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When I was 20, I read “The China Study”, which listed the miracles of a plant-based diet.  In my experiments, I’ve found that the fewer plants I eat, the healthier I am.

I’ve listed 19 chemicals found mostly in ‘plant-based’ foods that can cause chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. Each person has a different immune system and can react differently to these substances.  I’ve tried to list them in the order of importance for most people.

The foods mainly fall under the category of plant-based foods and secondarily cured meats.

If You Have Food Sensitivities

I recommend following my lectin avoidance diet, which is really an elimination diet that helps you figure out which foods you are sensitive to. Beyond lectins, this diet helps you figure out issues from all the food substances mentioned below.

It doesn’t suit EVERYONE’s needs, but it’s a good template from which to build a personalized diet.

Need more guidance? We have an elimination diet course (now on sale for SelfHacked readers) that will provide you with:

  • The accessible scientific info to understand the science behind foods and inflammation
  • Step-by-step instructions to do an elimination diet
  • Specific protocols to reduce inflammation from foods and balance your immune system

Inflammatory Substances Naturally Found in Plant-Based Foods

1) Lectins

Do not confuse lectins with leptin, lactose or pectin.

Lectins are proteins that are found in every living organism, including viruses, bacteria, and pretty much all foods, to one degree or another -but most of them are harmless.  Scientists have known about lectins since 1884.

The more nefarious of these proteins have the potential damage and destroy the cells in our intestines causing discomfort, poor digestion, and “leaky gut.”

Cell membranes in our body contain sugar molecules attached to fat and protein called glycolipids and glycoproteins (glyco=sugar).  The lectins that harm our cells are chemically attracted to these sugar molecules and disrupt the cell wall.

Lectins can also spike inflammation in the gut, skin, joints and the hypothalamus in susceptible people.

Lectins are part of the defense mechanism of plants to protect them from being consumed (R).

Over time, our immune system has evolved to create antibodies that compete with lectins (R)  Unfortunately, not all of us have the genetics that creates antibodies that protect us from every harmful lectin.  This is why some of us are sensitive to the lectins in nightshades, and others are not.

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

On average, fifteen percent of a bean’s proteins are composed of lectins.

Studies show that bean lectins aren’t completely destroyed after soaking for 2 hours and cooking.  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).

Lectins can cause GI upset similar to classical food poisoning and immune responses like joint pain and rashes. Improperly prepared raw grains, dairy and legumes like peanuts, and soybeans have especially high lectin levels.

A study was done on 800 people with autoimmune conditions who ate a diet that consisted of avoidance of grains, sprouted grains, pseudo-grains, beans and legumes, soy, peanuts, cashews, nightshades, melons and squashes, and non-Southern European cow milk products (Casein A1), and grain and/or bean fed animals.

Most of these people had elevated TNF-alpha.  The result after 6 months was a normalization of TNF-alpha in all patients who complied with the 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 Gundry frowns upon foods that originated from America.

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

2) Amines

Biogenic/vasoactive amines

Biogenic or vasoactive amines are produced by bacteria during fermentation, storage or decay [R].

They include beta-phenylethylamine, tyramine, tryptamine, putrescine, cadaverine, spermine and spermidine, but histamine is the one most frequently linked to food-related symptoms [R].

When plasma histamine levels are raised above the normal range (0.3–1.0 ng/mL) this produces certain effects. For example a level of 1–2 ng/mL causes increased gastric acid secretion and heart rate, with, flushing, headache, urticaria, pruritus and tachycardia occurring at a level of 3–5 ng/mL), bronchospasm at a level of 7–12 ng/mL and cardiac arrest occurring at levels of 100 ng/mL [R].

Thus large amounts of ingested histamine can cause significant symptoms in otherwise well individuals. For example symptoms of flushing, sweating, urticaria, GI symptoms, palpitations and in severe cases bronchospasm may occur following the consumption of spoiled fish [R].

This condition, known as scombroid poisoning, occurs due to the high level of histidine in certain fish species being converted into histamine by marine bacteria [R].

Due to the nature of the symptoms caused, reactions involving vasoactive amines may, therefore, be incorrectly diagnosed as a food allergy.

Although 75 mg of liquid histamine can provoke symptoms in healthy volunteers [R], defining a safe threshold level for sensitive individuals is difficult [R].

