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Ask the Dietitian: Kelly Clarkson and the Plant Paradox Diet

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Kelly Clarkson first made headlines for losing weight in 2018 when she followed the Plant Paradox diet. Now, she’s done it again, but hasn’t revealed any details around her latest weight loss strategy.

An insider claims she “limited her sugar and carb intake… cut out soda, chips, biscuits, cheese and tortillas. And she’s added exercise, mostly cardio, into her weekly routine.” And that’d definitely make sense. But many fans are speculating that perhaps the credit should go to the Plant Paradox diet again.

So, what exactly is this Plant Paradox diet, and should you consider it for yourself? I chatted with MyFitnessPal’s Registered Dietitian Stephanie Nelson to find out.

What Is the Plant Paradox Diet?

The Plant Paradox diet, created by Dr. Steven Gundry, is all about boosting your well-being by steering clear of certain foods believed to contain lectins, including beans, grains, and certain vegetables.

The diet emphasizes the consumption of “nourishing” foods, including lean proteins, high-fiber fruits such as avocados and berries, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens. By focusing on these foods, it aims to enhance the overall quality of your diet by reducing the intake of snacks, sweets, and refined carbohydrates.

What Are Lectins?

Lectins are naturally occurring proteins found in many plant-based foods, including beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits. They are a part of the plant’s natural defense system.

The effects of lectins on individuals can vary. Some people may experience digestive discomfort when consuming foods high in lectins, while others may not be affected at all. This could be:

  1. Because they have a sensitivity or intolerance to the lectin-containing food.
  2. The lectin-containing food wasn’t prepared or cooked correctly.
  3. Something else is at play, like a sensitivity to something else in the food (aka, not lectin!), like indigestible carbs called FODMAPs or gluten.

Cooking, soaking, and sprouting can reduce lectin levels in foods, making them more digestible and reducing the risk of discomfort.

Kelly Clarkson’s Take On the Plant Paradox Diet

Kelly Clarkson opened up about her weight loss journey in 2018 saying, “I literally read this book, and I did it for this autoimmune disease that I had, and I had a thyroid issue, and now all my levels are back up. I’m not on medicine anymore because of this book.” She credited The Plant Paradox book, written by Dr. Steven Gundry, with helping her feel healthier and more energetic.


A MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian’s Take on the Plant Paradox Diet

As with most things, there isn’t a black or white answer as to whether the Plant Paradox diet is “good” or “bad”. Every body is unique — what works for one may not work for another. And there is no such thing as one-diet-fits-all.

But here’s what Stephanie said about the Plant Paradox diet overall:


  • The diet encourages the consumption of nourishing foods like lean proteins, high-fiber fruits, and cruciferous vegetables, improving the overall quality of your diet.
  • By reducing the intake of snacks, sweets, and refined carbohydrates, the diet promotes healthier eating habits.


  • The diet eliminates entire food groups like beans, most plant-based oils, whole grains, and tofu, which are known to be nutritious and beneficial for many people.
  • The belief that lectins are universally harmful is controversial, and this diet unnecessarily removes food groups that can be healthy for you.
  • There isn’t strong scientific evidence to suggest that lectins directly lead to weight loss or gain. If you’re interested in weight loss, it’s important to focus on overall dietary patterns, portion sizes, and working in foods that you love.


Bottom Line:

Kelly Clarkson’s weight loss journey is captivating, sure, but it’s important to remember that her experience isn’t relevant to everyone. We don’t all have the same resources and support systems that celebrities do. And what worked for her might not necessarily work for you.

On top of that, there’s no evidence that lectins are harmful for people without a lectin sensitivity. Each body will react differently to any given food. Just like some people can eat peanut butter without issues (I’m jealous…), many people can eat foods with lectins, too.

“Take the parts of her journey that might be helpful to you and apply them, and if it doesn’t serve you, leave the rest behind,” suggests Stephanie.

At the end of the day, in the world of weight loss, sustainability is key. The most effective weight loss strategy is one you can maintain long term.

As for me, I say good for Kelly Clarkson, but I think I’ll stick to logging my food and uncovering what works best for my biology.

Not a MyFitnessPal member yet? Download the app for iOs or Android to start logging your food today.

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