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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 04, 2010

The Lowdown On Lectins

By Mark Sisson
251 Comments

Little known to the public at large. Little understood by the health community. Omnipresent in our conventional food culture. Proven to be at least mildly detrimental for everyone and downright destructive for the more sensitive (and often unsuspecting) among us. We’re talking lectins today: common natural agents on the one hand, cloaked thugs of the anti-nutrient underworld on the other. Our popular health media, if they’ve heard of lectins, certainly never make mention of them. Famous health gurus never deign to speak of them. In short, lectins thrive in the American diet basically unfettered, unscrutinized. Make no mistake, however. They’re a menacing power to be reckoned with. I’ve addressed them on Mark’s Daily Apple in the past (Why Grains Are Unhealthy) and in my book (The Primal Blueprint), but I still get a fair number of emails and forum questions asking for more info. As I always say, let’s break it down….

What Are They?

Before Monsanto, Mother Nature had her own pesticide strategy. (Humans being among the “pests” to be warded off.) In order to avoid being completely decimated by insects, foraging animals and Groks, plant species evolved assorted anti-nutrients that would make said pests regret their gorges with a variety of mostly digestive related ailments. Low grade toxins, in a sense. A workable balance developed between plants that were able to safeguard their species’ survival and the “pest” patrons that were able to benefit from the plants’ nutrition but learned to partake more sensibly from their supply. Given that our primal forefolk foraged widely and ate a surprisingly diverse diet, the system worked.

Lectins are essentially carb-binding proteins universally present in plants (and animals). Just as they protect plant species from Grok-sized predators, lectins also support other immunological functions within plants and animals (against pathogense, parasites, etc.) They also assist in other functions like protein synthesis and delivery in animals. They’re relatively sticky molecules, which makes them effective in binding with their sought after sugars but undesirable for our digestion, in which their binding powers can lead them to attach to the intestinal lining and wreak havoc. (More on this in a minute…)

Given their omnipresence in nature, a certain amount of lectin consumption has always been inevitable. To the benefit of the plants, lectins are also hard to break down. Regular old digestive enzymes only do about half the job. Human ingenuity evolved across traditional cultures to “predigest” lectins through food preparation practices (fermenting, soaking, etc.). In our contemporary dietary culture, however, we too commonly skip these practices yet rely on the highest lectin-containing foods for our primary food sources.

What Foods Contain Them?

The short answer here is basically all plants and animal products (PDF) to varying degrees. Nonetheless, lectins are concentrated more in some sources than others. Foods with the highest lectin activity include: grains of all kinds (especially wheat), legumes (especially soy), nuts, dairy, and nightshade plants (e.g. eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc.). Add to this list the oils and other derivative products from these food sources. And yet another, lesser known category: GMO food, since lectins are often spliced into modified varieties in order to enhance “natural” pest and fungal resistance.

What Do They Do To The Body?

Let’s go back to the intestine again. (Some field trip, eh?) Lectins’ stickiness allows them to bind with the lining, particularly the villi, of the small intestine. The result? Intestinal damage (with impaired cellular repair potential), cellular death as well as compromised intestinal villi, which means reduced absorption of other nutrients, including minerals and protein. Add to this altered gut flora, which can allow certain harmful bacterial strains like E. coli to run rampant. Furthermore, because the body is now responding full-time to the needs of the injured gut lining, proteins and other resources are redirected from other basic growth and repair processes. Furthermore, lectins have been associated with leptin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition linked to obesity.

Perhaps the most insidious impacts lectins can leave in their wake is this: leaky gut. Leaky gut is a term for the breach in the intestinal lining created by lectins hand in hand with other antinutrients. Once the intestinal breach exists, lectins and other particles (like partially digested food, toxins, etc) can “leak” into the bloodstream.

Once lectins open the door, so to speak, out of the small intestine, they and other fugitive particles are now free to move about the body and bind to any tissue they come across (anything from the thyroid to the pancreas to the kidneys). Of course, the body reacts to these invaders by directing an attack on these particles and the otherwise perfectly healthy tissue they’re attached to. Enter autoimmune mayhem. That’s why lectins are linked with autoimmune disorders like IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis. Specific lectins have been associated with particular ailments (like wheat with rheumatoid arthritis), but more research is needed to trace and confirm these connections. What is clear, however, is the potent autoimmune destruction that can result when the intestinal lining experiences this level of damage.

Primal Advice For Limiting Lectins

As mentioned, lectins are literally everywhere. Although it’s impossible to eliminate them altogether, you can significantly reduce your intake.

  • Purge the worst offenders. That means grains and soy more than anything, but I’d add other legumes to the list as well. Eliminating the foods that contain the highest lectin activity will slash your overall lectin intake – and impact.
  • Cut back on other higher lectin sources. Not everyone wants to nix every dairy or nightshade option. Look at how you can reduce your overall intake of these items while keeping enough to enjoy their flavor and nutrient advantages.
  • Gauge your sensitivity. For those of us who are most sensitive to lectins, more dramatic measures might be needed. If you know or believe that you’ve already suffered some serious intestinal damage, you might do well to steer clear of as many high and moderate lectin level foods as possible. That means perhaps forgoing nightshades, dairy, legumes and even nuts and eggs in addition to all grains and processed foods. Reintroduce desired foods back into your diet by “family” (e.g. dairy, etc.) and be mindful of any physiological effects (however minor) that accompany them.
  • Take up old traditions like soaking, sprouting and using bacterial fermentation techniques for any moderate/high lectin foods like beans you choose to keep in your diet. Fermentation methods are especially effective, virtually eliminating lectins in one study of lentils. All those kitchen rituals you remember from Grandma? They’re adaptive, essentially pre-digestive techniques practiced by traditional cultures around the globe. Going old school on your favorite nut varieties, for example, cuts those lectin levels dramatically.
  • Don’t go wholly raw. Yes, there are legitimate reasons to enjoy raw plants in your diet, but I don’t support the practice as a movement or exclusionary principle for eating. Humans have been cooking for well over a hundred thousand years. Some nutrients are enhanced by heat. Some anti-nutrients (like lectins) are at least partially “disarmed” by it. Cooking methods with a mind toward maximizing overall nutrient value and bioavailability make good Primal sense and can lower your exposure to lectins.
  • Diversify! Restrictive diets make us even more susceptible to the downsides of our foods. (Soy formula fed babies being a dramatic example of this principle.) Make Grok proud and forage more widely for your dinner. Research shows that simply rotating primary foods was enough to limit lectin-related damage in rats that were given rounds of soy feed. A healthy, mostly low lectin diet will offer enough balance and protective nutrition to blunt the impact of the occasional moderate level lectin sources.
  • Avoid GMOs. Hidden lectin is just one more reason to leave GMO products on the shelf.
  • Maintain good overall gut health. Our modern existence sometimes seems like one giant assault against our digestive tracts. Minimize cumulative negative effects and increase positive, protective factors. Eat a healthy diet with Primal doses of probiotics, prebiotics and good fats. Limit stress and the use of medications like aspirin, NSAIDs and antibiotics (as well as secondary exposure through antibiotic-administered livestock). A healthy gut will be better equipped to weather the effects of inevitable but reasonable lectin intake.

Now it’s your turn – for your comments, questions and anecdotes about lectin impact. Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading!

TAGS:  is it primal?

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251 Comments on "The Lowdown On Lectins"

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Tracee
6 years 6 months ago

This is one of the best articles I have read on lectins…and I had never heard of them until 2 years ago. I became curious about this when I noticed I had gluten isues while trying the gfcf and SCD diets for my sons autism. He responded to the SCD. I ate his almond flour baked goodies and felt great. When I finally had time to make gf grain baked goods for me I felt tired and craved sodas. I thought it was odd until I heard about lectins. Lectin sensitivity must be a great for soda companies!

RD. Matthew Robert
RD. Matthew Robert
6 years 6 months ago

Well for foods like Beans, and Legumes it appears that 90% of the active Lectins and offending complex sugars are eliminated by soaking, and heating above 100 degrees Celcius for approximatley 10 minutes. Besides the amount of Antioxidants, Vitamins, and other nutrients far outweigh any trace amount of Lectins left over after the legumes have been cooked (who’s eating uncooked beans?). These foods have been sustaining a thriving population in South America for thousands of years. As far as I am concerned, this is just another class act of online fear mongering.