According to one study, mean levels of histamine were 3.63 mg/L for French wines, 2.19 mg/L for Italian wines and 5.02 mg/L for Spanish wines [R].

In a placebo-controlled study, one study found no correlation between wine histamine content and wine intolerance and concluded that other vaso-active amines or sulphites may be more relevant in intolerance to wine [R].

It has been proposed that other foods may be able to cause histamine release directly from tissue mast cells although evidence for this is lacking [R].

One study found that a diet low in vasoactive amines alleviated chronic headache in 73 % of patients [R].

Another study reported that 27/44 (61 %) of subjects had a significant improvement in idiopathic urticaria, angioedema and pruritus on a diet low in dietary amines, although foods containing additives or high in natural salicylate were also restricted [R].

Subjects with chronic hives or angioedema had a marginally significant reduction in their use of antihistamines on a histamine-reducing diet compared to a control group who eliminated artificial sweeteners from their diet [R].

58% of adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) considered foods rich in vasoactive amines, such as wine, beer, salami and cheese, to be a cause of their symptoms [R].

The diagnosis of sensitivity to vasoactive amines is usually made through history and dietary exclusion; however, some studies have suggested that the measurement of diamine oxidase (DAO) levels may be helpful. One study found a DAO level <3 kU/mL was associated with reported symptoms to high histamine foods, whereas a level of >10 kU/mL indicated histamine intolerance was unlikely [R].

Patients with chronic idiopathic hives/urticaria and GI symptoms have been shown to have reduced DAO activity [RR].

Another study reported that the size of the skin prick test wheal to histamine after 50 min, the ‘histamine 50-skin-prick test’, was a useful diagnostic indicator; 82% of subjects with histamine intolerance maintained a wheal size greater than 3 mm compared with 18 % of controls [R].

Foods more likely to contain high levels of vaso-active amines and salicylate

Vaso-active amines [6, 75, 122126] Salicylate [85, 8790, 97]
Meat, poultry and seafood All cured meat especially pork products e.g. ham, salami, pepperoni, game, bacon, sausages, fresh pork, fresh or canned tuna, canned sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, herring, processed fish products (fish pastes, smoked, dried or pickled fish), fish sauce
Milk and eggs Blue cheese, parmesan, brie, camembert, emmenthal, old gouda, cheddar cheese and other hard cheeses
Fruits Oranges, bananas, tangerines, pineapple, grapes, strawberries Granny smith apples, cherries, strawberries, currants, raisins, kiwi, Gala melon, peaches and nectarines, raspberries
Vegetables, nuts, seeds and savoury snacks Tomatoes, pickled cabbage, aubergine, spinach, broad beans, peanuts, tree nuts Asparagus, sweet corn, raw tomatoes, tomato puree
Condiments and miscellaneous Fermented soy products including miso and tempeh Ginger, mixed herbs, mustard, oregano, curry powder, black pepper, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek, mint, nutmeg, paprika, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, liquorice, peppermint, Worcestershire sauce, honey, tomato ketchup
Drinks Green tea, champagne, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, wine, beer, fresh fruit juices, smoothies Coffee, pineapple juice, cider, Benedictine liqueur, lemon tea, black tea, apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, tomato juice, fizzy drinks, Drambui liqueur, wine, rum

3) Tannins

I don’t believe all tannins are bad, but many of them stimulate the immune system too much.

Tannins are found in many plant foods and are considered anti-nutritional because they can cause problems with digestion and absorption of nutrients (R).

Tannins are a type of enzyme inhibitor that prevent adequate digestion and can cause protein deficiency and gastrointestinal problems.

Tannins give plants their color.  Some are healthy and some are harmful (to people with an overactive immune system).

Human dietary sources of tannins are tea and coffee (R), wine (contributes to its bitterness) (R), cranberries (R), strawberries and blueberries (R).  Apple juice, grape juices and berry juices are all high in tannins. Nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans also contain high amounts of tannins.

4) Trypsin Inhibitors

It’s important to remember that plant foods have tens of thousands of chemicals and any of them can stimulate the immune system too much for your biology.

In wheat, amylase trypsin inhibitors cause a Th1 driven immune response, activation of TLR4, and cause intestinal inflammation (R).


FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates (oligosaccharides), disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These include short chain (oligo-) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol.

The term FODMAP is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides And Polyols.”

