Are antinutrients in vegetables bad for us?

You may have heard that there are antinutrients in vegetables. These so-called plant toxins may have negative effects on gut health and prevent the absorption of minerals.

But does this mean you should avoid vegetables?

Are there things you should do to reduce your exposure to these things?

Or, are there also beneficial effects associated with these “pant toxins?

In today’s video blog we cover the topic on both sides.

Anti-nutrients in vegetables: Good or bad?

Anti-nutrients in vegetables: What does the data show?

The story of anti-nutrients is a very interesting one that helps you understand how to properly apply science to diet. There is mechanistic data showing that antinutrients make some minerals less bioavailable to us.

On the other hand, there is also data showing that these “plant toxins” also have beneficial effects on us. Effects such as:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-cancer
  • Neuroprotective
  • And more…

Furthermore, though antinutrients bind minerals, this makes the minerals more bioavailable to your microbiome. Just like us, the microbes in our microbiome require minerals to perform metabolic activities.

On top of this, human outcome data shows that people who eat more foods with anti-nutrients such as grains, legumes, leafy greens, and seeds are healthier and live longer. So which are we to believe, that they are good or bad for us?

It’s clear that these compounds act as “antinutrients” in vegetables, but they also act in beneficial ways too!

Coffee as an example of how to use data to make better health choices

There’s actually an interesting parallel to this discussion in coffee. Coffee also has a rich history of observational human outcome data showing that it’s beneficial to us.

But, it also contains something called acrylamide that causes DNA damage. Based on this mechanistic data, drinking coffee should lead to greater DNA damage.

Fortunately, we have data testing the idea. In fact, it’s an actual randomized control study in humans. This example can give you a glimpse into how to properly use data to make health decisions.

Best practices for dealing with antinutrients in vegetables

We finish off today’s video by discussing the best practices around the consumption of anti-nutrients. How do you reduce them, who may want to avoid them, and what most of us should do on the day-to-day.

Clearly, by the way that they are framed, it seems like you should avoid antinutrients like the plague. I used to think this was the case until I dug into all the data.

When you look at all of the science behind antinutrients, you can see that it isn’t as simple as bloggers and influencers make it out to be.

Check out today’s video below:

  • (00:00) Intro
  • (1:34) What are anti-nutrients?
  • (2:48) Lectins
  • (3:56) Phytates
  • (5:44) Glucosinolates
  • (6:39) Oxalates
  • (8:09) Saponins
  • (8:47) Are anti-nutrients bad for you? A look at the data…
  • (11:14) Coffee & DNA damage-A cautionary tale on not looking at all the data
  • (13:24) Best practices

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