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Lectins are a type of carbohydrate-binding protein, which stick to cell membranes in the digestive tract. They exist in most plant and animal foods. However, they’re found in the highest amounts in legumes, nightshade vegetables, dairy products, and grains, such as barley, quinoa, and rice. Some types of lectins, such as ricin, are toxic, but others are not.

There is limited research on how lectins affect people. The lectin-free diet promotes reducing lectin intake or completely eliminating them from your diet. This may be beneficial for some people with food sensitivities. However, more research is still needed.

Lectins are anti-nutrients much like phytic acid that interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They can also cause indigestion, bloating, gas and even rashes for some people.

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