Nathalie has done a fair bit of research into lectin-free eating in recent months. While she doesn’t agree with Dr Gundry’s diet, she does think there’s some validity to the points he makes. ‘Lectins are considered an antinutrient, as they can bind to parts of proteins (and other nutrients), blocking digestion,’ she says. ‘It is, however, important to note that soaking and cooking some food on Dr Gundry’s No List can significantly reduce the lectin content – just because food contains lectins in their raw form doesn’t mean that the level is the same after cooking.’
Abby agrees. ‘Legumes, as an example, should always be soaked and cooked – raw legumes are not routinely advocated as part of a healthy diet; but when soaked, cooked or canned, the amount of lectins in legumes is insignificant.’
‘The very limited number of foods that are on Dr Gundry’s Yes List have to be prepared at home,’ explains Nathalie, ‘so it requires prepping and planning, and means that fast foods or easy meals are excluded. In my opinion, it’s the absence of unhealthy foods – rather than the avoidance of lectins – that’s helping people to lose weight.’
Abby adds that including dark chocolate in your diet can be good for its antioxidant properties and that avocado is indeed a good source of monounsaturated fats. ‘But it’s important to ensure that these are included to complement a balanced diet. Dr Gundry’s long list of foods to avoid – including all grains, legumes and many fruits and vegetables – can create the possibility of nutrient deficiency due to lack of variety.’
People who suffer from autoimmune conditions like psoriasis may indeed battle with nightshade vegetables as Dr Gundry points out, says Nathalie. ‘But these are the exceptions, not the rule, when it comes to autoimmune diseases – Kelly Clarkson may be one of those exceptions who’s found a solution by eliminating nightshades from her diet. I always recommend that people with autoimmune conditions seek the help of a professional before limiting their food intake.’
She points out that Dr Gundry’s diet could assist those who suffer from food allergies. ‘Again, however, I’d discourage people who suffer from food allergies from cutting out all lectin-containing food as a solution; it’s important that they test their food tolerances under the supervision of a professional.’
Sardinians' Mediterranean diet contains legumes, tomatoes, pasta, dairy and more.