What Is the Plant Paradox Diet, and Does It Work?

Healthline food plan rating: Three out of 5

The Plant Paradox Diet is predicated on a well-liked food plan e book. Its central tenant is that you need to keep away from lectins, an antinutrient discovered largely in crops.

The food plan’s creators declare that lectins could trigger weight acquire, irritation, and power illness.

However, there’s not a lot scientific proof to help the thought that each one lectin-containing plant meals are dangerous. In truth, many meals with lectins are extraordinarily nutritious.

Thus, it’s possible you’ll wonder if this food plan is value pursuing.

This article critiques the Plant Paradox Diet to let you know the way it works, whether or not it aids weight reduction, and its advantages and downsides.

food plan assessment scorecard

  • Overall rating: Three
  • Weight loss: Three.5
  • Healthy consuming: 2.75
  • Sustainability: 2.5
  • Whole physique well being: Three.25
  • Nutrition high quality: four.75
  • Evidence-based: 1.5

BOTTOM LINE: For lectin-sensitive people, the Plant Paradox Diet could be a sport changer. Yet, for most individuals, it’s excessively restrictive, banning many nutritious meals. No proof suggests that each one lectin-containing meals are inherently unhealthy.

What is the Plant Paradox Diet?

The Plant Paradox Diet was first espoused in the e book “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain” by Steven Gundry, a former cardiac surgeon and doctor.

The e book’s premise is that many plant meals harbor lectins, that are antinutrients which might be mentioned to trigger weight acquire and a number of power ailments.

While it’s true that many plant meals include lectins, there’s little proof to help the principle that lectins are as dangerous as Dr. Gundry proposes (1).

Nonetheless, some individuals, particularly these with preexisting digestive issues, reply properly to a lectin-free food plan.

What are lectins?

Lectins are proteins discovered in lots of meals, however primarily in legumes, grains, and nightshade veggies like tomatoes and eggplants (1).

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are toxins that crops produce to outlive and shouldn’t be eaten due to the many problems they trigger, together with irritation, intestinal injury, and weight acquire.

Although some lectins are harmful, many meals that include lectins are nutritious, boasting fiber, protein, nutritional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

For instance, uncooked kidney beans — that are full of vitamins — additionally include phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin that may be extraordinarily dangerous if eaten in massive quantities. However, cooking destroys this lectin, making cooked kidney beans completely wholesome (2).

Gluten-containing grains additionally include lectins, and based on Gundry, needs to be averted. Yet, whereas some individuals, similar to these with celiac illness, gluten intolerance, or sure autoimmune ailments, profit from a gluten-free food plan, gluten is taken into account secure for many.


The Plant Paradox Diet bans lectins, that are proteins discovered in lots of plant meals. The food plan’s advocates assert that each one lectin-containing crops are dangerous, however analysis overwhelmingly means that many are secure and wholesome.

How to comply with the Plant Paradox Diet

The Plant Paradox Diet is pretty simple, because it merely entails avoiding lectin-containing meals.

You’re allowed to comply with whichever model of consuming works for you, whether or not that’s three meals and snacks, intermittent fasting, or another consuming sample.

All the identical, there are two primary spin-offs of the food plan.

Specialized applications

The “Plant Paradox” e book options two specialised applications — a low carb, excessive fats ketogenic model of the food plan for individuals with most cancers, and a Three-day “detox” plan for people who find themselves new to lectin-free consuming patterns.

If you’ve gotten most cancers and are curious about following the keto program, talk about it together with your healthcare staff and be sure to additionally comply with their recommendation and therapy. Keep in thoughts that this food plan can not and mustn’t exchange most cancers therapies.

According to Dr. Gundry’s web site, the detox program entails a strict lectin-free food plan for Three days, plus a day by day routine of sunshine train and consuming at the least eight cups (1.9 liters) of water, tea, or decaf espresso every day.

