Bread: Lectins, Goo, Mucin, secretory IgA.3,4. and a big dose of spin

I have no idea if bread is evil. I know that I love it, and that my life without it is a misery. I do know the “vegetable lobby” is dead against bread. I thought it was because of the effect on the  Gylceymic Index (oh those happy early fitness instructor days).

As a hypertensive, I’m suspicious of bread because of  its excessive salt content: but there is, increasingly, lower salt bread available, and as I discovered in later life, I could always eat a slice a day, rather than the  loaf recommended by the state registered dietician  ( who knew!)

But apparently, its  Lectins, not Carbs are the real evil. Lets get skilled up and learn what lectins are. have a look at this article

So lectins are wolves in sheeps clothing, they sneak up on (gut ) cells, pretending to be , well sheep presumably, then they stick a dust buster into the cell wall, meaning it wants to hoover up every bit of sugar going ( so, a wolf, with a vaccum cleaner, disguised as a sheep in your intestines…..) .

So, every loaf of bread does that to every  intestine cell? ( Its, just that that’s a lot of wolves….)


“Glucosamine is specific for wheat lectin and it is this specificity that may protect the gut and cartilage from cell inflammation and destruction in wheat (or gluten) responsive arthritis”

Doesn’t that mean that if you have Glucosamine, you are ok, and can eat bread?

But certainly many people tolerate these foods — why?

The answer lies in the balance of gut flora and a person’s immune system.  When you have adequate “beneficial flora” ( oooh, I sense a TV Advert) , it serves as a protective barrier against substances that travel through the intestines, including lectins.

But importantly, beneficial flora are needed to keep the production going in the intestines of two lectin-protective substances, mucin and secretory IgA.3,4.

Mucin, like lectin, is a “glycoprotein” ( use this word at parties) in the mucus lining of the intestines.  When lectins travel through the intestines, they should have mucin to bind to, rather than intestinal cells.  But if mucin is missing, lectins will bind to intestinal cells instead.  Secretory IgA also binds to lectins, preventing them from causing damage. (Buts JP, et al. Digestive Disease and Sciences. Feb 1990. 35(2): 251-56.)

According to  Cordian et al “the interaction of dietary lectins with enterocytes and lymphocytes facilitates the translocation( this is bad)  of both dietary and gut-derived bacterial antigens to peripheral tissues, which in turn causes persistent peripheral antigenic stimulation. In genetically susceptible individuals, this antigenic stimulation may ultimately result in the expression of overt  rheumatoid arthritis” (British Journal of Nutrition British Journal of Nutrition (2000), 83: 207-217 Cordain et al)

This is a useful source as it  reminds us that there are lots of things in your gut that you don’t want in you, which is why some stuff passes through us, others get “slimed”, and, more importantly,  that’s why you have a gut.

But it can break down in 3 circumstances

(1) disruption of ecological equilibrium which allows intestinal bacterial overgrowth,

(2) deficiencies in host immune defences, and

(3) increased permeability of the intestinal barrier (Berg, 1992).

Failure of intestinal barrier function resulting in the systemic spread of gut-associated bacteria has been termed bacterial translocation( I actually like this word and want to use it more at parties).

This is why, apparently,  its important to take some nice live yogurt every so often, if you are a pisshead/ fast food eater, every few days would be a good idea. Don’t fall foul of marketing. Food companies are still  the deceitful fuckers they always have been, so most probiotic yogurt is just a liquid sweet.  An interesting observation  comes from another blog writer  (

“The only problem: Some so-called probiotic bacteria don’t contain strains medically recognized as beneficial. As one expert told Tara Pope Parker, “To say a product contains Lactobacillus is like saying you’re bringing George Clooney to a party. It may be the actor, or it may be an 85-year-old guy from Atlanta who just happens to be named George Clooney.”

So just be careful, treat bread with suspicion( there’s still an addictive sugar rush, and you may be one of the unlucky ones), and eat a bit of live yogurt ( the plain boring stuff). Above all,  be conscious of the motivations of  the diet advisor. I know of  diet experts who fess up to being x vegetarians ( presumably fanatically so) and now all they can see is their mums arthritis, and they set out on a misguided mission to “save everyone” even those that don’t  need it. Mind you, if I knew someone had auto-immune issues, I’d suggest they knock out bread as a trial (but they need to have the auto-immune disease).

I was also surprised to learn that, allegedly, if you have dairy issues, its worth trying yogurt as its already partially digested and easily  available to your body.

Still, I think the real warnings are, “everything in moderation”. Notice patterns , because you could be one of those people who cannot take bread. Act on the info.  But also watch the “religious nutters” I’ve read loads of times about lectins. No one ever added the bit about how the body deals with them.

So that’s a bit “spun” isn’t it boys and girls

Any way, My name is Andrew Stemler, I work in London as a personal trainer and can be found in Bethnal Green E2  or the City of London