The TRUTH About Nightshades and Anti-Nutrients

The truth about nightshades

Nightshades, Oxalate, Anti-Nutrients: The Real Story About These “Health Foods”

Should you really be avoiding broccoli, kale, spinach, and tomatoes?  Are these nightshades, anti-nutrients, oxalate, and goitrogenic foods BAD for you?

There has been a lot of noise about this over the past couple of years, and it frustrates the hell out of me.  I want to tell you now, in 99.999% of cases the answer is NO.  You should NOT avoid these foods.  It’s BS being peddled to sell books and get clicks and views on youtube.  It frustrates me so much.

There is no data to substantiate it (but there is data to refute it), and it’s based on HUGE assumptions that just don’t exist.

I explain it in a little detail in this video below, but I just want to also give you the TL;DR version now: every single food on planet Earth (EVERY food) has chemicals in it that in a high enough dose could harm you.  Every food.  So when some ‘guru’ or insta-nutritionist tries to tell you kale has this in it, or oats have phytates or whatever, look at the foods that THEY are recommending, and I will find you a ‘chemical’ in their recommended foods that can kill you too.

The bottom line is this: if you took out every food these guys are telling you to be scared of, you’d be left with air and water left to consume.  And maybe not the water.  Or air.

These foods have HUGE benefits, huge.  Proven, huge benefits.  And you, on the other hand, have someone who has no study or data to back up their claim telling you these nutrient-dense green foods will harm you?

Crazy.  OK, enjoy the video! 😂 Rant over!

[Quick Note: before we get into the video…this video is part of one of my ‘Four Core Actions’ training inside my Alkaline Base Camp membership.  The Four Core Actions are part of the ‘getting started’ beginners training for all members, which gets you started living alkaline with NO stress, no overwhelm, and lots of ease.  I show you how to build these most important alkaline habits, so they become automatic in your life.  It is powerful.    The Alkaline Base Camp is almost always at capacity, but if you want to join the waitlist for when I next open spaces in the Alkaline Base Camp click here.]

Truth About Nightshades: Transcript

All right. So there are a few things going on here and it raises a lot of questions because as soon as I say, “eat loads of leafy greens”, there are people with who have been told because I have a certain condition, or even if not, they are told “you can’t eat that – these green vegetables are actually BAD for you!” (usually kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower and so on)

And there are a few different categories here where these ridiculous half-truths and lies have been peddled. And this is it’s something I really want to put your mind at ease without getting into too much bogged-down detail. There are some links below this video that will explain everything in a bit more depth for now. I just want to cover off goitrogens, oxalates, anti-nutrients, and nightshades.

And just say, as a blanket, these are all recent phenomena that haven’t been researched that have been, I don’t want to sound too terrible here, but exploited in order to sell books and get views on YouTube and get clicks on, they call it link bait. Don’t they, without any real scientific foundation, without any studies to back it up, you know, looking in terms of as an example, like the thyroid people are being told to not eat kale, to not eat broccoli, to steer clear of all the cruciferous vegetables when there isn’t actually any data, any evidence to suggest that these food, these types of foods are depleting to the thyroid. The link here is that certain cruciferous foods or goitrogenic foods can inhibit IDN absorption by the thyroid and it, and it lessens the effectiveness and the balance of certain hormones and regulating certain things in the body and it’s simply not true.

There is zero evidence in big, big studies to show that high consumption or low consumption of nightshade foods has any negative impacts on the thyroid.

However, the findings from the studies are that the consumption of these foods supports thyroid health supports thyroid function. It’s maddening to the degree that there are so many people out there who are now not eating these wonderful leafy greens, foods, and foods like broccoli and cabbage that contains so many really important potent nutrients that are going to support their health and help them recover because of a clickbaity article posted on a magazine website or a particular author, no names being mentioned who wants to sell a load of books by being contrarian and going, Ooh, greens are bad for you after all. It’s just nonsense, you know.  Touching quickly on nightshades, again, this is a fuzzy logic link.

It’s a dotted line theory as we call it, and that dotted line theory is there is some, a particular group of alkaloids, within some of these nitrate foods that act almost like an insect repellent to help protect the food.  I think if these foods weren’t called deadly nightshades, if they were called fluffy cloud vegetables, people wouldn’t be able to formulate this link. And that name has got absolutely nothing to do with the contents of these fruits and vegetables, by the way. But these alkaloids are in such tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny quantities that they’re not going to register in the body. There’s only one food where you might want to proceed with caution white potatoes. If they’ve been left for a really, really long time, as they start to sprout a new root, they will get that discoloration around the root, and that’s evidence of that alkaloid being there.

You can choose to chop that out or not consume old sprouting white potatoes as an option, many foods to choose from. But generally speaking again, bell pepper, capsicum, super, super dense source of antioxidants. So beneficial. You just, you don’t want to be avoiding these foods.

And then when it comes to anti-nutrients, which is perhaps the most frustrating of all in a way because it’s just such nonsense. These so-called anti-nutrients were only called anti-nutrients in one study for a completely harmless reason.  It had nothing to do with human health and this name was really pertinent to just to that study, which wasn’t a study on nutrition. It was a study on farming and growing methodologies, or something similar.  It bears no relevance to our health. The same groups of compounds that were called anti-nutrients are all also classified as antioxidants.

If we call them phytonutrients, which is their real name, nobody has got a problem with them.