Vicki
Vicki
6 years 6 months ago

I think you may have missed one part of the article where Mark is suggesting the same thing as you are for eating beans:

“Take up old traditions like soaking, sprouting and using bacterial fermentation techniques for any moderate/high lectin foods like beans you choose to keep in your diet. Fermentation methods are especially effective, virtually eliminating lectins in one study of lentils.”

Be careful about making up your mind before you’re finished reading – there’s a lot of good info on this site that is helping a lot of people.

Vicki
Vicki
6 years 6 months ago

BTW – thanks for this information. Had a good primal day yesterday, but am suffering today and I couldn’t figure out why. This happens to me off and on. I did have a tomato salad with a bit of blue cheese with supper though. I’ll have to experiment with night shades and dairy – maybe I’m even more sensitive than I thought. Thanks!

jackson
jackson
6 years 6 months ago

You may be having a problem with the blue cheese because they quite often use wheat in the product..As a person with Celiac disease I can attest to the fact that I cannot consume blue cheese..

Countryman
Countryman
1 month 23 days ago

Jackson, I am also Celiac and have discovered about 50% of all celiacs are intolerant of Cows Milk product. It’s not the Lactose but apparently the protein. I urge all Celiacs to go milk and cheese free.

Lilah
Lilah
3 years 7 months ago

Perhaps to you with no food sensitivites, but for the rest of us with chronic food allergies, this makes sense. I have soaked legumes over night and over cooked them in hopes of not reacting negatively to them, and still, they cause severe skin rashes. Legumes, cooked or not, need to be avoided for me. Not everyone has the same health issues and comments such as these irritate me – just because you are fine with a food, doesn’t mean the same food is not harmful to someone else.

Penelope
Penelope
11 months 7 days ago

Even with soaking and rinsing and cooking in a pressure cooker (which one site says eliminates lectins) I had a horrible reaction to navy bean soup. Same with lentils and quinoa, popcorn and rice. Some information says there are different groups of lectins and you may be sensitive to one but not the other… I don’t seem so sensitive to the dairy group as I do to the grains and nightshades.

Lilah
Lilah
3 years 7 months ago

In response to RD – Matthew Robert :
Perhaps to you with no food sensitivites, but for the rest of us with chronic food allergies, this makes sense. I have soaked legumes over night and over cooked them in hopes of not reacting negatively to them, and still, they cause severe skin rashes. Legumes, cooked or not, need to be avoided for me. Not everyone has the same health issues and comments such as these irritate me – just because you are fine with a food, doesn’t mean the same food is not harmful to someone else.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/lectins/#ixzz2SAudPd61

Jim
Jim
1 year 11 months ago
I’m not sure what culture you’re referencing in S.America that is “thriving” on legumes. Most of the people down there I’ve seen that lived past 60 all suffer from diseases like cataracts, type-2 diabetes, IBS, and RA. These diseases are most common in cultures with diets high in toxic lectins. Those that do find a way into the U.S. typically suffer even worse consequences because they eat the same foods they were eating down there, they consume more processed foods here (typically the highest concentrations of lectins are found in processed foods), and the foods here are higher in GMO’s.… Read more »
Marie
Marie
6 years 6 months ago
This is a great article. Thank you. Archaeological evidence about the origin of cooking is mixed, but the latest thinking (albeit somewhat controversial, but becoming more and more accepted) looks at both archaeological and biological evidence and points to a date at the beginning of Homo Erectus (2 million – 1.75 million BP) as the date at which fire was managed and when cooking in the human diet was introduced. I highly recommend a recent book called “Catching Fire” by Richard Wrangham as an introduction to the totality of this object. PS. I’m an archaeologist who is very interested in… Read more »
Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 6 months ago

Well, then you’ll be interested in the Ancestral Health Symposium Brent Pottenger, me, and some friends are planning for August, 2011. It’s mission is to provide a forum for those interested in viewing human health through the lens of human evolution and ancestry. More info at: http://ancestryfoundation.org/Ancestry/Ancestral_Health.html.

Marie
Marie
6 years 6 months ago

Aaron, I would love to come! I live on the East Coast, but with some prep and planning perhaps I can make it out to LA. I joined the FB group for updates.

I’ve been batting around the idea with archaeologist friends about editing or writing a book that compiles the latest archaeological evidence of palaeo diets, with evidence for seasonality, herb use, salt trading, small animal vs. large animal food sourcing, intermittent fasting, etc. It is only in the kicking around phase, but I am sure that the conference would help things along.

Renate
Renate
4 years 9 months ago

I too am an archaeologist and I’ve just recently embarked on a spot of research in relation to paleao-diet and archaeological evidence.
Was wondering whether you can give give a reading list/reference/biblio so I can glen even more good stuff for my research
BTW my speciality is African Archaeology/Prehistory, I usually work in the Sahara Desert

Heidi
3 years 10 months ago
I have a question. I didn’t finish my archaeology degree, but I got a few years of study in. It seems to me that a truly Paleolithic diet should include insects and grubs pretty frequently, yes? I remember from my studies of living African tribes that for most of them, actual meat is more of an infrequent gorging thing, and they mostly subsist on starchy tubers and grubs. I realize the climate has changed since it was the “cradle of civilization”, and that game was probably more readily available back then. But it still takes a lot of energy to… Read more »
josh
3 years 1 month ago

i think you might be focusing on the idea of trying to emulate exact paleo living as opposed to looking to paleo life for indications of what works best for humans. humans can survive on wheat based diets too, but it isn’t optimal. daily meat consumption is optimal for nutrition. you could survive on more insects than meat, but you’ll be better off with the meat.

Lynn Ball
3 years 9 months ago

Great article! Learning much.
Have a lot of the symptoms but according to gastroenterologist I tested neg….don’t know what test he did….my question ism that this issue must be revisited.
I have a rare autoimmune disease along with SPinocerebellar Ataxia..having incontinence multiple system atrophy was suggested. Going t a urologist soon….what should I ask? Was put on Detrol by my primary care and it was a miracle drug for 7 years but it now no longer works…even when doubling and tripolling the dosage. This needs further investigation…..help!

Melodious
Melodious
6 years 6 months ago

I don’t get why milk should have significant lectin levels – shouldn’t the babies of any species be fed food which won’t fight back?

Erin
Erin
6 years 6 months ago

Maybe it serves an immune/digestive system development function, given that they’ll eventually need to develop some level of tolerance?

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
Lectins are not always bad. The thing Mark didn’t spell out about them (and I don’t fault him, he provided lots of good information) is that a lectin is simply a protein molecule with a sugar molecule attached to it at one end. The sugar molecule behaves as an antigen molecule–really, that’s all an antigen is, is a sugar shaped a specific way. So, a milk lectin would be useful to aid in lining the gut of the offspring to protect it from microbial invaders until the offspring’s immune system develops far enough to take over bodily defenses on its… Read more »
Yvonne
Yvonne
3 years 6 days ago

Cows are fed grains. Grains contain lectins. If you can get milk from cows eating grass, then you will be fine. But do you live next to such a farm?? Most of us don’t.

reamz
reamz
6 years 6 months ago
great article…i was a bit confused when it was mentioned that dairy contains lectins (i assumed since it is meant to be consumed by a growing mammal, there wouldnt be too many toxic substances in it), but a quick google search confirmed that dairy does contain lectins but the amount depends on the cows (or other dairy animal’s) diet. So ceonventional corn and soy fed dairy is clearly going to contain troublesome lectins, so logically shouldnt grass fed dairy have much less lectins? No data on grassfed dairy (go figure) but i assume this would be true. Plus fermented dairy… Read more »
E Pearse
E Pearse
3 years 9 months ago

Goat milk does not contain them and is safer than cow milk. That goes for cheeses from goat milk.

