10 Chemicals in Plant Food Slowly Killing You & Why a Vegetarian Diet Can Harm You
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Remember growing up and not being allowed to leave the dinner table without eating everything on your plate. Usually, I never had a problem with scarfing down the meat portions but those veggies were always a challenge.
Why was eating your fruits and veggies such a big deal? #1 wasting food is a bad idea and #2 our parents really thought veggies and fruits were the healthier part of the meal. What if this was not the case? What if fruits and veggies are not the healthiest part of your meal and could actually be harmful to the human body?
Once again we’re going against the grain! (Get it?) In this post we point out the top 10 chemical compounds naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables that could be slowly killing you, giving you autoimmune problems, compromising your energy levels and and at the very least potentially annoying your body.
The Evolution of Plants and The Development of Their Killer Pesticides
Plants have been living on planet earth for about 700 million years so the ones that are still around have evolved and survived due to their amazing ways of fighting off animals, insects, bacteria and fungi.
Us good ol’ humans arrived about 3 million years ago and so plants have even been putting up the good fight against us too. For instance, there are over 400 thousand species of plants and we can only eat a handful of them without getting sick or dying.
How do plants protect themselves from those that want to eat them? Pesticides! Plants have naturally occurring chemicals in them that create their first line of defense against aggressors and hungry entities.
What the Food Scientists Found
Okay, so we know fruits and vegetables contain chemical compounds which in turn are pesticides but what’s the deal with them? Professor Bruce Ames, a toxicology expert and researcher, looked at the use of pesticides in agriculture and compared it to the naturally occurring chemical pesticides in plants themselves.
He found that 99.9% of the chemical pesticides we consume actually come from the plants!
According to Ame’s study, he says, “we calculate that 99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.”
He further goes on to explain that these pesticides we are eating can cause cancer in lab animals.
Furthermore, he concludes that both synthetic and naturally occurring pesticides found in plants are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests. (1) (2)
(Oh yeah, Ames thinks that the naturally occurring pesticides are worse than the synthetic. WOW!?!?)
What does this mean? This could mean that the fruits and veggies we are eating could be potentially dangerous and slowly killing us. I mean that’s the whole point of a pesticide, right?
Top 10 Common and Potentially Dangerous Chemicals, Pesticides and Compounds Found in Your Fruits and Vegetables
Oxalates: This substance is very crystal-like and can wreak havoc on human tissue. Generally, people with high amounts of oxalate develop gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune disorders, and/or leaky gut…and it is potentially related to breast cancer.
Also, oxalate is found in kidney stones so perhaps those of us that are prone to these balls of pain should consider eating less oxalate-rich plants.
Oxalate is found in vegetables, a few fruits, seeds, and nuts. For those of you on the keto diet and consume high amounts of almond flour, green smoothies and dark chocolate be careful because that’s where oxalates can also be found.
Check out this video of Sally K. Norton explaining the dangers of oxalate.
When you have mineral deficiencies you are prone to heart disease, depression, impotence, infertility hair loss, and can get a compromised immune system. You can find Phytic Acid mainly in nuts, legumes, grains, and seeds.
On another note, we can’t be too hard on Phytic Acid as it has been shown to lower blood glucose and even potentially lesson the size of kidney stones. (3) (4)
Lectins: This plant compound is pretty much found in everything but expect to find higher concentrations in squash, beans, legumes, vegetable oils, fruits, nightshades, corn, quinoa and grains.
The most famous form of lectin is gluten and we have all heard about gluten thousands of times. Lectins can cause leaky gut and make leaky gut worse. Dr. Steve Gundry writes about the negative aspects of lectins in his book, “The Plant Paradox”. Here is a fast video on his book which will get you up to speed quickly.
Glycoalkaloids: This is a potentially harmful chemical compound derived from alkaloids, go figure.
These compounds are found in the nightshade family of plants like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. (Yams and Sweet Potatoes don’t fall into this category). People have reported autoimmune problems, IBS and leaky gut issues when consuming too much.
Goitrogens: Are you eating a lot of soy and cruciferous vegetables? You may be setting yourself up for thyroid issues as the overconsumption of these plants has been reported to have caused thyroid dysfunction.
