The Plant Paradox
From renowned cardiac surgeon Steven R. Gundry, MD, a revolutionary look at the hidden compounds in "healthy" foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains that are causing us to gain weight and develop chronic disease.In the deadly game of predator versus prey, an adult gazelle can outrun a hungry lioness, a sparrow can take flight when stalked by a cat, and a skunk can let loose a spray of noxious liquid to temporarily blind a fox. The stakes aren’t always rigged against the prey. But when the prey is a plant, the poor thing is helpless, right? Wrong. Plants actually have an impressive array of defense tactics to protect themselves from predators of all shapes and sizes—including humans.Dr. Stephen Gundry explains that these defense strategies make the seemingly virtuous plants that we consume every day—fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds—far less "good for us" than we assume. Plants may use physical deterrents (think: the spine-tipped leaves of an artichoke or the hard outer coating of a seed) as well as chemical warfare to repel predators. One of the most common forms of plants’ chemical defense system comes in the form of proteins called lectins.Found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of most plants, lectins act as smart bombs in the human body, causing toxic or inflammatory reactions that lead to serious conditions such as leaky gut, autoimmune disease, chronic digestive disorders, heart disease, and weight gain.In The Plant Paradox, Dr. Gundry outlines the health hazards posed by lectins as well as the ways we can avoid them. The main sources of lectins in the American diet include conventionally-raised dairy products, beans, and other legumes, wheat and grains, and specific vegetables and fruits. The simple (and daunting) fact is, lectins are everywhere. But in The Plant Paradox, Dr. Gundry provides simple hacks we easily can employ to avoid this insidious plant toxin, including:Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers are full of lectins—but most are contained in the skin and seeds. Simply peeling and de-seeding your favorite veggies makes them safer to consume.Plants want us to eat them when they’re ripe to disperse their seeds! Eating fruit at the peak of ripeness—that means fresh, local, and seasonal—ensure that you will consume fewer lectins.Think "whole grains" are healthy? Think again. All of those grains and seeds with hard outer coatings are designed by nature to cause digestive distress—and are full of lectins. In fact, wheat contains one very famous lectin: gluten.With a full list of lectin-containing foods and simple substitutes for each; a step-by-step detox and eating plan; and easy lectin-free recipes, The Plant Paradox illuminates the hidden dangers lurking in your salad bowl—and shows you how to eat whole foods in a whole new way.

The Plant Paradox Details

TitleThe Plant Paradox
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 25th, 2017
PublisherHarper Wave
Rating
GenreHealth, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Science, Nutrition, Self Help

The Plant Paradox Review

  • Eric Farr
    January 1, 1970
    To put it generously, I am not the intended audience for a book like this, and I would not normally seek out, let alone read, a diet book. Nonetheless, someone whose opinion and educated intellect I deeply respect recommended the book to me, and so I read it.This book was, at the very least, easy to read, condensing scientific (and pseudo-scientific) terms and concepts into easily digestible chunks with cutesy analogies. Of course, for a fad diet to catch on, it has to be something that people c To put it generously, I am not the intended audience for a book like this, and I would not normally seek out, let alone read, a diet book. Nonetheless, someone whose opinion and educated intellect I deeply respect recommended the book to me, and so I read it.This book was, at the very least, easy to read, condensing scientific (and pseudo-scientific) terms and concepts into easily digestible chunks with cutesy analogies. Of course, for a fad diet to catch on, it has to be something that people can intuitively and easily grasp, and so the book succeeds on that count. It is definitely a book that intends to persuade, and it often comes at you with a feverish snake-oil pitch. Would you like to know how to cure autoimmune disorders, coronary artery disease, cancer, migraines, and even hair loss? Would you be willing to believe that only a few (extreme) dietary (and lifestyle) changes (plus maybe some supplements) could get you the perfect life all the way to age one hundred? Dr. Gundry, or perhaps writing partner Olivia Bell Buehl, loves to pack in the rhetorical questions promising shocking revelations just on the other page. This performance is repeated ad nauseum throughout, and information is only slowly fed out to the reader, often repeated amid more assurances of shocking success. Just to drive this home, the book is littered with alleged success stories of many pseudonyms and a couple special celebrity guests/friends; we are apparently supposed to accept vague anecdote as legitimate proof.I actually started the book with an open mind--the recommending party's opinion is one I trust a great deal--but the above nonsense quickly soured me. Just as importantly, there are a couple elements regarding Dr. Gundry himself that make his opinion suspect.First, this man is a cardiologist, and his focus on nutrition and the microbiome in the gut represents a fairly late-life shift guided by research he did as an undergraduate student. He sounds like an excellent cardiologist, well-respected and quite successful and even innovative in his field, but he does not appear to have any special qualifications as, for instance, a gastroenterologist or rheumatologist or neurologist, especially in the clinical research space, which is significant given (a) the number of claims he makes regarding those fields and (b) his insistence that his method is superior to the accepted field of knowledge of those specialists and that his advice has often proven superior to that of the relevant specialists.Second, and far more troubling, Dr. Gundry is promoting a diet that he believes requires (or at least strongly benefits from) supplements. He makes and sells those supplements, and he promotes his own name-brand supplements in the book. While he is careful to offer alternative supplements and to note that supplements are not absolutely essential to at least some success under his diet plan, he harps on their great values and often casually highlights