FODMAPs caused fatigue and gut problems in people who thought they’re sensitive to gluten (R).

FODMAP avoidance should be the first-line therapy for the majority of patients with functional bowel symptoms [R, R].

It can help with IBS and other gut problems [R].

6) Salicylates

Salicylate intolerance has been defined as a hypersensitivity reaction to salicylic acid, its derivatives or other related organic or inorganic acids of similar chemical structure [R].

Salicylic acid is widely distributed in plant foods (especially spices) and, like its synthetic counterpart (Aspirin), has anti-inflammatory activity.  Namely, it inhibits COX-2 gene expression [R, R].

It’s proposed that 2.5 % of Europeans may have salicylate sensitivity [R], but the evidence on which this assertion is based is sparse.

One study proposed that 2–7 % of all patients with inflammatory bowel syndrome and food allergies could be affected by salicylate intolerance [R]. Gibson and Barrett suggest that since there are no published studies demonstrating

7) Oxalates

Oxalates (oxalic acid) are considered anti-nutrients.

Foods with oxalates include leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, cocoa, nuts and seeds (R).

Oxalates are found in the highest quantities in sesame seeds, soybeans, and black and brown varieties of millet.

Your body can produce oxalate on its own or obtain it from food. Vitamin C can also be converted into oxalate when it’s metabolized (R).

Oxalates can bind to minerals to form calcium oxalate and iron oxalate. This mostly occurs in the colon, but can also take place in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.

In sensitive individuals, high-oxalate diets have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones and other health problems.

About 80% are made up of calcium oxalate (R).

However, most of the oxalate found in urine is produced by the body, rather than absorbed from food (R).

When 59 women with vulvodynia or chronic vaginal pain were treated with a low-oxalate diet and calcium supplements, nearly a quarter experienced improvements in symptoms (10).

Some gut bacteria, such as Oxalobacter formigenes, use oxalate as an energy source, which significantly reduces the amount your body absorbs (R). Antibiotics decrease the number of these bacteria (R).

People with inflammatory bowel disease or gastric bypass surgery have an increased risk of developing kidney stones (R, RR), partly because they are unable to regulate the amount of oxalate they absorb.

Foods High in Oxalate

Oxalates are found in almost all plants, but some plants contain very high amounts while others have very little.

Foods high in oxalate (100–900 mg per serving) include:

  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Swiss chard
  • Cocoa powder
  • Kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peanuts

Drink a lot of water can help with kidney stones.

Boiling vegetables can reduce their oxalate content from 30% to almost 90%, depending on the vegetable (R).

Calcium binds to oxalate in the gut and reduces the amount your body absorbs (R, R).

8-10) Sulphites, Benzoates and MSG

I personally don’t have an issue with Sulphites, Benzoates or MSG.


Foods usually containing significant levels of added sulphite include cider, white wine, and dried fruit.

A plethora of reports in the 1980s demonstrated that sulphites in foods were provoking adverse reactions; by 1984 the US Food and Drug Administration had received more than 250 reports of suspected sulphite reactions including six deaths (R).

Foods containing a high level of free-form sulphites are more likely to provoke a reaction (R).

Sensitivity to sulphites mainly affects patients with asthma, especially those with severe steroid-dependant asthma. Sensitivity to sulphites has a reported prevalence of 3.9-4.6% in asthmatic patients, with those who were steroid dependent being most at risk (R).

A review suggested that 3–10 % of asthmatics experience symptoms on exposure to ingested sulphites (R).

An analysis of sulphite-sensitive cases in Korea found that two types of sulphite sensitivity existed, those with sulphite sensitive asthma was the most common, affecting two-thirds of their cohort, with the remainder having sulphite-sensitive hives (urticaria) (R).

Sulphites can also cause edema (swelling, especially of the lips or face), anaphylaxis, and rhinitis (R).

One study found 16% of wine sensitive asthmatics responded to sulphite additives in wine (R).


Benzoic acid is produced by many plants and is present in many foods, including berries and milk products, usually in relatively low concentrations of up to 40 mg/kg [R,R].

Benzoate can also be a product of digestion, e.g. cinnamic acid from cinnamon is oxidised to a benzoate salt in the liver [R].

Benzoates are also added in much higher concentrations to soft drinks, jams, sweets, chocolates, ice creams, pickles, baked goods due to their antimicrobial properties [RR].

