The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain

The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in

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...

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Title:The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain
Author:Steven R. Gundry
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Edition Language:English

The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain Reviews

  • Crescentm

    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

  • Mischenko

    I'm always leary after reading books like this, because by the time you're done reading it there really isn't much left to eat. I found some of it interesting, but still unsure of the 'lectin' scare. I won't stop eating whole foods like tomatoes and potatoes which don't seem to be a problem for me anyway. This diet is very different from Medical Medium's protocols, and who doesn't love fruit all year round? Fruit is something I can't live without. This doctor's diet just isn't for me. I'm a firm

    I'm always leary after reading books like this, because by the time you're done reading it there really isn't much left to eat. I found some of it interesting, but still unsure of the 'lectin' scare. I won't stop eating whole foods like tomatoes and potatoes which don't seem to be a problem for me anyway. This diet is very different from Medical Medium's protocols, and who doesn't love fruit all year round? Fruit is something I can't live without. This doctor's diet just isn't for me. I'm a firm believer that everyone's different, so go with a diet that works for you.

    I did still enjoy the book and there's a lot of interesting information here and some good recipes. I'm just not sure if I believe all of what he states.

    3***

  • Grace

    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.

  • She

    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.

  • Laura

    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.

  • Elyse Walters

    A book could be written on "The Plant Paradox" -- so much so -- I have put off writing anything.

    "The Human Microbiome" and how it works --and a diet for 'gut' health -- (related to other diseases --such as heart disease is a 'big' buzz topic in health these days) - Gundry is a Cardiologist -- and while he may have had success with many patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases, repairing the body --there is a slant

    A book could be written on "The Plant Paradox" -- so much so -- I have put off writing anything.

    "The Human Microbiome" and how it works --and a diet for 'gut' health -- (related to other diseases --such as heart disease is a 'big' buzz topic in health these days) - Gundry is a Cardiologist -- and while he may have had success with many patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases, repairing the body --there is a slant to his "clinically proven" writing I don't like. Its also not an easy diet to follow - because it explains how eating the wrong plants at the wrong times hurts our health --(but there was so much confusion.....because one 'can' eat these same foods 'sometimes' (at the right times) -- Who wants to eat 'thinking' about which 'phase' you are in? Phase 1, 2, or 3? If I take out beans in phase 1 --I'm 'rewarded' to add them back in phase 3...

    I got a few headaches reading how wishy-washy he was on one page and restrictive on another. --I yelled at him a few times --(to myself of course) > "make up your mind Mr. Dr. Gundry"!

    THERE is SOME GOOD INFORMATION -(learning basic information about Lectins and inflammation. ... but -- I have a dozen other books MUCH BETTER --easier to follow-- (no yelling back at the book) --

    And when it comes to Autoimmune disorders -- I'm not going to bounce back experimenting (testing) when to eat beans -and when not to -(rewards is such a yucky word anyway) --Gundry drove me bananas!

    I'm now reading "Genius Foods" by Max Lugavere. Its 'friendly-readable' - written so that anyone can understand it. AND ENJOYABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 'calming for the brain' --so it must be better for my immune system too!

  • Eric Farr

    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 (

    ). 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 (

    ).

    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

    and

    .

    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 (

    ). 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.

  • Kasper Karup

    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.

  • William Lawrence

    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.

  • Ken

    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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