LECTIN-FREE AND LEAN?

It’s worked for Kelly Clark­son, but is the Lectin-Free Diet all it’s cracked up to be? Ex­perts weigh in...

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - BY EULOGI RHEEDER

Ac­cord­ing to Kelly, this eat­ing plan has not only im­proved her health dras­ti­cally; it has even en­abled her to stop tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for her thy­roid con­di­tion.

When Kelly Clark­son showed off her svelte body on the 14th sea­son of The Voice last year, peo­ple were shocked to learn that her 15kg weight loss had noth­ing to do with ex­er­cis­ing – it was sim­ply a pos­i­tive side ef­fect of a new diet she was on to help sort out a thy­roid is­sue. ‘I had an au­toim­mune dis­ease and a thy­roid prob­lem that started in 2006,’ Kelly said. ‘I read this book called The Plant Para­dox, and… it worked won­ders for me.’ The the­ory out­lined in Dr Steven R Gundry’s book cen­tres on plant pro­teins called lectins. The most sig­nif­i­cant of its many func­tions is that it pro­tects plants from be­ing eaten – lectins breach the gut wall of in­sects

and an­i­mals so that they feel sick, which dis­cour­ages them from eat­ing that par­tic­u­lar plant again. The same hap­pens in our bod­ies, says Dr Gundry; lectins in­duce an in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse in the gut.

‘Lectins bind to re­cep­tors on the sur­face of each cell lin­ing the gut,’ he says, ‘break­ing down the tight junc­tions that nor­mally make an im­pen­e­tra­ble bar­rier be­tween the in­testi­nal con­tents – in­clud­ing bac­te­ria – and our­selves.’

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Gundry, lectins are the cause of many mod­ern-day ill­nesses, rang­ing from obe­sity, al­ler­gies and brain fog to gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues, in­flam­ma­tion and au­toim­mune dis­eases – which is why he de­signed a lectin-free diet to aid in op­ti­mal health. ‘When we lessen lectin con­sump­tion, the gut wall re­seals and the stim­u­lus to store fat is re­moved. Lectins no longer bind to in­sulin re­cep­tors, and we no longer store fat ag­gres­sively. Weight loss in­vari­ably fol­lows.’

Ac­cord­ing to Kelly, this eat­ing plan has not only im­proved her health dras­ti­cally; it has even en­abled her to stop tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for her thy­roid con­di­tion.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Although lectins are mainly as­so­ci­ated with plants, they’re ac­tu­ally found in an ar­ray of foods: veg­eta­bles (es­pe­cially night­shades such as toma­toes, pota­toes, pep­pers and aubergine); seeds, beans and legumes; tra­di­tional dairy prod­ucts; and grain-fed, farm-raised an­i­mal pro­teins. If you’re won­der­ing if there’s any­thing left that you can eat, you’re not alone. But there is some good news. On his web­site, Dr Gundry rec­om­mends three food items from his Yes List that should be eaten ev­ery day to fur­ther help kick his lectin-free diet into high gear. These in­clude:

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