Benzoates have been linked to chronic hives (urticaria), asthma, atopic dermatitis, rhinitis and anaphylaxis although there is limited good quality evidence to support these findings [R].

Glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium glutamate (MSG—E621) is a commonly added ingredient to savory foods. Glutamate also occurs naturally in other foods, with the ripening of fruits such as tomatoes and the curing of meat such as ham being associated with an increase in the free amino acids such as glutamate.

Results from studies have been mixed, but overall seem to show that some individuals could experience symptoms from the ingestion of MSG, although only in quantities greater than the normal dietary intake [R].

This additive has been linked to asthma, headache, hives (urticaria) and angioedema, rhinitis, psychiatric disorders and convulsions [R].

A headache has been the most commonly reported symptom in relation to MSG [R].

In one blinded placebo-controlled trial, 61 subjects with self-reported sensitivity to MSG were tested. 18/61 had no response, 21/61 had a placebo response and 22/61 a positive response to the active challenge only. On re-challenge, a threshold dose of 2.5 g MSG was established [R].

In another small blinded placebo-controlled trial, 14 healthy individuals reported a significant increase in reported headache and pericranial muscle tenderness after taking a large dose of MSG (150 mg/kg – about 10g MSG for the average weight man) (R).

Foods more likely to contain high levels of natural or added sulphites, benzoates and monosodium glutamate:

Sulphites (E220–E227) [11, 17, 118, 119] Benzoates (E210–E219) [30, 31, 33, 119, 120] Monosodium glutamate (E621–E623, E627, E635) [49, 121]
Meat, poultry and seafood Prawns, lobster, dried salt cod, crab sticks, squid, meat burger, sausages Dishes with a spicy sauce, ready to eat meals containing benzoates Fish sauce
Milk and eggs Yoghurt, cheese Parmesan cheese
Fruits Dried apricots, sultanas, figs, prunes, dates, dried banana, candied or glace fruit desiccated coconut, currants Cranberries, bilberries, prunes, papaya, dried fruit, avocado
Vegetables, nuts, seeds and savoury snacks Dried mushrooms and other fungi, frozen, tinned or vacuum packed potatoes, French fries, instant mash, gnocchi, potato cakes, potato croquettes, vegetarian burgers and sausages, tinned asparagus, broad beans, French beans, chestnuts, walnuts Pumpkin, kidney beans, soy beans, soy flour, broccoli, spinach, baked beans in tomato/spicy sauce, dry roasted and spicy nuts, Bombay mix, crisps (except ready salted), potato or corn snacks, Mushrooms, spinach, savoury snacks, crisps
Condiments and miscellaneous Horseradish sauce, caramel colouring (E150) Curry powder, allspice, mixed spice, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, chocolate, cocoa, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salad dressing, salad cream, mayonnaise, jam, pickles Soups, stock, gravy, rubs, coatings, ready-meals, soy sauce, black bean sauce, oyster sauce, tomato sauce, miso, marmite, instant rice and noodle dishes
Drinks Cider, wine, beer, fruit squash and cordials, soft drinks, grape juice, fruit juice drinks, cola drinks Tea, squash, cordial, carbonated drinks, milkshake syrup, beer, ready-to-drink alcohol and mixers, spirits with added spices

Foods likely to be high in added and/or natural ‘food chemicals’

Food Amine Glutamate Salicylate Sulphite Benzoate
Herbs and spices
Strawberries and pineapple
Worcestershire sauce
Dried fruit

11-19) Other Anti-Nutrients in Plant Foods:

Non-protein amino acids


Alkaloids (includes solanine, chaconine)




High saponin foods include quinoa.

Phytic Acid (Also Called Phytate)

Phytate interferes with the absorption of minerals.

Phytic acid can block the absorption of of phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc, and increase the absorption of copper.

Phytic acid also inhibits certain essential digestive enzymes (amylase, trypsin and pepsin).

Read more about phytates.


Gluten is one of the most difficult-to-digest plant proteins.  It’s an enzyme inhibitor that has become notorious for causing gastrointestinal distress.


Isoflavones are highest in soybeans.  It can have estrogenic effects and cause hormonal changes and contribute to digestive issues. These are considered endocrine disruptors.

Screenshot 2016-06-14 09.23.54

What to Eat to Overcome Inflammation?