how some aspect of his supplements is superior to the alternative. In fact, Dr. Gundry repeatedly name-drops products (his own and others') throughout the book, and far more frequently than he name-drops celebrities.In short, whatever legitimate insights Dr. Gundry may have to offer, they are highly suspect because of the above credibility issues.Additionally, Dr. Gundry often cited interesting dietary research, but many of his most important or controversial claims lacked similar citations (or vaguely referred to multiple studies). He seemed to have a habit of dropping readily acceptable factoids with citations, only to culminate in a tangentially related conclusion that was not similarly supported.For instance, Dr. Gundry discusses how some research has suggested that lectins can climb the vagus nerve to the brain, then points to another study that found lower incidences of Parkinson's disease in patients who had their vagus nerves surgically cut; he then summarily concludes that this "also explains why Parkinson's is more prevalent among vegetarians," claiming that it is because they consume more lectin-containing plants. This last alleged fact is not cited. I can find some claims out there that vegetarian diets do increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, but I can also just as easily find the hypothesis that, based on some general observations, a vegan diet may actually reduce the risk for Parkinson's disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...). Needless to say, if there is some evidence that vegan or quasi-vegan populations have a lesser incidence of Parkinson's disease, then highlighting plant-based lectins as the source of the problem seems suspect. I'm not a medical researcher, not a scientist, not a doctor, and I don't have ready access to a university to scour medical journals, but that's kind of the point: I have no easy way to verify the claim, and it's at best lazy and at worst dishonest to dish out a claim like this without any citation.I also feel like Dr. Gundry is willing to play up risk factors and cherry-pick data points to make lectins seem like scary killers at the source of all our problems. At another point in the book, he bemoans the existence of severe food allergies, which he at points attributes to lectins, and says, "Peanuts didn't kill us back in 1960." For one thing, I think he is overemphasizing the really quite low levels of severe food allergies in the general population; a casual reader might nod in agreement, but the extent and severity of food allergies seems to have been over-extended in the public consciousness thanks to news media frenzies and the marketing of certain pharmaceutical products. Plus, from what I can tell, food allergies like peanut allergies have been around for quite a while, but it's only been in the past few decades that there has been more medical research (and resultant media attention) surrounding the allergies (https://www.princeton.edu/news/2013/0...).I would stress again that I am not a medical researcher, a scientist, or a doctor. I have no qualified science background or experience in scientific research. So it would be very difficult for me to address the main thrust of Dr. Gundry's book, that lectins are bad and can outweigh the health benefits of certain plants. The few instances where I can detect an apparent flaw or lazy argument are therefore significant to me because they make me suspect flaws even in Dr. Gundry's larger (non-sourced) points. But there are a couple of people with the adequate experience who have written critically of Dr. Gundry's book, bringing up some of the same concerns I have. For instance, see https://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar... and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/d....Dr. Gundry does not just have a problem with lectins, though. He is also concerned about GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, antacids, and the factory farm model. In most of these areas, I actually think he does a more convincing job of highlighting concerns, except for with GMOs. His argument is that GMOs alter produce by, for instance, adding more lectins to the products and are therefore bad. This once again requires the belief that lectins are, on their face, bad things that should be avoided. To the extent that he notes that GMOs are altered to allow for greater use of pesticides, I can get on board, I suppose.I have probably derailed enough, so I'll try to quickly wrap up. If I had one final, large concern for why I thought this diet was overblown, it would be that Dr. Gundry never really convincingly addresses the dietary Blue Zones. It would seem that the minimal animal consumption would be an area of overlap that Dr. Gundry can get on board with, but he does not so readily explain, for instance, the presence of scary lectin-containing legumes in these diets (http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2...). I had heard about Blue Zones in passing before, although Dr. Gundry's book has prompted greater interest on my part in Dan Buettner's writings on the subject. Dr. Gundry's book has not made me particularly more interested in Dr. Gundry's diet, though.It also annoys me that the diet is rather time-and-money-consumptive. Perhaps truly desperate people or those living in Palm Springs will be excited to throw more money at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, but I don't see how this does anything for lower-income people leaving in urban food deserts, for instance. Not every diet has to be for every person, but this diet smacks of privilege and does not offer real, sustainable solutions for a good deal of people, I would say. The number of appliances he expects one to regularly use simply would not work within my limited cabinet and counter space, for instance!I do believe that Dr. Gundry may have found something very useful for individuals suffering from, for instance, severe autoimmune disorders. I think that, despite his credibility issues, he probably does have a number of success stories to point to and probably genuinely believes in what he is marketing. And his book did get me to think more consciously about the food and lifestyle choices I currently make. I certainly want to make a greater effort to eat more vegetables and to remove as much processed foods as possible, to replace desserts with fruit, to limit consumption of meats and eat a greater proportion of wild-caught fish as part of that more limited animal protein intake, and so on. But I do not have any intention of adopting Dr. Gundry's diet or ordering his supplements.
