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LECTINS AND PHYTATES: THE BAD NEWS TWINS

Gluten-containing grains have both lectins and phytates, which are just bad news. Lectins can bind to insulin receptors, which then creates insulin resistance, which means that your blood sugar rises making it harder to burn off fat. Lectins can also bind to your intestinal lining, which contributes to altered gut flora, causing you to store more calories from the food you eat and, worse yet, store it as fat. Lectins can also be associated with leptin resistance. Because leptin is the hormone that helps regulate feelings of hunger and fullness, leptin resistance makes you hungrier even when you've had all the food you need. It also puts you at risk for metabolic syndrome, the triple threat of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Fun stuff, huh? Take it from me, you don't need the aggravation.

Phytates are equally bad. Found in gluten and other whole grains, we call them the antinutrient because they make minerals bio-unavailable. So much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we're supposedly getting from whole grains! The whole-grain goodness notion is a fallacy (see page 163 for more on the role of whole grains in the Virgin Diet). If you really want a small amount of grain in your diet, stick to rice, gluten-free oatmeal, millet, buckwheat and amaranth. You can also choose sweet potatoes, quinoa, lentils and legumes, so don't feel that you need to eat grains to be healthy.

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