The ‘Lectin Free’ Diet
Have you heard of the lectin-free diet? Wondering what it is? Wondering if you should be on it?
According to the article in the link below, the lectin-free diet may be the next fad diet craze!
So what exactly are lectins?
Lectins are a type of protein found in food. They are found in fairly high concentrations in grains, beans and legumes – however, they are actually found in most foods in smaller concentrations.
The perceived “problem” is that lectins are toxic. Promoters of the lectin-free diet claim that lectins can cause various health conditions such as obesity, bowel diseases and inflammation. They also claim that going lectin-free can cure certain diseases and health conditions.
Since most foods contain some form of lectins, the lectin-free diet is extremely restrictive – it eliminates grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, dairy and eggs.
But the truth is, only SOME lectins are toxic – just as only SOME mushrooms are poisonous.
Furthermore, we don’t typically eat the toxic lectins found in grains, beans and legumes – because they are only toxic when raw or undercooked.
So what exactly does this mean for you?
Not much, really! For most people, there is no reason to avoid lectins.
Only those with an allergy or intolerance (due to a bowel condition such as Crohn’s) may have to avoid lectins – lectins are not digested, so they may cause gut irritation for those with a bowel condition.
As for the foods that contain toxic lectins (such as grains including rice, barley and quinoa, dried beans and legumes), just be sure to cook them in boiling water until they are well-cooked. Canned beans are already cooked, so they are safe to consume.
Bottom line: The lectin-free diet is another fad diet with very little evidence to support it.