Not solely does the detox bar all lectins but in addition all dairy merchandise, eggs, sugar, seeds, grains, nightshade greens, soy merchandise, and seed oils. Dr. Gundry claims that it helps put together your physique to comply with a lectin-free food plan long run.


The Plant Paradox food plan entails eliminating lectin-containing meals, however there’s no structured program until you select to do its Three-day detox or ketogenic program for most cancers.

Foods to eat and keep away from

Although the Plant Paradox Diet is restrictive, reducing out quite a few plant meals, it emphasizes entire and nutritious sources of protein and fats.

Foods to eat

You’re inspired to eat these meals on the Plant Paradox Diet:

  • Proteins: grass-fed or -finished meats, pasture-raised poultry, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, and hemp merchandise like “hempeh,” hemp tofu, or hemp protein powder
  • Starches and grain-free merchandise: candy potatoes, plantains, rutabaga, parsnips, and paleo wraps or breads
  • Nuts and seeds: macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and hazelnuts
  • Fruits: avocados, berries, and coconut
  • Vegetables: mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, okra, carrots, radishes, beets, kale, nopales (cactus), and cabbage
  • Dairy: goat’s milk and cheese, natural bitter cream, natural cream cheese, natural heavy cream, and Brie
  • Fats and oils: grass-fed butter, plus olive, coconut, and avocado oils

You’re meant to solely eat berries sparingly and restrict nuts to a 1/2-cup (roughly 75-gram) serving per day.

Although most cow’s milk is excluded, A2 milk is allowed. It’s produced from cows that naturally solely produce one kind of casein protein — A2 beta-casein (Three).

The A1 beta-casein in standard milk could trigger digestive issues in some individuals, which is why it’s banned on the food plan (Three).

Foods to keep away from

The following meals include lectins or different compounds that Dr. Gundry considers dangerous. Thus, you need to keep away from them on the Plant Paradox Diet.

  • Proteins: soy merchandise, grain- or soy-fed livestock, farmed fish, and all beans and legumes
  • Grains and starches: pasta, potatoes, cookies, crackers, pastries, entire grains, wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, barley, corn, and popcorn
  • Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, peanuts, and cashews
  • Fruits: all fruits, besides berries
  • Vegetables: cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, and different squashes, in addition to nightshades like tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant
  • Dairy: all standard A1 milk merchandise, in addition to Greek yogurt, American cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Fats and oils: vegetable, soybean, canola, corn, peanut, and sunflower oils

According to Dr. Gundry, you’ll be able to eat a choose few of the banned veggies — tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers — in the event that they’ve been peeled and deseeded.


The Plant Paradox Diet emphasizes entire, nutritious sources of protein and fats whereas banning nightshades, beans, legumes, grains, and most dairy.

Does it work for weight reduction?

To drop some pounds, you will need to burn extra energy than you eat. This is named a calorie deficit.

Notably, neither the Plant Paradox Diet nor its Three-day detox or keto applications are explicitly meant for weight reduction. They don’t contain any calorie restriction strategies, similar to portion management or calorie counting.

As such, if you wish to drop some pounds on this food plan, you need to take into account rigorously monitoring your meals consumption.

Because the Plant Paradox Diet is wealthy in protein and wholesome fat because it excludes most starchy meals, it could promote elevated emotions of fullness. In flip, this will likely make it simpler to stay to a calorie deficit (four).

The food plan additionally removes most processed meals and added sugars, which can naturally decrease your calorie consumption.

Regardless, it’s possible you’ll need to select an alternate consuming sample that’s expressly meant for weight reduction.


The Plant Paradox Diet’s concentrate on entire, unprocessed meals could make it simpler to keep up a calorie deficit. Still, the food plan isn’t constructed that can assist you drop some pounds.

Other well being advantages

The Plant Paradox Diet could present a number of advantages, similar to bettering insulin sensitivity and digestive well being.

May assist insulin sensitivity

Limiting sugary objects, grains, and most starchy meals could enhance your insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar ranges.

