Seignalet diet: the complete French-speaking guide

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Developed in 1985 by Dr. Jean Seignalet, the Seignalet diet is not a strict diet but rather a set of nutritional indications similar to Mediterranean or paleo diets. The basic premise of this diet is that modern foods are genetically different from ancestral foods, and the human gastrointestinal tract has not had time to adapt to these changes. Dr. Seignalet also believes that cooking at high temperatures can change the protein structure of foods, which can lead to autoimmunity as well as altered gastrointestinal flora.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Dr. Seignalet believed that these modified proteins might not be fully digested, which could change the bacterial flora from one of fermentation (physiologically preferred) to one of putrefaction (not physiologically preferred). Bacteria, which act on rotten proteins, create toxic byproducts that can cause many imbalances and lead to disease. The diet philosophy involves eating unmodified foods, which can be completely digested and assimilated, or used properly by the body.

A few words about the inventor of the Seignalet diet

Jean Seignalet was a French doctor and biologist. He practiced medicine mainly in the 1980s and 1990s, directing the transplant unit at Montpellier Hospital, of which he is undoubtedly a pioneer. Even today his name is associated with great prestige and he is respected in all medical circles, conventional and holistic. His great curiosity and intelligence made him discover the famous HLA gen system, among other contributions to medical knowledge. From the very beginning, he was very interested in treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis through diet.

His most brilliant contribution was research into dietary treatments for chronic diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. His book “Nutrition, the Third Medicine” should be required reading for all patients suffering from chronic illnesses. Doctor Seignalet has treated more than 3000 patients, with varying degrees of severity (from asthma to metastatic cancer).

After years of observation, Dr Jean Seignalet developed this diet whose main objective is to restore the intestinal mucosa which has become too permeable due to genetic (enzymes) and environmental factors (microbes, drugs, gluten, etc.). . This increase in the permeability of the small intestine is one of the causes of certain autoimmune diseases, in the opinion of some researchers. This diet can be adopted by anyone suffering from degenerative or chronic inflammatory pathologies in order to improve their general health.

He developed his ancestral diet by combining his own research with the work of other authors such as Kouzmine. He defines his diet as the ideal diet for human beings and all the principles are well explained in his book. In a book titled Food or Third Medicine, he recounts the results he was able to observe in his patients, results that no scientific journal has agreed to publish. His work on diet and health was never recognized by the scientific community, and he insisted that he did not want to cure diseases with the hypotoxic diet, but rather to help prevent their occurrence and support the recovery process.

This controversial figure died in 2003, leaving behind a community of enthusiastic followers of his diet who make a living from it every day. Although his specific recommendations have never been validated by his peers, in a context of growing dietary problems (such as the spread of obesity in developed countries), Seignalet’s work resonates with the idea that we can, in to a certain extent, to be the best assistants of our own health.

Seignalet diet pears

The benefits of the Seignalet diet

It was Dr. Jean Seignalet who first mentioned the idea of ​​a third medicine in the form of food, after classical medicine and alternative medicine. This hypotoxic diet, quite close to the spirit of the paleo diet, would have beneficial effects on a large number of autoimmune diseases, including polyarthritis, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, celiac disease… This ancestral diet also fights cancer, migraines, manic-depressive psychoses, type 2 diabetes, nervous breakdown, psoriasis, hives and asthma. This diet is quite restrictive, as it requires careful selection of foods and compliance with certain basic rules. The Seignalet diet also helps to lose weight as could slimming capsules or powerful fat burners, but in a more traditional way.

French surgeon and immunology researcher Jean Seignalet is an individual who has dedicated his professional life to exploring the links between human lifestyle and health, focusing in particular on diet. His work was controversial within the scientific community, but it nevertheless brought attention to the important question of how we can be agents of our own well-being.

Seignalet presented the results obtained by nutritional change in around a hundred patients. Among them, 91 responded positively to the program. Some were considered incurable by conventional medicine, which can generate hope for many patients. According to the author, the patients treated with nutrition strictly applied the hypotoxic diet and the effects were noticeable after a period varying from a few months to several years.

Seignalet does not recommend applying this system as a substitute for medical treatment. On the contrary, it is a question of adopting a lifestyle to prevent the disease or improve the patient’s tolerance to a very heavy treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Seignalet insists on the fact that the diet does not cure illnesses: at most it induces remission.

Basic principles of the Seignalet diet

Jean Seignalet poses his diet proposal following a basic idea: certain modern foods have been modified and are different from those consumed by the first men. On the other hand, the digestive system of modern man has not modified to adapt to these changes.