The lectin avoidance diet “allowed” food list is a list of foods that are low in lectins as well as these 18 other anti-nutrients listed here. If you sign up to get the food lists you get both the “allowed” and “avoid” food lists.

Lectin Avoidance Diet Cookbook

I have released the lectin avoidance cookbook. The cookbook includes a protocol to figure out which foods or substances cause inflammatory reactions for each individual person. It also includes 91 low lectin recipes (and growing) that are clearly labeled whether they are dairy-free, low tannin, low FODMAPs and/or low oxalate.

SelfHacked Elimination Diet Course (Now on sale!)

This is a video course (with PDF handouts) that provides:

  • The most updated science behind food sensitivities and inflammation from foods, put in a format that is accessible to the lay people
  • Step-by-step instructions to carry out an elimination diet so you can be 100% sure whether you have food sensitivities, and accurately identify the culprits
  • Facebook group support where you can ask food-related questions to other members and our consultants

All About Inflammation Course (Now on sale!)

This course helps you understand all the updated science behind inflammation in a layperson-friendly manner. Lessons include the most updated science (as of 2018) on:

  • Why some food substances cause inflammation and leaky gut
  • The links between stress and inflammation, and what science suggests may help with it
  • Circadian rhythm, sleep, and inflammation
  • What are Th1/Th2/Th17 dominances and what to do about them
  • Your requested lesson. This is a research-based course made accessible to everyone, so if you find a great relevant topic, we may create a new lesson just for you.

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • FC

    From few months your site is broken in opera and firefox. Specifically auto-expanding page, when you position cursor on stripe with: Nutrients, Natural Substance, Herbs, etc doesn’t expand fully like before. It is very inconvinient in comarision to how it used to work (full expansion without scrolling necessity).

  • FC

    Please remove ad banners from middle of the articles. They are massively annoying. End of article and side graphics are sufficiently visible for advertising your book. Don’t make this site look like Mercola market place.

  • Leah

    Hi Joe,

    I really appreciate you putting together a list! I’ve been low salicylate for a few years and it has been extremely helpful, however I still find myself reacting to things like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat, which are apparently low salicylate. So thanks from those of us used to a very restricted diet! 🙂

  • Betsy

    From the linked study: “Gibson and Barrett suggest that since there are no published studies demonstrating efficacy of salicylate avoidance in gut disease, they recommend the dietary restriction of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs™) as first line therapy for the majority of patients with functional bowel symptoms.”

  • Dak Kol

    Fermentation is known to reduce or eliminate lectins in some foods.

  • Linda Zeiner

    Under 6) Salicylates, what do Gibson and Barret suggest? Thank you!

  • Kathy Sternberg

    The information Joe provided is just that, information. You will find the same information regarding anti nutrients on other quality websites, although other’s may highlight slightly different examples. The take away for me is to avoid the foods containing anti nutrients we are not made to be able to digest at all (lectins) with the understanding almost all plants contain anti nutrients, Joe just listed the top offending anti nutrients with the top offending foods with in that group. Now you have some information you can start with should you develop any problems with anything you are currently eating. Look for the next food you are eating that is high in an anti nutrient or falls into one or more ant nutrient group…..That’s all.
    All the Best,

  • Reed

    Does anyone know if making brine pickles from cucumbers (cultured/fermented, not using vinegar) destroys the lectins? Thanks!

  • lindaburlison1

    People – don’t shoot the messenger! As someone with an autoimmune disease (arthritis) I am extremely thankful to people like Joe that put this information out there for us for free!
    Diet change has been the first and only thing that has worked for me so far to help with chronic, excruciating pain. I was getting a bit depressed too to see all the foods I may have to initially cut out but that’s not Joe’s fault!
    Knowledge is power.
    Don’t be overwhelmed. Cut out just about everything you can (fasting is not unhealthy if you learn as much as you can about doing it properly), then introduce foods one at a time following a food reintroduction approach (there is lots of info on how to do this if you look for it). Use Joe’s info in this article to see patterns – for instance if you have a few high-leptin food sensitivities, use Joe’s lists to help you avoid others.
    Thank-you Joe – I’m really grateful to you for putting such detailed information out there for us. Please keep doing what you are doing. You are helping to change people’s lives.

