Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins found in foods such as grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and potatoes. Also, grain-fed meats (which would be all meats except grass-fed) contain lectins due to their grain-based feed. Lectins, although found in what many people consider “healthy” foods, are known to have detrimental effects, including gastrointestinal and immune dysfunction, and the triggering of leptin resistance, implicated in obesity.
Dr. William Davis talks extensively about the negative effects of lectins found in wheat in his excellent book Wheat Belly. (If you are not familiar with his book, I highly recommend it.) I interviewed him in my last book, Heart of Perfect Health. He really knows what he’s talking about.
A recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions found that a lectin- and nightshade-restricted diet (nightshades are in the tomato, potato, and pepper family) plus supplements containing the antioxidant polyphenol from fish oil, grape seed extract, and vitamins improved blood vessel function in older people who had risk factors for artery disease.
“These findings represent a fundamental paradigm shift in how the diseases of the ‘Western Diet’ should be treated,” stated Steven Gundry, MD. “Simple removal of ‘healthy’ lectin-containing foods, and taking a few inexpensive supplements, may restore endothelial function to normal, which in turn can reverse high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.”
Of course, the American Heart Association stated that people shouldn’t remove tomatoes or other healthy foods from their diet. They have to remain conservative, of course. Some people find a good deal of relief when restricting these foods, especially when restricting grains. Care must be taken to replace lectin-containing foods with plenty of leafy greens, vegetables, seafood, grass-fed animal proteins, and healthy fats.