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Lectin Free and Microbiome Diets

Lectin Free and Microbiome Diets

For many years health practitioners and professionals have not taken diet into account when diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal disease, as well as other health issues [1]. However, as more research has been done, evidence has continued to accumulate that supports the idea that diet plays a key role in health and recovery from disease. 

Two diets that have gained attention in recent years are the Microbiome Diet and the Lectin-Free diet. Each seek to address specific issues, as well as increase overall health. We will review both diets in depth, looking at their specific requirements, as well as benefits and drawbacks. 

The Microbiome Diet was formulated by Dr. Raphael Kellman and claims to restore gut health, increase metabolism, and weight loss [2]. The diet is a three-phase program, with increasing flexibility the more you heal. 

Phase 1 contains the four R’s: Remove, Repair, Replace and Reinoculate [3]. Lasting twenty-one days, Phase 1 is the most restrictive of the three phases, and aims to remove unhealthy bacteria from the gut and to replace stomach acids and digestive enzymes. Followers of the diet are encouraged to eat organic, plant-based foods with probiotic-rich foods, including fermented foods and supplements [4]. 

Phase 2 is the Metabolic Boost Meal Plan [5]. During the second phase of the Microbiome Diet, which is designed to last twenty-eight days, followers are encouraged to avoid gut-damaging food 90% of the team. The other 10%, they can include food not recommended in the first phase of the plan. This includes legumes, gluten-free grains, dairy, and free-range eggs. Followers can also start to eat most fruits and vegetables again [6]. 

In Phase 3, the Lifetime Tune-Up, followers of the microbiome diet are encouraged to avoid gut-damaging food 70% of the time [7]. The other 30%, which equates to one meal a day, they can eat whatever they choose, while still avoiding processed foods and added sugar. 

The MicroBiome Diet encourages eating fresh, whole foods. However, the diet is restrictive, particularly in the first phase, and asks for the elimination of foods that are nutritious and have been shown to have a health benefit, such as certain grains, legumes, and fruits. 

Much popular attention has been given to lectins as of late, with sources claiming that the carbohydrate-binding proteins are responsible for everything from obesity to chronic inflammation, to autoimmune disease. The Lectin Free Diet was popularized by Dr. Steven Gundry, and has faced criticism for its claim that lectins are responsible for a variety of health risks and should be avoided [8].