This modification of food comes from genetic mutation caused by agriculture, in the case of certain cereals, or by cooking at high temperatures, which modifies the protein structure. Thus, the proteins we eat may not be completely digested, altering the balance of the intestinal flora. Fermentation bacteria are replaced by harmful bacteria, which creates toxins whose absorption disrupts the body’s balance.

This alteration can result in the elimination of certain beneficial principles, in the accumulation of toxins, or in the stimulation of the immune system by harmful proteins, as is the case with autoimmune diseases. The philosophy of the diet is to eat unmodified foods, which are completely assimilable. The Seignalet diet promotes the exclusion of cereals, with a few exceptions, the exclusion of dairy products, the preferential consumption of raw products (more than 70% of the diet should be raw), the use of virgin oils, obtained by cold pressing, priority to organic products and frequent consumption of probiotics.

Modern farming method
Agricultural methods have evolved a lot

Place of cereals in the Seignalet diet

The Seignalet diet excludes “modern” cereals: wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt and even corn. All cereals obtained by genetic modification or selection are difficult to digest, especially those containing gluten because they can cause intolerance. However, rice, buckwheat and quinoa are acceptable.

Modern cereals are banned because they have mutated due to agricultural selection. Modern wheat has 21 to 23 chromosomes, while “ancestral” wheat only had 7. This modification affects the protein structure, which can act as a toxin because it is not completely digested. These toxins also act in the intestine, changing the intestinal flora and creating pathogenic flora that affects the intestinal wall and creates even more toxins.

Wheat is dangerous, for the reasons above. So, foods that contain it must be eliminated. Corn is dangerous for the same reasons as wheat: the original plant was half a meter tall, while the modern plant is 3 meters tall. Barley, rye and oats should be excluded, as they come from the same family as wheat. Rice is accepted. It remained in its wild prehistoric form, and clinical experience proves that it is rarely harmful, even when cooked. Buckwheat is very well tolerated by patients and is permitted. Sesame is also very good.

Seignalet does not have a clear opinion about African cereals (millet, sorghum, etc.) and others (amaranth, quinoa, etc.). They are probably harmless, as they have never been cultivated intensively. However, recent studies show that millet is also probably a mutated grain, and should therefore be excluded. It is possible to use flour from accepted foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, soy, chickpea, rice and banana. Wheat and corn starch are permitted, as they do not contain protein in their purified form.

Place of dairy products in the Seignalet diet

Cow’s milk is a very nutritious food…for a growing calf. Humans can only digest their species’ milk, and only during the lactation period. The main protein in milk, casein, is difficult for humans to digest completely, creating many digestive problems. This diet excludes milk of animal origin (cow, goat, sheep, mare) and their derivatives (butter, cream, cheese, ice cream). These products contain allergy-inducing proteins and many growth hormones. Many adults do not produce lactase, an enzyme vital to their digestion.

Dairy is prohibited (cow, sheep, goat, etc.), as well as dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, yogurt, etc.). This removal does not cause calcium deficiency because other foods in the diet are already rich in calcium and the body will absorb calcium as needed. Soy milk and yogurt are good substitutes for traditional dairy products. Other plant-based milks are also available: almond, hazelnut, rice…

Cow's milk, prohibited in the Seignalet diet
Cow’s milk is prohibited in the Seignalet diet

Place of proteins of animal origin in the Seignalet diet

It is better to eat raw meat (carpaccio, steak tartare…) or just a little. Raw meat products are authorized (Parma ham, sausages, salami, etc.), while cooked products are prohibited (cooked ham, etc.). Real foie gras (goose foie gras) is authorized, because it is knows that his fat is healthy. Common pâté is not, as it usually contains milk and flour.

When it comes to meat and eggs, the less cooked the better. However, cooked fish is less dangerous than cooked meat. It can therefore be steamed or cooked at low temperature. Shellfish are allowed and it is even recommended to eat them raw. The eggs should just be poached. Cooked eggs are prohibited.

Place of fruit in the Seignalet method

All vegetables and fruits are allowed (and recommended). They should be consumed in large quantities. Legumes are allowed as green vegetables. As an exception, it is allowed to cook them in a pressure cooker. The consumption of dried fruits is encouraged. Doctor Seignalet advises eating lots of figs, dates, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and olives. However, they should be eaten raw, never grilled.

The oils

The diet excludes hot-pressed or cooked oils. Industrial processes for producing oils and margarines using solvents, refining, decolorization and deodorization denature fatty acids. We will prioritize cold-pressed oils from organic farming. We will favor rapeseed, walnut and hazelnut oil and we will regularly consume small fatty fish (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, etc.) for their high content of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

Seignalet recommends olive oil because it contains monounsaturated fatty acids. He also recommends walnut, soy and canola oils because they provide alfa-linoleic acid. Evening primrose oil and borage oil are recommended, because they provide beta-linoleic acid. Any oil is good when it is virgin and extracted by cold pressing. Refined oils are therefore excluded.