Sugary meals, processed grains, and starchy meals — particularly these with little fiber, protein, or fats — quickly enhance your blood sugar ranges, inflicting a spike in insulin (5).

Over time, particularly when you habitually eat these meals, your physique could turn into insulin resistant. This situation is implicated in weight acquire and a number of power sicknesses, together with kind 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness, and Alzheimer’s (6, 7).

Still, eradicating these meals out of your food plan could enhance insulin sensitivity, reducing your danger of weight acquire and power illness (eight).

May enhance digestive well being

One of the key advantages of the Plant Paradox Diet and different lectin-free diets is best digestive well being, particularly for individuals battling digestive points or lectin sensitivity.

Although not everyone seems to be delicate to lectins, some individuals react adversely to them, particularly to gluten or the lectins in nightshade greens like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants (9, 10).

Lectin-sensitive people could expertise injury to their digestive tract lining and imbalances in intestine micro organism in the event that they eat lectins (11).

This cannot solely result in digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea but in addition problems like a weakened immune system, stunted progress, and pores and skin circumstances (11).

By eliminating lectins, individuals with lectin sensitivity might even see enhancements of their digestive signs, permitting their intestine time to heal.

If you’re experiencing power digestive points or suspect that you simply’re lectin delicate, it’s finest to speak to your healthcare supplier.

May assist autoimmune circumstances

The autoimmune protocol (AIP) is a lectin-free consuming sample that’s much like the Plant Paradox Diet.

The AIP is a kind of paleo food plan which will assist handle autoimmune circumstances like inflammatory bowel illness (IBD), celiac illness, and Hashimoto’s.

In many individuals, wheat and different lectin-rich grains promote irritation that may result in intestine dysfunction, modifications in immunity, and the growth or worsening of inflammatory or autoimmune circumstances (12).

One examine in 15 individuals with IBD discovered that the AIP decreased irritation and improved signs after solely 11 weeks (13).

An analogous, 10-week examine in 17 girls with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis prescribed the AIP and famous a big discount in irritation, together with an enchancment in signs and high quality of life (14).

For these causes, the lectin-free Plant Paradox Diet could likewise profit people with autoimmune circumstances.


The Plant Paradox Diet is finest used to alleviate signs for individuals with lectin sensitivity. Because it removes most processed and sugary meals, it could additionally enhance your insulin sensitivity.

Potential downsides

The Plant Paradox Diet has a number of downsides, chief amongst them its extreme meals restrictions.

It eliminates all kinds of meals, from legumes and seeds to nightshade veggies to conventionally raised meats. While this will likely assist individuals with lectin sensitivity, you’re unlikely to see many advantages when you’re not delicate to lectin.

In truth, many of those banned meals are nutritious and include comparatively few lectins, particularly after cooking them.

For occasion, beans and legumes are wealthy in protein, nutritional vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Moreover, most of their lectins are neutralized when they’re correctly ready by soaking and cooking (15).

Because the food plan discourages grain-fed meats and conventionally raised poultry, it can be costly to comply with. Grass-fed meats are usually rather more costly than grain-fed ones, in addition to probably tougher to search out.


The Plant Paradox Diet is unnecessarily restrictive for individuals who aren’t delicate to lectins as a result of it bans quite a lot of nutritious meals. It could also be costly to comply with as properly.

The backside line

The Plant Paradox Diet eliminates lectins, an antinutrient which may be dangerous for individuals with lectin sensitivity. As such, it bans legumes, beans, grains, and quite a few veggies.

However, there’s little or no proof that anybody with out lectin sensitivity ought to lower these meals from their food plan. In truth, these meals present helpful fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.

What’s extra, you’ll be able to cut back or get rid of most lectins by way of cooking.

While the Plant Paradox Diet could enhance insulin sensitivity and provide a number of advantages for weight reduction, many individuals could discover it too restrictive, in addition to costly.

If you’re experiencing power digestive points and contemplating this food plan, make sure you seek the advice of your healthcare supplier first.

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