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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Review: The Plant Paradox

The Plant Paradox is written by Steven Gundry, a physician who was formerly a cardiac surgeon. It goes counter to a huge amount of conventional wisdom, but rather than provide statistical evidence or controlled double-blind studies on a large number of subjects, he provides anecdote after anecdote.

The claim of the book is that lectins (found in beans, whole grains, eggplant, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, lentils, and nuts) are attempts by plants to kill the animals who eat them. So Dr. Gundry proposes a largely lectin-free diet, preferring white rice to brown rice (!!), and insists that if you must eat beans you need to pressure cook them to destroy all the lectins. He insists that legumes such as peanuts and cashews are also unhealthy, and you should stick to macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts instead. He recommends sweet potatoes and eggs, and only certain types of dairy products.

The claims Dr. Gundry make are fairly extensive: going on his diet would eliminate IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lower your weight, and even cure cancer! That's when my BS detector went up. The only reason I even got through the book was that Dr. Gundry included enough information that matched up with known science (less meat in your diet is better for you, eat smaller fish so you get less exposure to mercury contamination, blue light is bad for your sleep) that I got fooled until I got to the preposterous claims that had no controlled studies to line up with them. That was when I realized that this was a crackpot diet book.

The style is also awful. The book is repetitive, and could easily be about 70% shorter.

Not recommended.

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