Fact Sheet – GAPS Diet

The GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet is the brainchild of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and nutrition specialist with a particular interest in identifying connections between gut dysbiosis and developmental disorders. Dr. Campbell-McBride’s research led her to conclude that improving gastrointestinal function could be a valuable tool in reducing the impact of conditions such as ASD, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and even depression and schizophrenia.

The GAPS diet designed by Dr. Campbell-McBride to restore gastrointestinal health is loosely based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Like the SCD diet, the GAPS diet is relatively restrictive and excludes the following foods:

  • all grains
  • all starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes)
  • all sugar and sweeteners
  • all starchy beans
  • most dairy products
  • all processed foods
  • all additives

Recommended foods on the GAPS diet include the following:

  • meat, especially meat-based broths and soups
  • fish
  • eggs
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • ripe fruit
  • nuts and seeds
  • fermented dairy products (home-made yogurt and kefir)
  • cold extracted honey

The GAPS diet has several stages and nuances depending on the severity of the patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms and the speed of his or her recovery. Eventually, once gut health is restored, patients may resume eating certain foods such as new potatoes, quinoa and sourdough bread.

The GAPS protocol also includes probiotic supplementation to help reestablish healthy gut flora and other types of supplementation on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, see Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome or book a consultation with Brain Food’s nutritionist Jenny Edelstein who is a certified GAPS practitioner. Recipes on the Brain Food blog that are GAPS friendly are tagged GAPS and you can find additional recipes on the Brain Food GAPS board on Pinterest.