Plant Paradox Diet: How Does It Work and What Are Its Risks?

If you'd like to know a different way to lose weight, we're going to explain all about the plant paradox diet, a novel approach, although not backed up by science.
Plant Paradox Diet: How Does It Work and What Are Its Risks?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 23 July, 2022

The plant paradox diet is a type of diet that restricts lectins in the diet to improve health and to lose weight efficiently. This approach states that lectins are toxic substances that damage the body and cause a permeable intestine, which would alter the metabolism of nutrients and the physiology of our internal organs.

Before starting, it should be noted that the basis of a good diet according to recent scientific literature is variety and balance. You need to be quite careful when proposing restrictions, as nutritional deficits could be experienced that could end up conditioning the workings of the human body. In this case, it would be best to consult a professional to obtain a plan that covers your true requirements.

The problem of lectins

Lectins are, according to some specialists, a series of elements found in plant foods that protect plants from being eaten by predators. For this reason, they claim that they’re harmful to the human body.

However, there’s hardly any evidence to support this theory. This is a very controversial point of view, as recent studies insist on the need to include vegetables in the diet on a regular basis.

A salad.
The plant paradox diet states that vegetables are harmful to the body. There’s no conclusive scientific evidence to support this.

There are many tribes that include beans and other legumes in their daily diet from the earliest stages of life. This doesn’t mean that they are in poorer health.

In addition, it’s important to note that cooking vegetables often drastically reduces the lectin content. In this way, the problem is practically solved.

Get to know more:  The Reverse Dieting Myth

How is the plant paradox diet structured?

The plant paradox diet prioritizes the intake of red meat, poultry, and fish, foods with resistant starches, dairy products, and some vegetables. In this last group are foods such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and green leafy vegetables. What should be completely restricted are legumes.

Another food group that should be excluded from this approach are sprouted grains. Also, fruits and cereals or starch-containing foods and even certain cow’s milk derivatives. Even so, the latter products may be necessary to meet the protein requirements throughout the day, so it isn’t always advisable to eliminate them.

Some chickpeas.
The plant paradox diet is extremely restrictive and could generate nutritional deficits.

As you can see, it’s a fairly restrictive diet that can lead to deficits of certain essential micronutrients. One of them, for example, would be vitamin C. This substance is key to ensure the proper functioning of the immune system, as stated in a study published in the journal Nutrients. It improves the efficiency of the innate and adaptive defense of the organism.

You may also be interested in: 8 Symptoms of a Vitamin C Deficiency

Losing weight with the plant paradox diet

The plant paradox diet can be used to lose weight, as long as it’s accompanied by good lifestyle habits. After all, to improve body composition, it’s enough to ensure that protein requirements are covered while generating an energy deficit and promoting physical exercise. These are the 3 key points that will achieve success in most cases.

In addition, this eating plan doesn’t include processed foods or foods with a high sugar content, such as cereals. These are often present in the diet of many people and can limit the results.

It should be noted that regular consumption of simple carbohydrates causes, in the medium term, insulin resistance in sedentary people. This is confirmed by research published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports.

However, even though the restriction of processed foods is positive, there are better options than this approach for weight loss. Nor is there enough evidence to advise us we should avoid legumes in the diet. Quite the contrary.

Legumes are a source of fiber and this element helps to improve intestinal transit while protecting the microbiota. It doesn’t seem appropriate to limit their intake when not even the daily requirements are met in most cases.

The plant paradox diet, an diet to lose weight with little evidence

As you have seen, the plant paradox diet has been designed to help you lose weight and improve your health. It aims to limit the intake of lectins, as the main toxins consumed on a daily basis. However, current scientific literature doesn’t support this proposal and prefers to guarantee the consumption of vegetables with high fiber content, instead of restricting them. Therefore, it doesn’t seem to be a particularly good option.

In conclusion, it should be remembered that when the objective is to improve body composition and prevent the development of chronic and complex pathologies over the years, it isn’t enough just to eat well. Other appropriate habits must be included. Among them, the need to practice physical exercise on a regular basis, especially promoting muscular strength work, stands out.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Aune, D., Giovannucci, E., Boffetta, P., Fadnes, L. T., Keum, N., Norat, T., Greenwood, D. C., Riboli, E., Vatten, L. J., & Tonstad, S. (2017). Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International journal of epidemiology46(3), 1029–1056.
  • Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients9(11), 1211.
  • Yoshida, Y., & Simoes, E. J. (2018). Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs. Current diabetes reports18(6), 31.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.