Aed
Aed
3 years 3 months ago

Cow dairy makes me sick but I can tolerate goat dairy very well. This helps explain it!

zach
zach
6 years 6 months ago

I wonder how many people suffering from severe digestive ailments go to their doctor’s office, and they just get some pills. “Here take this expensive chemo rat poison for your chrohn’s, but don’t worry about having pizza hut for dinner.” It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Erin
6 years 6 months ago

I actually went to a gastro once and I explained right off the bat I hated meds, I would rather switch up my diet and habits if he could give me some direction. The doctor outright told me he doesn’t believe in diet changes. Within 5 minutes he was trying to write me a script, I tried to stop him twice, but eventually just took them and never returned.

emma
emma
6 years 6 months ago
I had exactly the same experience. Had the tests and was told I have collagenous colitis, which sucks but good to know its not just in my mind! Went to see this guy a few times and he just wrote a different script each time which never really helped much. The last time, I said Id been doing some research on controlling it with diet and before I could get any further he’d rolled his eyes and told me it was probably all bullshit. Needless to say I havent gone back. Havent fixed the problem yet tho.. Have cut grains,… Read more »
PaleoMum
6 years 6 months ago
Sorry to hear you’ve been having problems. I found when I went primal that I ate a lot more eggs and it really upset my tum. Eventually I had to cut out all dairy and eggs for three months. Everything was completely fixed by that, then I reintroduced them slowly. Now I can eat well cooked eggs (not runny scramble!) and cheese and little bits of yoghurt and cream, which is enough to enhance the diet. I would really advise you to cut out everything possible and give your intestine a few weeks to heal. After that it’ll be stronger… Read more »
kc
6 years 5 months ago
Hidden GMO corn additives may be your problem. Most eggs on the market are contaminated with corny additives during the washing process plus the hens are fed GMO corn in the form of vitamin supplements (even from pastured hens fed organic feed). Look for a local farm with free ranging and foraging chickens for the best eggs. Most conventional (and even some organic) fruits and vegetables are treated with some GMO corn derivative during processing. Any bagged or prewashed produce will contain citric acid (GMO corn derivative) and most peppers, cucumbers, squash (some are GMO), apples, eggplants and citrus will… Read more »
Caroline
Caroline
4 years 3 months ago

Don’t hafta drop the nuts, just soak ’em for 7 hours [and sprout them if they’re sproutable] then dehydrate them in the oven at lowest temp. Even more crunchy and tasty like this…and no lectins! I do this with almonds, walnuts & pecans.

dkaj
dkaj
3 years 4 months ago
I would suggest reading The Vicious Cycle book by Elaine Gottschall You may have already read her book, but if not, it is a great read explaining how everything works in the digestive tract all the way down the little villi in our intestines. Here’s a review on the book by Weston Price Foundation. http://www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-up-reviews/breaking-the-vicious-cycle And for all of you who have had the GI and Internal Medicine Doc’s just want to hand you pills, Elaine had 15 different specialists tell her that her 4 year old daughter’s ulceritis colitis was uncureable and that food had nothing to do with… Read more »
Schneider
Schneider
5 years 3 months ago

I went to the doctor and was told that someone misdiagnosed me with celiac disease. Wrote me a script and told me to eat gluten. I tore it up gave it to him and said I was staying on my diet so I would not have intestinal flue. Last time I saw him

Suvetar
Suvetar
6 years 6 months ago
I would be one of those that always mentioned my digestive problems to the doctors whenever I went in for something else…and the same answer was given to me: Add more Fiber to your diet. Then of course colonoscopies were recommended (which i never went to because of fear what they might find) like there was something wrong with ME. I have pictures of me around the age of 5 standing with a giant belly, but scrawny as hell, I looked like some kid from a 3rd world country that’s starving of hunger. My bloated belly never went away. I… Read more »
Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 6 months ago
When I was a kid, my mom was constantly telling my brother and I to “suck in our guts” and made us self-conscious about our little potbellies. We weren’t fat kids but we ate the SAD, with a bit more emphasis on vegetables, low fat and high protein, but unlimited sugar and wheat. I bet we were constantly bloated. Though I don’t have full-blown (pardon the pun) IBS, I feel much much better without wheat. My bro on the other hand, lives on mountains of pasta. Yep, he has “Wheat Belly” http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/wheat-belly.html and is considering bariatric surgery. I hold my… Read more »
Sofie
Sofie
5 years 6 months ago

Send him a link! It’s not preachy if he’s considering surgery o.O

Mary
Mary
5 years 10 months ago
RE: Corn being used as a wash, I had never heard this until the other day when one of my colleagues was telling me it was really really hard to find meat that hadn’t been washed with citric acid, because in this country it is a legal requirement! And there is a certain organic food company that also washes their vegetables in citric acid! I couldn’t believe it, was totally shocked… I do my best to avoid GMO and “conventional” foods and end up finding this out… I was a little disillusioned after that to say the least. :p
Zal
Zal
5 years 6 months ago

Please, could you tell us WHO is that “certain organic food co.”…?
Thanks!

Yve
Yve
3 years 3 months ago

This is probably the most valuable post I have ever read. I am allergic to citric vitamin C and citric acid has caused me problems as it is so often hidden. Even in contact lens solution ! I am in agony because I ate chicken last night. I could never tolerate chicken breast and I ate a chicken curry for a change. As my allergy runs in the family I have known about it for ages and have been told by a hospital doctor it is the 2nd most common allergy in the UK, to different degrees.Many thanks

Steve Beisheim
3 years 3 months ago

Hey Yve and everyone else,

Yeah.. it’s unfortunate about citric acid… but the stronger and cleaner your gut flora is, the less these chemicals should affect you.

Chicken: Chicken actually contains a lectin that reacts pretty badly with Blood Type B and AB.

Chicken isn’t the best protein source anyway, so it’s not particularly bad if you just don’t eat it….

Steve Beisheim
3 years 3 months ago

AB’s tend to best with Lamb, mutton, rabbit, turkey and most vegetables… Beef and Chicken.. not so much.. Shellfish.. not so much…

If you’re having sensitivity issues I’d suggest reducing the frequency of eating from like 3 x a day to 2x a day and allow your body to realign a bit….

Many of the people I talk to can eat a whole variety of foods once they allowed their digest track to heal (by spacing out meals as well as avoiding grains)

Joan Friedlander
5 years 4 months ago

Quite a few! The best gastroenterologist I ever worked with was quite comfortable with my holistic approach to restoring my health, which was unusual. Still, he did not generate such discussions in the course of treatment (for Crohn’s).

Symptoms have been remission for 5 years with minimum medicine intake, more through energy management than gut maintenance. I’ll explore the information shared here with interest, because I do still detect sensitivities and inflammatory tendencies.

David Lynch
David Lynch
3 years 4 months ago
Long before I was diagnosed with food allergies, (in my 30s), my digestive problems, which were sporadic before then, gradually escalated. I went to a GE and had the requisite panoply of tests. According to the doctor, they all came up negative – he had the gall to suggest I consider psychotherapy. By my late 40s, my problems had escalated to the point of becoming debilitating. Luckily, a met a clinical nutritionist who ordered a blood test, and revealed allergies to wheat, most beans, some berries, fruits and spices. I cut out the sensitive foods, and the change was dramatic!… Read more »
madeline
madeline
6 years 6 months ago

Great post Mark! I’m hispanic & grew up eating rice & all kinds of beans every day for dinner. Since I left rice & beans last yr, I feel so much better & don’t have that bloating, & full feeling or even have pain inside due to gases & you get the point. I also ditched all the grains too. Gald I did. No more cramps either. My only regret is not knowing this many yrs ago. I’ve could of prevented so many problems like IBS & other digestive issues I thought would never go away or thought was “normal”.

Gary-A
Gary-A
6 years 6 months ago

I basically live on eggs and greek yogurt. Will definitely need to look up more info on lectins (in my defense, I never have digestion issues/get sick!). Thanks again Mark, for your Daily dose of enlightenment!

Primal Toad
6 years 6 months ago

Great post Mark.

I guess this is one reason why I enjoy nuts in moderation as in 1-2 servings a day, usually 1. If I eat too much then I have gas. I enjoy all nuts but go for almonds more so than others.

And, another great article to show people who doubt grains are bad for you, even whole grains!

Caroline
Caroline
4 years 3 months ago

Don’t hafta drop the nuts, just soak ‘em for 7 hours [and sprout them if they’re sproutable] then dehydrate them in the oven at lowest temp. Even more crunchy and tasty like this…and no lectins! I do this with almonds, walnuts & pecans.

Mike Buron
Mike Buron
6 years 6 months ago
Good post Mark. Paul Chek has also been warning about lectins for a while now and includes this in his book, “How to Eat move and Be Healthy, first print 2004. Paul also resides in Southern California, I’d be surprised if you were not aware of him since most of your topics in your book reflect his writings so much. You can get access to all his links by visiting http://WWW.PaulChek.com . He has in his books and courses all your latest posts on the spine, hips, and shoulder as well as the abdomen. He has been talking about going… Read more »
Katherine
6 years 6 months ago

THANKS for the advice; needed this warning

Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago
Hi Mark – awesome article… I just have a question… I didn’t get to watch my grandma in the kitchen (we didn’t live near our grandparents)… so can I ask with regards to nuts what do you mean by “Going old school on your favorite nut varieties, for example, cuts those lectin levels dramatically”… What is “Old School” with regards to nuts… didn’t our hunter gatherer forfolk just pick them up and eat them whilst they foraged? Or is there some extra ritual I have missed from the hunter-gatherer technique? I have found nuts a great substitute for the rubbish… Read more »
FairyRae
FairyRae
6 years 6 months ago

Check out this: http://www.raw-food-living.com/soaking-nuts.html

Typically, soaking/sprouting nuts/seeds (and beans/legumes and grains) will help them to be digested and the nutrients absorbed more easily.

