The Lectin Avoidance Diet: The Safest Foods for People Sensitive to Everything

Lectins are probably one of the most significant sources of food sensitivity (there are more). Therefore, the lectin avoidance diet has many proven benefits.


Executive Summary of the Lectin Avoidance Diet

My lectin avoidance diet has a simple formula: Eat meat and seafood, as much as you want, mainly during the day. Supplement with the Life Extension Mix Powder for basic nutrition.

The lectin avoidance diet excludes grains, beans, nuts, seeds, most potatoes, and all dairy.

Allowed foods include all seafood, meat, chicken/turkey (all fowl), eggs (if not allergic), and most fruits and vegetables.

Romaine lettuce, cruciferous veggies, cucumbers, and celery are the best vegetables to include. Raw honey, citrus fruits, and pineapple are the recommended fructose-containing foods.

Japanese and purple sweet potatoes are the best starch to include in your diet, but they should be pressure-cooked with a pressure cooker. Other sweet potatoes are also allowed as long as they are pressure-cooked. Nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes) and squash could be consumed if pressure-cooked.

If you cheat, all your food should be pressure-cooked.

However, even if you get rid of lectins, you won’t get rid of all the anti-nutrients. For example, tannins are found in many plants and are considered anti-nutritional because they can alter nutrient digestion and absorption (R).

Here I list a bunch of substances from plant-based foods that can cause health issues.

The Lectin Avoidance Cookbook

Due to frequent queries about how to implement this diet, I have released the Lectin Avoidance Cookbook. This cookbook will help you overcome autoimmune issues, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, histamine intolerance, chronic inflammation, or simply make you feel optimal.

In the Lectin Avoidance Cookbook, we have 51 84 recipes and counting. The price is $27.

After you pay for the book, you will be redirected to a link where you can download the book.  The redirect takes about 5-10 seconds, so be patient. If you have any issues, email info@selfhacked.com.

Try the cookbook, and if you don’t start feeling better within 30 days, I will give you 100% of your money back!

If you are not happy with the cookbook for any reason, email me within 30 days of your purchase, and I will refund your money!

What Are Lectins?


Do not confuse lectins with leptin, lactose, or pectin.

Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates or glycoproteins (proteins that contain carbohydrate chains) (R).

Proteins termed lectins (from the Latin legere, “to select”) have the ability to bind to specific carbohydrate molecules (R).

Lectins allow cells to bind or communicate with each other (R).

They are found in every living organism, including viruses, bacteria, and most foods, to one degree or another, but most of them are harmless (R). Scientists have been studying lectins since 1884.

Some scientists believe that lectins are part of a plants’ protection mechanisms (R). Plants also use lectins to communicate with their environment, for cell organization, and as reserve proteins, among other functions (R).

Different Types of Plant Lectins

In plants, lectins are concentrated in seeds, early stage leaves, and roots. Leaves typically contain less lectins, although this may vary from plant to plant (R). A great example of a leaf is romaine lettuce.

The types of lectins that are often found in foods and can produce sensitivity include (R, R2):

  • Legume lectins such as white kidney beans. On average, 15% percent of a bean’s proteins are lectins.
  • Cucurbitaceae lectins, found in the sap or juice of cucumber, melon, and squash.
  • Prolamins, such as gluten and gliadin, are the alcohol-soluble lectins found in cereal grains.
  • Agglutinin or hemagglutinin is so-called as it can cause blood agglutination (clumping of blood cells). Examples include wheat germ and soybean agglutinins (R).

Plant agglutinins have been characterized by testing their ability to clump blood cells of certain blood types (R), which suggest that people with certain blood types may be more susceptible to health problems due to lectins than others.

Some plant lectins, such as castor bean ricin and white kidney bean agglutinins, are very toxic to humans and rats. Ricin can cause blood agglutination and might be used in chemical warfares and genetically engineered herbicides (R).

White kidney bean hemagglutinins can cause acute nausea, followed by vomiting and diarrhea (R).

Other plant lectins are less toxic, but they can cause damage in other ways.

Are You Lectin Sensitive? Factors That Predispose You to Lectin Sensitivity

Table: Genetic SNPs that Contribute to Lectin Sensitivity

Gene Name (Gene Symbol with SelfDecode Link)SNPsProblematic
or Genotype
Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CNR1)rs1049353T
Methyl Tetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR)rs1801133 and rs1801131C677T and A1298C
Catecholamine Methyltransferase
Superoxide Dismutase 2 (SOD2)rs4880
Glycine Transporter (SLC6A9)rs3791124AG
STAT3 (STAT3)rs9891119CC
JAK2 (JAK2)rs10758669C
MHC (MHC)rs2395185
Nrf2 (Nrf2)RS10183914
CLOCK (CLOCK)rs1801260G

To learn your genetic factors, test for your SNPs with 23andme and use SelfDecode to learn about these SNPs.

Read this post to learn more about other markers and symptoms of lectin sensitivity.

Harmful Effects of Dietary Lectins

1) Lectins Are Resistant to Digestion and Are Absorbed Into the Bloodstream

Lectins can withstand heat and digestion in both rats and humans. Plant lectins have also been recovered intact in human feces (R, R2).

They can be readily transported through the gut wall into the blood (R, R2).

In the blood, lectins may stimulate the immune system and modify hormone functions or get deposited in blood and lymphatic walls (R, R2).

2) Lectins Damage the Gut Lining Causing Leaky Gut

Lectins bind to surface glycoproteins and gut lining cells causing damage to the villi, increasing the uptake of intestinal content by the cells, and shortening the microvilli (R).

Some dietary sources of lectins, such as wheat, can directly break tight junctions in gut cells (R).

Lectins cause leaky gut, allowing increased passage of both dietary and bacterial antigens (inflammatory agents) into the blood (R, R2).

They can also interfere with nutrient absorption (R).

3) Lectins Stimulate the Immune System

As lectins cause leaky gut and are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, most people develop antibodies against dietary lectins (R, R2). These antibodies don’t necessarily protect you from harmful lectins. Whether this causes disease depends on the individual susceptibility.

In mice, administration of lectins through the nose or by feeding stimulates an IgG and IgA production comparable to that of the cholera toxin (R).

Lectins can potentiate the immune response to antigens that wouldn’t be inflammatory by themselves. For example, mice fed with wheat germ agglutinin and egg white protein develop much stronger antibody responses to egg white protein than if they are fed egg white protein alone (R, R2). Therefore, consumption of lectin-containing food concomitantly with other products can increase the likelihood of developing sensitivity to other food products.

As lectins can potentiate the immune response to other antigens, it is proposed that lectins might be used along with oral vaccines (R).

Lectins can induce mast cell reactions suggesting that they can aggravate allergies (R) and histamine intolerance.

4) Lectins Causes Autoimmunity

As lectins can act as an immune system and leaky gut trigger, lectins can cause autoimmunity in susceptible people according to Dr. Fasano’s autoimmune triad (a trigger, leaky gut, and genetic susceptibility) (R).

Lectins trigger autoimmunity by binding to glycoproteins and glycolipids (sugar molecules attached to proteins and fat), such as sialic acid, on the surface of the cells. Interestingly, the brain and gut are rich in sialic acid (R).

In humans, sialic acid is present in body fluids (blood, breast milk, gallbladder excretions, synovial fluid, sweat, gastric juices, and urine) and tissues (red and white blood cells, platelets, salivary glands, throat, stomach, cervix, colon, cartilage, etc.). In the blood, it’s found in fibrinogen, haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin, α1 -antitrypsin, complement proteins, and transferrin (R).

Lectins also increase inflammation by stimulating IFN-gamma, IL-1, TNF-alpha, and HLA class II expression in gut cells (R).

5) Lectins Affect the Gut Microbiota

The presence of lectins affects the composition of the gut bacteria and may cause dysbiosis predisposing to autoimmune disease. However, the mechanism by which lectins affect gut bacteria is not fully understood.

Lectins reduce intestinal heat shock protein (iHSPs) levels, an anti-inflammatory protein that is important for the healthy interaction with the gut bacteria. Also, lectins interfere with iHSP functions, thus reducing the gut lining’s sensitivity to oxidation and inflammation (R).

In rats, dietary lectins increase gut levels of E. coli and Lactobacillus lactis, both of which have proteins similar to HLA and are associated with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (R).

Kidney bean lectins can cause E. coli overgrowth in the gut, while snowdrop lectins and mannose-specific lectins can block this effect (R).

6) Lectins Causes Abnormal Cell Growth

Lectins can cause enlargement and overgrowth of cells in many tissues, including the intestine, pancreas, and liver (R, R2)

They can trigger lymphocyte growth and activation in cell-based studies (R).

7) Other Links Between Lectins and Health

In addition to autoimmunity, there are also other links between lectins and health.

However, most of these studies are cell-based or model organism-based, so additional studies are necessary to confirm these links.

Lectins and Insulin

At low doses, wheat germ agglutinin can mimic the insulin function in fat cells. However, at higher doses, wheat germ agglutinin can cause insulin resistance in a cell-based study (R).

Enlargement of the pancreas due to dietary lectins may reduce insulin levels in rats (R).

Lectins and Obesity

Wheat germ agglutinin and ricin from caster oil can increase fat synthesis in fat cells (in a cell-based study) (R).

Lectins and Brain Functions

In C. elegans (round worms), lectins can be transported from the gut to dopaminergic neurons, and interfere with neuronal and dopamine functions, suggesting that it may contribute to Parkinson’s disease in humans (R).

Lectin Avoidance Cures Autoimmune Disease


A study of 800 autoimmune patients evaluated a diet that avoided grains, sprouted grains, pseudo-grains, beans and legumes, soy, peanuts, cashews, nightshades, melons and squashes, non-Southern European cow milk products (Casein A1), and grain/bean fed animals.

Most of these patients started with an elevated TNF-alpha that reduced to normal after 6 months on this diet.

The study concluded that elevated adiponectin is a marker for lectin and gluten sensitivity, while TNF-alpha can be used as a marker for gluten/lectin exposure in sensitive individuals (R).

Dr. Steven Gundry, the author of the study, frowns upon foods that originated from America.

See my podcast with the author of the study: Dr. Steven Gundry.

To download a list of allowed and disallowed foods on the lectin avoidance diet, click on the bottom below.

A Diet To Avoid The Most Harmful Food Compounds


I see myself as a canary in a coal mine as I’m sensitive to many foods.

Over time, I’ve built up a list of food products that cause an insignificant level or no inflammation.

At some point, I realized that many of my health problems resulted from lectins.

I understand that not everyone is the same, but I notice that others who are very sensitive to foods can handle these foods as well.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat anything else for the rest of your life.

This diet is just to inform you about the foods that are relatively safe. Personally, I live off of these foods and try not to stray.

I mention to cut out some products if after a few weeks you still have inflammation. It takes around five days of total abstinence to unmask a food or chemical but at least two weeks to remove the residual traces. It can take longer for autoimmune disease symptoms to normalize.

Lectins are mainly concentrated in the skin and seeds of plants.

19 Major Compounds That Can Cause Inflammation

The name of the diet is somewhat of a misnomer because there are many compounds in food that can cause inflammation.  But I believe lectins are the worst culprits. The key here is to eliminate the items that cause you problems. Read this post to see a full list of this 19 compounds.


You should get a good amount of protein in the morning – about 30 grams.

Your diet should consist of 20-30% protein if you are suffering from an autoimmune or chronic inflammatory disease.

Eggs are fine from a lectin standpoint, but people easily develop egg allergies in stages of chronic gut inflammation.


My favorite source of safe carbs is raw honey. Not all raw honey is good. Two of them that work for me are This Raw Honey and This Raw Honey.

Fruits aren’t rich in lectins, but they have tannins. I eat fruit occasionally, even though they spike my immune system. My favorites are pineapple and citrus. Dr. Gundry looks at melons unfavorably.

  • Starch – I find purple sweet potatoes the least inflammatory whole food starch. Japanese sweet potatoes aren’t too bad either. Any sweet potato is fine as long as they are pressure cooked. I would still pressure cook the purple sweet potatoes.
  • Fruits – Blueberries, pineapple, citrus, golden berries, papaya, mulberries, and mango.
  • Fiber – Hi-Maize resistant starch – my main source of resistant starch these days. Nice, clean, hypo-inflammatory starch. 25 g/day to start.
  • Trehalose
  • Carob
  • Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum
  • UCAN superstar or Waxy Maize – I use Raw Honey and Hi-Maize for all of my carbs.
  • Glucose/dextrose – Only recommended in case of extreme sensitivity to lectins or if you can’t handle raw honey for whatever reason. Glucose doesn’t reach the small intestine, so a glucose based diet can starve small intestine bacteria.


Use caprylic acid, Black Cumin Seed Oilextra virgin olive oil and ghee for your oils.

Cut omega-6 oils out (except black seed oil).

Try to have a couple of tablespoons of caprylic oil daily. Space it right, and you shouldn’t have gastrointestinal effects. Use 1 tbsp Black Cumin Seed Oil and extra virgin olive oil daily.

  • Caprylic acid – The best oil. Try to have 3-5 tablespoons daily (1-1.5 with each meal). Reduce dosage if you get gastrointestinal problems and work up. MCT oil is also good.
  • Black Cumin Seed Oil – Anti-inflammatory oil with thymoquinone.
  • Avocados or guacamole (without additives)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ghee – In moderation for sauteing, stir-frying, and using for sleep.
  • Avocado Oil

To some people seeds cause problems, but they are better than nuts. In the beginning, stick with the above mentioned and eventually try the seeds. I don’t eat seeds since I get some degree of inflammation from them. 

This diet includes seeds as they are better than other foods.


  • Romaine lettuce
  • Steamed or boiled or stir-fried cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, or brussels sprouts)
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Sprouts – broccoli, alfalfa, etc.

Other non-night shade vegetables are fine.


Other spices are ok in general.

Chili, paprika, or cayenne pepper are part of the nightshade family so that some people might have a reaction to them.

Nutrients To Add

For missing nutrients and copper excess as a consequence of a lifetime of plant-based diets, you can use Life Extension Mix Powder.

If you need copper (which will be missing if you don’t eat grains and veggies) and more calcium and potassium (which will be missing if you don’t eat dairy and plant-based foods), you can take the following supplements:

Food Groups Excluded on the Lectin Avoidance Diet

  • All grains.
  • Nightshades including tomato, peppers, potato, and eggplant.
  • Gluten from wheat, rye, barley, malt, and maybe oat.
  • Legumes – All beans including soy and peanut. Cashews are part of the bean family and are not allowed. The Pythagorean code prohibited the consumption or even touching any bean (R). People with an enzyme deficiency that increases oxidative stress can’t eat certain beans such as broad beans (R).
  • Dairy including milk, and milk products as cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and kefir.
  • Yeast (except brewer’s and nutritional).
  • Fruits should be avoided during the trial period but can be added back in.

Look for symptoms of intolerance: bowel changes, sleep changes, mood changes, memory impairment or any other significant changes you can relate to the ingestion of the food group. It may take a week or so for the symptoms to appear.

To download a full list of foods to eat or avoid on the lectin avoidance diet, click on the button below.

Food Groups to Pay Special Attention To


Seafood is an important component for lectin sensitive people. Like any food, it may cause health issues to a minority of people. However, the DHA from fish oil is critical in the modulation of the immune system and decreasing lectin sensitivity.

I do well with very mildly cooked wild-caught salmon (less well with fully cooked), fresh very mildly cooked wild sardines (not canned), and fresh oysters. Other kinds of seafood are good as well.

To reduce the risk of parasites, I buy frozen wild salmon. You defrost it in your fridge over 24 hours, and you warm it up or cook it lightly. Industrial freezers should kill all the parasites, and if they don’t, 145 degrees for 5-10 minutes will. I also use a lot of spices. Additionally, the immune system protects against parasites as well, so I’m personally not concerned about them.

I’ve experimented with having up to 18 oz of wild salmon a day, without any problem. I currently take 6 oz a day.

When cooking the salmon, it should be ready soon after the water boils (maybe after 1 minute). You can eat it with leafy greens, raw garlic, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive+caprylic oils, Dulse PowderSriracha, and spices.

If you’re worried about mercury, you can take 5 g MCPNACChlorella or R-Lipoic acid to prevent heavy metals accumulation and to activate detox pathways to eliminate toxins.

The point of the diet is to get good quality DHA, iodine, less omega-6, adequate protein quantity, and nutrition.

Raw Honey

Raw Honey has some great benefits that starch doesn’t have. It’s the healthiest carb source for lectin-sensitive people.

  1. Raw honey is a mucilage, which means it coats the stomach.
  2. Raw honey is a very powerfully anti-microbial, which means it should help SIBO.
  3. Raw honey has many beneficial prebiotics, such as FOS and GOS.
  4. Raw honey has low glycemic index.
  5. Raw honey contains little lectins.
  6. Raw honey has both immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Raw honey combats mold toxins.


Hi-Maize has two different types of starch. Approximately 40% is slowly digestible starch, which is digested within the small intestine and slowly absorbed as glucose. More importantly, it contains approximately 60% resistant starch, which is digested in the large intestine and produces butyrate. Butyrate works magic for the brain. I’ve been using this for a year off and on, but I am a big fan.


Eggs are extremely nutritious and are a superfood. However, in some people, eggs can cause other health issues – not from lectins, but because it has proteins that you can easily become intolerant too if you’ve been on a heavy lectin diet for a while or if you suffer from excessive stress. I developed an allergy to eggs in my early 20’s, but most people are fine with them. If you feel fine, then indulge because eggs are a truly healthy food. If you can include eggs, you can reduce your need for supplements.

How to Reduce the Lectin Levels in Food

  • Soaking for 2 hours and cooking destroys bean lectins. In common beans, the lectin content declines from 820 to 3.2 (Hemagglutinating Activity), while in fava beans it declines from 51.3 to 6.4 (R).
  • Pressure-cooking destroys lectins in some foods, such as beans, sweet potatoes, and some squashes.


Benefits of Dietary Lectins

While many plant lectins have negative health effects, they also do have health benefits. Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of lectins.


Classification of Plant Lectins

There are 4 different types of plant lectins according to its overall structure and specificity in carbohydrate binding: merolectins, hololectins, chimerolectins, and superlectins (R).

There are 7 botanical families of plant lectins (R):

1. Legume lectins
2. Monocot mannose-binding lectins
3. Chitin-binding proteins containing hevein domains
4. Type 2 ribosome inactivating proteins
5. Cucurbitaceae phloem lectins – Most Cucurbitaceae species contain high concentrations of lectins that bind to oligomers of N-Acetylglucosamine.
6. Jacalin family – from jackfruit seeds
7. Amaranthaceae lectins
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884708
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884708
Chemical and Biological Properties of Some Plant Lectins, source: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/mioc/v86s2/vol86(fsup2)_196-203.pdf
Chemical and Biological Properties of Some Plant Lectins, source: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/mioc/v86s2/vol86(fsup2)_196-203.pdf

Animal Lectins

Examples of animal lectins include snake venom (another agglutinin), lactoferrin receptors, and blood type antigens.

Selectins, a type of lectins, bind to injured sites and mediate immune cells binding (R).

Galectin-3 plays a role in obesity and impairs blood sugar control (R).

Influenza virus infects humans by binding to sialic acid, a type of glycoprotein that is present in many human cells.

Want to get started on the Lectin Avoidance Diet? Get a copy of the cookbook for $27.


  1. Susan

    I am happy with the peace in my gut since starting the lectin avoidance diet. I didn’t realize how much rumbling and discomfort I was experiencing until it stopped.

    However since starting this diet I have been very irritable and aggressive, even angry. It is also hard to sleep. I had been eating purple sweet potatoes, and fruit for carbs but the other night I added some rice back in so I could sleep. Is there a way to stick to the diet without these aggressive feelings and insomnia? Thanks! I am a middle aged female if that matters.

    • Kate

      Hi Susan, I’m a 48 year old woman. If it’s any help I’ve noticed that certain foods cause me to be extremely irritable, very sad and even aggressive the next day. Through trial and error I’ve noticed they are all phytoestrogens — foods that cause an estrogen spike. At my age I’ve become super sensitive to phytoestrogens, and now have to avoid in particular anything containing soy, flax seeds, chia seeds, and garbanzo beans. I’m still on the hunt for more, black beans may get added to the list. But jeez the morning after accidentally consuming any of these things I’m an absolute crying, sometimes shouting mess. Look up phytoestrogens, keep a track of what you eat and your mood response, and you may see a connection.

      • Susan

        Thank you, that’s good to know. But none of those are on the Lectin Avoidance Diet which I have been trying to follow. I only started feeling this way when I started the Lectin Avioidance Diet. I feel more alert but also tense in my whole body and I’ve become very pushy (literally) and snappish. I will have to start eating grains again if this continues because i don’t want to hurt anyone or say something I’ll regret.

        • Nattha Wannissorn

          Is it possible you are sensitive to something you just introduced that you were not eating before? Anything else you changed?

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      If you don’t have any symptoms with it, then it could be safe to include. If you want to know, avoid for a while and take it back.

  2. Jernej

    Hi. Love your book. This research about hi-maize is for anybody who can “decode” it:

    (TW) stands for transwell coculture system (of IECs and DCs in this case). If I am getting it right hi-maize is pro-inflammatory when it comes to dendritic cells but has some anti-inflammatory popertis in intestinal epithelial cell – dendritic cell coculture system? So what do you make out of this? E.g. is this good for leaky gut and gut inflammation? Is it really hypo-inflammatory?


  3. Kate

    Hi, first I’d like to say that your website has been incredibly helpful for me, thanks so much.

    I’m 48 years old, and 5 years into severe auto-immune illness. 5 months ago I went vegan, since it’s the only thing I hadn’t tried. No animal protein, with no other restrictions. I thought I’d hate it, but I love it, and so does my body. I’ve made the most progress and improvements while on the diet.

    What’s interesting to me after reading this post about Lectin Avoidance is… I’m eating pretty much everything that I would avoid on that diet. Grains (brown rice and steel cut oats), beans, cashews, potatoes, blueberries, etc.

    So I’m wondering if this tells me something… the fact that eating everything on the Lectin Avoidance Diet… seems to make me feel so much better! Thanks.

  4. Sheian

    Hi there I have noticed my allergy to lectins has increased since having my daughter… I would like to try a “lectin free” cleanse however I am vegan so not sure what my diet would look like…. Anyone assist me?

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      It is not possible to do it vegan, because most plants contain lectins (the harmful ones). Consider animal products medicine and try it for a few months.

      • When a person removes completely all the carbs, should we be concerned about entering ketosis?
        For instance, I am not used to drink that much water during the day (I am never thirsty). But one should careful and drink plenty of water after removing carbs right?

        • Nattha Wannissorn

          Hi Leandro,
          It depends on what they replace it with. Amino acids can turn into glucose as well, so if someone is eating only lean protein, it’s unlikely they will get into ketosis. The lectin avoidance diet isn’t made to be a ketogenic diet.

          I don’t know what the drinking water comment comes from.

          • Yes, I know about gluconeogenesis.
            Well, I think it was because my first attempt on meat only diet made me wonder about water. I was on a High Carb diet before and when I switch to meat only, in two days, my skin got wrecked (dry and very flaky). I was assuming it was due to the water loss (indeed, that day I was excreting more fluids than drinking. Mineral supplements possibly may have triggered this also). And that’s why the drinking water question… I’m sorry about it.
            I don’t know… Perhaps, the abrupt change triggered this reaction.

        • There will be a water loss in a ketogenic state. One must actually increase sodium intake via an enhanced sodium source like Himilayan salt (READ: no table salt) No need to go bonkers, just use a little here & there. Get a blood chemistry test done & you can see where you are at

    • raw honey has a GI of only 30, compared to table sugar, brown sugar, and other commonly used sweeteners, the glycemic load of raw honey is half that of most other sugars. HFCS is also above 60 with commonly used table sugars.

      • parkham

        Whoa, I stand corrected. What exactly is raw honey as opposed to “regular honey”? 30 is about 1/2 as much as I thought it would be. Regular honey has the number I thought it would be (around 60). Why is this?

        • It’s very unfortunate the fact on my country they really don’t make a distinguish between raw honey and regular honey. It’s just “honey”. The only thing they said is that is “pressed” nothing more…
          I have been probably been eating regular honey in the past convinced it was raw…

  5. Mark

    I found that grapefruit before my meals was most beneficial to me as it stops insulin spikes and really fill me up. This helps control junk food urges.I substituted Egg noodles for wheat so I get carbs + protein at same time with lots of steamed veggies and all seems good so far..

  6. Mike

    I just bought Dr. Gundry’s book. Too bad he didn’t give us the real diet. I have 2 autoimmune problems, and stubborn belly fat, plus my genes are trying to kill me off. Your cook book and diet, will it do the things the three phases in Dr. Gundry’s book claim to do? Or do I need to do both, and eliminate from his diet the things your diet says not to eat?

    • Jessica

      There is a Facebook group for Dr. Gundry fans who practice stricter guidelines than in his Diet Evolution book. It’s called Dr. Gundry Matrix Group I think of you want to search for it and request admission. It was started by fans and Dr. G is in the group and occasionally replies to comments.

  7. crosswind

    Very enlightening and educational article. I find the comments educational too. THX for keeping up with the comments by answering questions!

    • you would be wise to use honey on moderation, just like other sugars, and keeping up with regular hygiene is just fine. Raw honey doesn’t have a higher incidence of tooth decay

  8. Linda

    Yes golden berry, golden Aztec berry, cape goose berry are all nightshades.
    Carob is a legume, but an old world tree.
    Cashews are not a legume but related to poison oak family.

    Carob has been called locust. John the Baptist was said to live on locust aka carob and honey.

  9. How I find it so hard to reach 2000-2300 kcal?
    I still didn’t find the best source of Carbs for me… So one must eat tons of fat? For example, I have to eat > 150 mL of EVOO to almost reach those calories (I wanted to have some Coconut Oil also, but I seem to react to it…)

    Is that really ok?

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      Joe reacts to coconut too, and I have clients that react to coconut oil. There’s lard, tallow, butter, uncured bacon (if you tolerate it), crackling, fattier cuts of meat, ghee etc. It takes some experimentation, but sometimes you really need to tackle the gut bacteria as diet really isn’t going to fix everything.

      • Now that statement “but sometimes you really need to tackle the gut bacteria as diet really isn’t going to fix everything.” confused me a lot.

        I thought that path would be another unsuccessful story to tell to others.
        Also, I thought Joe had already tried that without any success (I may be wrong, since I’m just guessing),
        Nevertheless, if tackling the gut bacteria will probably solve all the problems, then what’s the point of doing a Lectin Avoidance Diet?

          • John

            For someone like myself who struggles with SIBO. Would a probitoics enema make sense and would the bacteria make its easy to the large intestines?

          • Nattha Wannissorn

            I’ve helped some clients with SIBO. Generally, the protocol is to kill off the bacteria that are in the wrong places first, then re-train the gut to move correctly (by increasing stomach acid, using prokinetics, and increasing the vagus nerve tone). I wouldn’t introduce more probiotics until their gut is moving correctly. ~Nattha @ SelfHacked

          • Ok… I… I don’t know what to say anymore.

            I just wish I had enough knowledge to do all this to myself alone. Or a therapist with some good knowledge that could help me and follow my situation attentively.
            Every weird symptom that appear when I am trying to do something different is enough to make me scared and kill my motivation to go on.
            I’ve tried somewhat of an Elemental Diet (Meat, Fish, Chicken, Olive Oil – it would be “funny” if I get inflammation from Olive Oil also…) and, on the second day, my skin and muscles started to become very flaky. They started to become easily marked when I did some pressure on them and the blood was taking too much time to cover the pressured area (it would remain pale). Seemed like my blood flow was not the same. Actually, my skin/muscles under my feet started to become so thin and flaky, that I was literately walking with my feet bones. In shower, they would become all purple (bruised color) because of the pressure. I also had some vivid sticky blood inside my nose.
            I had to stop.
            I was very confused: I didn’t known if it was because I was going very low/zero carbs and literally drinking tons of olive oil that would make my skin became like this? Or if it was because of all the supplements and I was reacting to some? Or was I entering ketosis? Was I losing too much water even though I was drinking it? I simply don’t know the answer.

            Unfortunately, now, even today (after eating “normally”, this is, putting Carbs back), my skin doesn’t go back to what it was.
            I wanted to somehow manage to ignore all these symptoms, but the question is: is my body showing me some signals to stop? If I continue, would they disappear or would they become a lot worse?
            I just can’t deal with this insecurity.

            Btw, is the SelfHacked forum still working? Or is it something that it will eventually disappear?

          • Nattha Wannissorn

            We are working on the forum to make it better, so it’s not working right now. You should see your doctor.

          • I’ve registered on the forum, but I still can’t post because it says “You have insufficient privileges to reply here.”. So I guess my registration still didn’t get approved. And I’ve registered a long time ago, that’s why I asked if it was something that was going to eventually disappear due to is lack of activity.

            See a doctor…
            Seeing a doctor, a conventional one, equals to take antidepressants (and I’ve taken those during 10 years. Some of them on extreme high doses). Or saying that I am completely fine and healthy: just take a pill for sleep and if you have GI issues, just take a laxative.

            If I check an alternative doctor, he will use some biofeedback/bioressonance machine to check my health status; give me a detox kit to take and then supplement me with probiotics, vitamins and fish oils. Regarding diets, the last one I’ve checked said to me that “I am too young to be already limiting my foods. A young person should be eating everything (except gluten and dairy products).”

            This is something that frustrates me. There isn’t anyone (or at least I can’t find) in my country that has this open minded knowledge / “selfhacking” approach. They will follow their protocol no matter what is the person’s case in front of them.

            Sorry if the conversation went a little bit off-topic. I must apologize for that.
            Though, I really believe there are some readers here that are on the same situation and that they feel the same as me.

          • Nattha Wannissorn

            Oh yes. I understand. I went through a lot of finding doctors useless myself. I was just thinking maybe it’d have something to do with anemia, which you can get tested for with your doctor.

            Ughhh… try the diet and see what happens. Anyone can do anything for a few months. You are also too young to feel like crap for the rest of your life.

            If anything, you can book an appointment with Joe at selfhacked.com/contact. If he can’t help you he will refund you.

            Edit: the forum is getting migrated to another place so it’s discontinued right now. Sorry about that. ~ Nattha @ SelfHacked

          • Perhaps, anemia… But still, I don’t understand how could I develop such side effects just by trying it during 2 days. For example, my nails immediately also started to form vertical ridges. I guess with the supplements I’ve start taking, it messed with the homeostasis of my body and it reacted this way…

            I’ve already had a consultation with Joe already. Like you, he said to me to try the diet and to be brave about it. Otherwise my life will continue the same if I don’t do anything different. But, of course, doing it alone, it’s completely different on having someone supervising me, to help me understand and especially to deal with these symptoms.
            I will try it again… I wanted to see my skin to go back to what it was first, but it seems it doesn’t going to happen any time soon…
            It’s always like this: easy to destroy, hard to repair and rebuild 🙁

            I’d certainly appreciate if you could manage to validate my registration on the forum.
            Thank you very much for your attention and support..

          • Just one question: the recommended dose of the Life Extension Mix Powder is 12 grams (3 scoops).
            I’m not an expert, but aren’t the doses of each nutrient too high? Could this be potentially dangerous?
            When I read things like 8333%, 10000% than the RDA, makes me wonder about its safeness.

          • Oh, of course, that makes sense.
            I think I don’t need to put here all its supplemental facts, because they are quite some, so I will do the question on a different way: is the Life Extension Mix Powder a safe supplement to take?
            Obviously, if Joe advises it, I guess it is safe.
            But it’s just these huge numbers that I am not used to see on a supplement. When I was taking B-Complex, for instance, there weren’t any 4 digit number on the % Daily Value. And great quantities doesn’t always equal to be healthier.
            I feel like I don’t want to mess up my body by overdosing such quantities (especially when I am probably deficient in some nutrients. It will cause somewhat of an impact, I guess. I’ve already experimented it though…).
            I know our bodies usually can handle high doses like these, but still…
            As I said before, I am not an expert here. I am simply asking according to my naive thoughts and worries.

          • Nattha Wannissorn

            I would say try it and titrate it up from a lower dose to see how you feel. Simply because it works for him doesn’t mean it works for you.

          • Dear Nattha, I am also concerned about one thing, if I may ask you.
            Usually, I have low cholesterol levels on my blood tests (and when I mean low, I’m saying around 100-120 mg/dL).
            Eggs was always a way to go to increase my cholesterol, but if I’m going to do an animal products only diet (minus eggs), should I be concerned if I will get even lower levels?
            I mean, I’ve already read it is actually plant based foods that lower our cholesterol (due to fiber, for instance); and that meat usually raises it. However, I know there is always a but… So should I be concerned about it?

            Of course, there are always ways to counteract this like supplementing Sunflower Lecithin right?

            Thank you very much for your attention and support. I really appreciate your help, especially regarding these “simple” questions.

          • Nattha Wannissorn

            There are plenty of other sources of cholesterol from animal sources, like liver, ghee, lard, tallow etc. If your cholesterol is abnormally low like that I would investigate what caused it in the first place. Are you taking anything that could lower cholesterol? I wouldn’t take sunflower lecithin just for this reason.

          • No, I am not taking anything to lower cholesterol 🙁
            The only reason I could think about is High Carb (fruits only) / Low Protein Diet I was doing before…
            Still, in the past when I wasn’t that much into diets and I was eating all the foods (including dairy and gluten containing foods), my cholesterol was also this low. But, I must say, my diet was horrible there though.
            There was one time I had better cholesterol levels (179), but it was when I was eating 10 raw egg yolks a day.

            I am little worried, because Joe seemed to have high cholesterol levels in the past and, in my case, it’s just the opposite.
            Let’s see… After all, animals sources are indeed better to get cholesterol (and I have been excluding them).
            Or perhaps, I should be checking my cholesterol levels more often.

            By the way, regarding Ghee. The one I’ve found in my country says 99.3% dairy free. It’s clearly a “don’t buy it”, right?
            To be honest, I seem to not find any good Ghee here in Europe…

      • Brett

        To get up to the 2000 – 2500 kcal per day, I eat some avocado, Hi-Maize, honey and coconut milk in a smoothie for breakfast with 3 eggs and MCT oil and usually a pound of beef per day.

        I sometimes will cheat with a Kirkland Nut Bar from Costco for an easy 210 calories. While this isn’t lectin avoidant, I don’t seem to react too badly.

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      Yes if it doesn’t cause you any problems. In the end it comes to if something works for you. ~Team SelfHacked.

        • crosswind

          I can’t use Coconut oil OR butter OR Ghee. Dairy allergies & sensitive to coconut. I do best with Organic Olive oil grown local in the southwest. Plus Olive oil helps the body make more DAO enzyme to help process histamine, a good thing for those of us with DAO gene mutations causing DAO enzyme deficiency.

          • I think I am the same as you… Sometimes I even wonder the quality of my Olive Oil to be honest.
            Do you follow a strict Lectin Avoidance Diet?

            P.S.: Sometimes I wish there was a place where people could talk about their experiences, their improvements, to share ideas, about doing a diet like this.
            I feel like doing this all alone without enough knowledge, I am constantly putting my health in danger.

  10. Question: Can you eat “sprouted” grain breads? While reading “Eat Right for your Type” it states that the sprouting process destroyed the gluten lectins. Do you believe this to be true?

  11. If you stop eating lectin heavy food for a while, will you be able to eat eggs again? You have so much knowledge about autoimmune diet, but will you be one day be “normal” by eliminating gluten, lectins, and refined sugar long enough? I think the gut can be repaired to the point where allergens no longer irritate the gut. Just now I am drinking a broccoli and green bean broth (first boiled them and then blend it in vitamix) and I added some collagen powder into it to hopefully repair my leaky gut.

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      Hi Steve,
      It involves a lot more than diet to heal the gut. Many people are more sensitive to lectin containing foods when they are stressed, for example.
      Some people (like Dr. Gundry) believes that humans are not evolved to eat high lectin foods like grains. But some people are more sensitive than others. And it’s true some people eventually can introduce eggs after a while, but they would only really know if they try it.

      Gluten always causes leaky gut within the next few hours of consumption in everyone. Now, whether it causes symptoms depends on other things. For people who are susceptible to inflammatory problems, it’s a good idea to avoid it permanently.

      ~Team SelfHacked

  12. Gretchen Dean

    Has any professional dietitian or naturopath, for example, devised a lectin-avoidance diet appropriate for people who are committed to vegetarianism for ethical reasons so don’t eat flesh?

    • Nattha Wannissorn

      The lectin avoidance diet is to help people manage their chronic health problems. Most lectins that cause inflammation are found in plants, and animal-based foods are better tolerated. It might be a spiritual choice to choose not to eat flesh, but I tell people to consider it a medicine to heal themselves and stay healthy. ~Nattha @ Team SelfHacked

  13. An-Marie Verdeyen

    For 6 weeks I’ve been eating according to the lectin avoidance diet, using the recipes from the cookbook.
    I’m eating for lunch and dinner meat, fish or eggs with vegetables [high pressure cooked], I use proteinshakes for breakfast, Hi-Maize cookies for snacks [see cookbook] and fruit.
    Initially this worked for me very good and I experienced some digestive improvements, but after 3 weeks my sleeping problems and anxiety increased profoundly, maybe because the protein powders set my neurotransmitters more out of balance.
    My question is how to still my hunger without having to cook 3 dinners a day ? I’m having troubles with coconut and its derivatives … and need to avoid grains.
    Thanks, An-Marie

    • Natcha M

      Hi An-Marie,
      If you have trouble with the protein powders, then it is probably wise to avoid them. There is no need to use protein powder when there is other food. You also don’t need to eat coconut.

      How about batch cooking? I personally do eat like dinner 3 times a day. I cook a few times a week, and really peruse tools like the Instant Pot and the toaster oven. Gotta experiment with maybe a little more fats or more carbs, or just more foods in general to make you feel satiated and stable. But also other issues like poor sleep will make you hungrier, so you gotta fix those. From the look of it, just try and see if not using the protein powder will help. Some protein powders cause me anxiety and insomnia, too.

      If not, you’ll probably need a more customized plan, so you can contact Joe or I for a consult at https://selfhacked.com/contact/. Sometimes a special diet will fix the problems, but other times you do need more than the diet. ~Nattha @ Team SelfHacked

    • Natcha M

      It might not be necessary to do such restrictive diets with your kids unless there are health issues or obvious lectin sensitivities. Milk and bread are not healthy foods either way. ~Team SelfHacked

  14. Dale Almond

    I had a disastrous reaction to resistant starch (I used potato starch) and it took many months to recover. I have severe celiac disease, due to a lack of diagnosis until I was 53. I have subsequently read that celiacs should NEVER use resistant starch. I would strongly suggest you add a warning to celiacs about this.

  15. Bryan

    Is white rice lower in leptins than other grains?
    I don’t want to completely eliminate starches from my diet. White rice is one I’d like to keep.

  16. An-Marie

    Thank you for all this information and the work you put into it.
    Can I eat on a daily base chicken or beef broth when following the lectin avoidance diet ?

  17. Ray Petroski

    Hey Joe,

    I bought the cookbook and have used the Hi-maize cookies and the Maple Turkey Sausage recipes multiple times and have gotten inflammation every time even though the score you gave them both were “10s”.

    I was curious to know if there were any specific ingredients in either of those recipes that might be triggering the immune response that I could cut out of either recipes to prevent such a reaction. Also I’ve gotten inflammation from both whole chicken recipes and I’m confused as to why this might be?

    Thank you!

  18. Ray Petroski

    Hey Joe, I’ve tried the Hi-Maize cookies and Maple turkey Sausage recipes multiple times and have gotten inflammation every time. Are there any ingredients that could be creating these reactions in either of these recipes?

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Any individual can have a reaction to anything, but keep in mind it might be food or macronutrients (carbs) rather than the specific food.

  19. an-marie

    When significant opioid peptides from dermorphin are found in a urine sample is the lectin avoidance diet sufficient enough to get rid of it?

  20. anna burns

    hi Joseph, you mentioned not eating squash.
    When I search online, I can not find any lists for nightshades that contain squash.
    Will you expound on this please? thanks

  21. Julia

    This diet and dr.Gundry diet is high histamine which I seem to have a problem with. Do you think the histamine is the issue or lectins? What do you think of histamine intolerance in general? I also have treated SIBO 3 times, lupus and biotoxin illness/CIRS so have been on many different diets and don’t know what one to do anymore. Would this be best for auto-immune and inflammation?

    • Angela Greenfield

      i have lupus and was told alfalfa sprouts are a no-no. Just sprouts in general as the risk for contamination is high,also, I am hesitant being immuno compromised to eat anything unpasteurized such as raw honey.

      • am

        I am immuno compromised (lymphopenia) too and have no problems with raw honey or raw milk, though of course all you need is one bad batch. I cant say I noticed any difference with raw honey but I definitely was able to tolerate the raw milk better than regular milk.

        I did a raw milk diet for 6 weeks at one stage. Nothing but milk breakfast, lunch & dinner. I did not get diarrhea at all like with regular doses of regular milk. In fact I was the total opposite for the first time in my life. I never really felt any pick up in my health or digestion or weight gain on the raw milk diet which was a real shame, though I had a week of great health when I switched back to a normal diet. It was a shame it did not last longer. The milk diet certainly made life a lot simpler,

      • TeddieMarieInLight

        Angela, honey has its own antibacterial, antimicrobial properties. Pasteurization of honey only destroys what is good and is of no consequence to any bad guys. Which is why the FDA approved honey for skin infections.
        There were sealed jars of honey found in some Egyptian tombs. The honey had, obviously, crystallized, but once warmed up was completely edible. No spoilage, no toxins, and perfectly fine to eat.
        I keep raw honey in my disaster supplies, one of the best for illness fighting and instant energy. Research it foir yourself, you will be amazed.

  22. Celine

    Joseph, thank you for being one of apparently the only online resources about foods containing lectins!

    I have two quick questions, if you ever are looking through this and have the time to answer. I have a question about the dairy- if I understood correctly, goat/sheep/A2 dairy is okay from a lectin perspective, right? And also, how reliable is the adiponectin test as a marker for lectin sensitivity, in your opinion? Thank you so much.

  23. I notice that in the fats section there is no mention of coconut milk/yoghurt. This is a great way for me to get calories in during the day, as my local stores sell organic coconut yoghurt (COYO). I’ve never experienced symptoms from it, do you have any thoughts?

  24. Denis Gelrud

    In the squash or in cucumbers as well? If you skin and seed the cucumber to remove the lectind I don’t remember reading about many other problems with cucumber.

  25. Lana

    1) If I remove the seeds from Winter squash and zucchini and cook them, are they OK?

    2) If I remove the seeds from cucumber and eat raw, is that OK?

    Thank you.

    • We are very sensitive to peanuts. Most peanuts have fungus. They are dirty nuts! You can find many replacements for peanuts that have many minerals and protein, such as pumpkin seeds (high in the most important mineral magnesium – protects from heart disease, helps with liver problems, help detoxify, helps you sleep better, helps with muscle soreness..etc etc etc), hemp seeds (high in protein), chia seeds (clean up the intestine, high in omega3), sunflower seeds (also high in protein), flax seeds (great omega6;3 ratio).

      All nuts should be bought raw and soaked overnight for optimum health and nutrition.

      You can purchase any raw sprouted nut or seed butters, which are a lot healthier for you. They are available everywhere nowadays. Check out our website for more info.

  26. Fran Przybylowski

    You never addressed the question about what changes pressure cooking certain items makes and why we should go and spend the money to invest in one…is it worth it…please respond
    Fran Przybylowski

  27. Joel

    Sounds interesting. Celiac with chronic headaches. Have had some success with Keto but still not optimal. Always ate lots of nuts and nightshades. Wondering about butter, coconut oil, coffee, tea, lemon juice. I noticed pork is not listed under proteins – why is that?

  28. Steve

    Joe thanks for the great info I just ordered the book. Would vit C be considered a fruit, thus be avoided? during the trial period? Also at what point can things like fruit be added back in.

    • crosswind

      and canned fish is HIGH in histamines. I am reacting myself this week to canned sardines. Fyi for anyone with DAO gene mutation that causes histamine sensitivity. I have DAO +/+ (2 mutations, so i am Very sensitive to histamine overload.

  29. I´m definetely in the lectin-sensitivity team. I even got an asperger´s diagnose due to my anxiety, sound and light sensitivity and brain fog. Today I´m a totally different person and just starting to discover who I really am. Thanks to people like you who give us these great information. But, even though it´s improving very slowly, I´m also very sensitive to histamine, citric acid and fructose, so lemons and honey are not perfect for me. Also protein on the go is always a big problem so that I sometimes have to eat rawbars with nuts. The perfect sweetener for me is date syrup. Xylitol gives me GI symptoms. One important question, I discovered a German provider for cricket flour, but I´m suspecting it to be high in histidin like seafood? Does anyone know if people with histamine intolerance can tolerate insects?

    • Doro,

      I am afraid we are suffering from identical symptoms and diagnoses. I believe I developed Asperger’s over a period of time. Once I lost my gut, I lost my mind. The brain fog is particularly bad. I have diarrhea from fructose and get extremely spaced out with high histamine foods. Gluten, diary, red meat, coffee all cause massive reactions that knock me out for several days with terrible sleep. It’s all related to HISTAMINE. My eyes are always slightly red and sleeping some nights is a nightmare. I am not diagnosed Asperger’s but I am likely borderline. The neural inflammation is what I believe is causes my degradation. The H3 receptor in the brain(histamine) down regulates norepenhrine in the brain. Which causes the brain fog we are experiencing. I am lucky enough to tolerate chicken. Do you have any advice?

  30. Candy

    This diet does not seem compatible with histamine issues….fish, citrus, most meats are aged, egg whites (maybe be from whites not cooked enough?)etc. It’s hard to figure out where to begin. What came first the chicken or the egg and how to undo it. I think stress got me here. Don’t know how to undo that either.

    • B. Latherings

      I’m in the same place; need to avoid histamine big time and also avoid lectins. there seems to be not much left to eat. My sensitivities came from a toxic mold exposure that went years without being diagnosed. Now that i’m out of mold exposure, I still have the mess to clean up that it left behind.

      • chad miles

        Try taking a seaweed suppliment like Laminara Japonica it should help detox your body of the mold toxins.Coffee enemas help alot also. Oregano and peppermint essential oils combat the mold in the body as well. N Acetyl Cystine at about 1200-1500 mg daily helped me tremendously. Manuka honey is the best honey I have found yet to combat mold issues.

        • winston

          “Manuka honey is the best honey I have found yet to combat mold issues”
          Manuka honey comes in a number of different grades, and it gets successively more expensive with the higher strengths. What strength (UMF) did you use and how soon did you start to feel better? Also was the benefit you got from NAC was it immediate or did your health improve over time?

      • Laura

        I’m like some of you. Not knowing what to eat. I’m 54 and my body is changing fast. I can’t eat dairy or shrimp anymore. OMG, I bloat, get sick feeling, no energy, can’t get rid of my gut and the other unpleasant things you can imagine. I just read up on what you can eat. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n3s/fig_tab/ejcn2010221t1.html
        Seems we need Polyphenols and not Lectins. I’m going to try this and see what happens. Good luck everyone and hope ya’ll feel better soon also.

  31. Kristen N

    thank you so much for this informative post. Having autoimmune joint symptoms and fatigue, I am eager to try this approach. I have 2 questions about foods I take for biotoxin (mold) illness that I hope to keep taking if possible while I try this approach: Do you know if either potato starch (is pure starch and contains no protein so I assume no lectin?) and/or Coconut Activated Charcoal (made from ground up coconut shells) would be safe for me to continue or would either be too high in lectins?

  32. terri

    Eggs said to have very high glyphosate residues (herbicide some call worse than DDT), considered to disrupt the gut. Wondering cost/benefit.

      • Thank you for the response and all you are doing to help so many of us. Given that Amaranth seems the least problematic and still not ideal, might the processes of pre-soaking and / or pressure cooking make it a candidate for those of us looking for feasible flour alternatives?

  33. Mark

    Thank you for the site. I have ragweed allergy/intolerance thus have to avoid stevia along with dandelion, echinacea.

  34. John

    I can’t thank you enough for this blog!
    For 12 years now it’s been a downward health spiral. First dairy intolerance, then bread/wheat, then grape products, next up was tomatoes, followed by peanut butter, nuts and berries. At first I got a small rash, then more, then 3 months ago it spread over large parts of my body. Several doctors, dermatologists, Chinese herbal doctors and allergists – but Nothing helped! Horrified, I’ve tried to Google so many different possible causes, but nothing added up. Until my wife found your blog and it was a LIGHT BULB moment.
    Yes, Lectins is the issue. I’m left wondering why no doctor or specialist has any clue.
    I’ve just been on this Lectin free diet for about 2 weeks, but things are slowly turning around. As some of the other people noted – you really need to meal plan. That’s been difficult for me, but I’m improving. And I’m glad I have a good health food store down the street.
    P.S. I’m putting together my own Lectin foods diagram tonight to simply the information, mainly for memory and shopping purposes.
    Wishing you all the best!

  35. Brett

    I have been following the Lectin Avoidance diet (95% of the time) for about 4 weeks now and I think it has been helpful at lowering overall systemic inflammation and brain fog for me. I think Joe has identified many of the worst food culprits that may have subtly affected me before. Lectin avoidance did not cure all my inflammation and issues but I think its giving me a nice “clean slate” to run other selfhacking experiments with. The only major downside to the diet has been that is has been extra time shopping and cooking – everything I make is fresh and I’m always running to the store or washing dishes – and the social incompatibility. But overall I am feeling better even for it to be worth it.

  36. Dennis

    You recommend grape seed extract on some posts… sounds like it could make problems. and can medicinal mushrooms like reishi makes problem to lectin sensitivy people??
    thanks for the free infos

  37. Remy

    It would really be helpful to have a starting point here for the liquid! I’m a terrible cook when I have to improvise…thanks!

  38. Dennis

    what is your opinon on cacao . i react to most kinds of lectins from seeds grains and nuts . cacao is delicious but belongs to the nuts seeds category or ? ur experience with cacao ?

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Cacao is ‘healthy’ but it does have lectins and it should be avoided on the lectin avoidance diet, unless you can pressure cook it somehow.

      • Tara Barger

        Can you point me in the direction of finding out more info about why pressure cooking helps with lectins? Thanks so much!! t

  39. jazzm44

    Brown rice protein powder and pea protein powder? How do you figure these are not chock full of lectins. It doesn’t make sense with your earlier premise.

  40. Christine

    I have an auto immune muscle/joint desease Drs still trying to identify. Got tired of testing and waiting and feeling horrible. Started high alkaline diet and inflammation went down drastically within a month. Many alkaline foods are similar to your list except meats are considered inflammatory producing and almonds considered ok to eat. I eat as much raw veggies and leafy greens as possible . And while inflammation is down and I feel way better than before, my body still attacks itself, (but not to the same extent). I eat like a rabbit so when I feel the tingling coming on and aches and pain, I get a little disappointed of course. The Alkaline diet has given my life back, but not eliminated the desease entirely. What are your thoughts on similarities and differences between the two diets, yours and the Alkaline diet. Ty. Christine

  41. Thanks for sharing these information about lectin food intolerance, I have skin pigmentation and I tried everything, as a B blood type, I ‘m going to try this lectin free food diet and will let you know the out come.

  42. linda

    Joe, your work here is impressive. I found you via searches for more info on Dr. Gundry’s diet modifications for autoimmune disease, specifically hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia. Originally following his program to lose weight, As a dedicated ovo-lacto vegetarian for 38 years (I’m 60), eliminating grains and legumes and initially fruits is a new challenge. Want to do it, though with 40 or so pounds to lose and bp meds to kick, hopefully.

    Now just learning about lectins and finding even less variety in food choices with the elimination of soy especially, which I’ve relied on heavily for so many years as a protein source. Can find dairy from the right (a-2) cows, goats and sheep no problem. But I’m going to go the pressure-cooker route for a few days from time to time.

    Questions regarding the also-problematic nightshades. Besides seeding and peeling them, what do you know about cooking them with miso to neutralize the solanine? Roasted red peppers good?

    On my way to getting 23andMe, can’t wait to plug into Decodify. All the best with that heroic effort!

  43. Walter Sobchak

    Hey, Joe:

    I found a Freudian slip in the above post. 🙂


    Food Groups to Pay Special Attention To


    If you’re worried about lawyers, you can take 5g MCP, 600mg NAC, Chlorella and R-Lipoic acid to prevent heavy metals, toxins and to activate detox pathways to take care of toxins.


    Lawyers?!? HA HA HA They are considered a toxin by some!

    Another great post! Exceedingly informative, as always!


  44. Melissa Christie

    Is Plantain Flour for RS lectin free ? if no what is the best RS that is Lectin free I saw waxy maze in your article but then saw it has no RS content, confused 🙁 Thank you in advance !

  45. Melissa Christie

    Hi Joe, HELP I have Hashimoto’s and believe I am lectin sensitive, because my inflamation w just GF is not working, I am also vegan except for seafood, i.e. ( sushi)

    I was eating a metagenics shake in the am, later
    a smoothie w banana, avocado, blues, and spinach, spirulina, coconut milk, sometimes Bob Red Mill GF oatmeal w ground flax, Hemp and dries cranberries, in between I have been having nuts, cashews and almonds as well as popcorn and kettle GF potato chips, fyi this is just examples of what I may eat I don’t consume it all in a day. I have a fast paced life and commute so need things I can have on hand when hungry. I am so frustrated about the lectins and what foods have it or not.
    DO you have any ideas with what I can eat to replace popcorn, Kettle potato chips and what nuts I can have ??
    I would so APPRECIATE the recommendations of food I could eat w in my GF, Vegan, seafood diet help. I have been trying for over 2 yrs to heal myself, very frustrating for sure !
    Thank you,

    • Josh

      Melissa, nobody is going to take the time to review your particular case. Luckily you just have to read the article properly and you can take those shortcuts towards hacking your own biology.

    • sam

      Melissa have you had allergy testing?
      Do you know for sure that corn and oats and potatoes are good for you?
      I thought those foods had a high strike rate when it comes to people who have food intolerances and they are also high in lectins When you are run-down and/or live a fast paced life and have a lot of diet restrictions its ‘very’ frustrating..

  46. michelle v

    The maize products you recommend, do you have any idea if they’re safe for people who have an antigen reaction to corn?

  47. Anonymous

    A more comprehensive list of veggies allowed would be nice. There’s a boatload more of them than just the cruciferous ones & leafy greens Also what about mushrooms? No other fruit than what’s listed?

    Always found that part somewhat unclear. Are veggies actually that important if you supplement nutrients? Are the various non nutrient compounds found in fruits n veggies crucial or just a nice bonus ?

  48. Scott

    Fantastic website Joe

    I can relate to a lot of your health issues. I have started down the path of the lectin avoidance diet for the last 2 weeks and have been feeling a bit better brain fog wise. This currently is my most distressing symptom. The next most distressing issue is my inablity to put on weight. It has confounded me how it is so difficult to put on weight with high
    calorie diets and body building…yet there have been times I have been able to do so but it never lasts and I end up having a health crash (chronic fatigue episode. So far I have lost wieght on this low inflammation diet.

    My questions are:
    * how long did the turn around take for you to really get good cognitive boost from this low lectin diet?
    * have you put on weight from doing this diet and how long did it take before you saw that?
    I was amazed to read you only go to the gym a few times a month. I really want to put on another 12kg.

    A few years back I did a exclusively raw milk diet for 6 weeks. I was amazed that my weight did not alter despite varying the number of litres I drank a day. I thought a diet exclusive in grass fed milk would be a great diet for someone with lots of food intolerances and IBS. I actually became constipated on it, but no real health improvement except for the first 2 weeks after I switched back to a normal diet and felt great and put on some short lived weight. I am also surprised that milk is a bad thing given the purpose of lectins in plants, that they are in diary. I love diary but know it not good for me, but I also felt that the alternate milks like soy, almond, oat, coconut were not good for me either having drunks lots of them and not feeling so well for it.

  49. Mike

    it’s called the blood type as some lectins preferentially bind to certain antigens or sugars…Dr D”adamo wrote the book on diet and lectins and not one mention…shame on you

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      I don’t believe in his shpeil where blood type determines the kind of lectins you’re sensitive to. No evidence for that..

  50. Ole

    Joe, is the Pea protein by NOW lectin free as well. I live in Norway and iHerb does not stock Swanson. Buying swanson pea protein from the UK would cost me 100dollars per week.
    Any other brand that works? Ive done fine with the NOW brand for both pea and rice but i did horrible with bulkpowders.co.uk pea protein isolate.

    • Scott

      I also don’t feel so crash hot on pea protein either. Sprouted Rice is better for me but not ideal either. I find Hemp Protein the best for me. Pea I thought would be a problem coming from the legumes family. I guess it could be said that the protein is pure and does not have any of the allergens like is also said for Whey Protein Isolate, but it doesn’t quite work out so ideal for me. WPI is great protein source for me when I go to the gym..but only initially then an intolerance to it forms.

    • hi Ole as you mentioned i have tried bulk powders rice and pea protein when i was lifting and since from that i’m having a leky gut issues and getting intolrance to many foods that i normally ate before. did you had any issues from these product. also i heard that myprotein sells rice protein as well, check that out..

  51. rob

    Is post meal fatigue a direct responce to eating something you intorrant to . Or is it just cause of the damage the lectins have done to the gi

  52. c

    Hey this artical is very helpful quick question Would a waxy maize with these ingredence cause trouble…
    Maltodextrin, Fructose, Glucose, Chromium Picolinate.

    • Sally Austin

      Your page is wonderful. So helpful I ordered Butyrate, sailic acid, and high maize. I plan on adding the maize to my coconut flour pancakes. Now I’m not sure about the sailic acid. What is its purpose? I have Celiac and have been GF for 15 years. I just read that high maize is bad for celiacs, but I don’t believe it. Help? Thank you.

  53. Fritz.Harber

    What’s better – canned cod liver or really well done (slightly burnt) wild salmon (my work place can offer only the latter)

  54. Denvill

    Joe, you used to recommend chewing gum in the evening for followers of a mostly-liquid diet (like the 30 day-reset) – do you still recommend it?

  55. Lesamsung

    What about lectins as a fighters for HIV virus in humans? Isn’t the idea avoiding lectin disadvantageous in this aspect?

  56. Zed

    Are you at all concerned about the level of omega 6 in black cumin seed oil? It’s about 59% omega 6, which means that you’re ingesting 8.26g supplemental omega 6 just from 1 tablespoon.

    Also, given the evidence regarding fructose’s harmful effects on metabolic health, AGE production, inflammation, etc especially when combined with PUFAs, how do you justify consuming so much honey? Even though honey does have some unique medicinal qualities, there is not research suggesting that honey will negate the damaging effects of excessive fructose.

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Honey: If I am consuming a good amount of honey, I don’t consume other fruits…50g of fructose daily is perfectly fine….

      Omega-6: It’s the dose that matters…

  57. Frankie Bingo-Dinkle

    This is well off the mark, cut out the hemp oil and omega 3
    and try to lower serotonin not increase it
    please do yourself a favour and follow Ray Peats recommendations

  58. john r

    For chicken, I eat organic, which they are fed a corn a soymeal diet. considering it is bean/grain fed, is it still ok from a gluten/lectin free view?? I see the study says no grain/bean diet for animal products…

  59. Eddie

    What If you don’t have any gut problems but have all the other symptoms? Is it possible to still be lectin sensitive?

    • Dorothy

      I only WISH I could eat the foods on this & a million other diets I’ve tried. I must have every sensitivity known, including histamine, salicylates, oxalates, gluten, etc.plus SIBO.. I’m very concerned that there is NO source of carbs I can tolerate & the adrenals need some carbs. Mine are low as is, & getting more so the longer I go without any carbs. It’s maddening when you’ve tried so many diets & have so few foods to tolerate, & react to almost every supplement, herb, etc. known, even the so-called pure ones–if they have any additives or fillers, esp. mag stearate, forget it. I haven’t tried hi-maize but assume it would feed the SIBO, which I can’t treat, I just get sicker. Anyone else experiencing this, & if so, have you found a diet solution? Thanks so much for any help.

      • Frankie Bingo-Dinkle

        try fruit juice without pulp and if you can’t tolerate that then try white sugar and white rice.
        you need to start eating more carbs so your cells can function properly, only then will your body be able to handle things without stress reactions. also try to avoid PUFAs and omega 3s.

  60. Alan

    Are all pea proteins lectin free or just this Swanson product? I thought peas, being a legume, naturally contain lectins?

    • Ole

      I second this question, ive used NOW’s pea protein with no issues but Bulkpowders (UK) upsets my stomach really bad.

      Is Swanson the only approved brand?

    • Alan

      I bought Growing Naturals Pea Protein (Vanilla) as I’ve tried it before in the past and I thought it tasted good. But this time round, it gave me some discomfort in the gut and made me gassy. Do you think I should try out other brands? Would there be a significant difference anyway? Or give up on pea protein entirely? I don’t really fancy brown rice or hemp protein.

  61. Bigtime

    It’s been widely established that rice even in small amounts, especially brown rice, has TOXIC LEVELS OF ARSENIC. There is a substantial cadmium and lead problem as well…etc.

    I was having very good initial results with rice. My own widespread problem with lectins may be worse than yours! Now I’m back to scrambling for alternatives…rats!

    What are your thoughts?

  62. I have begun to get mild ibs pain & gas much more regularly in the past week, I haven’t been taking hi maize just in case you think it’s that. I want to eliminate any possibility of getting IBS. I should go low carb diet, keep stress to a minimum, do relaxation exercises and load up on the prebiotics and exercising. Any other measures I should take? Supplements etc

  63. Rollia

    Any reason to use calcium lactate instead of citrate for the 30 day reset? what about vitamins on this protocol (a,d,e,k & c)?

  64. Emma

    May I have the reference of the study involving 800 people with auto immune disease relieved by lectin avoidance diet ? I can’t find it

  65. Ole

    Assuming lectins are inflammatory for me, would they be worse than cigarettes for my health? (Organic additive free cigarettes)

    From a inflammation/oxidative stress standpoint.

  66. Susan

    Is tapioca OK, or no good??? I know this is for humans but my dog has been ill for 2 years & finally did endoscope + biopies & he has Lymphocytic Gastritis & Helicobacter infection, when Ive googled Lypmhocytic Gastritis Celiac disease & the helicobacter infection comes up. It says he needs change of diet a hypoallergenic, gluten free diet he could never eat potatoes, he’d get real bad diarrhea & rash & itch cant eat barley rye oats peas sweet potatos, I thought he was allergic to starch then a lady told me about Lectins, so I ask vet about putting him on Tapioca & Duck kibble..but Ive just read that Tapioca has Lectins, I dont understand all this… what foods dont have lectins or are low in lectins???? He’s on the Eukanuba Intestinal low residue kibble it has grites, maize, turkey & chicken…is maize & grites Ok for him to eat he been on this diet over 1 year but still has hive like lumps on his white bites of fur head poos are nice & firm, I just dont want his Helicobacter to come back hes on the triple therapy antibiotics & Zantac for 3 weeks to kill the helicobabcter…

      • I’ve looked a Ziwi Peak but the fat% is toooo high, he doesn’t do well on high fat diets or high protein diets, he has acid reflux.. fat makes his acid worse…a lot of vets Drs & nutritionist don’t know much about Lectins..I’m going to try vet diet Royal Canine ‘Sensitivity Control’ the fat is only 9% & its gluten free the only vet diet that is Gluten free.. its just Tapioca & Duck..

  67. Fritz.Harber

    You wrote on your facebook day that you did some “cheating” today by eating lectins. I do “cheating” day every two weeks. Do you have any good protocol that you can share what to do when you are cheating really badly? Sometimes it takes me a week to get back to myself…

  68. Fritz.Harber

    Hi! I take 10g of dextrose and one large date as breakfast during the first 4 hours upon awakening and feel excellent.

    I remember though that you wrote that one should aim for a protein-containing meal the first hour upon awakening.

    Should I switch to eating pea protein upon awakening?

  69. Alex

    Any particular reason why you prefer to use the Skansen cod liver instead of the King Oscar? King Oscar seems to be very good when I get it.

  70. Kieron

    Is it possible to have enough energy with this diet, Can you be a vegan and use this diet and still have energy to work 9 to 5.

  71. Alex

    Hi Joe!

    A bit off topic but I was wondering what do you think about fecal microbiota transplantation. It seems that the gut microbiota is involved in everything and anything, from depression (1), obesity (2) to how well the flu vaccine works for you (3). There is also more and more evidence suggesting that intestinal flora is a key player in autoimmunity (4), (5).

    If someone used to have a tendency to eat a diet which is known for disrupting the gut flora (tones of improperly prepared legumes, tones of unproperly prepared whole grains, lots of sugar, etc.) followed by low dose long cycles of antibiotics, do you think fecal transplantation (probably DIY, since finding a provider who would agree to do the procedure is nearly impossible in my country) would be of any use for autoimmune conditions, IBS, and tone of food sensitivities?

    Take care!

    1) Foster, Jane A., and Karen-Anne McVey Neufeld. “Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression.” Trends in neurosciences 36.5 (2013): 305-312.

    2) Turnbaugh, Peter J., et al. “A core gut microbiome in obese and lean twins.” nature 457.7228 (2008): 480-484.

    3) Oh, Jason Z., et al. “TLR5-Mediated Sensing of Gut Microbiota Is Necessary for Antibody Responses to Seasonal Influenza Vaccination.” Immunity (2014).

    4) Proal, Amy D., Paul J. Albert, and Trevor G. Marshall. “The human microbiome and autoimmunity.” Current opinion in rheumatology 25.2 (2013): 234-240.

    5)Paget, Stephen A. “The Microbiome, Autoimmunity, and Arthritis: Cause and Effect: An Historical Perspective.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association 123 (2012): 257.

    • Joe

      Fecal microbiota transplant is something I’d support for Th2 dominance.

      I wouldn’t do a DIY transplant on me, but I guess it would depend on how desperate I was.

      I can’t recommend this option.

  72. Joanna

    Damn… I seem to have lectin intolerance (the majority of symptoms), and everything with this solution would be cool if not for the fact that I have to put on weight. I imagine this to be impossible with this protocol. Shame.

  73. adam

    TH1 type, Having gone off potato/grain lectins for almost 2 weeks, seeing some of the brain fog and psychological symptoms get better, I’m feeling a little weak and lacking energy on the hi-maize and fruit (bananas which i seem to tolerate ok) compared to being on the japanese yams or rice for carbs..Hi-maize feels like “nothing”, hard to tell I’ve taken it which maybe partly good I suppose, no inflammation. Also I’m having issues keeping weight on,very thin already and do 2-3 sets resistance exercise for benefits daily.Could waxy maize be better for someone like me as far as energy, keeping weight on?

  74. Fritz.Harber

    I tried plugging in many different combinations of the diet to cronometer and seem to be deficient on potassium .Taking potassium supp for long term is good?

    Do you think that taking muti vitamin with diet is good bad?

  75. Cody

    I noticed something; I am TH1 dominant- whenever I eat lectin free foods and take recommended supplements my BF is gone.

    Yet, I discovered that I have some others sensitivity to the above food (for example, avocado and sunflower seeds give me acne, dandruff and dry skin despite the fact that I do not get any brain reaction to then; absolutely no BF). At the same time, foods that give me BF like squashes do not cause any problem with skin. Does it make sense?

  76. Sokol Amir

    I see you added “amino acids” to protein section. Why is it usually not recommended to have 9 free EAAs if you can tolerate whey? why do athletes do not use it as protein replacement?

  77. Ed

    Could you please give more detail into the differences between hi-maize and waxy maize? In the UK waxy maize is everywhere, but I cant seem to find hi-maize anywhere! So was just wondering if one is just as good as the other, or if a combination of the two is better?

    Thanks! (your site has basically saved my whole family from chronic inflammation etc. so much love!)

  78. Fritz.Harber

    Hi! What is your recommended non-inflammatory food source for potassium? (I have some reaction from bananas)?

    • Joe

      I take potassium gluconate. Avocados are good, though. I still get a tiny amount of inflammation from them.

      • Fritz.Harber

        Sounds interesting, I am interested. Is it based on the shake you present in your “current regimen” page?

  79. james

    Is there any hope for an individual suffereing from severly damaged serotonin receptors in the hypothalamus

    • Maureen

      Hi James,
      I have long-term depersonalization and your question resonates with me. I’m wondering how and why you have this. How do you know that you have severely damaged serotonin receptors?
      I still hope Joe answers your excellent question.

      • Joseph M. Cohen

        There is hope, Maureen, but at this point there is no cure – only management.

        James actually has damaged GABA receptors on CRH neurons. I work with him.

    • I’ve got a problematic hypothalamus as well.
      Personal anecdote:
      Modafinil and Cerebrolysin are going to help you. No studies to support my experiences.

  80. Sidney P.

    Not really related, but a prominent blogger in the quantified self movement died recently, quite suddenly and unexpectedly while hiking. I really enjoyed his writings, but he had some peculiar dietary habits which he developed based on self testing with reaction times on a program he devised. Most notably, he consumed half a stick of butter daily and 13g of Omega 3’s. That just seemed to me a recipe for disaster, regardless of what some unproven reaction timing test tells you. I suspect we are going to be seeing a lot more sudden deaths among paleo gurus in the coming years scarving down all that saturated fat without knowing how harmful it is to their lipid chemistry. I recently switched to a mainly bean based, high resistant starch “pseudo” vegan diet that is gluten-free with sardines 3x per week as the exception and feel great.

    • Joe

      Seth Roberts….I agree. I don’t think saturated fats are harmful with a hypocaloric diet, but I was extremely weak with a hypocaloric diet, so it didn’t work well for me at all. I consume 1-2 tbsp of ghee these days, however. People don’t understand what moderation is.

      However, 13g of omega 3 or 60g of flax shouldn’t have caused sudden death. You shouldn’t die from 4 tbsp of flax. Something else was brewing.

      I felt much better from the diet you describe, but I still needed supplements. Legumes caused some inflammation for me. When I keep the above diet I don’t need any supplements. Still, legumes are healthy if you don’t have ill effects from them.

      My money says bulletproof is headed for cancer with his testosterone replacement, thyroid hormones and all the other hormonal supps he takes. If he has a tumor, he wouldn’t tell anyone.

      • Sidney P.

        Too much omega 3 thins the blood excessively. Brian Peskin is the one writer who goes against the grain and warns against taking omega 3 supplements. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is generally best to avoid taking supplements other than ones absolutely necessary. I noticed that my AST levels were creeping up for no reason and I started having stop and go urination sometimes. I concluded it must have been due to the 30+ supps I was taking. I stopped and after a week the urination problems went away. Now, I only take B12 once a week, amla+natokinnase for cardio support, and pycnogenol+lutein for eye support. A healthy vegetarian based diet that is varied provides all nutrients needed, and eating sardines 2-3x per week gives the necessary omega 3’s and fat. I’ll add ghee sometimes to a potato if I feel like it. Cutting out gluten and dairy has done wonders for me in terms of clear cognition.

        • Joe

          Your issues might not be as bad as mine, although if you’re sensitive to gluten and casein, my bet is you’re getting inflammation from other foods as well. I did better on potatoes but I realized that was because I was off of gluten and casein, but eventually I noticed inflammation from other foods, albeit not as bad as gluten and casein.

          You’re in a honey moon period, but it will end and you will start getting fatigued from foods again.

          Nutrition in food isn’t what concerns me. Potato chips are loaded with nutrition. It’s inflammatory proteins or plant toxins. Some people have no issues and kudos to them. But people experiencing health problems -ESPECIALLY AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES – do have issues and steps need to be taken.

          You were urinating bec 90% of herbs are diuretics.

  81. Do you believe that in the next decade you’ll be able to understand why you’ve developed such a huge selection of food sensitivities and be able to correct this?

    Living like this is sustainable but obviously not enjoyable. Undoubtedly a 21st century syndrome.

    • sam

      I have read of a number of cases (lots of food sensitivities + chemical sensitivities) that were vastly improved after the person did heavy metal chelation..generally mercury. Its possible some of the people on this board might have that issue, and it might pay to do hair analysis or a provoked urine test.

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