Steven Gundry

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Steven R. Gundry
Steven Gundry.jpg
Steven R. Gundry, November 2019
Born (1950-07-11) July 11, 1950 (age 72)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fieldscardiothoracic surgery, medicine, nutrition

Steven R. Gundry (born July 11, 1950) is an American physician and low-carbohydrate diet author.[1] He is a former cardiac surgeon and currently runs his own clinic, investigating the impact of diet on health. Gundry conducted cardiac surgery research in the 1990s,[2] and was the surgeon in an unusual case where an infant spontaneously healed, avoiding heart transplant surgery.[3] Gundry is a New York Times best-selling author of The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain.[4]

He is best known for his disputed claims that lectins, a type of plant protein found in numerous foods, cause inflammation resulting in many modern diseases.[5] His Plant Paradox diet suggests avoiding all foods containing lectins.[6] Scientists and dietitians have classified Gundry's claims about lectins as pseudoscience.[6][7] He sells supplements that he claims protect against or reverse the supposedly damaging effects of lectins.[8]


Cardiothoracic surgeon[edit]

Gundry graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in 1972 and went on to earn a medical doctorate at the Medical College of Georgia (a division of Augusta University) in 1977.[9][10]

People reported in 1990 that an infant boy's heart spontaneously healed itself while waiting weeks on life support for a transplant from Gundry and Leonard Bailey.[11] The boy's recovery made the need for a heart transplant unnecessary, and he received a successful four-hour surgery from Gundry to repair the mitral valve.[12]

During his career as a cardiothoracic surgeon, Gundry published three hundred articles and registered several patents for medical devices.[13]

In 2002 Gundry began transitioning from Clinical Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Seventh-day Adventist Loma Linda University School of Medicine to private practice by starting The International Heart & Lung Institute in Palm Springs, California.[14][15]


By mid-2000s Gundry was providing dietary consulting through The Center for Restorative Medicine, a branch of his private surgery practice.[16][17] While not an accredited dietitian, Gundry's advice focused on heart health and followed conventional wisdom of Western diets such as drinking a glass of red wine per day, increasing intake of plants and nuts, reducing simple carbohydrates, and consuming fish and grass-fed meats.[18]

Gundry has authored books focused on food-based health interventions.[19][20] Although not mentioned in his first book, Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline (2008), his second book, The Plant Paradox (2017), advocates avoiding lectins, a class of proteins found in numerous plants.[5] In 2018 he published an accompanying recipe book.[21]

He is the host of the Dr. Gundry Podcast on health and nutrition.[22] Gundry writes articles for Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop website, which has been criticized for promoting quackery.[23] Gundry has also controversially supported the website of Joseph Mercola for giving "very useful health advice".[24]

Gundry advocates a low-carbohydrate diet. In 2022, he authored Unlocking the Keto Code which promotes a lectin-free ketogenic diet consisting of goat and sheep dairy products, fermented foods, grass-fed beef, shellfish, olive oil and red wine.[25] Gundry's ketogenic diet encourages the consumption of polyphenols, time-restricted eating and "mitochondrial uncoupling" to facilitate weight loss.[25][26][27]


T. Colin Campbell, a biochemist and advocate for plant-based diets, states that The Plant Paradox contains numerous unsupported claims and denies that it makes a "convincing argument that lectins as a class are hazardous."[8] Robert H. Eckel, an endocrinologist and past president of the American Heart Association, argues that Gundry's diet advice contradicts "every dietary recommendation represented by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and so on" and that it is not possible to draw any conclusions from Gundry's own research due to the absence of control patients in his studies. Writing in New Scientist, food writer and chef Anthony Warner notes that Gundry's theories "are not supported by mainstream nutritional science" and that evidence of the benefits of high-lectin containing diets "is so overwhelming as to render Gundry’s arguments laughable".[28]

Gundry sells supplements that he claims protect against the damaging effect of lectins.[10][8][28][7] Although Today's Dietician acknowledges evidence that consuming lectins in some raw foods like kidney beans can be harmful, it concludes that "preliminary studies have revealed potential health benefits of lectin consumption and minute evidence of harm."[4]


In November 2021, Gundry published a poster abstract in Circulation which claimed that mRNA vaccines against the COVID-19 virus "dramatically increase" inflammation and that this was associated with heart disease.[29] Commentators in British media cited the abstract as evidence of the mRNA vaccines being unsafe.[29] The abstract was not peer-reviewed before publication. The American Heart Association issued an expression of concern, warning that the abstract may not be reliable and that, among other problems, there were "no statistical analyses for significance provided, and the author is not clear that only anecdotal data was used”.[30] The Reuters Fact Check team concluded that it did "not provide reliable evidence that mRNA vaccines increase risk of heart disease".[29] Full Fact noted that the claims in the abstract relied on results from a test for which there was little evidence that it could accurately predict the risk of heart attacks.[30]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline. New York: Harmony Books. 2009. ISBN 978-0307352118.
  • The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in 'Healthy' Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. New York: Harper Wave. 2017. ISBN 978-0062427137.
  • The Plant Paradox Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Help You Lose Weight, Heal Your Gut, and Live Lectin-Free. New York: Harper Wave. 2018. ISBN 978-0062843371.
  • The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy: The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free. New York: Harper Wave. 2019. ISBN 978-0062911995.
  • The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age. New York: Harper Wave. 2019. ISBN 978-0062843395.
  • The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook: 80 One-Pot Recipes to Nourish Your Family Using Your Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Sheet Pan. New York: Harper Wave. 2019. ISBN 978-0062911834.
  • The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-and-Go Has Got Up and Gone. Harper Wave. 2021. ISBN 978-0063005730.
  • Unlocking the Keto Code: The Revolutionary New Science of Keto That Offers More Benefits Without Deprivation. Harper Wave. 2022. ISBN 978-0063118386.