Caroline
Caroline
4 years 3 months ago

Yes, I soak almonds, walnuts & pecans for at least 7 hours then rinse and dehydrate them in the oven for a day at lowest temp. They come out crunchy and delicious, and sans lectin! If they don’t get thoroughly dehydrated, though, they will not keep well.

Rodney
Rodney
6 years 6 months ago
Luke, Hopefully an expert will chime in here, but I will tell you what I do. I buy nuts raw and soak them for 8-12 hours in water with a little sea salt for flavor. I am not sure if this is the correct amount of time. It should help remove some lectins and the like. It can also start germination or sprouting, which increases nutritional value. I don’t see any physical evidence of true sprouting, so don’t know if this is happening or not. Then I spread them on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven. I think… Read more »
Vicki
Vicki
6 years 6 months ago

Check out the cookbook “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation. Lots of amazing recipes using old-timey cooking techniques. There are recipes for soaking and sprouting legumes and nuts, fermenting dairy, fruits and veggies. It’s all surprisingly easy, and helps to boost nutrients and healthy gut bacteria.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 5 months ago

I second the ‘Nourishing Traditions’ option. Fallon has a really good comparison of commercially prepared beans vs. traditional long-soaking. Since using her recipes, my family has completely eliminated the gastrointestinal problems of beans, including lentils. If you don’t have Fallon’s book yet, get it.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago

I second, third, fourth, and fifth the Nourishing Traditions recommendation. Since adopting the basic beans process we have NO gastrointestinal distress at all. My sister will only eat beans at my house as she cannot be sure that others will meticulously follow Sally Fallon’s process. If you don’t have a copy of Nourishing Traditions, get one.

Robin Green
5 years 3 months ago

I love “Nourishing Traditions” as well. It takes some to get into the habit of soaking and fermenting, however, the health benefits are well worth it. It also helps connect us to our food as we take time to slow down in both preparation and consumption of products! It’s a must have for any healthy family!

WhitsKitch
6 years 6 months ago

Hi Mark,
Great article. How do you feel about Soy Lectin- or Choline? Choline is a great supplement for your brain and heart. Many people use it as an additive in their smoothies or nutritional drinks. Would you say Soy Lectin is as exception, or is it a case of bad for digestions/ absorption but contains good qualities if youve got an iron clad GI?

Thanks!
Whitney

Mark Sisson
6 years 6 months ago

@WhitsKitch, I think you are confusing “lectin” with “lecithin”. Lecithin provides a source of phospholipids that may (or may not) have some benefit. I might discuss those in depth at a later date.

WhitsKitch
6 years 6 months ago

AHHH YES– that clears it up. I was running to my smoothie cupboard in a panic!
I will keep soaking the nuts and keep adding the lecithin to the smoothies!

THANKS MARK!

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
You don’t have to eat soy to get lecithin. It’s present in eggs. Probably a lot better for you too, as long as you don’t have an egg allergy. (If you *do* have an egg allergy, double-check and make sure it’s not a reaction to the chickens’ soy feed. It’s possible to find eggs from chickens not fed soy but just about worth your life to look. Here’s a site that sells them: http://www.grassfedtraditions.com/organic_soy_free_eggs.htm Some of us who’ve fanned them on Facebook are trying to convince them to sell the coconut feed to folks who raise their own chickens.)
Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago

I wish I had kept the citation I found on a very interesting look at soy. An archeological find showed that soy was a cover crop; people only started trying to eat it because they were starving. Since the plant is quite prolific, it ‘feeds’ many. But the problems with soy are mind-boggling. especially since Monsanto has been GMing and, with the help of the US Supreme Court, setting up their products as intellectual property…. just don’t eat soy.

rodney burke
rodney burke
4 years 5 months ago

I have read in several places that MEN should not eat soy in any form! It is a phytoestrogenic compound that destroys testosterone and makes a man less…masculine. I have YET to see anything to the contrary.

dave
dave
4 years 3 days ago

The problems with soy is that over 91% of US grown soy is GMOoed. Soy is also high in estrogen, so much so that an 8 oz. glass of SILK milk is equivlent to 5 to 6 birth control pills. Vegans giveing this SILK milk to their babies are finding early signs of puberty at age 3 to 5 years, which is causing great concerns for pediatricians.

dave
dave
4 years 3 days ago
Mary Anne, maybe this will help with your answer? Back around 1450 BC the Chinese learned to ferment soy. The thousand or so years before that they grew the soy crop, know as the ‘golden bean’ mainly to turn back into the soil as a nitrogen fertilizer for their spring crops. Prior to that they would not eat soy for they knew it was detrimental to their health. They knew this because at that time they had plenty of slaves, prisoners, and pi’ons to experiment on. One story was that farmers were running away from invadeing warriors and their bag… Read more »
ossian
ossian
5 years 6 months ago

The term lecithin is derived from the Greek lekithos, egg yolk.

dave
dave
4 years 3 days ago

Lecithin is made up of Choline and Inositol, and the best source is from egg yolks. Choline helps to process, or break down fats and helps produce HDL, or high density liprotiens. Inositol is important for signal transduction between cells, including nerve impulses. The bottom line is that eggs are great for the brain.

Amanda
Amanda
6 years 6 months ago
Dear Mark, Thank you so much for all the hard work you and your team put into this site. I enjoy it so much. It really has given me a new lease on life. I have a question? I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 12 and in your ubove article and several others says that eggs can cause inflammation with those with autoimmunne diseases. Should I limit or even just cut out all together? i havent had any heavy symptoms in years but I do occasionally have artheritis. Only when I dont carefully follow primal I do.Thanks again… Read more »
Deborah
Deborah
6 years 6 months ago

Hi Amanda,

great to know there’s another primal lupus-oide out there! I have mctd, and I’ve just started going primal a couple of months ago. Do you find it makes a big difference? I have seen some concrete benefits already, but I have been told it will take at least 6 months for diet to take effect on connective tissue/autoimmune problems.

Amanda
Amanda
6 years 6 months ago

I noticed a big difference in how I felt within just a few days. I no longer was sore or extremely exhausted after my workouts. Before I would drag home struggle to just get home eat and gp to bed because mt workouts wiped me out. Chronic cario is god bye forever. I was starting to become unwell again due to a lot of stress lately and I have found upping my fish oil intake using rob wolffs formula very helpful. Just dont know if in the long run

dave
dave
4 years 3 days ago
Amanda, If you haven’t started already, stay away from all processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and sugars. Just a teaspoon of sugar will shut the immune system of an adult for up to 6 hours. You may want to look into taking Krill oil, Astaxanthin, and extra Vitamin D3, and (P-5-P) or active B6 daily, along with your other suppliments. This also goes for people with MS, Leukemia, and many other immune deficiency diseases. If your are not supplimenting, remember that it is a human impossibility to get all the nutrients from the food we eat. Also, depending on our age… Read more »
daniel
daniel
6 years 6 months ago

Hey Mark,
I’m sitting here reading your article enjoying a good cup of coffee. Would coffee contain lectins since it comes from a bean? Because if it does you might as well shoot me, cause’ I’m not giving up my coffee. 🙂

PJ
PJ
6 years 6 months ago

Coffee beans grow on trees. Beans grow on fines. They’re roasted and ground and EVERYbody knows that when you grind a coffee bean lectins die in fear. Yeah, that’s it. Coffee beans are safe. No, they’re HEALTH food. A dietary requirement. No lectins here, move along folks. Yeah, that’s it. Coffee’s just fine… (If this turns out to not be true, just keep it to yerself, will ya?)

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago

Legumes can grow on trees too. Black locust is a legume. You’ve probably seen the big trees with the bean pods on them in the fall.

That said, since coffee beans are seeds, they probably do contain lectins, or some other kind of self-defense against being eaten.

Kansas Grokette
Kansas Grokette
6 years 6 months ago

Coffee “beans” are not beans. I believe they are actually a fruit – a berry. Most fruits have a significantly lower lectin level. Plants don’t “guard” fruits, they “guard” the seeds within the fruits. This is also why olives and avocados are “safer”, because they are also fruits.