If you have thyroid issues it might be a good time to pass on the broccoli and cauliflower and eat a steak instead.
Protease Inhibitors: This substance has been tested with animals and those that consumed copious amounts experienced poor growth. The reason being is that protease inhibitors play around with the digestion of protein and as a result growth issues may appear.
You can find this compound in legumes, soy, some fruits like kiwi, pineapples, bananas, figs, and apples and some vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
It has also been said that Protease Inhibitors may also have a benefit in that they may limit cancer. (5)
Cyanogenic Glycosides: Once again we have a substance that can interfere with proper thyroid function and disturb neurological functions. It’s found in flaxseed, almonds, linseed, lima beans, cassava, and a few stone fruits. Cassava root is a dangerous little root that has caused cyanide poisoning and even death just proving that plants are deadly. Cyanide is nasty.
Flavanoids: This is stuff when consumed in high levels have potentially caused genetic mutations, free radical production, and slowing of hormone production.
Flavonoids can be found in citrus fruit, cocoa, blueberries, parsley, onions, and bananas.
Salicylates: These are found in tons of plant matter and is in most common fruits and vegetables and even spices. Eat too much and you are bound to report gut inflammation, diarrhea or even trigger an asthma episode if you have asthma.
Some people develop major sensitivity to this substance! (6)
Saponins: Are your red blood cells damaged? Have digestive problems? Thyroid acting up? Then you may be eating too much Saponin which is found in legumes, beans, garlic, alfalfa sprouts, peas, yucca, and asparagus.
Go deeper! Dr. Paul Saladino wrote an amazing book with multiple chapters dedicated to pointing out how dangerous plant toxins are to humans. I highly recommend his book:
Or check out Dr. Shawn Baker’s book:
Dr. George Diggs Goes Nuts Over Plant Chemical Defenses
Below you will find a very comprehensive video of Dr. George Diggs, Ph.D. explaining the functions of plant toxins and how they hurt humans when consumed.
Not only does he go over fruits and vegetables but also all the processed foods and cereals we consume. It’s gonna open your eyes.
Mo Plants, Mo Problems
The full list of chemical compounds found in plants is soooo long but I think this list covers the most widely known and talked about. As you can see these compounds are no joke and can cause major problems for humans…especially vegans.
In fact, it’s kind of funny how many of the average plants we consume have nasty chemicals.
Dr. Shawn Baker brings up a funny point in that if we had a “naturally occurring chemical compound unit” that investigates plants allowed to be sold on the market we probably wouldn’t have any.
Interesting point, right?
Eliminate Plants From Your Diet? Really?
The wild thing about health and nutrition is that we are all different and have different dietary programs.
What I’m starting to see is that there are a lot of people experimenting with elimination diets and finding that their chronic health problems are getting better or going away altogether. What if you completely remove plants from your diet and go full-on Carnivore? Chances are you will experience some positive outcomes, I know I have.
In fact, I was so surprised by my crazy results that I spent a month writing a post called “Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource”.
If you are looking for some amazing anecdotal evidence of people having great results from the Carnivore Diet or need motivation I highly suggest you check out MEAT RX.
If you are looking to take your carnivore diet to the next level you can book me as your Carnivore Diet Coach I work with Dr. Shawn Baker’s group MeatRX. Book me here.
Also subscribe to our YouTube Channel: Wild Lumens. Here you will find all things related to carnivory, the outdoors, and positive thinking!
What to buy on a Carnivore Diet?
We got you covered with these articles that will point you in the right direction. Check out:
- 16 Perfect Snacks for People on a Carnivore Diet & Meat Lovers
- 21 Essential Carnivore Diet Products You Need On Your Shopping List
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.
- Dietary pesticides (99.99% all-natural)
- Dietary Pesticides (99.99% All Natural)
- Urinary Phytate in Calcium Oxalate Stone Formers and Healthy People–Dietary Effects on Phytate Excretion
- Effects of Phytic Acid on Renal Stone Formation in Rats
- Role of protease and protease inhibitors in cancer pathogenesis and treatment
- Salicylate sensitivity