    1. tsootso

      hello Linda , great to hear your testimony. I have arthritis as well, osteo and possible rheumatoid. Very difficult to deal with the pain and equally depressing. The list of foods I have to avoid is also a scare. Can I get some encouragemtn from you every now and then to see me through my own journey of fasting and avoiding these foods to see if I can reverse the chronic pain condition or at best minimise its effect.

  • ydeetjeFoksola

    I really love this article. Thank you!

  • Debra

    I’m finding all of this very confusing and so restrictive as to be impossible to follow. It appears one can only eat foods that I have mostly never heard of and probably taste horrible, are expensive and difficult to find. It also appears to be based only on the authors own personal experience and that everything we eat is bad for us. What an absolutely miserable way to live ones life!

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      We eat delicious foods that we enjoy. It’s not a dogma. The rule here is figure out what works for you. We go over this in the cookbook about how to figure out what you are sensitive to.

  • John Macgregor

    Joe, I’m less in need of a cookbook than a book (or article) that shows me how to work out which of the above chemicals I am sensitive to – & what to do about it.

    I’m beginning the lectin avoidance diet (thanks), but now you’ve got me thinking about these other agents as well…

  • Jennifer

    S basically don’t eat at all. Well this was not well written. Too much for the common person to decipher what they can eat. Too technical makes it hard for people to get a clear understanding.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      Hey Jennifer, everyone is different so you only know if you try. If you want, you can download a list of foods that we suggest to eliminate or keep here: Just enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

      I’m going to edit the post to include this download link. ~Nattha @ Team SelfHacked

  • Patricia D English

    Dr Joseph M Cohen. I am finding major conflicts in your High Lectin food list and even the research of Dr. Gundry and part of the Boosting Polyphenols includes many on your avoidance list. He spoke of the 3 worse foods as Soy, wheat grass, and Goji Berries. He mentioned Barley and Wheat. I found it hopeful that with his Gundry Vital Reds that not only are we getting high Polyphenols, but also the highest probiotics, good bacteria and even extract from bitter melon, green tea and that many seeds like flax meal and other areas from herbs we commonly use for seasoning. Cloves, cinnamon, Mexican oregano, Dried Sage, Rosemary, Thyme etc. Since I do have an autoimmune disease that is called Scleroderma, not some of the ones that require gluten free and I have no allergies to eggs, the added benefits of lower inflammation, digestive help, Energy, stronger immune system, better cognitive functions, I actually felt I might have a chance to at least feel better and handle the horrible symptoms from Advanced Scleroderma. I didn’t see anything on his podcast that prevented my consumption of pinto beans cooked healthy with natural herbs and seasonings. I have already been consuming EVOO and avoiding other Soy oils and yes I do avoid dairy fats, however a WORLD SPECIALIST told me to not be concerned about eating even some butter in MODERATION. He also mentioned that best to eat the REAL thing than substitutes. Artificial products. I was allowed to All Natural Brown Rice, Oatmeal and as possible sweeteners I could use Honey or PURE Maple Syrup in moderation. So, I am very confused, Not helped and very sad and lacking any hope now after reading what is on this webpage. I am going to call Dr. Gundy’s customer service line and review this with my nutritionist and rheumatologist. I already am feeling better after calling them.

    1. Steve

      My and my two kids age 7 and 10 just watched a video on Dr. Gundry and now interesting enough was about to feed us some carrots, cucumbers, humus to name a few. This is so confusing on what to eat and avoid and what pills to buy, etc. Now, wouldn’t you know it I open this door and here I am engaged by a rep selling Plexus-supplement pills. We are just being sold, sold, sold and over whelmed by information. Who do we turn to for real answers as I set here about to eat lunch and I look at my kids and want to set a good example.

      1. Colleen McCamis

        Seek the advice of a nutritionist with a PhD if you can find one. I have many food intolerance and have had to be educated about what is bad and why. Even after seeing a nutritionist, you still need to read a lot and then take the leap of faith that you are eating well. It is very confusing.

    2. Hamid Mailod

      They are just confusing people the Only Way out is eating like our ancestors. Few items. Natural foods. Fasting and that’s it.

  • Colleen

    The more I read, the more confused I get. I am beginning to wonder what I am supposed to eat. I know I am supposed to avoid lectins. I know nuts are supposed to full of them, but I am reading conflicting articles on which nuts should be avoided other than Walnuts. I understand those are a big no no. I believe Macadamias are OK in small amounts. What about Pistachios? Maybe I am not as sensitive as many people out there. At least some answers are now provided for those people severely affected by certain food groups.

