Lectins: Where Is The Proof?


james_bond

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I'm not suggesting that lectins aren't a bad thing, but I've spent a while trying to find any measurable data regarding lectin content for different food types and have yet to come across anything substantial.

 

It seems there is a lot of hype and "lectins are more concentrated in these foods than these", but does anyone have any real data that I can access to support their statements?

 

IE: how many mg of lectins in 100mg of black beans, peanuts, tomatoes, brown rice, etc.

 

From what I understand (please correct me if wrong):

1) Lectins are found in most if not all foods we eat

2) Lectin levels can vary greatly depending on the cultivar, and even from year to year

 

Also, I am very interested in the comparison with sprouted or soaked legumes/grains.  Most paleo sources say "still stay away", but on what data are they basing this decision?  Lots of talk here, too little data...

 

Can anyone point me to any helpful resources (that I don't have to pay to access)?  Thank you!

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The evidence that we start with here is the book "It Starts with Food."  You can probably check it out for free at a library.  On pages 120-121, there is a description of lectins and how they may be less healthy.  The conclusion, as with all of the ingredients, is that you can find out for yourself by restricting them for 30 days and adding them back systematically. Only you can clean your system to find out how they may have an impact on you specifically.

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ETA: here is a primer on the Whole9 view of legumes.  Someone else may answer your questions about lectins in other plants and about sprouting legumes and nuts.  When I'm in Whole30 mode, I avoid the conflicting "paleo" data from other sources and stick only with the Whole9/Whole30 sources.  This is a science-based program with each of us performing our own studies, not an ancestral program.  What is here is enough to absorb for 30 days, for me.

 

http://whole9life.com/2012/09/the-legume-manifesto/

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Thank you for the replies Nico!  I would love to "find out for myself by restricting them", however this is exactly the reason I am looking for some real data.  I doubt that the Hartwigs performed this analysis themselves (or perhaps they did?), so they must have obtained this information from somewhere, correct?  How do we know legumes have a lot of lectins vs carrots?

 

Does the book you mention give any real data?  I refuse to follow any sort of "science-based" program that lacks any sort of quantitative data for analysis.  And having to pay for the raw data behind a program seems a little wrong to me, not that this is the intent or purpose of the book.

 

EDIT: All this being said I've done the whole 30 before and am not against the program.  I just want to be able to know how food compares.  

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Yes, "the book" that details the Whole30 program does describe the ways in which the Hartwigs connected research to the program.  I believe the first chapter describes a connection between legumes and inflammation that prompted a professional and personal interest for Dallas Hartwig.  The author of that study was Loren Cordain.  For Chapter 10, on grains and legumes, other studies are given in the detailed list of references.

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Thank you for the name!  I found one study addressing my question, referred to the referenced article, and found it listing celery, zucchini, bananas, strawberrys, etc as having lectins also.  The study also mentioned the absence of studies involving oral intake, and that toxicity and nutritional significance upon oral administration remained unknown.

 

Do you have any other references I can research?  I am curious why no one else has any information to offer.  Thank you!

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Do you have any other references I can research?  I am curious why no one else has any information to offer.  Thank you!

There are 46 scientific studies/sources referenced on the Grain and Legume chapter (chapter 10) in It Starts With Food. That would be a good place to start.

 

The book is for sale, it's true, but it is also available in many libraries, or could be ordered via inter-library loan.

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