  1. ^ "The Plant Paradox: Steven Gundry's War on Lectins | Science-Based Medicine". October 25, 2022. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  2. ^ Grady, Denise (2000). "Making Some Trauma of Heart Surgery Disappear". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2018. But beating-heart surgery is controversial, because of evidence that its benefits do not last as long as those from traditional bypass operations. Dr. Steven Gundry, head of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center, led a study showing that patients who had beating-heart surgery in 1989 and 1990 were more likely than those who had traditional operations to develop blockages in the arteries that doctors had worked on. But Dr. Gundry said surgical techniques had changed since then, and he thought long-term results would improve, though more studies were needed to find out.
  3. ^ "Infant Boy Survives Heart Peril". The New York Times. 1990. Retrieved August 14, 2018. Dr. Steven Gundry, a pioneer in infant heart transplant surgery, said it was unlikely that their child would ever need a transplant.
  4. ^ a b "Ask the Expert: Clearing Up Lectin Misconceptions". Today's Dietitian Magazine. 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2018. The lectin-free diet has been popularized since cardiothoracic surgeon Steven Gundry, MD, FACS, FACC, released the New York Times bestseller The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain in April 2017. The book promotes a lectin-free diet to treat medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, and cancer.
  5. ^ a b Hamblin, James (April 24, 2017). "Lectins Could Become the Next Gluten". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 18, 2018. The book, The Plant Paradox, has an image of an artfully smashed tomato on the cover, and it tells readers that eating tomatoes is “inciting a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.”
  6. ^ a b Shortsleeve, Cassie (June 13, 2019). "Will Cutting Out Lectins On The Plant Paradox Diet Make Losing Weight Easier?". Women's Health. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Rosenbloom, Cara (July 7, 2017). "Going 'lectin-free' is the latest pseudoscience diet fad". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell (August 23, 2017). "'The Plant Paradox' by Steven Gundry MD – A Commentary". T. Colin Campbell Centre for Nutrition Studies.
  9. ^ "Steven Gundry". The Cardiothoracic Surgery Network. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Hamblin, James (April 24, 2017). "The Next Gluten-Level Obsession Could Be Lectins". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  11. ^ Kilpatrick, Janet (December 24, 1990). "The Tiniest Wonder". People. Retrieved August 14, 2018. Although Weston no longer required a transplant, his heart needed surgical repair work. On Nov. 9, after inspecting the baby’s heart with a pressure meter attached to a catheter, Gundry performed the four-hour operation. His main repairs were rebuilding Weston’s mitral valve and patching the troublesome hole between the right and left ventricles. ... The doctors expected that Weston would need a few weeks to recuperate under an oxygen hood and more weeks at home on limited life support equipment. But Weston recovered so fast he was home in six days.
  12. ^ "Infant Boy Survives Heart Peril". The New York Times. 1990. Retrieved August 14, 2018. After being transferred to Loma Linda, Weston remained for weeks on a waiting list for donor hearts. When doctors performed ultrasound tests on his heart about 10 days ago, they were amazed to find spontaneous and unprecedented development of the left side of the heart and the two valves.
  13. ^ Howard, Jonathan (2019). "Semmelweis Reflex". Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes. pp. 488–489. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-93224-8_27. ISBN 978-3-319-93223-1. S2CID 239513613.
  14. ^ "2003–2005 Bulletin – Loma Linda University". 2003. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  15. ^ "International Heart and Lung Institute". Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "About Steven Gundry – Global Wellness Institute". Archived from the original on December 28, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2020. [Gundry] is also Founder and Director of The Center for Restorative Medicine, part of the Institute.
  17. ^ "Center for Restorative Medicine". Archived from the original on November 30, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Center for Restoritive Medicine – 9 Ways to Better Health". Archived from the original on December 1, 2010.
  19. ^ "The Longevity Paradox". HarperCollins. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "The Energy Paradox". HarperCollins. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  21. ^ Bahar Gholipour (June 26, 2018). "No, You Probably Shouldn't Follow Kelly Clarkson's 'Lectin-Free' Diet". Live Science.
  22. ^ "The Dr. Gundry Podcast on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  23. ^ "Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Another triumph of celebrity pseudoscience and quackery". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  24. ^ "The Baffling Rise of Goop". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Unlocking the Keto Code: The Revolutionary New Science of Keto That Offers More Benefits Without Deprivation". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Unlocking the Keto Code". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Unlocking the Keto Code". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b Warner, Anthony (July 27, 2017). "Lectin-free is the new food fad that deserves to be skewered". New Scientist. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  29. ^ a b c "Fact Check – Research abstract is not reliable evidence of a link between mRNA vaccines and heart disease". Reuters. November 26, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  30. ^ a b Panjwani, Abbas (November 30, 2021). "Concerns raised about legitimacy of research linking vaccines and heart attacks". Full Fact.

External links[edit]