Chandra
Chandra
6 years 6 months ago

Coffee “beans” are actually the pit of the coffee cherry 🙂 I learned this back in the day working for Star Shmucks.

Steve B
6 years 6 months ago

The popularity of lectins has increased ever since Dr. Peter Dadamo’s research in Eat Right For Your Blood Type came out back in 1996. It’s heavily researched and lectins can both be beneficial or harmful depending on blood type. If you want a personalized work up just contact me. You can heal from anything!

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 6 months ago
I was going to comment that I first heard of lectins from the blood type diet. Mark had this to say about it: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/questions-and-answers/#metabolic Fortunately I’m type O, and those recommendations are the most primal, so cutting out wheat and eating lots of red meat were a big part of the diet for me. I think D’Adamo is onto something with the lectins (I think if recommends wheat at all for any type, it should be sprouted) and has helped a lot of people, but he accidentally stumbled on the primal/paleo diet and I’m not sure blood type has anything… Read more »
Steve B
6 years 6 months ago
Honestly, I hold Dr. Dadamo in the highest regard. As we know in life, there is usually no “one size fits all.” One man’s food seems to literally be another man’s poison. Notice all the fat people eating tons of meat, and the unhealthy looking vegans.. Maybe Vegan O types and Carnivorous A Types should switch places… Dadamo actually thinks WHEAT is harmful for ALL TYPES.. It’s inhibits metabolism, has a harmful lectin, and has proven harmful consequences for anyone suffering from most all diseases of civilization… Since you’re a type 0, you’d thrive on RED MEAT (again, not pork)… Read more »
Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 6 months ago
Thanks for the advice, I’ve actually read and mostly memorized the blood type book, but I go by Mark’s recommendations now, with a few tweaks for my own sensitivities and preferences. I won’t preach at my brother, and I won’t talk about the blood type diet if he asks me for advice, I’ll tell him about primal/paleo. He will want scientific proof of what works. I know you mean well, and I know Mark enjoys a good debate, but dispensing blood type diet advice in the comments section of a primal lifestyle blog? Probably not such a hot idea. I’m… Read more »
Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
There is no vegetarian blood type. I have read most of D’Adamo’s books. Type A CAN be vegetarian because allegedly they respond best to soy, but there are meats recommended for that blood type. I should say vegetarianism is not demanded or enforced in any way for any of the types. Of course there are fat people eating lots of meat. And bread. And beans. And rice. And potatoes. I have yet to run into a thousand-pound person, though, who ate nothing BUT meat. If you find one, be sure to let us know.
Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago
You are 100% correct – he stumbled onto Lectins, and decided to wrap t up in Blood Type… But this has nothing to do with it. IIt is NOT heavily researched by anyone but Dr Dadamo, who has a clear conflict of interest in a positive outcome for the diet. If he gave his diet advice away for free (like Mark does here), and didn’t sell the woeful refined food he now sells, that relies on the people believing in the blood type diet to sell – then I’d be less skeptical. Independent research does not support the Blood Type… Read more »
Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
I haven’t noticed that there has *been* any peer-reviewed experimentation on D’Adamo’s claims. The typical response is “oh that’s B.S.” and laughing it off. That’s not science. D’Adamo says that the blood type antigens line the gastrointestinal tract which is why he makes the recommendations he does. The supplements are an extra, and not required for the diet. You could go to his websites and find 90 percent of what you need to know to follow the diet properly. I just looked on Wikipedia and a cursory glance does not out and out tell me that ABO lines the GI… Read more »
Ginger Hancock
Ginger Hancock
6 years 6 months ago

Damn Mark . . . how did you get so smart. Thank you!!! You really have a gift. My husband and I feel GREAT!!! Grok on!!!

Andre Sanchez
6 years 6 months ago

I have a question. If you stop eating “nightshades, dairy, legumes and even nuts and eggs in addition to all grains and processed foods”, what the hell do you have left to eat? Wouldn’t you end up with a horribly one-sided diet?

Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago

I must admit my reaction to reading that was similar. However you are left with seafood, poultry and meat with fruits and vegetables… Which is quite varied. And as suggested, you then reintoduce one at a time to see if any causes you issues… If no issues, you can enjoy them. Especially eggs, nuts (properly prepared though), and nightshades… All of which feature in primal recipes

Steve B
6 years 6 months ago

You’d be left with all animal proteins (try to avoid pork though), seafood, vegetables, fruit (healthy nuts = walnuts and pumpkins seeds and almonds). You don’t need this hugely diverse food array to choose from to be healthy. The food industry’s goal is to sell more food. Some people survive on just meat and fat and do great.. Plus, calorie restriction increases lifespan and improves your quality of life.

actualize81@gmail.com

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 6 months ago

Why avoid pork? That’s not a Primal Blueprint recommendation.

Steve B
6 years 6 months ago
Because Pork has been shown to clump red blood cells of EVERY blood type. It does the same thing as a lectin and acts as an agglutinate. This may sound racist, but African Americans have the shortest lifespan out of all races and they’re obsessed with pork products. The south is the heart attack capital of the U.S. practically. It’s not prime rib in on the menu, but bacon, pork. rinds. etc… Try beef for a week and then switch to pork products only for a week… You’ll probably be able to tell in the way it makes you feel… Read more »
Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 6 months ago

I won’t judge whether you sound racist, but deeming any one group of people “obsessed” is no way to win friends and influence people.

Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago
I hope you aren’t referring to blood type diet rules? This has been proven to be total nonsense. Also, regarding your assertion that African Americans have the shortest lifespan out of all races, and then attributing that to pork… sorry mate, in Australia Aboriginal peoples have the shortest lifespan, and they don’t eat pork to any great extent. To say a food group is responsible for the short life span of one ethnic group may not be racist, but is a bit far fetched. This view ignores factors like social disadvantage, resulting in lower levels of schooling (not by choice),… Read more »
Msfit
Msfit
6 years 6 months ago

Why do aboriginals have the shortest lifespan? What kind of diet do they eat? Thank you 🙂

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago

Europeans eat a lot of pork too. Do they die as often and early as African-Americans? Way to completely ignore the history of African-Americans and the effects of epigenetics on an ethnic population.

Southerners love beef. I guess I would know, as I am one. And they also eat lots of bread, rice, and sugar. Those go farther to explaining heart attacks than the presence of pork on one’s menu.

kc
6 years 5 months ago
I just have to chime in on this thread. Perhaps the problem with pork has nothing to do with the animal but how it is grown in America. As someone with a corn allergy, I can attest to the fact that pork is the most GMO corn dependent animal species that we eat, even edging out chickens for the lead. Not only is pork raised almost exclusively on GMO corn feed enriched with GMO corn vitamins, but it is contaminated with GMO corn in every step of processing. While it is possible to buy exclusively grassfed cow, bison and lamb,… Read more »
Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago

My sweet mother-in-law could not eat pork, except very occasionally. That means once or twice a year. She loved ham, but ‘paid’ for it if she ate it more often. She also had ‘undiagnosed’ lupis, reumatoid arthritis, and severe other food allergies. My sister-in-law, similarly afflicted, will not hear of changing her ‘lifestyle.’ I’ve even offered to be a personal chef, to no avail. It breaks my heart the pain these two women in my life suffer (suffered in the case of my mother-in-law) because they won’t listen…. each of us has a choice, I suppose.

Jeremy
Jeremy
4 years 6 months ago

Racist? You? YES. Uneducated too.

honeyrose
honeyrose
3 years 4 months ago

Can you share a link to what study demonstrated this? Thanks

Aaron Curl
6 years 6 months ago

Avoid pork….are you kidding…..bacon is the food of gods.

JimInSouth
JimInSouth
6 years 6 months ago
Gosh Luke, I just love it when someone who lives 15 timezones from the South is expert in its ways. Please do not tell me about residual racial prejudice in the South. If you have something to report about residual prejudice among white Aussies toward Aboriginals, I’d be more inclined to view your opinion as having a modicum of credibility. As for Southern blacks being denied educational opportunity, as one who teaches part-time in secondary school following retirement, it has been my observation and experience that blacks have exactly the same opportunity as every other student. The ones who misbehave… Read more »
Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago
Ah Jim – I did acknowledge prejudice against Aboriginals in Australia. And as an educated man, you should know that you don’t have to love somewhere to know about it. I also did not confine my comments about education to just the South. I have no stereotypes about the South of the US… I do however not live in a state of denial that not all human beings treat each other equally (and that also goes for African Americans (or any other race) towards people of another race. In your rush to defend yourself (why is that?) you missed the… Read more »
Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago

“love = live” apologies for the typo

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
You only see black kids in the classroom. That’s not exactly being knowledgeable about the whole of their lives and history. Nice try though. And if there are any black folks here reading this who feel an urge to stick up for this guy, don’t bother. Yes, there are black kids who are slackoffs. There are even black people who take advantage of racism in American history to get away with bad behavior. So what? We still have racism in this country, and white kids are still overwhelmingly advantaged over black ones. If I as a white person can see… Read more »
Jeremy
Jeremy
4 years 6 months ago

Racist teacher. Shame on you!

