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Changing the Landscape of Healthy Eating

  ng is what’s causing the inflammation and it turns out it is probably being caused by the foods we are eating. This not only includes junk food which we all know is bad for you but also certain foods like corn, potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant that we all   thought were healthy foods. The book by Dr. Steven Gundry is entitled the Plant Paradox and that lead me to his earlier work and also to the work of Dr. Dale Bredesen who wrote the book the End of Alzheimer’s. Both works review the interaction between your diet and inflammation and your diet and your gut bacteria which plays and unexpectedly important role in your health. This is an area in medicine we have only just started to understand. These 2 books are must reads for anyone who is concerned about their health and especially anyone who doesn’t have good health. If you have inflammation, migraines, gut issues, arthritis issues, fibromyalgia, or depression you should really look into these books. You know how I feel about people that recommend a particular program. -What is in it for them? What’s the catch? Who do you have to pay? What group do you have to join? What special secret program do you have to pay for?   

When was the last time your doctor spent any time with you discussing your diet?

As we say in the Latin “who benefits.” In this case I think the person who benefits will be you. The diet I’m talking about in general is referred to as a low lectin diet. You probably haven’t heard this before. Lectins are a protein found in many foods but more so in North American food than in our ancestral diet from Europe. If you ingest too many lectins they cause leaky gut and this causes generalized inflammation in the body. Depending in part on genetics this may result in different manifestations of inflammation like thyroid disorder, depression, hardening of the arteries and even memory loss. That’s right, all of these varied and seemingly disparate disorders may have the underlying unifying cause which is inflammation. The inflammation may be due to you ingesting unknowingly these foods that have high lectin and causing inflammation. Not indigestion, inflammation.   

Red kidney beans are among the richest sources of plant-based protein. However, raw kidney beans also contain high levels of a lectin called phytohaemagglutinin.

Dr. Gundry was a very well known cardiac surgeon who performed over 10,000 operations and was a past president of the American Heart Association so he is no obscure   weirdo preaching some crazy idea that no one else is heard of. Dr. Gundry had a patient that actually reversed his hardening of the arteries with a certain diet and certain supplements and he forever changed his practice to prevent heart disease rather than simply repair damage at the end of the disease process. 10 or 12 years ago when he embarked on this journey there was not a single medicine available to cause reduction in blocked arteries. Now in 2017 the list of medicines that causes of reduction in blocked arteries remains at 0.0. The statins and drugs like it can slow the progression of blocked arteries but they have not been able to show reduction in blockages. Yet this patient showed Dr. Gundry that it was possible with diet and supplements alone. His life was changed when he started that patient and my practice has changed because I studied his books. Dr. Dean Ornish M.D. and Dr. Kim Williams M.D. have completely independently reported that diet in the can substantially reverse heart disease whereas no medicine has been shown to have that effect.   

When was the last time your doctor spent any time with you discussing your diet? Before this if people I asked I was recommending a low carbohydrate diet with intermittent fasting and modest protein intake but now I can make a more informed and intelligent recommendation. A recommendation based on real science and one that can BE MEASURED. That’s right, of course the only way to know if the diet works for you is to try the diet but your doctor can independently test you for inflammatory markers and then, when you change your diet, can retest for inflammatory markers and see if in fact the markers of inflammation have changed. There is nothing placebo about it. This is science.   

Dr. Gundry’s contention is that most of us are from Northern European ancestry and we have come to North America and our eating proteins found in the foods that create an immune response. This immune response causes inflammation which manifests as heart disease making your cholesterol sticky, dementia making your brain inflamed, arthritis because of inflammation in the joints etc. If your healthcare provider still believes that statins work by lowering cholesterol they haven’t been doing enough research because statins work by the action of lowering inflammation not lowering cholesterol. The new listed drugs to treat cholesterol these PCSK9 inhibitors lower your cholesterol by 70% which is a very dramatic and yet they lower heart attack rate in people that are at the highest risk but only 1.5%. Very very unimpressive and inconsistent with cholesterol being the primary cause of heart disease. As I have said many times it’s not your cholesterol level but how sticky your cholesterol is. Smoking makes cholesterol sticky. Diabetes makes cholesterol sticky. Being a couch potato makes cholesterol sticky. As important, if not more important, may be the foods you are eating.   

That’s right. You can have a dramatic and profound effect on your health without   spending a lot of money at the doctor’s office. You don’t have to join a secret club. You don’t have to take special rare supplements. You don’t have to use a special tool or have a special procedure. You can learn a lot about the diet from YouTube or you can buy the Dr Gundry’s book but that’s about the extent of the expenses. The hardest part of the diet is giving up the stuff that you know and love like wheat, simple sugars, sodas of all types, eggplant, corn, tomatoes, potatoes etc. You give up foods that are not good for you and you get better health, less cancer, less heart disease, less dementia etc. … I think that’s a great trade off. So , if you know anyone who is suffering from poor health or you want to try to improve your health give the low lectin diet a try and see for yourself. Next month we talk about the bugs in your gut … Your biome and how vital they also are to your health and well being. Until then get well … Stay well.

Dr. Barry
Dr. Joseph T. Barry, MD is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. He has relationships with Community General Hospital and has worked at Van Duyn Home and Hospital since 1989. He also has a longstanding relationship with the Iroquois Nursing Home.

Dr. Barry believes you must treat the whole person and not just the presenting problem. He believes there is a real and important connection between your brain, your body and your spiritual self.