What’s up with the (profitable) anti-lectins movement?
Lectins have received a lot of attention due to media and fad diet books citing lectins as “anti-nutrients” and a cause of obesity, inflammation, and autoimmune disease.
Lectins are found in all plants, but raw legumes and whole grains contain more.
Anti-lectin theories have fueled profitable “lectin-free” movement, spawning bestselling books and selling enzyme supplements.
There is very limited research in humans on the amount of active lectins consumed in the diet and their long-term health effects.
The chance of eating high amounts of lectins from foods is very low. Lectins are only potent in their raw state, and foods that contain lectins are not typically eaten raw.
Cooking or soaking in water for several hours can inactivate most lectins. Lectins are water soluble so exposure to water removes them.
When was the last time you bite into a raw piece of bean?
Also, our body produces enzymes during digestion that degrade some lectins.
Not all lectins are toxic. Some lectins act as antioxidants and help slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which in turn helps prevent sharp rises in blood sugar.
In many large population studies, lectin-containing foods are associated with weight loss, and lower rates of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. Just eat them cooked!
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