Other foods

Seignalet advises eating honey and pollen. Chocolate must be dark, organic and made with brown sugar or other natural sweeteners (agave, maple syrup, honey). White sugar must be eliminated and replaced with brown sugar, much richer in minerals and vitamins.

Tap water and mineral water provide trace elements and minerals. Beverages high in white sugar such as soda and commercial juice are excluded. Beer is excluded, as it contains barley protein. Coffee and tea are tolerated in reasonable quantities. Consumption of Achicoria is recommended. All alcoholic beverages are permitted in moderate quantities, except beer which remains excluded.

Salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon, garlic, parsley, mustard, curry are allowed. It is recommended to limit salt consumption and not take refined salt. You should instead opt for whole salts such as Maldon salt and Himalayan salt.

Himalayan salt
Ideally, favor Himalayan salt

Method of cooking and preparing food following the Seignalet diet

The Seignalet method excludes products cooked at a temperature above 110°C. Cooking at high temperatures denatures the food and its nutrients. Vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids become difficult to assimilate or even toxic when cooked at high temperatures. The preferred cooking methods are steaming or gentle boiling.

Cooking food should be avoided as much as possible. It is important to eat as many raw foods as possible. More than 70% of the diet should be raw. When cooking is necessary or unavoidable, temperatures should not exceed 110°C. Foods should preferably be steamed. Beyond this temperature (and especially above 200 °C), many mutagens, Maillard molecules and isomers are created. These transform into toxins once in the body.

It is recommended to take a vitamin and mineral supplement. Vitamin, mineral salt and trace element supplements are an integral part of Dr. Seignalet’s nutritional program. Very lightly frying, simmering, steaming, or dehydrating foods is permitted, as not all of these methods reach high temperatures. Frying above 200°C is not recommended, nor is cooking in the oven, which can even reach 280ºC. If you want to scrupulously follow the Seignalet diet, you will need to eat smoked foods in moderation because of their carcinogenic effect on the stomach.

Additional measures of the Seignalet diet

During the Seignalet method, it is strongly recommended not to smoke. Routine physical exercise is recommended. Likewise, it is advisable to take probiotic products to regulate the intestinal flora.

How to treat cellulite with Dr. Seignalet’s hypotoxic diet

Cellulite results from the harmful action of toxins. Therefore, a way must be found to prevent the retention of toxic substances in the body. The body cleans itself through the regular excretion of toxic substances through the kidneys, stools and skin. Increasing the quantity of urine, preventing constipation and activating sweating are beneficial actions for the elimination of toxins.

Being rich in nutrients, fresh fruits and vegetables are the main constituents of a body purification diet. They are easily digested and contain a lot of fiber. In order to benefit from all the benefits of the Seignalet diet, diuretic herbs such as asparagus, dandelion, artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, leeks, lemon, orange and grapefruit will be included. We should avoid smoked and salted meats which often contain additives which considerably increase the water retention capacity in the cells. We will consume as little salt as possible and drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, taking the first on an empty stomach in the morning. We will also drink a cup of dandelion tea every day.

Dandelion contains elements that increase the liver’s ability to break down waste and toxins and aid in the elimination of water from the blood through the kidneys. Dandelion leaves can be added to salads or prepared like spinach. The same applies to nettles. We will drink green tea and we will balance the intestinal flora with therapeutic probiotics. Body activity is crucial for the prevention and treatment of cellulite, as it strengthens muscles and improves metabolism and oxygen exchange.

Dandelion has certain little-known virtues

Jacqueline Lagacé’s book on the Seignalet diet

For years, Jacqueline Lagacé suffered from debilitating arthritic pain in her hands, spine and knees. Conventional medicine brought no relief, and Lagacé, a medical researcher, began looking for alternatives.

This research into the Seignalet diet led her to the work of Dr. Jean Seignalet, an expert in nutritional therapy, who used targeted nutrition to treat patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. His approach was called the hypotoxic diet, and he achieved an 80% success rate with it. By following his diet, Lagacé experienced relief from pain in his hands within ten days, and regained use of his hands within 16 months. His back and knee pain has greatly reduced.

In How I Overcame Chronic Pain and Inflammation Through Diet, Lagacé explores how our bodies are at war with our modern Western diet. She carefully explores the science of treating inflammatory diseases through nutritional therapy and explains why the consumption of wheat, dairy products and animal proteins cooked at high temperatures disrupts the balance of intestinal flora and stimulates the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Citing recent scientific studies showing how and why these foods are potentially pro-inflammatory, How I Overcame Chronic Pain and Inflammation Through Diet is where the relief begins.

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