  • MOLE

    not sure if thats really relevant to this discussion but it holds base on that, it shows cooked foods predominantly meat products and even junk foods might actually not be so bad for humans after all versus any other animal that interestingly enough the plant beneficial extracts have been tested on.

  • Karen

    This is way too confusing to figure out what to eat. Maybe say what you DO eat would help us with less knowledge. Thanks

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Cookbook is coming out

  • Mole

    i wonder why the author wont do an article on fasting, the only proven method for life extension

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      It’s coming

  • Paul

    Negative reactions to plant food components seems to be the exception to the rule. If you read Dr. T. Colin Campbell or other similar authors such as John Mcdougall, Michael Greger, or Caldwell Esselstyn, all whole food plant-based advocates, then the conclusion must be that eating plants is IN GENERAL, the healthiest option. I for example, stopped suffering from IBS when I eliminated animal products and refined oils and went whole foods, plant-based. There are however some individuals (such as the author) who are exceptions. Perhaps this is due to having increased intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut syndrome, caused perhaps by illness or medication. When this happens and partially digested protein fragments are allowed into the bloodstream, the immune system can produce antibodies that attack them and also tissues which are similar. This is often the case when eating animal products; they often have similar protein composition to us, while plant proteins resemble us less often. I understand for example, that type one diabetes, the destruction of part of the pancreas by the immune system results from the immune system’s attack on fragments from milk that enter the blood which are identical to a chain of 17 amino acids found in the beta cells of the pancreas. Perhaps it would be good if an article on healing leaky gut syndrome was presented. This might go far in helping with food allergies and sensitivities.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I went whole food plant based vegan for years, omnivore for years and animal foods for a year. I frequently experiment with various foods. The verdict is clear.

      With my 750+ clients (most with chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues), maybe only a handful told me they felt better on a vegan or vegan-like diet.

  • Paul

    Can you get kosher diamine oxidase? I noticed that the one you gave a link to is porcine-derived.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      You’re welcome to link to one if you find it.

  • Chris

    Thanks to this article I will now be able to live a long and healthy albeit miserable life whilst savoring the exquisitely delightful aroma and fine smooth taste that only fresh air can provide.

    Furthermore I will get to save bags of time and money while avoiding the dreadful headache and burden of trying to figure out what the heck I should eat and please note my use of the word heck does not connote American descent but much more simply my affinity for that particular word
    Which I guess you probably couldn’t care less about. Thank you and good day. 🙂

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I have a cookbook coming out 🙂

    2. Joseph M. Cohen
  • Dave

    On one hand this is great info. I have ongoing sinus problems to the point of losing my hearing. Doctors giving me meds that don’t help at all. On the other hand, I am fighting cancer and all the websites say to drink green tea, ginger curcumin, spinach, kale, fish oil,…. I have had a hunch that I am battling some kind of food sensitivities. I am concerned about changing my diet because of mTOR, and arachidonic acid.

    1. Karen

      Did you ever find a way to improve your sinus and hearing condition? I am affected by these troubles, as well…

  • Me

    i think he is making a point here. anything you put inside you will cause some unwanted reaction and therefore, as many studies have shown before, calorie restriction and fasting are the safest ways to live well

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      My point is that there is no one size that fits all for diet.

  • Lea

    I agree with being sceptical also with plant based diets, especially the vegan diet. But I am really wondering if this can be a lifelong option for people, not eating lots of veggies.The lectin avoidance might be very useful for some in a bad state to help recover and then add more pieces to it according to their reaction. I’m also thinking of so much more to be taken into account here, like organically grown, local veggies vs exotic veggies full of pesticides, meat and dairy production under different circumstances and that kinda stuff. And also my spiritual self is wondering if we really need to neglect so much of our world to be okay with it.

    I’d be very interested in a post on Joe’s view on long term solutions and actually what he thinks our world has to get to for us to be okay. So I guess that would be more of an ethical discourse on self hacking and our food production.

  • Meg

    Then what do you personally eat ?????

    1. Joseph M. Cohen
  • John

    Hey Joe! Can you elaborate on the experiments you have conducted related to diet?

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