In his new book, “The Plant Paradox,” Dr. Steven Gundry claims that proteins in plants called lectins are making us sick and causing us to die prematurely:
In The Plant Paradox, renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.
Are lectins “highly toxic”? Do they make us sick? Gundry failed to support these claims, says Dr. Campbell:
- Many of his references do not offer any support for the statements he makes in the text or are misrepresented.
- Even more egregious are the wild claims he makes with no referencing at all, which is most of the text. … Sometimes it almost seems like this author is just making things up that sound good.
- The claims come fast and furious in this book, stated with a degree of certainty, without nuance, that undoubtedly appeals to many readers. But the referencing is so lacking and sloppy that Dr. Gundry should be embarrassed. The references that are cited in this book do a poor job of trying to justify its claims. And the bulk of the author’s wild claims lack references at all, with several examples of easily verifiable falsehoods.
Why did such a credentialed professional produce such a fluff book? Campbell says:
This has got to be either willful negligence or astonishing incompetence.
If it was willful, maybe it had to do with making money:
Dr. Gundry sells supplements, including “Lectin Shield” for about $80 a month. … [Gundry says] “Lectin Shield works to protect your body from a pile-up of lectins and to promote full-body comfort.”
The list of plant foods that contain lectins is staggering. If you went on a lectin-free diet, you’d be eating mostly animal foods. And not just any animal foods, but high-end versions:
The approved foods list is a loaded list of hard to find, specialty kinds of food products, including only pasture-raised poultry and grass fed and grass finished beef, and specialty non-grain noodles, energy bars, etc…. His patients are either consuming lots of animals, dairy, and added fats or they are starving.
I really like how Campbell wrapped it up. All of these things are true … that profit trumps public health, that confusion invites scams, and especially, that people like to hear good things about their bad habits:
We also know that this evidence [that whole plant-based foods, appropriate hydration, physical activity, and outdoor activities are beneficial] challenges our existing system which is too much about commerce and too little about public health. To say that people are confused is an understatement and it is this confusion that invites scams like this book. Also, there are many who want to hear good things about their bad habits. We can only hope that this newly invented fad, based on such unethical and self-serving behavior, will pass quickly.