Plant Paradox: An Introduction
The book, The Plant Paradox wrote by Dr. Stenven R. Grundy, claims that some plant-based foods like vegetables and grains contain lectins. These can result in being obese and also bring about certain diseases like neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease.
These Lectins are molecules that are sugar-binding and can be obtained from many different food items that can make sugars bind to the cell’s outer walls. Dr. Grundy argues that some individuals may be that well adjusted when it comes to the consumption of lectins in large quantities, particularly those that have only been introduced in the last 10,000 years or so.
In the program known as the plant paradox, the author asserts that individuals need to cut out (phases number 1 and 2) and significantly reduce (phase 3) the consumption of food items that are supposedly filled with these plant-based lectins.
The program also recommends limiting protein intake sourced from animal-based food items, avoid or reduce the intake of certain drugs such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) or drugs that are meant to block acids in the stomach. The program also recommends that people avoid blue light in the evening, intermittently fast, and to take certain supplements. However, the major recommendation for this program is to have plant lectins completely avoided.
If the program is followed closely, the author claims that it can have several medical conditions reverse, including autoimmune disease and obesity. The Plant Paradox is written with a general populace as its target audience but the book may be best enjoyed by individuals who may be suffering from the conditions mentioned by the author that are linked to the said lectins from plant-based food items. Since the book’s launch in 2017, the book has been quite popular. This article is a review of the said book and its potential health benefits.
The Plant Paradox’s Science-Backed Accuracy
The writer came up with some claims that are very strong throughout the chapters of the Plant Paradox. However, since the major feature of this program is its recommendation to avoid plant lectins coming from cucumbers, nightshade, fruit, dairy, legumes, and grains, it is best to check on the accuracy of its claims in terms of health benefits once the said food items are indeed avoided.
A Most Unusual Claim
The book has several claims that can be tagged as unusual. One such claim is that eating fruits can lead to obesity and weight gain.
Throughout the book, it is repeated in numerous sections and pages that fruits are fattening and that the human body has evolved to have excess amounts of fats stored when eating fruits due to the start of agriculture wherein fruits only become available during specific periods (fall and summer).
Some of the said quotes mentioned that eating fruits was a way for our ancestors to fatten up for the winter, which can now be a problem since fruits are available throughout the year. This kind of statement is presented in such a way that it brings focus to the fruits lectins and fruit’s high content of fructose. The program, however, does not present any evidence to have this claim supported especially in terms of how fruits can lead to obesity and weight gain or how lectins from fruits can trigger individuals to overeat. The evidence for this claim is quite the contrary.
Evidence is wanting
There is evidence to suggest that eating fruits has been consistently linked with reduced weight. Another study also shows that calorie intake can be reduced for people who may have their fruit intake increased. On the other hand, the claim that the fructose present in fruits can make people fat requires more thorough discussion.
Fructose is differently metabolized compared to other carbs. Fructose specifically can undergo conversion in the liver into fat. Compared to glucose, fructose also does not initiate any changes in crucial hormones responsible for the regulation of body weight and appetite (hunger) which are ghrelin, insulin, and leptin. This led experts to conclude that one of the most fattening forms of carb is fructose. This may find supporting evidence in the fact that beverages that are sugar-sweetened can lead to increased intake of calories and lead to the promotion of weight gain. However, there is no convincing evidence that fructose taken in the form of regular sucrose (sugar) can lead to more weight gain or overeating compared to other forms of sugars.
It must also be pointed out that from the point of view of nutrition, looking at fruit only as a way to take in fructose and lectins and asserting that they can be compared to Skittles candy and that they are some poisonous stuff may be tagged as a form of reductionist thinking which can be quite damaging when looking at the overall health benefits of properties of food items that are whole. Fruits are also fiber-rich and are generally low in calories for most fruit variants. Thus, people who eat one donut can eat two apples and still get the same amount of calories. Eating too many apples will still not lead to weight gain that can result in obesity.
We can give credit to the author that he was able to share an extensive list of anecdotal evidence and success stories coming from his clinic. However, one has to wonder why peer reviews for this work are still not available. Unfortunately, the book also has little to no scientific evidence to back the strong claims and assertions made in the book. The statements in the book throughout also did not have any scientific evidence to back them up resulting in this book possibly just being considered as a diet fad.