Could critical thinking improve your health?

lectins | jennifer dene wellness

Could critical thinking improve your health?

An L.A. based beauty blogger recently shared a recipe for her “Detox Glow Smoothie.” It was a standard green drink: almond milk, protein powder, nut butter, banana, and spinach, but her readers went wild for it.

This sounds ah-maazingthey enthused, promising to whip out their blenders the following morning.

One reader, however, was sent into a panic, leaving three increasingly urgent comments:

“I don’t eat bananas, what could I use instead?”

“Hi again, I’m not sure if you saw my comment? What should I use instead of bananas?”

“I’d really like to make this smoothie tomorrow, but I haven’t heard from you…please let me know what I can swap for the banana??!”

The answer, my friend, is any other fruit. Green apple, kiwi, berries, mango, papaya, peach…if you can blend it, you can add it.

This reader’s dependency on the blogger’s opinion is unfortunate, but it’s not uncommon.

Simply scan the comments on the big wellness blogs — or their connected Instagram and Facebook posts — and you’ll see that many people have a hard time making simple health decisions. They agonize over inconsequential details (banana or berries? Quinoa or rice?), and they allow one “expert” opinion to send them into a nutritional tizzy.

And I can understand why.

Anyone with an opinion, an agenda or a product to sell wants your attention, which they get by taking the simple and making it sensational.

This is how someone convinced you that the cabbage soup diet had legs, or that cutting carbs was the only way to lose weight.

Hopefully, you’ve since realized that neither of these approaches is right.

But as soon as one outlandish theory slips away, another pops up to replace it.

Last week I read an article on a major wellness website titled: This so-called healthy food is making you gain weight — and you’re likely eating it daily.

The premise of the article was that lectins — proteins that bind carbohydrate — cause you to gain weight, increase inflammation, and damage your gut. The writer cherry-picked a few headline-grabbing statements from Dr. Steven Gundry’s book, The Plant Paradox, and used them to create an opinion piece that put fear into legume-loving readers.

Here’s why it frustrated me:

In the book, Dr. Gundry writes that lectins can have a negative influence on specific populations, such as those with chronic asthma or autoimmune diseases that also have gut health issues. He then goes on to talk about how to heal the gut, by temporarily eliminating lectin-rich foods or preparing them in a way that makes them easier to digest.

But this is not the message shared in the article. In fact, had I been an uninformed reader I would be convinced that lectins were the sole source of my weight issues and that I should immediately eliminate foods like tomatoes, nuts, and rice from my diet.

And while that would have been a radical and unnecessary decision, I understand why people would make it when this is the sentence that opens the second paragraph:

“Eating high-lectin foods like wheat cues your body to store fat because the lectins they contain wage war on your gut…”

No room for argument. Or is there?

Let me summarize for you the PubMed research summary that was used to back up this claim (all-caps is my emphasis).

“Because of their binding properties, lectins CAN cause nutrient deficiencies, disrupt digestion, and cause severe intestinal damage when consumed in EXCESS by an individual WITH dysfunctional enzymes.”

It goes on to say that eliminating lectins in diets of people who tested positive for immunoglobulin G (IgG) or immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies could, perhaps, reduce inflammation and lower disease symptoms in “some but not all” patients.

What this means, in everyday language, is that overeating lectins may not be appropriate for people who have certain inflammatory diseases. It is not saying that eating foods containing lectin will make the general population gain weight, get sick, or make you feel lethargic, as the article makes you believe.

Now look, I’m not hating on this particular website. I know many of you are readers there, and I have many articles of my own published on the site.

But I want to remind you that you shouldn’t believe everything you read. Instead, you should question it, research it, and ask if it’s even relevant to you. And yes, that includes my stuff.

I eat lectin foods on a daily basis and have zero issue with them. I also feel empowered to swap the fruit in my smoothie whenever the mood strikes. Making those decisions for myself is healthy living.

My mission at Jennifer Dene Wellness is to help you get back in the driver’s seat of your own health and happiness and that all starts with making informed decisions that are appropriate for YOUR life.

When it comes to your body, you are the expert. Don’t be misguided by listening to one person’s opinion. And please, don’t take drastic action because someone who has never met you wrote an article that sounded convincing.

With love,

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