Thoughts on the GAPS Diet

by (5216) Updated August 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM Created November 30, 2010 at 4:33 AM

I was wondering what you folks think of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS diet as it is better known). It doesn't set itself up as a lifestyle. It instead is an intensive period of clean eating set up in stages in order to establish a healthy gut. This period can last "up to two years." The advice seems to me like a hybrid of paleo and WAPF. There's a huge stress on probiotics and overall digestion. Does a diet regimen like this have a place in the paleo world? How capable is the gut of healing on its own? Is such a strict diet necessary?


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7 Replies

1329 · November 30, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I think GAPs is great. You asked, "how capable the gut is of healing on its own?"... Well, if someone has leaky gut and they continue to eat foods containing gluten, lectins and casein, those substances slip through the wall of the gut and can wreak havoc around the body. Unless they stop eating them, the gut doesn't have a chance of 'healing on its own'. Cutting out those substances- e.g. going paleo- would be the first step to healing, but the emphasis on bone broth (for both the gelatine and easily absorbed minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium) and probiotics to repopulate the gut bacteria mean that the healing process is, in theory, faster. I read the book by Natasha McBride and found my health greatly improved with the introduction of probiotics... and I'm going to lend it to my friend who has Lyme's disease (along with leaky gut and candida).

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3023 · September 14, 2011 at 8:52 AM

I don't have personal experience with eating disorders, but this was one of the most interesting sections of the book. In summary:

Eating disorders often start after a period of vegetarian diet or veganism.

The person develops protein deficiency, thus cannot produce hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and other substances.

Person develops zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B group deficiency.

Low-fat diet leads to deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins.

All the above leads to chronic infections so lots of antibiotics --> this damages gut flora.

Abnormal gut flora start producing toxins which flow through the leaky gut. These toxins causes the distorted self-perception, which is at the heart of eating disorders.

From here it all goes even more downhill. She adds that anorxics crave carbs, which doesn't help.

That's Dr. Campbell-McBride's take on how eating orders develop.

8848 · November 30, 2010 at 4:15 PM

This looks to be the same thing as SCD, Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Perhaps someone was frustrated with the patent and came up with their own variant.

The difference here might be in theory versus practice. Many of us here in paleo-land are immersed in paleo as much for the logic (religion?) as for the tangible medical/health/training benefits. SCD arose from the experience of a woman who had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The diet was the only one that reversed the overgrowth. I believe she learned of the diet from her doctor and published a book about it. The list of foods in your link is virtually identical to the "safe foods" list on the SCD website (it might in fact be identical).

The thing about this diet is that it works to avoid the feeding of negative bacteria in the small intestine. It also strives to repopulate the digestive tract with positive bacteria. There's no theoretical debate about which foods are "kosher" (no dairy! it's clear!). So, while SCD'ers might be mistaken for paleo, paleo folks would not always be in line with SCD (or GAPS) "legal foods" lists. For example, certain beans are permitted--providing they've been soaked for 24 hours.

0 · August 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

please see and collaborate with Nutra Scienza in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195771803846822/

8 · November 09, 2011 at 1:53 AM

Investigate the GAPS diet and you will find it is different from the SCD in that it solves some of the problems and bits that don't make sense with the SCD. It is based on the SCD and uses many of the same principles. Go to the source for info. Don't rely on hearsay, with this or anything, for that matter.

447 · September 13, 2011 at 8:13 PM

I was wondering if someone could sent (pdf or dwnldlink) me the chapter in the GAPS book about eating disorders?,as I'm only interested what Dr.NCM has to say about that. To buy a book for only one chapter is too much money for me,as I'm barely able to buy quality foods.

20469 · November 30, 2010 at 4:40 AM

Overall, looks relatively healthy. There are probably few things on there that on the face of it don't make obvious sense to me, like honey and raisins are OK but molasses is not. But I don't know the exact reasoning behind each and every decision so it's hard for me to say if I agree exactly or not. I have not extensively researched every single food item on that list, but overall, I'd say that most people would probably benefit greatly by being on such a diet compared to SAD or even many so called 'healthy' diets.

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