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  • Jacqueline
    January 1, 1970
    Not a big fan. The diet seems incredibly difficult to maintain. Plus, I think there's some contradicting information. He states that research shows that the longest living people are vegans, followed by vegetarians, and so on. Yet he says all of these fruits and vegetables are so bad for you. Well, those are the foods those vegans are eating! There were a couple of interesting things that I took away from this book, but it's incredibly wordy and something better left to skimming, rather than rea Not a big fan. The diet seems incredibly difficult to maintain. Plus, I think there's some contradicting information. He states that research shows that the longest living people are vegans, followed by vegetarians, and so on. Yet he says all of these fruits and vegetables are so bad for you. Well, those are the foods those vegans are eating! There were a couple of interesting things that I took away from this book, but it's incredibly wordy and something better left to skimming, rather than reading word-for-word.
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  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    As a scientist, the claims presented in this book struck me as over-confident. Science almost never gives clear cut, black and white answers, and dietary science is certainly no exception.
  • William Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book that will find you at the doctor's office with a host of problems. I can't believe a medical doctor with a Yale degree can actually go out there and say these things and still sleep at night. Despite being professionally packaged by a big publisher, this book is simply a cheap TV infomercial in print. A simple Google search reveals all the refutations and links to real studies. Gundry's claims were a conference presentation, not a peer reviewed study published in a journal. On pa This is a book that will find you at the doctor's office with a host of problems. I can't believe a medical doctor with a Yale degree can actually go out there and say these things and still sleep at night. Despite being professionally packaged by a big publisher, this book is simply a cheap TV infomercial in print. A simple Google search reveals all the refutations and links to real studies. Gundry's claims were a conference presentation, not a peer reviewed study published in a journal. On page 55 Gundry claims that "most" of his stage 3 and stage 4 cancer patients got better, all without a single publication, or case study? Don't buy these infomercial claims. To dismiss fast food, fatty meats, and sugars, and blame vegetables is outrageous and Harper Collins should be ashamed of themselves for publishing this junk science collection of fictional conspiracy theories. Just go to your public library and look up the real studies in the databases that advocate for a plant based diet. You won't find any of Gundry's claims in the scholarly journals and studies, actually you won't anything by Gundry at all. What a sad attempt to rake in profit, as if medical doctors in America don't make enough cash.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    It's not just what you eat, it's what you DON'T eat. Gundry, a heart surgeon slash nutritionist slash researcher with a lot of experience in autoimmune disorders, arthritis cases, heart issues, stomach issues, and neurological problems, brings his practice and his patients and his research to fruition in this well-written, easy-to-understand text. In a nutshell, the focus is on lectins, found in plants that don't like to be eaten (not only by little insects but by big ones like you and me). Chie It's not just what you eat, it's what you DON'T eat. Gundry, a heart surgeon slash nutritionist slash researcher with a lot of experience in autoimmune disorders, arthritis cases, heart issues, stomach issues, and neurological problems, brings his practice and his patients and his research to fruition in this well-written, easy-to-understand text. In a nutshell, the focus is on lectins, found in plants that don't like to be eaten (not only by little insects but by big ones like you and me). Chief among them are the nightshades and New World veggies (really fruits) like cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. Think seeds.In his view, fruit are a no-no, too. Fructose = sugar = candy. And if you're eating chicken or beef or free-range eggs but are avoiding GMO corn and soy, don't kid yourself. You are what the animal you eat, eats. Period. Helpful advice not only on food but supplements. A specific 3-day cleanse start followed by Phase 2 and 3 plans. Definitions are provided on things like "free-range" which simply means a door must be open 5 minutes a day. (How many chickens go out of that huge barn.) Like the word "natural," it's meaningless.Informative and humorous. Doc Gundry seems like the kind of guy you might have a beer with -- only you're only allowed red wine, and that in a very small dose. All that said, before you buy it, you owe yourself a look at Dr. Gerger's rejoinder (basically calling the book so much horseshoe). See Jamal's link in the comments.
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    Impressive and convincing book. Dr. Gundry revisits his earlier diet recommendations but this time he does so based on some convincing biochemistry research. His work with thousands of patients over decades has validated his food recommendations but this recent book adds the information about the actual biochemistry underlying his recommendations. His earlier book relied on a "Paleo" argument which I found less convincing than the material in this book. His recommendations require a major shift Impressive and convincing book. Dr. Gundry revisits his earlier diet recommendations but this time he does so based on some convincing biochemistry research. His work with thousands of patients over decades has validated his food recommendations but this recent book adds the information about the actual biochemistry underlying his recommendations. His earlier book relied on a "Paleo" argument which I found less convincing than the material in this book. His recommendations require a major shift in diet even for Vegans eating what they consider a "healthy" diet. The proof will be in whether it produces the results he suggests that it will. I have lost 100 lbs in the last 5 years following the recommendations from the book "Eat to Live". Dr. Gundry suggests that in addition to all the things I have had to give up eating (sweets, meat, pasta) to get where I am now, I have to give up grains, legumes, and fruit. I decided that I would give him the 6 weeks he asks for to become convinced of the health benefits he suggests that will result. If I can resume my weight loss (I want to lose another 50 lbs) and eliminate my Fibromyalgia and my Polymyalgia Romantica it will all be worth it.
