How the Dr. Gundry Diet Evolution Can Prevent Chronic Diseases

Dr. Steven Gundry initially created a diet to help his patients lower their cholesterol. He soon realized the diet might help others improve their health and wrote the book "Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution," detailing dietary recommendations that he says help prevent chronic diseases such as high blood pressure. The Gundry Diet Evolution consists of three phases that involve shifting your eating pattern to rely more on fresh plants over animal protein.

About the Dr. Gundry Diet Evolution (Image: OksanaKiian/iStock/GettyImages)

Eliminate Lectins — and Inflammation?

The Dr. Gundry Diet focuses on eliminating lectins, which are substances that defend plants from insects and animals. They are found in many plant foods, particularly in the nightshade family which includes eggplant, tomato and potatoes. However, once they're in the human body, lectins bind to carbohydrates in general and sugars in particular.

The belief is that they can disrupt messaging between cells, causing inflammation or other toxic reactions, as well as making weight loss difficult or impossible. According to the journal Nutrition Digest , lectins are implicated in such autoimmune diseases as rheumatoid arthritis. However, while there is evidence that eliminating or reducing lectins can help certain diseases, is may not be advisable for everyone to eliminate entire food groups because they contain lectins, according to the Mayo Clinic, which warns that the jury is still out on lectins' contribution to certain diseases.

The Teardown Phase

The first phase of the Dr. Gundry diet is called the Teardown and lasts up to six weeks. It's crucial for you to follow the diet strictly for the initial two weeks, according to Gundry, a former cardiac surgeon. During this phase, you focus on protein, nonstarchy vegetables and healthy fats. For the first two weeks, you eliminate grains, starchy vegetables, fruit and sugar. During the third week, you'll slowly reintroduce fruit and grains. The first phase of the Gundry Diet Evolution is designed to help kick-start your weight loss.

Restoration Phase

During what Dr. Gundry calls the Restoration Phase, you transition from calorie-dense foods to low-calorie foods. This phase is designed to promote a permanent change in your eating habits. You increase the volume of green leafy vegetables you eat and decrease your portions of animal protein, cheese, grains and legumes. This phase of the diet lasts from week seven to week 12 at a minimum, but Gundry recommends staying on the restoration phase until your weight normalizes.

Final Phase

The final phase of the diet is called the Longevity Phase and is an ongoing method of eating. During this final phase, you create a meal plan that mimics your early ancestors. Gundry maintains that early humans did not have daily access to animal protein and thus relied primarily on gathering wild plants and eating them raw. Gundry contends eating a diet similar to what your ancestors consumed can help keep chronic disease at bay. The Gundry diet promotes vegetable consumption and becoming what Gundry refers to as a "vegephile."

Swap Meat for Vegetable Protein

Initially, animal protein portions are the size of your palm. You decrease these portions as you progress through the diet. Allowed animal foods include grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range poultry, wild fish and fresh cheeses.

You can also enjoy soy protein and an abundant supply of green leafy veggies and other nonstarchy vegetables. You'll avoid "white" foods such as rice, pasta, flour, mayonnaise, potatoes and milk. "Beige" foods such as bagels, chips, crackers, cookies and pastries are forbidden. Gundry recommends avoiding certain fruit because of its higher calories and sugar content. Examples include plantains, mangoes, dried fruit, pineapple, seedless grapes and ripe papaya.

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