Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Food, It's all so confusing now! Lectins.

Food is confusing.  There are so many choices out there, the grocery stores are filled to capacity with processed foods of every conceivable color, variety, flavor, base ingredient, heat level, grain, vegetable and even freeze dried ice cream.  And assailing your senses and your actual credulity at times are the hype and  purported scientific wisdom of various food factions, from the Neolithic, to the Paleolithic proponents to the Gluten-Free diet, to the no carb diet to the Hollywood diet and even the Grapefruit Diet.  And all of us are now pelted with the information from the big agribusinesses that want us to buy the new Genetically Modified foods out there and claiming that they are substantially similar to real food.  Even though they have never tested them.  

Lectins.  These are the big topic now with so many food fad fanatics.  Lectins are basically long chain glycoproteins that have a number of somewhat nasty characteristics.  From agglutinating white blood cells in our bloodstream to binding to the cilia in our intestines and opening the lining to allow intestinal fluid into our bloodstream itself.  Many lectins actually have anti-nutrient properties, blocking the absorption of necessary nutrients.  And the toxin Ricin, which was the big fear we had from terrorists, is a lectin.  It comes from Castor Beans, and anyone can make the stuff. 

Lectins are pretty much in most of the plants that grow in the world.  Lectins are part of a plants natural defense system with the plant producing the lectins so that insects, mold, fungi and people as well, get sick and maybe even die after eating them.  Some have more highly evolved lectin systems in them and are more toxic, case in point, the castor bean.  Soybeans have more toxic lectins in them than most other plants as well.  One of the main reasons soybeans don't need to have pesticides sprayed on them as much is because they contain that natural killer, lectin.  We do know that when a plant, like wheat, is stressed, the wheat plant then produces more lectin as a precaution.  One of the reasons that the lectin content of organic wheat is considerably less than the lectin content of similar strains of commercially raised wheat. 

So we know that if you soak legumes in water overnight and throw that water out, the lectin content of the cooked beans is dramatically less.  The same thing happens with grains, sort of.  If you sprout the grains first, by soaking them, then the resulting malted grain has a considerably lower lectin content.  High heat removes a huge portion of the lectins as well.  And not dry heat, but moist steam heat alters the content, again, dramatically.  One reason to cook beans and grains in a pressure cooker and not in a slow cooker.  But here is the one big thing that NO ONE has figured out yet.  I actually read this on the Cornell University Dept of Ag report about lectin.  That SIGNIFICANTLY more lectin was broken down by heat, steam, and digestive enzymes when in the presence of a base aqueous solution rather than an acidic one. 

So what does that mean, in real world terms?  It means that lectins are in just about everything that you eat.  Yes, my Paleo Food Fad Friends, even in nuts.  Some foods have more lectins than others, and lo and behold, it just seems that naturally those foods are the ones that we cook.  Except soy, those are just really nasty and fermenting is the only way to help them.  Archaeological evidence shows us that humans have in fact been eating wheat for over 115,000 years.  Those grains were crushed, then probably soaked.  Maybe even cooked.  We don't know, we just know that humans ate them.  And now the big one, if cooked in alkaline water, then most of the lectin content is neutralized.  One of the things that we need to look at about modern man over mankind of just 50 years ago is modern food, and how that food is prepared.  Yep, the SAD.  A big part of it all is the Standard American Diet.  One of the things that affects lectins is the REST of your diet.  If your diet is high in acid producing or acidic foods, then by god your naturally occurring lectin neutralization system is being compromised.  If your diet is high in raw vegetables, (which have a few naturally occurring lectins) high in real plain water, high in good fats, little or no meat, then you have a diet that is high in alkaline foods.  Meats, processed anything, chemical additives, soda, alcohol, white flour, white rice, sugars, generally all the crap in most modern diets, then you are no longer able to breakdown lectins naturally and must suffer the effects that all those experts talk about, lectin toxicity.  Yeah, it is a real thing and we bring on to ourselves with our own actions.  Not at all unlike a horrific hangover, it is your own fault, you can't blame anyone but yourself. 

We need to look at how food was processed in ancient times.  Yes, over fifty years ago.  Ancient.  But really, back in the old days, Native Americans found that if they soak their corn in ALKALINE water, that made it digestible.  Oriental cultures found that if they steamed their rice, it made it more digestible.  Ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean area found that if they sprouted grains, then ground them to make bread, it was more digestible.  Eliminating grains, the backbone of civilization will not make your lives better, embracing our ancestry and returning to our roots of how our lives evolved, with a grain diet, and eliminating all the processed toxins and nutrient deficient foods will!  I can't stress enough how important these simple steps are to returning to better health and avoidance of long term degenerative problems.  Cut down on meat, if you eat meat, make it organic.  Seafood must be low end of the predator scale wild caught species.  Never shark, swordfish or blue fin.  Eat organic vegetables, most should be raw or fermented.  Yes, cooked carrots are okay.  ELIMINATE soda of any kind and all artificial sweeteners.  Soak your grains and beans first, then cook in alkalinized water, (add a bit of baking soda) and then when cooked, mix in whatever else you want.  Avoid anything in plastic, plastic kills.  Avoid eating anything that touched aluminum.  Throw out any aluminum cookware you have, it is POISONOUS!  And of course, the big one, NEVER eat GMO foods. 


  1. You're wrong. Lectins are not glycoproteins. Most of this is just crap you made up.

  2. WOW! Really, I made it up. Wow. Okay, this is from Cornell (http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/lectins.html) Despite the generalization that most lectins are considered glycoproteins, concanavalin A, lentils lectin, and wheatgerm agglutinin contain no covalently attached carbohydrates. However, non-glycoprotein lectins are believed to be synthesized as glycosylated precursors. This is supported by the following observation:

    pro-concanavalin A is an inactive glycoprotein from which the glycosidic side chain is removed during post-translational processing.
    Non-glycoprotein wheatgerm agglutinin molecules are produced by removing a carboxyl terminal glycopeptide from the glycosylated precursor during post-translational processing.

    All glycoprotein lectins contain a peptide sequence: asparagine- X-threonine/serine, which is characteristic of glycosylation sites. These sequences are different in the non-glycoprotein lectins. Also, peptide sequences, which in one glycoprotein lectin contain the glycosidic side-chains, are not necessarily conserved in another glycoprotein lectin. This may suggest that the biological activity of the lectins may not be determined by carbohydrate part of their structure.

    Basically what this is saying is that there is not much difference.
    I don't make this stuff up. Yes, it may indeed be true that there is not a lot of actual scientific evidence that GMO foods are poisonous, what with only two studies having been done by independent researchers to go up against the voluminous numbers of studies done by the makers of those same GMO plants. So I cannot say with absolute one hundred percent certainty that GMO foods are toxic, but I'm pretty certain they are. If for no other reason than the huge amount of pesticide and herbicide residues on them that HAVE been founded by numerous researchers.

    I guess I could be more scientificly specific in the future, however long and boring the descriptions may be and however little actual difference makes. Or not.