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  • Kasper Karup
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most pretentious books I have ever read. The author seems to have no scientific self-criticism. His word are (his) truth and the ONLY truth. That's the feeling I get when reading. He talks down other diets and presents what now seem to me to be unsubstantiated evidence. Just search the internet for reviews of the book, there are really good ones, totally disecting his so-called 'scientific studies'. Many of the studies don't even concern the topic he's talking about, others are done b One of the most pretentious books I have ever read. The author seems to have no scientific self-criticism. His word are (his) truth and the ONLY truth. That's the feeling I get when reading. He talks down other diets and presents what now seem to me to be unsubstantiated evidence. Just search the internet for reviews of the book, there are really good ones, totally disecting his so-called 'scientific studies'. Many of the studies don't even concern the topic he's talking about, others are done by amateurs and so on. The list goes on. Please, be a bit humble. Yes, maybe this diet has worked for many people. But yes, as one reviewer says... of course you'll loose weight and maybe heal many problems - but that's no wonder since the diet cuts out almost any food you can imagine and only leaves a short list of relatively obvious things. I do believe that there IS truth and good advice in the book. But the way it's served - like an infomercial - it just sounds like somebody's trying to sell me something. It's a nice preaching, some useful information, some obvious non-truths (check the reviews). Also some facts presented as obvious truths, but with no reference to studies or anything to prove that. Again, just search for and read the excellent reviews done. Not recommended because of the amount of questionable content and the format of infomercial.
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  • rivka
    January 1, 1970
    Current seems-scientific-but-is-really-crap du jour. Oh, and the author sells expensive supplements, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence!https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-g...http://nutritionstudies.org/the-plant...
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was going to contain some interesting history on the interactions between humans and foods, maybe some fun botany facts -- and it did, for about 50 pages. Thereafter, I found it to be a self-congratulating, Santa Barbara-style food fad book. I pretty much gave up after seeing the phrase, "My good friend, Tony Robbins" twice in 20 pages. Stop. Just stop. People. Eat food that isn't processed, and try to keep it local and organic. Cook your food at home. Limit grain intake, possibly I thought this was going to contain some interesting history on the interactions between humans and foods, maybe some fun botany facts -- and it did, for about 50 pages. Thereafter, I found it to be a self-congratulating, Santa Barbara-style food fad book. I pretty much gave up after seeing the phrase, "My good friend, Tony Robbins" twice in 20 pages. Stop. Just stop. People. Eat food that isn't processed, and try to keep it local and organic. Cook your food at home. Limit grain intake, possibly legumes if you find they upset your stomach or skin. Oh, and nightshades are kind of toxic. Now, pay me millions.
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  • Crescentm
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very interesting read and the science was very enlightening. i however found a lot of inconsistencies. For example he cites that billions of Asians eat rice and have no significant levels of obesity and diseases yet his diet categorically excludes rice with no real explanation why. Also he offers no real advice of how to ease in and maintain his extremely restrictive diet. This is very off-putting. I will definitely take some of his advice to heart but I don't know if his anecdotal ev This was a very interesting read and the science was very enlightening. i however found a lot of inconsistencies. For example he cites that billions of Asians eat rice and have no significant levels of obesity and diseases yet his diet categorically excludes rice with no real explanation why. Also he offers no real advice of how to ease in and maintain his extremely restrictive diet. This is very off-putting. I will definitely take some of his advice to heart but I don't know if his anecdotal evidence is really that compelling
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  • Jathan Fink
    January 1, 1970
    We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” But in the era of Genetically Modified Organisms, this maxim can produce a lot of anxiety. That’s why world-renowned heart surgeon Steven R. Gundry, MD has written The Plant Paradox. Here he helps us navigate the world of food so we can eat better and live longer. Dr. Gundry enlightens us with new thoughts about food consumption so we don’t bloat minutes after eating. Like so many Americans, I try to make sure my family eats healthy. Tomatoes, We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” But in the era of Genetically Modified Organisms, this maxim can produce a lot of anxiety. That’s why world-renowned heart surgeon Steven R. Gundry, MD has written The Plant Paradox. Here he helps us navigate the world of food so we can eat better and live longer. Dr. Gundry enlightens us with new thoughts about food consumption so we don’t bloat minutes after eating. Like so many Americans, I try to make sure my family eats healthy. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash are normal parts of our diet. Yet, when my husband eats them, he frequently feels bad afterward. I didn’t understand why until now. The answer is lectin.“[Lectins] are large proteins found in plants and animals, and they are a crucial weapon in the arsenal of strategies that plants use to defend themselves in their ongoing battle with animals,” Gundry explains (pg. 14). Interesting little piece of information, right?These proteins are considered “sticky” because they bind to the salic acid found in your gut and bodily fluids, which in turn interrupts the messages transmitted between cells causing inflammation. They can also bind very well with virus and bacteria, causing increased health problems and overall sickness. And last but not least, you gain weight from consuming them! Who knew? Certainly not me!I couldn’t turn the pages of The Plant Paradox fast enough, eager to learn as much as I possibly could to gain a better understanding of how and why I need to change my eating habits. First, Gundry helps us fully understand the verbiage on various packaging labels, such as “gluten free,” “cage free,” and “all natural” (pg. 126-127).Then he teaches us how to avoid lectins in the foods we already eat. Although the list is extensive, I am convinced that I can eliminate the foods that cause my husband the most trouble so he can lead a more fulfilling life, lose weight and ultimately feel good every day.If you read one book to improve your health and well being this year, make it The Plant Paradox. Soon, you will discern the changes you can make to feel your very best.This review was originally published at JathanandHeather.com.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    As I started to read this book, it's formulaic approach made me immediately suspicious: an introduction claiming a solution to all your problems.He then goes on to state "scientific" evidence for his case. The problem is, many of his sources are bogus: web sites, non-peer reviewed journals, etc. There is an entire pinterest site dedicated to researching his sources. Quite simply, the data isn't there.As I continued to do research, I learned from reading in the Atlantic that he has a serious conf As I started to read this book, it's formulaic approach made me immediately suspicious: an introduction claiming a solution to all your problems.He then goes on to state "scientific" evidence for his case. The problem is, many of his sources are bogus: web sites, non-peer reviewed journals, etc. There is an entire pinterest site dedicated to researching his sources. Quite simply, the data isn't there.As I continued to do research, I learned from reading in the Atlantic that he has a serious conflict of interest: the book ends out touting his personal business of dietary supplements that are needed to support this way of eating. Isn't that suspicious?As with most things that are too good to be true, it's too good to be true. In fact, in seems dangerous. It seems to me irresponsible.