Aaron
Aaron
6 years 6 months ago
Deborah & Amannda Following a Primal Diet is definitely the first and most imporant step when dealing with an autoimmune condition. I would recommend dropping the eggs for a while due to the fact that they are known to be a common food sensitivy even people with healthy GI/immune systems. Cordain has done quitit’s bit of research linking eggs, grains and dairy to autoimmune conditions. I don’t have an autoimmune condition but, I have worked with quite a few who have. I have found that they all had extensive GI issues that were confirmed by stool testing and other lab… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
6 years 6 months ago
As far as targeted supplements what besides fish oil,Vit D and lots of leafy veggies would I need to start with? I dont go to Doctors they cause more confusion and and money.My mother has lupus at least she did and now she has Fibromyalgia. Her Doc first mentioned Paleo to her to try since she is a diabetic as well, which got me curious and here I am 6 months later and 30lbs lighter.My thing is she is stuck on CW like most and doesnt know where to start. I try to explain but I am just going to… Read more »
Marie
Marie
6 years 6 months ago

Amanda, I have seen wonderful improvement in autoimmune issues with turmeric and cinnamon in capsules. I make my own by buying the spices in bulk and the gel-caps separately to make them more affordable.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 5 months ago

One of my mottos: Everything tastes better with cinnamon. Sprinkle some on your apple, add to your salad dressing (esp Asian styles), sprinkle on salsa (less on hispanic style; more on asian styles), dump some in your almond drink-based smoothie. If you don’t like cinnamon, I’m sorry…all the more for me!

Rayn
Rayn
3 years 3 months ago
I hadn’t thought about making my own gelcaps with spices. I even have the equipment to do it. I’ve been stirring in cinnamon and 100% cocoa with my morning coffee but a lot filters out with the french press. I have however noticed that my joints get really hot in a good way, like soaking in a nice warm bath, instead of really hot in an inflammation and pain way. (I have fibro/CFS and am really dreading the fact I might need to cut more out of my diet now since a lot of the stuff I’m reading here are… Read more »
Steve B
6 years 6 months ago

She may not have to change her lifestyle as much as her diet… People with autoimmune tend to thrive on more animal protein.. (They’re usually Blood Type 0 or B).

I highly doubt she is A, but I bet she eats tons of carbs right?

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago
Do you and your Mom live close by? Cook for her. Invite her for lunch and prepare primal. or dinner and prepare primal. I Guarantee if you feed the wonderful primal recipes, you can win over practically anyone. Oh dear, I re-read and assume you live in a different town. Send recipes. MORE importantly, send MENUS. Recipes by themselves can be intimadating in a sterile sort of way. The MENU, however, gives a lovely picture of the whole meal. My ‘meat-and-potatoes’ husband looks forward to primal dinners. Ok, he still likes potatoes, but I’ve managed to reduce serving them to… Read more »
David
6 years 6 months ago

Waah! A dude can’t eat much anymore, without knowing it’s harmaful for you. Guess it’s just grassfed protein and leafy veggies with very few fuit selections for me. How boring!

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago

Boring???? May I offer my services in creating menus for you? My husband was a bit depressed by cutting so much carbohydrate, but now is quite enthusiastic about a menu of, for example, bison rib steak, khol rabi-tomato-basil salad, plums (combination of heirloom Green Gage and Brooks) for dessert.

Eva
Eva
6 years 6 months ago

Logically, it’s hard to imagine eggs would be a problem for Grok. Grok would surely have eaten all the eggs he/she could find. Because they don’t even have any claws or fangs and they run quite slow! (unless they are on a steep hill that is..) Perhaps there is something specific in eggs currently available that is causing the problem.
-Eva

Marie
Marie
6 years 6 months ago

Eggs would have been a seasonal food, like any other. Birds only lay eggs in specific seasons, so the eggs would have been plentiful for a short time and then not part of the food supply for 11/12ths or so of the year. Turtle and aquatic egg layers have a different seasonal trend, so perhaps that would have increased egg consumption, but I’m unclear whether lectins are a problem in roe or other aquatic eggs.

Scotty Boy
Scotty Boy
4 years 5 months ago

Eggs foraged in the wild by the likes of Grok would have always been fertile – eggs in our markets now days are unfertile.

Anti-nutrients like avidin(and possibly lectins)are mostly deactivated in fertile raw eggs(even more so than in well cooked unfertile eggs).

Fun fact: Feed an egg eating pet snake fertile eggs and they will thrive, feed them unfertile eggs and they will not only get ill they will soon die if not returned to a diet of raw fertile eggs.

kc
6 years 5 months ago

Birds were not fed GMO corn and soy and the eggs of yesteryear were not washed with GMO corn detergents. Why would they be? Eggshells come with their own protective coating that is destroyed by washing. Besides, eggshells are porous and anything you wash the outside with ends up on the inside.

Mike
Mike
3 years 10 months ago
Wild birds eggs will have a roughly balanced omega 3:6 ratio. Grain fed chickens produce omega 6 rich eggs. Big bad trouble! If I didn’t feed my free range chickens grains they would eat no seeds of any note. They eat grass, though like the wood pigeons they much prefer clover, worms, slugs, snails, cow pat grubs, mice (often whilst still alive. Nature is hard!), frogs, newts, apples, pears and plums as they fall off my orchard trees (yes they free range) and they love cherries and strawberries (they get the ones I reject). My Guinea Fowl love onions, leeks,… Read more »
thehova
thehova
6 years 6 months ago

So basically lectins are in everything but some fruits?

Katherine
6 years 6 months ago

I am a little confused about the source of lectins: what about canned beans, home-cooked beans and (this is odd) pea protein powder?

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 3 months ago

Prepare dry beans according to ‘Nourishing Traditions.’ The will clear up any canned vs. home prepared issues and will render your recipes primal friendly.

elinoir
elinoir
4 years 8 months ago

I always find it useful to have a can of beans in the cupboard, but can anyone tell me if these have been through the soaking phase before being cooked, as I guess this is crucial to reduce lectin?

Steve B
6 years 6 months ago
First off, if you’re really eating primal, beans aren’t really on the table right? But anyway, I digress. Beans have the highest amount of lectins after grains. Some lectins are good, some are not.. There is a lectin in the banana that actually binds to the HIV virus.. SO this is good for some people… I believe the castor bean lectin (ricin) was used for assassination purposes. (bad bad bad) The soy lectin helps prevent cancer (in certain blood types). The primal diet works for me because I’m genetically wired (through Blood Type) to benefit. Almost half the population is….… Read more »
Dan B
Dan B
6 years 6 months ago
The Blood Type Diet simply works because it moves people toward a paleo diet, not because of the flawed blood type theory it contains. Loren Cordain has just published a great review of this diet in one of his latest newsletters. Dr. D’Adamo doesn’t even list the blood types in correct order. The first bloodtype was A (not O), the second B, then O, then AB. Furthermore, all bloodtypes were established roughly 240,000 years before the advent of agriculture (not right before or after). Negative lectins don’t take away from my happiness – Bad science does.
Steve B
6 years 6 months ago

Dan,

Dan, first off, please list your blood type. I think Loren Cordain is great, but one size doesn’t fit all…

Lectins have a profound impact on all of us and I’d challenge you to eat the exact opposite of your blood type every day for two weeks, lectins and all and then tell me how happy you are….

