Described in detail in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, the GAPS dietis most commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety and autoimmune disease.
Inspired by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) developed by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas in the 1920s to heal digestive disorders, the GAPS diet has taken the natural health world by storm.
The “GAPS Diet” is an advanced meal plan that is designed to:
Repair the gut wall (leaky gut)
Rebalance probiotics in the micro-biome
Stop toxic overload from bad bacteria strains that dominate the gut environment
Prevent toxins from entering the bloodstream, which causes an array of autoimmune disorders
Suggests easy to digest foods your your gut and body can rest and heal itself
GAPS Diet Benefits
Taking it at face value, the GAPS Diet offers a complete array of health benefits by simply taking a common sense approach to eating.
Take me, for instance. When I went on a grain-free eating plan years ago I didn’t even know that I was following the “GAPS Diet”. I knew from studying what our ancestors ate and what science has already shown us that I needed to reduce my grain intake, consume lots of probiotic rich foods and start drinking bone broth.
Like me, the health benefits most people start to experience from the GAPS Diet all start with healthy, regular digestion. Those who have followed the GAPS diet in individual cases studies have found the following GAPS diet benefits:
Reduce Food Sensitivity
Improve Neurological Function
Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Reverse Type II Diabetes
Improve Lactose Digestion
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
In addition, research has linked eating fermented foods, as the GAPS Diet recommends, to killing several different types of cancerous tumors in animal studies. The Journal of Dairy Science, for example, published a study that evaluated the immune cells in mice and discovered that regular kefir consumption helped stop breast cancer growth.
If we scientifically evaluate how each individual component of the GAPS Diet cures disease like this, we not only see the wide array of diseases it can reverse, the synergistic effects of all of these components coming together seem limitless!
GAPS Diet Foods to Avoid
To follow the GAPS diet, you will want to avoid:
Starchy carbs and potatoes
Artificial chemicals and preservatives
Conventional meat and dairy
In Dr. Campbell-McBride’s words, “Try to buy foods in the form that nature made them, and as fresh as possible.”
GAPS Diet Legal Foods
In a nutshell, Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends the following foods as part of the introduction GAPS diet:
Because no clinical trials evaluating its effectiveness have been published yet, a slew of experts have been surfacing on the Internet barraging the GAPS Diet for being “experimental” and “unfounded on science.”
But just because there isn’t a double-blind study backed by a pharmaceutical company, doesn’t mean this diet isn’t “scientific” and effective.
As I’ve shared before, science has shown that 80% of the human immune system is housed in the gut and an imbalance of healthy probiotics and harmful pathogenic bacteria is linked to most chronic diseases today. Although the GAPS Diet hasn’t been thoroughly studied directly, countless research studies have substantiated the underlying premises indirectly. Essentially, it has been proven because it’s a theory based on solid research and countless personally testimonies.
Secondly, Austin M. Mulloy, PhD (Assistant Professor of Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University) is currently conducting a study that is evaluating how GAPS performs in a clinical setting. Granted, it’s only one study, but in the future you will see more and more studies coming out on how following a diet similar to GAPS can greatly improve someone’s overall health.