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  • Stefanie Sage
    January 1, 1970
    While Dr Gundry is fully convinced his new way of eating is superior to all other nutritionists discoveries, I remain a bit skeptical. The book is quite repetitive and I found it to be more of an infomercial for him than I would've liked. Still his plant based recommendations shouldn't be totally ignored and I agree that the nightshade veggies do pose challenges for some. It really is just another diet book to add to the hundreds that have gone before!
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  • Heather Hollick
    January 1, 1970
    I have been waiting for this book for a long time. For as long as I can remember, I have had an intuitive sense that the micro biome in and on our bodies is intricately related to our health. The Plant Paradox finally articulates that connection with clarity and conviction. I will begin changing my diet and my habits immediately. Stay tuned for progress.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Gundry discusses lectins, which are present in many foods and which he says are responsible for a plethora of health problems. I was surprised by his assessment of foods which we think of as "healthful," and believe the book would be especially interesting to people with autoimmune disorders.
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  • Kaley Ide
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this book. I definitely learned a lot and have some great takeaways for myself, but I also remain skeptical about some of Dr. Gundry's recommendations. He shares very convicing scientific research and success stories, yet his program seems to be most successful for people suffering from serious health issues and autoimmune diseases. What I remain uncertain on is whether or not it's the best dietary approach for everyone. I would recommend reading the book with an open mind whil I enjoyed reading this book. I definitely learned a lot and have some great takeaways for myself, but I also remain skeptical about some of Dr. Gundry's recommendations. He shares very convicing scientific research and success stories, yet his program seems to be most successful for people suffering from serious health issues and autoimmune diseases. What I remain uncertain on is whether or not it's the best dietary approach for everyone. I would recommend reading the book with an open mind while also considering both sides of the coin on each topic he covers.
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  • Craig Clemens
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating, I watch his videos and stopped eating a few of the foods he suggests (nuts, tomatoes and peppers) and am having better digestion and energy. Excited to read the rest of the book
  • Ricki Treleaven
    January 1, 1970
    I have read many health and diet-related books over the years, but never one like The Plant Paradox. Dr. Gundry combines history, chemistry, and biology to explain why and how certain plants were never meant for us to eat. However, don't let this dissuade you from reading the book because it does not read like a dry, academic journal piece. I also think it's important that his research has been peer reviewed, and his endnotes are extensive. Much of what he writes about he's known for years to be I have read many health and diet-related books over the years, but never one like The Plant Paradox. Dr. Gundry combines history, chemistry, and biology to explain why and how certain plants were never meant for us to eat. However, don't let this dissuade you from reading the book because it does not read like a dry, academic journal piece. I also think it's important that his research has been peer reviewed, and his endnotes are extensive. Much of what he writes about he's known for years to be anecdotally true, but some of the science like "immune system scanners" is relatively new science: the description for these scanners won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2011 and the discovery of the receptors (G-spotters) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2012. These new discoveries help explain the patterns Dr. Gundry has noted in the immune systems of his patients.What's really disconcerting is how physicians and the media have erroneously encouraged the consumption of whole grains and other "super foods" that are not healthy at all. Gundry explains why these foods are dangerous to our immune systems, and he lists them so they can be avoided. But the good news is he's included a list of healthy options as well as recipes to get the reader started on a path to a healthier life. Also included in the book: anecdotes from patients who struggled with varying health issues and how changing their diet changed their health drastically for the better.I don't mean to get off topic, but this book reminds me of my grandfather: He was one of the artists for Jenny Craig's "You Are What You Eat" campaign back during the 80s, and I can remember one of his drawings was a beautiful giraffe made entirely of leaves. While we may not literally be like the giraffe and look like or "become" what we consume, we can certainly be constrained by eating lectins found in so-called "healthy" foods. So instead of "You Are What You Eat," this book teaches us why "You're Sick Because of What You Eat."I am currently purging our pantry and restocking it with the good choices found in the book. I truly believe that it will make all of us feel better, and I will update my family's progress from time to time here on the blog. I hope you will read this book, and I'd love for you to share your thoughts with me either below in the comments section or via email.Disclosure:I received a copy of The Plant Paradox from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Katherine Reay
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating... Rethinking food and autoimmune diseases. Learning so much!