As an 0, I’ve been a vegan and i can tell you that was not very good for me… Now that I’m a primal eater, the whole physiology has changed and I’m loving it…

Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago
So you admit to following a primal diet – and yet you think this is due to blood type?! So explain the sudden development of the genotype diet – which one is it – blood type or genotype? I’d say it’s the laughing all the way to the bank type, as the blood diet faithful cough up more $$$ for the newest variant of bogus science… I note the guy is selling food now too (and it is highly refined artificial food! – Anything for a $, health is not the aim here) Convenient that 43% of population are O… Read more »
mm
mm
6 years 4 months ago
I am type A+ but can’t eat fibrous foods such as veggies as well as meats because of my Crohn’s Disease. I’ve never had problems eating meats, even crispy, salty bacon which in theory you’d think would irritate my intestines just from being overcooked and dried out/hard/crispy but it doesn’t… unlike say, leafy vegetables which if eaten alone I don’t even seem to be able to digest (because my intestines don’t like it as much which is in direct contradiction of my blood type diet – in fact, if I were to have a severe bout of inflammation the only… Read more »
Luke
Luke
6 years 6 months ago

Exactly Dan – he has made this stuff up – and when science has proved that his hypothesis is incorrect, he just changes it, or just drowns out the science with marketing dollars, so that his disciples don’t lose their faith.

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago

Loren Cordain says paleolithic people ate low-fat diets. Pardon me if I don’t exactly trust him to know which blood type developed first.

mandy
mandy
6 years 6 months ago

I am always suprised that you continually post articles on lectins and hardly ever discuss the fact that they are neutralized by soaking/sprouting/fermenting. I t was nice to see it mentioned in this article, but you still left it out of the section on how to deal with lectins. It is not necessary to completely eliminate grains and legumes from the diet if they are germinated first.

mandy
mandy
6 years 6 months ago

oops, jusr re-read, and you did mention it in that section. good for you.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 5 months ago

Yes, and the ‘Nourishing Traditions’ book. There was an interesting article out of Japan a few years ago where researchers discovered that brown rice goes through a chemical change resulting in more proteins (think Ezekial sprouted grains) when soaked in warm water before cooking. I forget the soaking time, but at the time I thought that was pretty cool.

BTW, I have cut out grains and feel MUCH better. At this point, I’m ready to go to my doc to have my prescription drug needs re-evaluated. Fully expect to change docs soon….

Debrah
6 years 6 months ago
Hi, I am new to your site–have a question.that improved my health greatly–someone told me that the same kind of lectins in cows milk is also in beef which could explain why I can’t eat beef. Is this true? I was a Macrobiotic vegey for many years but in recent years have started a gluten free diet and then started adding more animal protein–eggs, fish, poultry but still dislike red meat–just cannot do it except for occasional bison when my husband makes it. Bison seems better than beef for my digestive system though still don’t like it much. I have… Read more »
Debrah
Debrah
6 years 6 months ago

Somehow not all of my post came through–I thought I wrote: I quit eating dairyproducts many years ago–that improved my health greatly.

Marek London
6 years 5 months ago

Good article – one point I think it highlights for everyone is that just because a food has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, does not necessarily make it 100% ‘good’ (even if most are when added into our diets in the proportions that nature intended). All plants have some methods of defending themselves are are not just here for our consumption… our ancestors worked this out (sprouting/soaking/etc), we should too.

Monica
Monica
6 years 5 months ago

I’m African American, from the South, and the diet is horrendous. People can afford to eat whatever they want but choose the worst foods because of tradition. I know prosperous, educated people who still serve chitterlings (hog guts) at special occasions and load everything down with lard, salt, starches, fried foods, etc. It is true that we looove pork and fried meat. It’s not racist to be truthful; let’s talk about food and health.

Dana
Dana
6 years 5 months ago
Organ meats are good for you. Lard is good for you. (Read the label. As long as it is not hydrogenated, it is mostly mono-unsaturated fat, just like olive oil.) Salt’s only a problem in salt-sensitive people which, to be fair, there’s reason to believe applies to African-Americans. The starches and sugars are the main problem, from what I can tell. He was still incredibly rude to speak of you the way he did. And I doubt he will be able to explain how Europeans can eat so much pork and still have lower heart disease rates than we do.
Charlie
Charlie
5 years 10 days ago

Isn’t lard mostly saturate fat? That’s why it’s sold at room temperature and is ok for high temp cooking.

Bonnie G
Bonnie G
4 years 7 months ago

Lard has slightly more monounsaturated fat than saturated fat. The composition is 40% saturated fat and 45% monounsaturated fat. The rest is polyunsaturated fat. I found this info here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/483/2

Yve
Yve
3 years 3 months ago
Having read this site for the last half hour it would appear that your food is grown/ fed and processed in a totally different way from Europe. I actually see the crops growing and the animals grazing before I buy the food locally. I always feel best on a high meat/ fish protein and animal fat especially, ALWAYS butter NO spreads, some veg. I tried to eat more varied and carbs make me feel and look awful. Having read about grains here I now know why.I’d never heard of lectins before today. Re the blood group issue I’m AB NEG… Read more »
Helena
Helena
6 years 5 months ago
In the last 6 months I have started getting severe hives from the lectins in all grains, legumes and dairy (I am blood type A, the ‘vegetarian’ type for those in that debate!). Unfortunately, I also get a histamine reaction from all protein foods not freshly cooked from caught/ frozen and am at work 10 1/2 hours per day with only a microwave to cook food, which I won’t use. I have therefore been left very hungry as I try to just eat vegetables all day until 8pm when I get home. This very interesting article and comments have inspired… Read more »
Steve B
6 years 5 months ago

I’d at least attempt the B-type diet to see if you notice any improvement… Chicken, Turkey, and Soy at least.. If it doesn’t help try Emotional Freedom Technique or Neuromodulation Technique (NMT.MD) (google them). or even NAET. These are “alternative medicines” that people who never suffered from severe enough problems to change usually discredit and call quackery. Suffer enough and you will become open to these treatments pretty quick. Just my opinion….

kc
6 years 5 months ago

I wish I had a figure for all the NAET clients that come back to the avoiding corn forum after a while when it no longer works. These techniques teach the body to stop making a fuss about allergens or toxins, that isn’t the same thing as being cured.

The problem sounds like an allergy or intolerance to preservatives (maybe citric acid). The solution is to cook in bulk from whole, fresh meat and veggies and then freeze portions for later. I don’t eat anything that I haven’t cooked from scratch and I don’t cook whole meals three times a day.

Alison
Alison
3 years 8 months ago

Hello Helena – have you considered histamine intolerance – which I am. It can be successfully managed through eliminating histamine rich foods. Only a thought.

lynn
lynn
6 years 5 months ago

Great information. I’ve been gluten free for the last 10 months, but have noticed I still get sick occasionally and was really disapointed that my energy level never improved. Looks like I have a lot to learn (or unlearn) about what’s healthy. Thanks for the education.

Steve B
6 years 5 months ago

Focus on your wellbeing and the health you do have for a week. Put your intent out there that a solution is yours and one should come. Best of luck in your well being. Some people are just more sensitive than others, but inevitably it’s a lot about belief and our thoughts, so fighting about what is healthy or not does become pointless (to a point). : )

PlaydohYeti
PlaydohYeti
6 years 5 months ago
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally convinced by the ‘evil lectin’ science, but can we not get a bit more specific? For instance, which lectins are found in which foods and in what quantities? Which lectins are most and least harmful to your health? I can’t seem to find a breakdown anywhere on the web. I think that sort of information would really help people to establish any correlations between diet and the state of their health. I seem to be able to tolerate eggs, soy protein chunks, gluten free oats, and certain beans like cannellini and black eyed, but… Read more »
Kathy
Kathy
6 years 3 months ago

I have had a problem with irregularity my whole life. I cannot find a natural way to help me and it is getting more and more uncomfortable thru the years. Is there any chance the Paleo Diet would help me? If I were to try this, how would I get the rec calcium I need?

SteveBeisheim.com
6 years 3 months ago

Hi there,

You get plenty of calcium through the greens you eat, especially kale, red chard, and spinach. Calcium from dairy is a joke. It’s better to get calcium from your greens. Contact me if you want to know more…

Steve

andre
andre
5 years 6 months ago

Steve,

Would raw milk make any difference?

Jim
Jim
6 years 2 months ago
I have suffered from Ulcerative Colitis in the past and my doctor was ready to put me on a strong immunosuppressant, and I was told diet has little to do with my condition. I had difficulty accepting this and began searching for a dietary cause for my colitis. I have been in remission for the last two years by avoiding lectins. Information about lectins is often sketchy, and the food and medical industries would rather you not worry about lectins. Removing lectins from my diet has been key to my recovery. I am thankful that I found this website and… Read more »
LK
LK
2 years 9 months ago

Great comment – and helpful for my situation.

