The Okinawans in Japan enjoy a traditional diet of rice, sweet potato and soy.
Researchers are looking into the use of lectins to target specific cancers. ‘However, my biggest reservation comes with the whole marketing concept behind the diet,' says Nathalie. ‘Dr Gundry's book and website outline the problem, then at the same time sell everything you need to follow his plans: he has a long list of recommended food and equipment on his website that links to affiliate sites where he makes money whenever someone buys a product he recommends. He even has the Gundry VIP Club, where followers of his diet can get the “best deals” on the products he recommends.'
In South Africa, health professionals are not allowed to endorse products; this is considered unethical practice. What's more, Nathalie points out that several of the foods on Dr Gundry's Yes List are poor choices for the environment. ‘For example, Alaskan salmon and lobster are not sustainable choices – in fact, lobster is on our SASSI red list. He also specifies that the butter and some of the cheese must be French or Italian, meaning that the carbon footprint is unnecessarily large. Some of the other choices are simply not available to the average person.'
Both Nathalie and Abby believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. ‘A good eating plan includes a variety of foods (including fruits and vegetables) and exercise. Most importantly, it doesn't include restrictions,' says Abby. ‘If you're worried about an autoimmune disease or food allergy, speak to a professional who can guide you,' emphasises Nathalie.