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Side Effects of the Gaps Diet

By Aglaee Jacob ; Updated July 18, 2017

The GAPS diet, or gut and psychology syndrome diet, was developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to treat not only digestive problems but also autism, depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia and other similar disorders, which are caused by gut flora imbalances according to her theory. The GAPS diet eliminates all grains, starchy vegetables and sugar but promotes bone and meat broth, animal protein and fat and nonstarchy vegetables to heal and seal the gut.

Lower Carb Intake

The GAPS diet contains less carbohydrates compared to the standard American diet by eliminating starchy vegetables, grains and sugar. During the first week, it is possible to experience some side effects due to the lower carb intake, such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue and irritability. If your body was used to using glucose derived from carbohydrate-rich foods for energy, switching to the GAPS diet may require a few days to up to a few weeks for your body to fully adjust and start using fats and ketones more efficiently for fuel.

Die-Off Symptoms

Die-off symptoms are a common side effect during the first weeks of going on the GAPS diet and result from bad bacteria dying. The symptoms caused by die-off reactions are highly individual and can vary depending on your condition and body, according to Campbell-McBride. Some people may not have die-off symptoms at all, while others can have a worsening of their initial symptoms for a few days or weeks before seeing improvements in their condition.

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Weight Regulation

One of the beneficial side effects of the GAPS diet is that it helps you achieve a healthy weight. Some people who go on the GAPS diet are underweight as a result of food malabsorbtion, while other may be overweight or obese. The GAPS diet can help both underweight and overweight people achieve a normal and healthy level of fat in their body. This low-carb and high-fat approach can allow you to regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels as well as your hunger and satiety.

Healthier Gut

The biggest side effect of following the GAPS diet is that it can help you heal and seal your gut, according to Campbell-McBride. By correcting your leaky gut, helping your gut better digest and absorb the nutrients your body needs and promoting a healthy gut flora, your health conditions can greatly improve. If you had food intolerances, you may be able to reintroduce the problematic foods into your diet without any reactions once your gut is healed.

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