Mike
Mike
6 years 1 month ago

not all bean lectins(kidney, lentil. garbanzo) are deactivated by soaking and cooking and some lectins have blood type antigen specificity (agglutinate antigen cells). Read Eat Right For your Type for the skinny on lectins and blood types. William Boyd’s work in the late 1950’s on lectins and blood types is another essential read. You people who pan diets without taking the time to study them is annoying judging by some of the comments I’ve read.

Luke in Oz
Luke in Oz
6 years 1 month ago
Mike – I’ve read Eat Right for Your Type, I even have a copy (I keep it for the comedy value), I also have read a number of scientific papers on lectins etc The issue of Lectins is VERY REAL The Blood Type diet is NOT based in any sense of reality, other than just by CHANCE (or clever deception) The blood type diet is essentially a primal/paleo diet recommendation for Type O, which also happens to be the largest group of the population. In science, when you give population based results, it is possible for a positive result in… Read more »
Mark Sisson
6 years 1 month ago

@Luke – well said.

Darwin's Doctor
6 years 1 month ago

I find it very hard to believe that peppers and tomatoes are bad for us. After all, as non-sweet fruits, they evolved to be eaten by mammals and other seed-dispersing animals. From an evolutionary point of view, they need to be nutritious for their seed dispersers.

Luke in Oz
Luke in Oz
6 years 29 days ago
@ Darwin’s Doctor: 1) Tomatoes and peppers may rely on seed dispersal, however this does not equate to them being good for human consumption… In the past they may have relied predominately on birds for seed dispersal. Birds have a very different digestive system to humans and mammals in general, meaning that these compounds that are toxic to us, are not toxic to them 2) The peppers and tomatoes we eat today do not resemble the plants they have been selectively bred from. It is a bit rich to invoke “Darwin” and evolution as a reason we must be adapted… Read more »
Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 29 days ago

take away: if you find you’re having problems, research and determine if a food is a problem for you. I think this is a real primal point. we’re supposed to figure our what works for us. that is I’m supposed to figure out what works for me. that’s how we figure out what’s edible. SOMEbody had to eat a tomato or (fill in the blank) to know it was ok to eat.

Kelly
Kelly
6 years 1 month ago
Very thorough and clear article! I am particularly interested because I am having trouble finding anything to eat. I realized in the last few weeks that I am sensitive to salicylates, amines and glutamates as well as all dairy and possibly gluten, when I went on an elimination diet and finally got rid of my two main symptoms–painful joints and headache (after at least 5 years!). I was feeling great until last night when I tried to introduce two new foods, mung bean sprouts and rutabaga. Within an hour my symptoms had returned. So now I am suspecting lectins and… Read more »
Lexie
6 years 1 month ago

GREAT post. Thank you. In the throes of figuring so much out. This helped.

Pam
Pam
6 years 1 month ago
While I found your article interesting, I found it just as vague as anything any doctor has told me about my issues. Basically, watch what you eat. Thanks for the hot tip. I would like a clear guide as to what I can eat. I can’t eat soy, that I know, no melons, no cabbage family, no legumes, no dairy, no wheat. What the hell is left???? And I would like a pill that would help me eat and not be embarassed “sorry I can’t eat that”. My intestinal issues go back to when I was a kid and have… Read more »
Steve Beisheim
6 years 1 month ago

I can see you’re frustrated…

I am assuming you’re Blood Type O as well… First.. with colon issues eliminate most fiber…

Stick with Meats and Veggies… That’s what is left to eat. It will heal you…

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 1 month ago
Wow, I am very sorry you are having such life-long trouble, Pam. Okra is a very warm weather item; I’ve seen it frozen food sections here in the pacific nw. Not that you want to hear another ‘can’t’, but those who have problems with melons often have problems with winter squashes as well. my brother-in-law is one, and his family, e.g., no pumpkin pie in that family at all. I don’t see that you have corn on your ‘no’ list. It might be a good idea to not have corn for a while and see if it makes a difference.… Read more »
Pam
Pam
6 years 1 month ago
Thanks for the advice. I had not thought about corn and grass. Corn did not show up on an allergy test I had some years back. But about 7 different types of grass did. The worst was Beech trees. That is very interesting. When you say cut out corn, do you mean cornstarch as well? It is in so many things these days. As for accupuncture, I had never thought of it. That is something to think on. I am in Ontario, Canada. We have abundance for corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squashes. I always try to buy local. I guess I… Read more »
Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 1 month ago
celery for breakfast. not a bad idea. can you eat eggs? I would do something fun like make scrambled eggs and put them in celery ribs. I have also put egg salad in cucumber boats (peel cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, fill with egg salad). a fritatta with thinnly sliced zucchini or chopped spinach or chard on top is really good too. Add some sausage; I make my own so I know there are no fillers, msg, soy protein, blah blah; just the meat, organic herbs, kosher salt. I have one of those workhorse KitchenAid mixers with… Read more »
star
star
2 years 6 months ago

I have only recently heard about lectins. I found a site that has pills that are made from plants that help cleanse lectins from your system. It says, okra for one is something you can eat and is contained in the pills.

would you disclose the site address ?

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
6 years 1 month ago

about diverticulosis. see the NIH information at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/. Taken together, this white paper seems to have a good discussion on the pros and cons of fiber-no fiber, medicine-no medicine, etc. I’d take this info to a naturopath and have a really in-depth conversation. best wishes.

Pam
Pam
6 years 1 month ago
Thanks for all your help everybody. I’m not sure what a cold room is, but I have a feeling that is not feasible where I live. I do have a garden though, I love my herbs and fresh food grown by myself. I guess my initial frustration when I read the info. on lectins that it further depleted the list of foods I can eat. No melons, no cabbages or cabbage related veggies,no potatoes, no corn, no apples, cherries, plums, etc. Then this article talks about nightshades like peppers. So you see with such a lengthy list of what I… Read more »
Dima
Dima
6 years 29 days ago

Scientific Paper on glycoalkoloids and lectins, shows amounts presents in different vegetables, provides info on negative effects and believe it or not benefits of lectins and glycoalkaloids that are so downplayed by paleoliths
http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/595/1/IND43859310.pdf

Nichole
Nichole
5 years 9 months ago

There is soy lectin in my tea, is this bad if im trying to stay paleo/primal?

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
5 years 9 months ago

soy lectin in tea? really? that seems odd to me. I wonder what purpose it serves? shelf life?

I avoid soy at all costs.

Gina
Gina
5 years 8 months ago

Have been eating Paleo for a month and boy HOWDY do I feel good. I was a complete bean whore before. LOVED.BEANS. Especially peanuts and soy products. I plan to never go back except for maybe the occasional burrito with some pinto beans. But, never again will I indulge in soy products. I think that was what was giving me most of my gut trouble. Great ARTICLE. Explains so much.

Pedro Arnauld
Pedro Arnauld
5 years 7 months ago
Mark, my apologies for the post that follows. I will say first I am a fan and I credit you with improving my health enormously. I’m a black man (I refuse to use the politically correct term “African American” or “African Canadian.” I was born and raised in Cuba, which I was lucky to leave when I was 21, and moved to Canada 17 years ago. Whatever the reason is, the fact remains Canadian jails are brimming with black people, and Canadian universities are not. I, for example, was one of a handful of black students at my campus at… Read more »
Steve
Steve
5 years 7 months ago

Hey Pedro,

Thanks for standing up for me… If you’re interested in a complete Wellness Workup.. that is what I do for a living… So definitely email me and we can set up an appointment.. I’m glad you’re health has been improving..

weight loss
5 years 5 months ago

I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one today..

Mariana
Mariana
5 years 5 months ago

Re: “secondary exposure through antibiotic-administered livestock).” I’ve heard that when you’re on anti-biotics that you should stop taking probiotics because these renders antibiotics innefective. If that is the case, could it be that taking probiotics daily also means it’s (relatively) safe to eat meat from animals that have been raised on antibiotics – i.e., taking probiotics means your body will also be able to handle the antibiotics in the meat?

Colleen
Colleen
5 years 5 months ago
My mother has diabetes and fibromyalgia. It’s tough to see her struggle and I try to learn as much as I can from great blogs like this one to avoid going down the same path. In spite of eating healthy (chicken, brown rice, sprouted flourless bread, veggies, etc), last year I got relentless IBS-like symptoms literally overnight and spent 8 mos. with a doctor who wanted to prescribe me pills for severe cramps but I refused. I wanted to know the cause and kept asking for test after test that only showed I was healthy as a horse. Yet, I… Read more »
technical training
5 years 5 months ago

It is a short put up to state, very merely, thanks a ton. I’ve had an opportunity to atone for this post and the comments as we speak and I’m really grateful for knowing the content of this blog

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