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

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Healthline weight loss program rating: Three out of 5

The Plant Paradox Diet relies on a preferred weight loss program e book. Its central tenant is that you must keep away from lectins, an antinutrient discovered largely in vegetation.

The weight loss program’s creators declare that lectins could trigger weight achieve, irritation, and power illness.

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

Thus, you might ponder whether this weight loss program is price pursuing.

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

weight loss program overview 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 generally is a recreation 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 stated to trigger weight achieve and a number of power ailments.

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

Nonetheless, some folks, particularly these with preexisting digestive issues, reply effectively to a lectin-free weight loss program.

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 vegetation produce to outlive and shouldn’t be eaten due to the many problems they trigger, together with irritation, intestinal injury, and weight achieve.

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

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

Gluten-containing grains additionally comprise lectins, and in response to Gundry, needs to be averted. Yet, whereas some folks, akin to these with celiac illness, gluten intolerance, or sure autoimmune ailments, profit from a gluten-free weight loss program, gluten is taken into account protected for many.


The Plant Paradox Diet bans lectins, that are proteins discovered in lots of plant meals. The weight loss program’s advocates assert that each one lectin-containing vegetation are dangerous, however analysis overwhelmingly means that many are protected and wholesome.

How to comply with the Plant Paradox Diet

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

You’re allowed to comply with whichever type 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 major spin-offs of the weight loss program.

Specialized applications

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

If you might have most cancers and are all in favour of following the keto program, talk about it along with your healthcare group and ensure you additionally comply with their recommendation and remedy. Keep in thoughts that this weight loss program can not and shouldn’t substitute most cancers therapies.

According to Dr. Gundry’s web site, the detox program includes a strict lectin-free weight loss program 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 additionally 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 weight loss program long run.


The Plant Paradox weight loss program includes 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, slicing out quite a few plant meals, it emphasizes complete 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 devour 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 folks, which is why it’s banned on the weight loss program (Three).

Foods to keep away from

The following meals comprise lectins or different compounds that Dr. Gundry considers dangerous. Thus, you must 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, complete 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 possibly can 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 complete, nutritious sources of protein and fats whereas banning nightshades, beans, legumes, grains, and most dairy.

Does it work for weight reduction?

To shed some pounds, you need to burn extra energy than you eat. This is known as a calorie deficit.

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

As such, if you wish to shed some pounds on this weight loss program, you must contemplate 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 make it simpler to stay to a calorie deficit (four).

The weight loss program additionally removes most processed meals and added sugars, which can naturally decrease your calorie consumption.

Regardless, you might need to select an alternate consuming sample that’s expressly supposed for weight reduction.


The Plant Paradox Diet’s deal with complete, unprocessed meals could make it simpler to keep up a calorie deficit. Still, the weight loss program isn’t constructed that can assist you shed some pounds.

Other well being advantages

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

May support 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 in the event you habitually eat these meals, your physique could turn into insulin resistant. This situation is implicated in weight achieve and a number of power diseases, together with kind 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness, and Alzheimer’s (6, 7).

Still, eradicating these meals out of your weight loss program could increase insulin sensitivity, reducing your threat of weight achieve and power illness (eight).

May increase digestive well being

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

Although not everyone seems to be delicate to lectins, some folks 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 can’t solely result in digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea but additionally problems like a weakened immune system, stunted progress, and pores and skin circumstances (11).

By eliminating lectins, folks with lectin sensitivity may 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 support autoimmune circumstances

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

The AIP is a sort of paleo weight loss program that 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 research in 15 folks with IBD discovered that the AIP diminished irritation and improved signs after solely 11 weeks (13).

An analogous, 10-week research in 17 girls with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis prescribed the AIP and famous a major 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 folks 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 assist folks with lectin sensitivity, you’re unlikely to see many advantages in the event you’re not delicate to lectin.

In reality, many of those banned meals are nutritious and comprise 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 weight loss program discourages grain-fed meats and conventionally raised poultry, it can be costly to comply with. Grass-fed meats are sometimes far more costly than grain-fed ones, in addition to doubtlessly tougher to seek out.


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

The backside line

The Plant Paradox Diet eliminates lectins, an antinutrient that could be dangerous for folks 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 reduce these meals from their weight loss program. In reality, these meals present useful fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.

What’s extra, you possibly can cut back or remove most lectins by way of cooking.

While the Plant Paradox Diet could enhance insulin sensitivity and supply a couple 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 weight loss program, remember to seek the advice of your healthcare supplier first.

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