GAPS Diet: Critical Differences Between GAPS and BED, Two Gut-Healing Protocols
by Donna Gates
In the last few years, more of my clients have come to me with questions concerning the Body Ecology Diet (BE Diet) versus the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), two protocols for gut healing that share many things in common, but also some critical differences. Some people attempt to go on both diets at the same time, and end up confused and frustrated. When their symptoms persist, they throw up their hands and become disillusioned with both programs when a little more clarity—on what must be done to heal a gut disorder—will produce better results.
I have lectured with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride—originator of the GAPS Diet1 —and respect her as a colleague, especially for her excellent explanation of the connection between behavioral disorders like autism and gut dysbiosis. Campbell-McBride, who is quite familiar with the Body Ecology program, now includes a greater emphasis on fermented foods in the GAPS protocol and has recently added them to the recipe section in her 2010 revised edition of Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I was pleased to see that fermented foods had been included in the revised GAPS diet, as they are a critical factor in restoring gut/brain health. Body Ecology has played a key role in introducing these ancient foods back into our Western diet and has emphasized their use for nearly two decades. "Probiotic" or fermented foods should ideally be included in everyone’s diet, even if they are not struggling with gut dysbiosis or a neurological disorder. The microbiota in these foods are essential for establishing an inner ecosystem in our guts—protecting us from disease and positively influencing the health of our brains, emotions and moods.
There are significant discrepancies between the two protocols that should be noted and explained so that people understand why Body Ecology has made certain choices and not others in arriving at our protocol—a program that has helped thousands of people overcome systemic yeast infections, establish healthy digestive systems, balance hormones, and overcome many kinds of immune and autoimmune disorders for more than 20 years.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome discusses pathogens in the gut, including the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans, but Campbell-McBride does not have a clear understanding of how to eat if you have a systemic yeast infection in your bloodstream.
1. Campbell-McBride acknowledges that the GAPS Diet is essentially the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), with a few additions, including fermented foods. References to GAPS throughout this article also apply to SCD.