Foods Containing Lectins Can Make You Fat
Keto Diet

Foods Containing Lectins Can Make You Fat

Lectins may be relatively unknown to most people, but they are very harmful to the body. Many lectins are immunotoxic, neurotoxic, and cytotoxic and can cause inflammation in the body, leaky gut syndrome, arthritis, obesity, and a variety of other health problems.

Research has confirmed that chronic inflammation is the root cause of several flat all diseases. An unhealthy diet is a major contributor to inflammation, such as a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fatty acids, and chemical additives. However, lectins, which are present in many healthy foods, can also cause inflammation in the body and even cause obesity.

What is a Lectin?

Simply put, lectin is a toxic protein. Not only does it cause inflammation, but, like gluten, it also affects digestion and is detrimental to weight control. Most plants contain large amounts of lectins, and those that are relevant to our diet include grains, legumes, certain fruits, and vegetables.

Plants do not have teeth or claws and cannot protect themselves like animals can. So they use lectins in their bodies as a “weapon” against predators or think of it as a built-in “bodyguard” for plants. When the plant is endangered, the lectin comes into play and attacks the intruder like a venomous snake secretes its venom.

The Health Hazards of Lectins

Lectins are large proteins and they are very sticky. When people consume plants containing lectins, the lectins bind to carbohydrates, especially polysaccharides, and attach to cell surfaces, disrupting the transmission of information between cells by producing a toxic or inflammatory response.

On the other hand, lectin prevents the body from absorbing vitamins and other nutrients, causing indigestion. And it also promotes the storage of sugar in fat cells and can therefore lead to weight gain.

The most harmful lectin is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other seeds, which mainly interferes with insulin, an important hormone in the body. One of the roles of insulin is to deliver sugar from the blood to cells to provide energy to the body.

WGA, however, mimics insulin by binding to insulin receptor sites on cells, thus blocking the action of insulin. This will result in lower energy utilization and you will feel very tired. At the same time, more sugar is pumped into the fat cells, stimulating weight gain and insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.

Think back to every time you ate a full meal (especially after eating foods with a lot of carbohydrates such as bread), did you feel very sleepy? This is because the lectins in wheat flour are at work in your body.

Another danger of lectins is that they cause leaky gut syndrome. The lining of our intestines can cover a total area of 4,000 square feet (about 372 square meters). If everything is in order, it forms a tight and solid barrier that controls the substances that are absorbed into the bloodstream, thus protecting the body from harmful substances.

But when the intestinal mucosa is attacked by agglutinins they react with inflammation, causing cracks or holes in this barrier. Harmful substances in the intestine can penetrate the bloodstream through these gaps.

Foods That Contain the Most Lectins

Foods That Contain the Most Lectins

Lectin is found in most plant foods and a small percentage of animal foods, so it is almost impossible to avoid it completely. In general, grains that are not refined contain more nutrients, but they also contain high levels of lectins.

The most obvious adverse reactions to eating lectin-rich foods are indigestion and allergies. For example, many people are allergic to beans, peanuts, or lactose intolerant, so they need to avoid these types of allergy-causing foods.

Here are the foods that contain the most lectins:

  • Corn and corn products
  • Peanuts, cashews, and unfermented soy products
  • Legumes (e.g. peas, lentils, string beans)
  • Grains, especially whole grains
  • Solanaceous fruits and vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, chili peppers)
  • Cucurbitaceous vegetables (e.g. pumpkin, bonobo, zucchini)
  • Seeds (e.g., pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds)
  • Meat from livestock raised on corn and soybeans
  • Casein A1 milk

Casein A1 milk needs to be explained here. Casein A2 is a normal protein in milk and is found in the milk of sheep, goats, and buffaloes. However, most cows today produce casein A1 milk. The milk you buy from the store, including organic milk, is also essentially A1 protein milk.

A1 protein is metabolized in the intestine to produce B-casein, which attaches to the beta cells of the pancreas and causes an autoimmune attack. This is why many people have problems with lactose intolerance.

Foods With the Least Lectins

Some plant foods contain very little lectins and you can safely consume them. These foods include:

  • Cooked tubers or roots (e.g. sweet potatoes, taro)
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, kale)
  • Avocados
  • Olives and extra virgin olive oil

How to Reduce Lectins in Food?

There are several ways to reduce the amount of lectins in foods and make them safer.

  • Sprouting: Sprouting of grains, seeds, and legumes inactivates lectins
  • Fermentation: During the fermentation process, beneficial bacteria metabolize many indigestible components, including lectins
  • Peeling and seeding fruits and vegetables: In general, skins, shells, and seeds contain the most lectins
  • Choose grass-fed meat: Avoid captive-bred livestock meat as much as possible
  • Soaking and cooking: Legumes and seeds (such as chia seeds) can be destroyed and rendered inactive by soaking them well and cooking them (preferably in a pressure cooker).


Regular consumption of lectin-rich foods can pose significant health risks. These include indigestion, leaky gut, decreased immunity, weight gain, and various chronic diseases due to inflammation.

Most plant foods and a small percentage of animal foods contain lectins, especially in legumes, nuts, corn, and certain seeds, and the highest levels in meat from livestock raised in captivity. You can use soaking, sprouting, peeling, and cooking to reduce the amount of lectins in your food and make your diet safer.