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4 days ago
Plant paradox diet: Is it really a healthy way to weight loss?

American singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson’s claim that she lost 37 pounds easily have caught the imagination of weight watchers around the world. She apparently achieved this feat by resorting to the plant paradox diet. This is the latest entrant in the fad diet scenario.

A lectin-free diet, there are mixed reactions to this fad. While some say that it can help you achieve your weight loss goals, others question the nutritional side effects. Introduced by Dr. Steven R. Gundry in a book called The Plant Paradox, this diet will no doubt be on the minds of fitness conscious people for a long time to come.

Lectins are a type of protein found in plant foods. Some scientists believe that lectin in plants works as a defence mechanism to keep insects away. These are known as anti-nutrients, because they block the absorption of other nutrients in the body. But these proteins can bind to sugar.

The human digestive system is unable to digest lectins, so, if they are consumed in large amounts, it can cause irritation, diarrhoea and vomiting. It can also damage your gut wall. But if you take it in moderate amounts, they offer many benefits. They help our body in immune functions and cell growth. So, this nutrient should not be ignored.


Getting started with this diet is quite a task. It becomes difficult initially because you need to figure out what to include and what not to include in this diet. This diet restricts the consumption of lectins, which are found in grains, legumes and some vegetables. On the other hand, it includes foods that have healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables with a low lectin content.

Foods to avoid

Refined Carbs: Pasta, bread, rice biscuits, chips

Legumes: Lentils (Dal), beans

Nuts: Cashews and peanuts

Seeds: Pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds

Fruits: Bananas, melon, berries

Grains: Whole grains like oats, rice, corn, barley

Dairy products: Almost all dairy products made with cow’s milk

Oils: Sunflower, peanut, soy

Sweeteners: Sugar

Recommended foods

Vegetables: Okra/Lady Finger, mushrooms, garlic, green leafy vegetables, carrots, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, broccoli

Fruits: Avocado, berries (seasonal)

Seafood: Salmon, Tuna, shrimp, lobster (80 grams a day)

Poultry: Organically raised chicken, turkey, eggs (80 grams a day)

Nuts: Walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts

Herbs and spices: Pepper, cumin, turmeric, oregano, basil

Sweeteners: Stevia

Dairy products: Dairy products made from goat milk

The diet says that you should have avocado, extra dark chocolates and nuts every day.


Are you finding this diet rather confusing? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people find it difficult to stick to this diet because of its rather long list of dos and don’ts. Consumption of the above mentioned nutrients might not be that beneficial. But according to studies, if these foods are cooked, the amount of lectin present in them can be reduced significantly. To make your choice easier, we reveal some of the benefits and side effects of this diet.

Benefits of the plant paradox diet

As mentioned earlier, these lectin rich foods are difficult to digest. Therefore, they can easily stick to intestinal walls causing digestive problems like gas, bloating and constipation.

If lectins are consumed in higher amounts, then it can give you a leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which food particles and toxins move from the digestive system into the bloodstream. So, it is beneficial to limit the intake of lectins.

Lectins are known to aggravate inflammation. This diet might prove to be helpful for people suffering from inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

This diet only promotes healthy foods and cuts down the consumption of processed foods, which automatically helps you in weight reduction.

Side effects of the plant paradox diet

This diet is a restrictive plan, which might make it difficult to adopt. It cuts out various nutritious foods just because they contain lectins.

This diet recommends cutting down on whole grains. According to a study published in Journal of Nutrition, whole grains can reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

This diet is difficult for vegetarians, as legumes, nuts and seeds provide them with plant-based protein.

A lectin-free diet may be expensive to follow as it recommends certain foods that may or may not be available locally.



This diet will not allow you to have processed food, sugars and other things that might make you gain weight. There is still no scientific study to prove its efficiency. Hence, the reason to quit legumes and other healthy foods is not strong enough. Just to add to more reasons for not excluding healthy foods from your diet, a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that, if it is difficult for you to adopt a low carb diet, a diet high in pulses may help you lose weight.


If you are still keen to try this diet, consult your doctor first. Needless to say, following this diet for longer duration might make you deficient in some nutrients. The only benefit of this diet is that it eliminates inflammation causing foods from your diet. You can limit your lectin consumption by cooking your legumes properly or avoiding foods that have high lectin content like tomatoes, soybean, red kidney beans and potatoes. Choose this diet wisely and only after consulting your physician.

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