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the worst diet/WOE (way of eating) books I have ever read. Food and eating DO NOT need to be as complicated as Gundry makes them out to be.As far as the writing goes, I hated it. The author starts off in his preface by telling readers that we are not at fault for our health problems. 😒 How validating. It's just what every reader wants to hear. The blame rests with someone else, not him/herself. The author then goes on to qualify his medical authority by listing many of his accompl This is one of the worst diet/WOE (way of eating) books I have ever read. Food and eating DO NOT need to be as complicated as Gundry makes them out to be.As far as the writing goes, I hated it. The author starts off in his preface by telling readers that we are not at fault for our health problems. 😒 How validating. It's just what every reader wants to hear. The blame rests with someone else, not him/herself. The author then goes on to qualify his medical authority by listing many of his accomplishments, many of which are not related to treating patients through food intake. He spends the rest of the book blaming our ignorance for not understanding food at a microscopic level, and explaining a very complicated WOE and system. He endorses intermittent fasting (which is great) as well as keto (too new, not solid, not enough research to back up claims, just a fad diet to this point). (I prefer Dr Jason Fung's book, The Obesity Code, to The Plant Paradox, although Dr Fung also endorses keto, if not directly in his book, through some of his online resources.) All that aside, Gundry does make a few good points, such as explaining why people who jumped on the bandwagon with gluten free diets like paleo have such a hard time with gluten when they try to eat it, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy that they have a gluten sensitivity. When one removes gluten from the diet, the gluten digesting bacteria die off as a result of no food for them. When you later eat gluten containing products, you no longer have the flora and fauna to digest them, thus creating intestinal havoc. This makes sense. He blames people's original digestive and health issues on other causes.In dietary studies, it is so hard to pinpoint one thing, one culprit. With Gundry's Plant Paradox, this culprit is lectin. We all live so differently from each other, we all have different bodies, different genetic makeup. Because of this, each individual has to find what works for him/her. Perhaps this WOE works for some individuals, but it does not jive with me. Common sense tells us that eating doesn't have to be complicated. The rules should be simple. It is mankind who has made eating complicated, not nature. As a culture, we are addicted to processed convenience foods. The standard American diet (SAD) influence is spreading to other parts of the world as Western culture is spread. It's no wonder serious health problems such as diabetes type 2, heart disease, and allergies are such an epidemic. I would prefer to espouse a mostly whole food plant-based (WFPB) eating culture furthered by doctors and writers such as Dr Joel Fuhrman (Eat to Live), Dr Caldwell Esselstyn (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease), Dr McDougall (The Starch Solution), Michael Pollan (Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma), Mark Bittman (Food Matters, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00), Dr Andrew Weil (dietary and longevity doctor behind the menu for True Food Kitchen, and author of several books), Dr T. Colin Campbell (The China Study), Jane Birch (Discovering the Word of Wisdom), and others. Documentaires such as Food, Inc., and Forks Over Knives have brought to attention many of the problems with the SAD and our food supply. The other doctors I mentioned have based their books on long-term experience treating patients, and the people who have followed their WOE have had success for years and years. There are plenty of documentation and testimonials bearing witness of this. (Gundry's book hasn't even been around for a year, although he claims to have been presenting his findings for 15 years, and therefore his presentations and medical journal publications have made him an acknowledged expert on the human biome.) A mostly WFPB diet doesn't have to be rocket science. Just eat foods in their mostly natural state, with minimal processing. As Michael Pollan writes, "Eat food; mostly plants; not too much." It's that easy.
