How is this important in relation to the lectins mentioned above?
Well, we’ve recently discovered that lectins increase the permeability of your intestines, allowing the microbes to leave your belly and move into unknown territory.
So, in a way, many of your autoimmune diseases may appear because you eat wheat and some other plants.
Not so much: it is exactly because of the lectins in the bran that your body attacks itself.
Baguettes, ciabattas, white rice – they are all bran-free.
And there’s a reason why they are the staples of some of the healthiest cuisines of the world: French, Italian, and Asian.
The Four Rules of the Plant Paradox Program
According to Steven Gundry, “these four simple rules will enable you to experience success on the Plant Paradox Program.”
Rule Number 1: What You Stop Eating Has Far More Impact on Your Health Than What You Start Eating
The Plant Paradox Program is more about the things you shouldn’t eat than it is about the things you should.
This should, after all, be as obvious as a platitude: you help your health much more if you say “no” to one bad thing than if you say “yes” to ten good and still consume that bad thing.
Rule Number 2: Pay Attention to the Care and Feeding of Your Gut Bugs, and They Will Handle the Care and Feeding of You. After All, You Are Their Home.
This rule sounds even better when told in laymen’s terms: “give your gut bugs what they want, and nobody gets hurt.”
And when we mean your gut bugs – we do mean your good gut bugs; unfortunately, your bad dietary habits and all those antibiotics you’ve used in the past few decades have all but decimated them by now; the bad ones may be the majority there, in your gut.
So, stop feeding them junk food (sugar, refined carbs, and saturated fat); they’ll have to leave and make room for the return of your friends, the good gut bugs.
Rule Number 3: Fruit Might as Well Be Candy
According to Steven R. Gundry, the difference between a bowl of Skittles and a fruit salad is all but negligible: “it’s the same poisonous stuff,” he says.
The only three fruits you can eat – and, mind you, only when they are green – are bananas, mangoes, and papayas.
Every single other fruit should be off the table.
And if you have doubts over whether something is a fruit or vegetable – then, rule number 3 has a corollary: “if it has seeds, it’s fruit!”
Rule Number 4: You Are What the Thing You Are Eating Ate
In other words, even though you think you’re eating meat, you are actually also eating corn and soybeans, because that’s what industrially raised food animals are regularly fed with.
And that’s not a good thing.
Key Lessons from “The Plant Paradox”
1. Lectins Are Bad for Your Health – and They Can Be Found in Healthy Foods
2. The Four Rules of the Plant Paradox Program
3. The Plant Paradox Program
Lectins Are Bad for Your Health – and They Can Be Found in Healthy Foods
Lectins are, by their very nature, weak poisons: once they enter your body (and they do every time you consume fruits, wheat, legumes, etc.), they bind with the sugar molecules in your nerves and cause “brain fog” (loss of focus, memory problem).
In addition, they also make the intestinal tract more permeable allowing the microbes from your gut to spill into unknown areas of your body where they are treated as impostors; hence – autoimmune diseases.
Finally, some of them – such as the WGA in wheat – increase your weight; this was great for our ancestors when they needed “wheat belly” for the months when they had nothing to eat; but it’s bad for you – since you always have something to eat.
The Four Rules of the Plant Paradox Program
Steven Gundry’s Plant Paradox Program is focused on eliminating lectins from your diet; and it is based on four rules:
#1. What you stop eating has more impact on your help than what you start eating;
#2. Give your gut bugs what they want and starve the bad bugs (see #1);
#3. Treat fruit (everything with seeds) exactly as you would treat candy; and
#4. You are what the thing you are eating ate, aka you’re not eating meat but the soya it was fed with.
The Plant Paradox Program
Now, The Plant Paradox – and, consequently, the Plant Paradox Program – abounds with many “yes’s” and even more “no’s,” in addition to numerous sample meal plans and recipes.
It’s both difficult to summarize even a tenth of them and unfair to choose only one or two; for that, you’ll need to consult the book.
However, consider this a good rule-of-thumb: don’t eat any fruit aside from green bananas, papayas, and mangoes, avoid refined, starchy foods, nuts and seeds, oils, grains and legumes – and you should do just fine.
At least Gwyneth Paltrow and Tony Robbins say so.
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“The Plant Paradox Quotes”If you’re overweight, there’s a good chance that it’s because you’re a believer in the myth of ‘whole-grain goodness.’ Click To Tweet The most dangerous trick pulled by lectins, which I now see on a daily basis in my patients, is that they bear an uncanny similarity to the proteins on many of our important organs, nerves, and joints. Click To Tweet The Plant Paradox Program is actually a microbiome- and mitochondria-centric program that recommends a diverse array of the right plant foods at the right time, prepared the right way, in the right amounts. Click To Tweet The mummified remains of Queen Nefertiti suggest that she most likely had diabetes. Click To Tweet The next time you ask for a fruit salad as a ‘healthy’ breakfast, I suggest that instead you order a bowl of Skittles candy. Go ahead—it’s the same poisonous stuff. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
According to some doctors and professors (Terry Wahls, Dale Bredesen, Jonathan Karp) and numerous celebrities (Tony Robbins, Kelly Clarkson, Gwyneth Paltrow), Gundry’s lectin-free diet works exceptionally well.
So much so that at least one or two people have deemed Gundry a once-in-a-generation doctor and The Plant Paradox a “once-in-a-generation” book.
Now, we’re not doctors, and we don’t know for sure if Steven R. Gundry is right about lectins; but we feel obliged to tell you that, according to many other doctors and researchers, he’s not.
“To put it generously,” says one fairly objective review of his book, “it is fair to say that Dr. Gundry has not made a convincing argument that lectins as a class are hazardous.” Others are not so subtle calling Gundry a quack and “gobbledygook” scientist trying to make a quick buck.
The latter sure seems at least a possibility: as far as we understood from a quick research, lectins are actually a pretty large and complex group of proteins, and even though some of them are toxic, others are actually beneficial.In other words, if you want our advice: don’t jump the lectin-free bandwagon before you see where it’s heading; food has gotten us to where we are and is probably not that tricky.
Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands.