The Plant Paradox Diet – Dr. Gundry’s Food List [2021 Updated]

The plant paradox diet is a diet based on Dr. Gundry’s book and the Dr. Gundry food list, the ”The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain”. If you didn’t know, Dr. Steven Gundry is a former cardiologist, heart surgeon, and a “New York Times best-selling author”.

With this being said, the book promotes a lectin-free diet for longevity and better overall health.  And whether or not the diet is effective for everyone is yet to be decided as there are a lot of ongoing debates on whether or not the diet itself is reliable. 

But before we take a look at its legitimacy or not, we have to understand what the diet is all about in the first place. So what is the plant paradox diet?

What Is The Plant Paradox?

The plant paradox states that not all plant foods are healthy for you and in fact, some of them could prove detrimental to your health.  Most of these foods contain lectins which not only cause you to gain more weight but taking them might lead to the body getting a form of chronic disease or even worse! Chronic diseases!

Dr. Gundry claims that the diet is very effective and has even helped people lose a lot of weight. There are even cases of famous people like Kelly Clarkson who followed the diet and got amazing results.

The Plant Paradox Food List: Approved and Prohibited Foods

To help people achieve better overall health, Dr. Gundry himself has made and compiled a list that he believes will help you. Thankfully Dr. Gundry has made a detailed list of the different lectin-free foods and the “Yes and No” list to help people identify the foods that they should eat and foods that they should avoid. 

About Dr. Gundry’s Food List

Dr. Gundry is very meticulous when it comes to the food that you eat suggesting to pressure cook some lectin-rich foods to avoid some well-known healthy foods in general. The list below is derived from his very own “Food Pyramid[6] “ that he devised himself. 

The pyramid is built in such a way where it is advised that practitioners of the diet eat leafy greens and approved fats consisting of both high fat and low-fat foods. These are the foods that you should eat daily.

Aside from this, the pyramid advises eating some foods in a limited quantity like resistant starches and some nuts that are low in lectin. Then we have foods that you should eat in moderation like wild-caught seafood, poultry, and a variety of fruits low or free from lectin. 

Last but not least we have foods that are ok to eat but limit their consumption to 1 to 2 per week like pasture-raised meat, milk, and alcoholic beverages like red wine.

Dr. Gundry’s “YES” List

Resistant starches 

  • Baobab fruit
  • Cassava
  • Green bananas
  • Barely Bread bagels
  • Julian Bakery Paleo Wraps
  • Coconut
  • Parsnips
  • Green mango
  • Green papaya jicama
  • Celery root
  • Konjac root
  • Siete Tortillas
  • Green plantains
  • Jicama
  • Millet
  • Rutabaga
  • Yams
  • Persimmon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut cassava-flour 
  • Sorghum
  • Taro root
  • Turnips
  • Tiger nuts


  • Eggs
  • Pasture-raised Chicken
  • Ostrich
  • Duck
  • Dove
  • Pheasant
  • Grouse
  • Goose
  • Turkey
  • Quail


  • Boca Sweet
  • Erythritol 
  • Monk fruit
  • Allulose
  • Stevia
  • Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup
  • Inulin
  • Xylitol
  • Luo han guo 
  • Yacón

Dr. Gundry’s “No” List

Fruits & vegetables

  • Beans
  • Edamame
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Bell peppers
  • Chili peppers
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Bean sprouts
  • Goji berries
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant 
  • Soy
  • Green beans
  • Squashes
  • Lentil pasta
  • Legumes
  • Pea protein
  • Peas
  • Melons 
  • Pumpkin
  • Soy protein
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Tofu
  • Zucchini


  • Butter
  • Non–Southern European Cow Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt 
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese


  • Partially hydrogenated Canola Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Partially hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Peanut Oil 
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Soy Oil 

Nuts & seeds

  • Chia seeds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin

Grains, grasses,pseudo-grains, and sprouted grains  

  • Barley grass
  • Barley 
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn
  • Kashi
  • Popcorn
  • Oats 
  • Quinoa
  • Wheat 
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Kamut
  • Wheat Einkorn
  • Wheatgrass
  • Whole grains
  • White rice 
  • Wild rice

Starchy refined foods

  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Cookies
  • Pseudo Grain Flour
  • Grain Flour
  • Crackers
  • Pastry
  • Pasta
  • Potato chips
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Tortillas


  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame K
  • Agave
  • Corn syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Diet drinks
  • Honey 
  • Maltodextrin
  • Manuka Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Sweet One
  • Sunett
  • Sweet’ n Low
  • Splenda
  • Sugar
  • NutraSweet

Nutritional Supplements

Most people looking at the  “Yes” and “No” list of Dr. Steven Gundry would be intimidated by the restrictions and the list itself. The list contains foods that we have believed to be healthy for our entire lives like eggplant and tomatoes.

Gundry MD products contain tons of supplements that not only contain ingredients that follow the plant paradox diet and lectin-free diet but also help promote overall health and counter various health issues like fatigue and bad digestion.

You can read my guideline for Dr. Gundry supplements, or go to their Gundry Wellness Ambassadors website to start picking up your favorite one. Here are the summary of the best products that Gundry MD can offer and their various health benefits: 

Weight loss product lineup 

  • TriTrim – Blocks fat, Reduces unhealthy cravings, Suppress sugars
  • MCT Wellness – Helps burn fats, Boosts metabolism, Gives more energy

Energy Giving product lineup 

  • Total Restore  – Reduces fatigue, boost energy, Promotes good digestion
  • Energy Renew – Defends you from free radicals, Promotes all-day wakefulness, More energy
  • Proplant Complete Shake – Helps lose weight, Strengthens the body, Helps provide more energy 

Digestive support  product lineup 

  • Prebiothrive – Balances Gut Flora, Reliable prebiotics
  • Lectin Shield – Lectin protection, Stimulates the digestive system, promotes healthy digestion
  • Olive Oil – Promotes good digestion, Polyphenol rich, Good for the heart

Overall health support product lineup 

  • Bio Complete 3 – Loaded with health benefits, Helps burn fats, Boost energy
  • Primal Plants – Boost skin Health, Supports heart health, Promotes overall health
  • Vital Reds – Quick Dissolve, Helps Skin Glow, Concentrated Polyphenol Blend, Tons of nutrients

The Benefits of The Plant Paradox Diet

Dr. Gundry and followers of the plant paradox diet claim that it brings a lot of health benefits to the user from improved bowel movements to giving you more energy. But perhaps the most prevalent health benefits that it offers are Digestion improvement, inflammation reduction, and weight loss.

Digestion Improvement

The most noticeable benefit of following the plant paradox diet is that it dramatically improves your digestion. Eating plant foods might be a good idea at first but some healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and even foods like tomatoes contain lectins which are bad for you.

By following the plant paradox diet, you are preventing your stomach from being damaged in the first place thanks to foods high in lectins. A lot of practitioners of the plant paradox diet often comment on having fewer digestive problems, better gut health, and improved bowel movements after trying the diet out for a while.

You might also notice that most Gundry MD products follow the plant paradox diet and its better digestion is one of the reasons why people like their products in the first place. 

Inflammation Reduction

Dr. Gundry stated multiple times on his books and even on his website about the negative consequences of taking foods that contain lectin. Foods like nightshade vegetables might seem good food choices at first but they may prove problematic for the immune system.

According to Dr. Steven Gundry, Lectins can cause problems for the body and that results in inflammation[1]. This is because they often get in the way of cells from communicating with one another. Because of this, the body often reacts to this interference through inflammation leading to a variety of problems like fatigue, nausea, and even vomiting.

Thanks to the plant paradox diet that avoids lectins, you are avoiding unnecessary inflammatory responses which aren’t just annoying to have but even painful to deal with if the situation gets out of hand. 

Weight Loss

Last but not least would be having a much easier time losing weight. This health benefit doesn’t have much to do with lectins entirely but more so because of Dr. Gundry’s “Yes list”.

Lectins are present in a lot of foods to eat like whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, and even plants like nightshade vegetables. Following the plant paradox diet can help someone lose weight simply from the limited food choices they have at their disposal. 

The diet doesn’t just avoid lectins but it also promotes overall health by suggesting grass-fed meats, avoiding food with high fats, foods, and products with added sugar, and even choosing dairy products that are lectin-free. 

What Are Lectins? Do You Need To Avoid Them?

Lectins are glycoproteins[2] that are found widely in the plant kingdom but they have this unique property of being able to bind to carbohydrates specifically towards sugar. Because of their affinity for binding to carbohydrates, they can agglutinate to red blood cells of various animals as well.

In the case of lectins, there isn’t much research about it that verifies if it’s truly bad for the body but as mentioned before[3] lectins can cause digestive problems that aren’t good for the body. And according to the plant paradox diet, lectins aren’t just anti-nutrients that reduce the absorption of food nutrients but also serve as ammunition or weapons by plants to protect themselves from predators like animals, bacteria, fungi, and humans.

Based on the book, lectins are a plant’s defense mechanism and to deter its predators from eating them.  Because of this, eating plants rich in lectin won’t just be unhealthy but also detrimental to the human body since it was designed to damage its predators in the first place. A lot of Lectins are usually found in whole grains and legumes but they can be found in all plants in general but varying amounts.

But aside from this, Lectins brings health benefits to the body as well. A study about lectins shows that it has potential in killing tumor cells[4] allowing it to be used for antitumor drugs. Lectin has also shown some anti-oxidative and antimicrobial properties[5] that can be used as an antimicrobial protective agent.

Needless to say, Lectin isn’t a malicious substance that doesn’t offer anything in return. It might cause problems for the digestive system and potentially cause other issues but it makes up for it with its anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, and anti-oxidative properties.


  • Eggplants
  • Potatoes
  • Whole grains 
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans

If you want to know more about foods high in lectins, then check out the list below.

Possible Side Effect of Dr. Gundry Diet

Dr. Gundry’s plant paradox diet is not perfect and it might cause troublesome side-effects to some people. 

Missing essential nutrition

A diet that avoids lectins is beneficial but it severely limits the foods you can eat. 

Because of this, you are missing out on a lot of healthy and nutritious foods that could prove beneficial to you. 

A good example of this would be tomatoes. They are strictly prohibited from the plant paradox diet but you are missing out on the health benefits it provides as the lycopene[7] in tomatoes are known for their antioxidative properties.

This is just one example of the foods that you are missing out thanks to Dr. Gundry’s list of suitable foods to eat. The bottom line is that you could be missing a lot of other potential health benefits from other foods that are said to be rich in lectins. 

Unsustainable Weight Loss

It is well known that the plant paradox diet is famous for helping people lose weight. However, it could lead to unsustainable weight loss. Just like with missing essential nutrition, the diet itself can prove harmful especially if you lose more weight that is healthy for your body.

Its limiting food choices may not be ideal for everyone. It’s best to keep this in mind when deciding to pursue the diet out.  We also advise you to consult a dietician or a nutritionist before trying this diet out since it might do more harm than good to your body. 

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

The plant paradox diet preaches that you should do your best to avoid whole-grains since they are very rich in lectins. Sadly whole just like with tomatoes above, whole grains offer a lot of health benefits as well. 

However, what’s special about whole grains is that there are studies that show their effectiveness in reducing cardiovascular disease[8]. Avoiding them simply because of lectins could affect your longevity and overall health as well. 

What Do Professionals Think About the Plant Paradox Diet?

Now just because the plant paradox diet worked on some people, doesn’t mean that it will work for everybody. The singer, “Kelly Clarkson” had amazing results and lost some weight thanks to the book, “The plant paradox diet”. However, that doesn’t mean avoiding foods that contain lectin is ideal for overall health and wellness.

Dietician Dana Bander[9] states that isn’t some sort of magic key that solves everything nor is it entirely the best diet to take. Everybody has different body compositions and as such, different people would react to different diets. Some diets might work effectively for some people while having little to no results for others.

Furthermore, Dana Bander states although lectins can be a problem and serve as defense mechanisms for plants to prevent predators, there is no hard evidence that states that they are toxic and pose a big threat to our health.

Lectin isn’t seen as a big threat worldwide and large vegetarian populations like India are thriving despite living on a diet that is rich in lectins.

Bander isn’t alone on this matter as other professionals relating to the field have some criticisms about the diet in general. The biochemist T. Colin Campbell has some reservations about the plant paradox diet. 

Campbell states that Dr. Gundry’s basis on lectins is disappointing for a doctor and medical professional. The references to his research on lectins are misrepresented and that his claims on their health benefits are unfounded with even no references at all!

Needless to say, Campbell isn’t a big fan of the plant paradox diet and believes that what Dr. Gundry is claiming is baseless or simply misrepresented to fit his narrative.

Overall, the plant paradox might have worked for a lot of people and there may be studies regarding the harmful effects of lectin and the health benefits of lectin-free food. However, it’s not a perfect diet altogether and the claims about the health benefits of the plant paradox diet may be exaggerated and quite possibly misrepresented. 

The Bottom line

The Dr. Gundry food list is a big help for people wanting to experience the benefits of a lectin-free diet. Although there is no conclusive evidence that the diet itself is very effective, a lot of people do get some results from it, and it is still worth a try considering that the potential negative effects of following a diet isn’t very dangerous but just limits the consumption of potential healthy foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 Foods Dr Gundry says to avoid?

 Although it wasn’t explicitly stated Dr. Gundry recommends people to avoid foods rich in carbs, the majority of fruits, and most dairy.

How Did Dr.Gundry first come up with the Plant Paradox? Is it qualified enough to follow?

Dr. Gundry came up with the plant paradox during his investigations about diet and health. He is a qualified doctor that helps back up the diet but some dieticians and other doctors disagree with it.

How do I know I’m lectin sensitive?

The best way to know is to ask a doctor to approve a series of blood tests and check for symptoms like bloating and autoimmune diseases.

Are there any kinds of bread may I eat when pursuing a lectin-free diet?

 Dr. Gundry only recommend one type of bread and it’s called “Barely Bread[10]

Does Dr. Gundry’s Diet work?

Yes. A lot of people have seen positive results from trying the diet out.

Is The Dr. Gundry Diet a Scam?

The lectin-free diet might sound good on paper as it helps promote overall health but it has received a lot of criticism regarding its claims especially on the premise that all lectins are bad. Not only is this inaccurate but as stated before, Lectins do offer some health benefits to the human body thanks to their anti-microbial and anti-oxidative properties.

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