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  • Lia
    January 1, 1970
    I had high hopes for this book, but my how they were dashed. The author is reckless with his use of research to the point that it was a crap shoot every time I followed up on any of his citations, whether they would actually support/relate to what he was saying, or not. (And he committed a cardinal sin of citing an abstract with incomplete data that was not accurately portrayed ... yeah, didn't even bother to go into the article to do proper research on that one ....)Despite his hazy research an I had high hopes for this book, but my how they were dashed. The author is reckless with his use of research to the point that it was a crap shoot every time I followed up on any of his citations, whether they would actually support/relate to what he was saying, or not. (And he committed a cardinal sin of citing an abstract with incomplete data that was not accurately portrayed ... yeah, didn't even bother to go into the article to do proper research on that one ....)Despite his hazy research and his plummeting credibility, I read on, hoping to find some good information. There is a reason that I wanted to read this book. I am indeed very interested in lectins and wanted to learn how they work and see the science behind things. But instead of clear science and objective fact, I got inflammatory language that reached ridiculous levels again and again. He takes many of his points to extreme hyperbole, thus turning his claims and "proofs" into jokes. For instance, he says that a bowl of fruit salad is equivalent to a bowl of Skittles candy. Yes, the same. On what planet? No, seriously ... how are they the same to the point of equivalency? So, the one piece of research he offers to back up this Skittles=fruit claim is a rodent study were the rats were fed a diet of 60% fructose. That's right, 60%. This did result in a progression of kidney disease. HOWEVER, drawing the correlation that​ he does fails on several levels:1. This is a rodent study, which is useful, to be sure. Rodent studies have taught us a lot, including the fact that they don't tell us everything, because (shocker) rodents are not the same as humans. So, once you go to human trials with various things, the rodent studies don't always transfer. 2. The rodents were fed an enormous amount of fructose (or, for the other group, dextrose). More than half of their diet came from isolated fructose. In his paragraph about Skittles and fruit, the author says, "eating the fructose in fruit causes your kidneys to swell and suffer injury, which can destroy them." This is NOT what was shown in the research he cites. Eating fruit is not what the rodents did. Fruit has fiber and water (and more) which causes satiety after a certain amount of eating. In order to eat this much fruit to get all that fructose, the rats would have expired from overconsumption by volume. The claim of "eating the fructose in fruit" is not what was shown in the study. There is more I could say here, but I think I've made my point, which is that he is not grounded or ethical in the way he "cites research." He makes another leap when he claims that a chicken breast "boasts the equivalent of one birth control pill's worth of estrogenic substances!" Yes, he really says that, and no, he doesn't offer a single shred of evidence, research, or reasoning to back this claim. The rest of the paragraph prior to this claim has several other extreme claims ("almost all American chicken or beef contains enough antibiotics to kill bacteria in a petri dish!") with, again, no research to back these excessive statements or the others like it. And it gets very tiring (also, can someone tell him less is more when it comes to exclamation points?). I started to shake my head more and more often as I read until I was turning pages without any hope of finding accurate or usable information (and being appalled when at times I followed up on his research footnotes to find mere websites, such as treehugger.com ... really). Which is a pity. Because I think he actually did have something to say. He just either didn't trust his message enough to give it without a heavy dose of snake oil (what's with all his promoting of his supplement line, eh?), or he didn't want to put in the work to present his theories and findings properly. Either way, this book just doesn't make it. Not at all. So, back to the library it goes ...This is an intelligent and thorough review: http://nutritionstudies.org/the-plant...
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  • Just Commonly
    January 1, 1970
    The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven R. Gundry focuses on "The Hidden Dangers in 'Healthy' Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain." It is quite an interesting concept, and I do see the logic in many of Dr. Gundy's claims which are backed by scientific research, as noted in the notes section. I like the fact that it includes sample meal plans and recipes for those ready to try Dr. Gundy's plans. Since I have not tried it myself, nor am I an expert, I can't provide claims of it's relevance or success The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven R. Gundry focuses on "The Hidden Dangers in 'Healthy' Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain." It is quite an interesting concept, and I do see the logic in many of Dr. Gundy's claims which are backed by scientific research, as noted in the notes section. I like the fact that it includes sample meal plans and recipes for those ready to try Dr. Gundy's plans. Since I have not tried it myself, nor am I an expert, I can't provide claims of it's relevance or success. However, as a reader, I can say that I do find the material dry and not easy to peruse through. The real success stories are great since it provided testimonies. Without much variation in context and layout, it wasn't an easy read. It didn't interest me as much as I had hoped, since I love reading about nutrition and how food affects us, but I would say it can be a source for those suffering from certain diseases and can't explain it. One area seems to be a focus and may in fact be of help, and that's autoimmune diseases. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
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  • Marsha Peacock
    January 1, 1970
    Life changing!!! This is the first book ever to make the connection between the one to two advils I take every day for a bad knee and why I cannot lose weight. Following his plan all my chronic hunger has STOPPED! Be sure to get the prebiotic thrive, vital reds and primal greens. I started those and immediately felt so much more energy and so much better.
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  • Sidney
    January 1, 1970
    This seems like the text of one diet and the recipes on f another. The first part is a collection of foldable like scare stories and confused science and the recipes contain many things you were warned off in the text.
  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    The principles seem sound. I found the continuous sales pitch tone to be tiring and the overall suggested program to be completely impractical.