Look, there is the dotted-line theory that certain anti-nutrients inhibit or block the absorption of certain minerals and it’s like, all right, let’s actually take a step back. Let’s peel back a layer and look at what that actually means. And there is some truth to it yet, if you consume some of these foods, they will inhibit the absorption of, primarily, zinc, calcium, and iron to a degree, in tiny quantities. Like if you’re eating anything like an even remotely healthy diet, you won’t have any problem getting enough of these foods. Nowhere near a problem.   They only inhibit absorption within that meal, the authors that are out there writing these books would lead you to believe that if you eat foods containing these anti-nutrients, then you die of zinc and iron deficiency. And it’s nonsense guys. Whenever we talk about this, it brings a sigh of relief, to a lot of people, because if you literally listened to all of these, do me gloomy reports, there’s nothing left to eat. You know, you’re not expected to live with perfection in the ABC.

We’re never aiming for perfection. Sure. You know, if you eat a few foods that inhibit a little bit of calcium, well, do you know if you’re eating all these leafy greens, you’re going to be getting way more calcium than you need on a daily basis? And that’s, if you, when you, before you even include the other foods that aren’t leafy greens in your diet,  so just chill out. Don’t stress out. There are a couple of links below this that I’d like you to read if you want more information. But if you’re happy to understand that everything I do is evidence-based in the scientific literature. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t tell you about it. It’s incredibly rare that I would even make suggestions based on animal studies.

It’s always human studies. It’s very rarely meta-analyses or retrospective studies that it’s always, you know, studies that study the thing that we want to know about. It’s not like, you know, looking back over a pool of data from 12 studies, with 68 billion people (I’m being facetious) to try and work out because they kept food diaries. If spinach’s good for, you know, it’s going, what is the effect of this on this in humans? That’s how I research. And that’s how I explain these things to you and, and put forward these ideas. So if it was in the data, you’d know about it, none of these theories on nightshades, oxalates, and anti-nutrients demonstrate in the literature. There’s no, there’s no evidence to suggest you need to worry about any of them.

So let’s go forth with confidence and eat loads of greens.

[Note: this video is one of my ‘Four Core Actions’ training inside my Alkaline Base Camp membership.  The Four Core Actions are part of the ‘getting started’ beginners training for all members, which gets you started living alkaline with NO stress, no overwhelm, and lots of ease.  I show you how to build these most important alkaline habits, so they become automatic in your life.  It is powerful.    The Alkaline Base Camp is almost always at capacity, but if you want to join the waitlist for when I next open spaces in the Alkaline Base Camp click here.]

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  1. Charli Van Horn RN BS Reply

    I must be careful with oxalates due to Kidney Stones, so I am very fearful of eating any of these things unless I know they are low in oxalates
    I am not a fan of dairy and have been told to eat dairy when intaking oxalates, this is not easy for me
    let me know how you feel about all of this

    thank you

  2. Jennifer Arnhold Reply

    Dear Ross,
    Thank you for your transparent video on the TRUTH about eating greens and nightshade vegetables. We live in a world now, where black is now called white, evil is now being called good, not to mention that all types of fear-mongering and lies are promoted on social media–brain washing, if you will, as nothing is based on pure scientific studies! There is a nefarious, global reset happening at every turn, that is why I appreciate your not being afraid to speak up about the truth when it comes to our life-giving (or not,) diets.
    Your alkaline approach to healthy eating has been a tremendous help to me for a number of years now. I just want to encourage you to not let the media disparage you from your mission to which you have been called –opening the eyes of as many as possible to healthy lifestyles, by avoiding anything processed, GMOs, and pesticide -laden commercially grown fruits and vegetables. Your teaching people how to keep our systems alkaline in order offset any disease entity that may affect our lives, is HUGE! In 2016, I was told I could be in a wheelchair at any time by the endocrinologist. My osteoporosis was off the charts, apparently! I began to research what would help my bones, beginning with total avoidance of Big Pharma’s dangerous drugs. Your Alkaline dietary list was a huge help to me!! I used to have hip pain when I walked, but now I hike very difficult hikes in the State of Washington, and I never have joint pain, let alone hip pain!!
    May God bless you for all your efforts, and I personally thank you for what a difference your dietary recommendations have made in my own life!
    Jennifer Arnhold

    • Helen Reply

      Hi I’m very low in Iron, vitamin B12, and potassium. I read that peppermint inhibits the absorption of Iron. What is your thought on this?

      • ross Reply

        I would say that it is quite minimal, and you’d need a LOT of peppermint to have any meaningful impact.

  3. JOHANNA Reply

    Hey there..good info, however; please address SPINACH? It is said the highest in oxalates and was magnified to show how they are like razor blades in our system. Very scary information. Have u seen this? That to steam it is better but still that a small portion of it a day is best..can u put my mind at ease about this one?

  4. Sue Brettell Reply

    Thank you for the sanity Ross. Absolutely anyone can research a topic, cherry-pick evidence that supports their point of view, and publish their link-bait. As the general public are finally getting the message that their diets are bad for them and are keen to learn more about healthy eating, this has opened up a whole can of worms.

    My oncologist’s sole dietary advice to me was to eat “a normal balanced diet”. She didn’t explain what that is. Fortunately I’m way ahead of the game, but most people are not. For some, a balanced diet is chips and salad with their burger!

    What we need desperately is for medical professionals to get proper training in nutritional therapy in med school. There are enlightened doctors and nutritionists who are campaigning for this in the USA, but we need it to be global. We also need Big Pharm and Big Food to publish ALL scientific studies, not just those that support their industries, while burying the ones that don’t.