According to wikipedia, they have health benefits:
"Lectins serve many different biological functions in animals, from the regulation of cell adhesion to glycoprotein synthesis and the control of protein levels in the blood. They may also bind soluble extracellular and intercellular glycoproteins...responsible for the removal of certain glycoproteins from the circulatory system. Another lectin is a receptor that recognizes hydrolytic enzymes containing mannose-6-phosphate, and targets these proteins for delivery to the lysosomes....Lectins are also known to play important roles in the immune system by recognizing carbohydrates that are found exclusively on pathogens, or that are inaccessible on host cells"
But, they also have downsides:
"Foods with high concentrations of lectins, such as beans, cereal grains, seeds, nuts, and potatoes, may be harmful if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly cooked form. Adverse effects may include nutritional deficiencies, and immune (allergic) reactions. Possibly, most effects of lectins are due to gastrointestinal distress through interaction of the lectins with the gut epithelial cells. A recent in vitro study has suggested that the mechanism of lectin damage may occur by interfering with the repair of already-damaged epithelial cells"
**So, what's the real story? According to paleo we should be avoiding them entirely, gluten intolerant or not, precisely because of these lectins. But couldn't there be hormetic affects to reasonably portioned amounts? At what point to do they start causing GI problems? Is it only in already susceptible people/populations? Just like every food, there are positives and negatives pertaining to their consumption. Oxalates can cause kidney damage, but green vegetables have all sorts of other health promoting properies like indol 3 carbinol, vitamin K, etc. lectins seem to have important physiological benefits, why don't these outweigh the POTENTIAL negativs when consumed in unnaturally large quantities? **
The list of things wrong with potatoes seem equally as bad, but potatoes are accepted on the basis that they're not a grain?
asked byforeveryoung (14952)
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on May 25, 2013
at 10:04 PM
I'm actually becoming increasingly less afraid of other foods. Right now the only foods I'm against are hfcs, and vegetable oil. I still think white flour and sugar are both probably bad, but I just don't know how bad anymore assuming a good diet otherwise.
I don't buy the whole acid/alkaline diet, but if I did then it would seem to me that grains and meats can be acidic and that eating bones would be the most alkaline thing one could naturally consume from common food sources. In fact, I actually think, as of right now that the buffering capacity of bones might adjust for an otherwise pretty unhealthy diet.
This would explain why men who reported drinking the most had the highest bone density (wish i could re-find the study that showed this). Their bodeis can afford to drink if you think of bone mass as a bank account. More bone mass also means more landscape to grow muscle on. I could be crazy and wrong, but then again, I could be right.
Back to your question, peel the potatoes to get rid of much of the glycoalkaloids and eat your grains with bone broth if they mess up your gut otherwise (gaps protocol/wapf).
on May 25, 2013
at 11:12 PM
Lectins are in almost every organism, so, to some degree it's unavoidable that they're going to be in you serving some purpose. (The body also uses arsenic.) If you're trying to eat nutritious food, it's best to avoid those that contain high amounts of lectins in combination with high amounts of carbohydrates and little nutrients. I think that's the deal. In excess, the lectins bind to your hormone receptors and make it difficult to burn fat, they mess up your gut and make it difficult to absorb nutrients (leading to lectin intolerance), and these empty carbs mess up your blood sugar / insulin levels / hormone balance and it all cascades into a bad situation.
There's not such a big deal about 'lectins' in and of themselves, but, it's not something to base your diet around when there are plenty of better options growing / grazing all around you.