  • Nancy Freund
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to rate this book, but it won't be hard to explain why. In terms of thought-provocation, I'd have given it a five. I think it's very possible (maybe even very likely) that the medical information here is true. Dr. Gundry's background and research do qualify him to know what he's talking about. There is no doubt that Western culture has a huge problem, and we've probably brought it on ourselves with diet and lifestyle. If feeding our food-animals GMO corn, if using Roundup on crops and harve Hard to rate this book, but it won't be hard to explain why. In terms of thought-provocation, I'd have given it a five. I think it's very possible (maybe even very likely) that the medical information here is true. Dr. Gundry's background and research do qualify him to know what he's talking about. There is no doubt that Western culture has a huge problem, and we've probably brought it on ourselves with diet and lifestyle. If feeding our food-animals GMO corn, if using Roundup on crops and harvesting grains earlier in their cycles than ever before, if disrupting our endocryn systems with our make-up and deodorant and BPA plastics is all adding to our endemic obesity and inflammation and related auto-immune diseases, then this book must be one of the most important pieces of health care literature out there. Again, five stars.But here's why I only gave it four: the repetition, the sometimes contradictory declarations, and the book's irritating tone. I felt let down by the "but wait! There's more!" infomercial tone, and the barrage of promises. By following Gundry's plan, you may cure yourself of cancer, diabetes (both types), Crohn's, Parkinson's, obesity, anemia, acne, Alzheimer's, ALS, psoriasis, beer gut, stomache aches, and male-pattern baldness... among many others. I hope it does improve people's plights with every one of these awful diseases, and Gundry is right to list them. But the book is 400 pages long, and I think 300 of that is repetition. Less is more, with persuasive writing. Dr. Gundry addresses serious issues throughout the book, in an accessible manner. I wanted to believe he's delivering very useful, important information. I was primed to pay careful attention, and I imagine many of his readers would be primed like me. Therefore, the shouty repetitive urging that we believe his discoveries felt shallow and manipulative. It weakened the power of the work. However, if you can set aside your aversion to the writing style and examine the work itself, I think this book is well worth reading, and it may just be the solution to what ails you. I do hope so.
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  • Margie Van Evera
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsA friend mentioned this book to me - she suffers from fibromyalgia and said after following "most" of this diet, she did not have any pain after 3 weeks. I don't believe she was taking the supplements, but she did eat what was recommended. And she lost 10 pounds at the 4 week point. (This friend is in her early 60's.)So of course I wanted to read it . . . I have to admit all the research and scientific talk was slow getting through. Dr. Gundry, a distinguished surgeon, certainly seems t 3.5 StarsA friend mentioned this book to me - she suffers from fibromyalgia and said after following "most" of this diet, she did not have any pain after 3 weeks. I don't believe she was taking the supplements, but she did eat what was recommended. And she lost 10 pounds at the 4 week point. (This friend is in her early 60's.)So of course I wanted to read it . . . I have to admit all the research and scientific talk was slow getting through. Dr. Gundry, a distinguished surgeon, certainly seems to be very smart and has dedicated a lot of years researching and focusing on the study of dietary changes to cure diseases. It all comes down to lectins in the food we eat . . . This would be such a huge lifestyle change for me and my family. Oh, and all the foods I love - I'd have to give up! I'm not sure if I'll try this or not. I don't have any autoimmune diseases (that I know of), no heart disease, migraines, aching joints - there is a list 3 pages long in the book - but I do have high cholesterol and allergies. And I would like to lose some weight. So it's possible we will try this, but I'd like to talk to someone in real life (not just reading the testimonies in the book) who has had positive changes in their lives from this plant based diet.The thing that put me off was Dr. Gundry is recommending a TON of supplements and he sells all of them through his website . . . which he mentions numerous times in the book.
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  • Shawna
    January 1, 1970
    I approached this book with a lot of skepticism, since I have been a firm believer in the health benefits of whole grains and I always have baskets full of fresh fruit on my counters. However, the scientific arguments that he presents are quite compelling, and there were a few "aha!" moments for me where things that myself or my friends had experienced made sense. I haven't tried implementing the diet yet, but I'm willing to at least give it a try.
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  • Richard Smith
    January 1, 1970
    GREAT book, especially for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease. Highly recommended!!
  • Edward
    January 1, 1970
    Just when I thought I knew a lot about healthy diets and what foods to eat and not to eat through my readings and interests in biohacking, I came across this book by Dr. Gundry. It contains rich information about the science behind some of the foods that are good and some of them that are bad for our health. The main thesis of the book is that lectins, which appear in some plants and their seeds (what Dr. Gundry called them "babies"), are harmful to humans (and other animals) and are the root ca Just when I thought I knew a lot about healthy diets and what foods to eat and not to eat through my readings and interests in biohacking, I came across this book by Dr. Gundry. It contains rich information about the science behind some of the foods that are good and some of them that are bad for our health. The main thesis of the book is that lectins, which appear in some plants and their seeds (what Dr. Gundry called them "babies"), are harmful to humans (and other animals) and are the root cause of inflammation. The premise of this claims come from evolutionary as this is a defensive mechanism for plants to protect themselves and their descendants.Dr. Gundry is a heart surgeon for many years but about 15 years ago he shifted away from treating his patient through traditional medicine and surgery into treating people through food and nutrition. With his practice, he was able to learn and confirm, through his patients, his theory of how different foods (and the elimination of some of them) help alleviate or eliminate many conditions and chronic diseases (a majority of which are related to autoimmune disorder).This book makes me rethink a lot on what I thought I knew about healthy diet. I know I shouldn't just follow blindly but we are better off to be educated about food from the latest science and the proper practice do to stay healthy. Even though many food contains lectins (e.g. grain, beans, nightshades), there are ways to mitigate the impact of lectins without eliminate them completely from your diet. For example, using pressure cooker to cook beans or quinoa, you can eliminate most of the lectins. Also, fermentation is an excellent way to let the bacteria ingest the harmful lectin before letting them enter our gut. My wife and I was so grateful to find out that we can enjoy sourdough bread, those that are made the traditional way from scratch with sourdough starter, as the fermentation process break down most of the lectins.
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