From the moment we’re smart enough to understand, we’re told we need to eat fruit and vegetables. So when a diet tells you to abandon these healthy foods, of course, it’s going to be called a paradox.
The Plant Paradox diet is highly controversial, based on avoiding the lectin proteins found in plants.
It’s the creation of a former heart surgeon, Steven Gundry, who claims lectins produce inflammation. This inflammation can lead to weight gain and diseases, so his diet avoids them—we’ll examine the results of this in detail.
To achieve this, we delve into the following:
- The Plant Paradox diet benefits.
- Plant Paradox diet risks.
- Approved foods of the Plant Paradox diet.
- Forbidden foods of the Plant Paradox diet.
- Does the Plant Paradox diet work?
Table of Contents
Plant Paradox Diet Benefits
This regime has its downsides, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. People have lost weight following this diet—Kelly Clarkson is one of them. She discusses it with the diet’s creator in this video.
Other people have a natural aversion to vegetables and follow the diet without realizing, rarely with ill-effects. The nutrients found in vegetables are accessible in other foods and supplements.
Now, whether Kelly and other people thrive based on the diet can’t be confirmed. There’s little to no research about how lectins impact the human body.
But there is proof that inflammation contributes enormously to chronic diseases, so Gundry is right about that.
Do lectins cause inflammation? Again, we can’t be certain, but Gundry says they’re harmful. He’s an educated and successful man of medicine, so he should know a thing or two about the body.
His stance may be based on the fact that lectins are a plants’ defense mechanism to try and stop people from eating them. As a result, the lectin proteins encourage sugars, fibers and starches (carbs) to clump up and cling to your cells. This can impact communication between cells, causing inflammation as a result.
Gundry claims other ill-effects of lectins, but inflammation seems to be the main culprit—in people with lectin sensitivity.
So, theoretically, the diet is hugely beneficial to those people. Especially if this old research is correct in saying high levels of lectins can aid the development of certain diseases like celiac, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Reducing lectin intake can bring down the risk of autoimmune diseases.…. again, in theory, as there are no official clinical trials that back this up.
Weight Loss Benefits
But are there weight-loss benefits on the Plant Paradox Diet, like Kelly Clarkson claims? Perhaps. However, this won’t be due to cutting out lectins—unlike other foods, plants are not calorie-dense.
With the diet, you have to focus on eating mindfully and healthily. This can aid in weight loss, as well as cutting out refined carbs and processed foods. It’s not a downside to the diet as far as weight loss is concerned.
Plant Paradox Diet Risks
Yes, many people appear fine when not consuming certain healthy foods that everyone should be eating. People get by on frozen dinners, processed, artificial foods and other less than ideal meal plans.
However, when you cut out these plants, you may be cutting out sources of nutrients that you’re not getting elsewhere. So, you need to be wary. You need to be particularly cautious when you realize this diet has yet to be studied clinically. So instead, take the risk of malnutrition and side effects into account.
Plant Paradox Diet Side Effects
Keep in mind, these are not confirmed side effects. You can still eat plenty of vegetables on this diet, just not those containing lectin.
Here’s a list of side effects that might occur when you’re not eating enough vegetables:
- Heart problems and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Digestive issues due to lack of fiber.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Complications with vision.
Plant Paradox Diet Approved Foods
There’s a long list of what you can eat on this diet. You can still eat most of your regular favorites if you cut out the processed food and refined carbs—you’ll just have to make certain tweaks. Recipes online can help with this, along with Gundry’s own cookbooks.
For example, if you want to eat pizza, you’ll have to replace your regular flour with coconut, almond or hazelnut flour. You can make an excellent base from one of these alternatives, some sea salt, water and a teaspoon of oil.
Some approved oils are:
Cheese is not okay, but other toppings are; most seafood is fine, plus many types of meat and poultry are also approved. You can even put vegetables on your pizza or in your other slightly modified dishes.
Your approved list of vegetables include:
- Romaine lettuce.
- Collard greens.
- Swiss chard.
- Bok choy.
- Brussel sprouts.
For a comprehensive list of approved foods, you can check out Doctor Gundry’s printable list.
Plant Paradox Diet Forbidden Foods
The “no list” is also quite lengthy, but not as extensive as the list of approved foods. Again, the full list is available above.
To summarize, the no list contains:
- Five dairy products.
- 20 grains, sprouted grains, grasses and pseudo-grains.
- Five nuts and seeds.
- Eight oils.
- 11 refined, starchy foods.
- Five seasonings.
- 14 sweeteners.
- Grain or soybean fed animal or seafood products.
Finally, we have a list of definite no-no fruits, vegetables and foods, which are as follows:
- Lentils and lentil pasta.
- Bean sprouts.
- Bell peppers.
- Textured vegetable protein.
- Sugar snap peas.
- Chili peppers.
- Soy and soy protein.
- Goji berries.
- Peas and pea protein.
- Green beans.
- Melons and watermelons.
Does the Plant Paradox Diet Work?
As far as diets go, this one isn’t super restrictive. Yet, it’s possibly restrictive enough to help you lose some weight.
Its claim for reducing inflammation remains inconclusive, but if you want to trust Gundry, go for it. He was a heart surgeon after all, and that requires a big brain and lots of knowledge about what impacts the human body.
Work with a dietician if you’re wary, and always be careful commencing new diets.
If you like this article, check out these others:
Download Your FREE Paleo Starter Kit Today!
- 3-Day Paleo Diet Meal Plan
- Comprehensive Paleo Diet Shopping List
- 5 of Our Favorite Paleo Diet Recipes