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GARD Diet

by
author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
GARD Diet
Glass measuring cups filled with corn, wheat and soybeans. Photo Credit Francois Lariviere/iStock/Getty Images

The Glutamate Aspartate Restricted Diet is used to treat certain medical conditions such as celiac disease and epilepsy. This elimination diet was created by John B. Symes, a veterinarian who calls himself Dogtor J. Following the diet, Dogtor J claims, can help alleviate symptoms by eliminating certain foods from your diet.

Glutamate and Aspartate Defined

Glutamate and aspartic acid, also known as aspartate, are both amino acids involved in the normal function of your brain and central nervous system. While many people aren't negatively affected by eating these substances, some experience adverse reactions. For example, certain neurotransmitters in the brain can become overactivated in response to the consumption of glutamate and aspartate, and that can contribute to certain health problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome and autoimmune disorders, according to Elson Haas and Buck Levin, authors of "Staying Healthy with Nutrition." The exact amount of glutamate and aspartate that can affect a person varies, so some people must strictly restrict their intake, while others can safely consume small amounts.

The Big 4

There are four primary foods that Dogtor J recommends people avoid to rid their diets of glutamate and aspartate: grains, dairy foods, soy and corn. Wheat, barley and oats are the worst grains, according to Dogtor J, and corn ranks up there, as well. Dogtor J also references the link between cow's milk consumption and type-1 diabetes to support his claim that humans shouldn't eat dairy foods. The doctor also references research regarding soy and early menstruation in girls, as well as the overprocessed nature of soy foods, as reasons to avoid them.

Other Foods to Restrict

Dogtor J doesn't stop with the "Big 4," however, when it comes to foods you should avoid on GARD. Beans, such as soy, pinto, lima and navy beans, should be restricted, as should lentils. Seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin, should be avoided, too. Dogtor J recommends limiting your intake of nuts, such as peanuts, pistachios and almonds, to a moderate amount. Diet drinks, processed foods, canned soup and meat should also be restricted on GARD.

Foods You Can Eat

Foods low in glutamate and aspartate are the name of the game when it comes to following GARD. Fruits and vegetables are encouraged on the diet, as are potatoes. If you want to eat meat, lamb contains the lowest amounts of glutamate and aspartate. Eggs are also allowed, as are tree nuts, such as pecans and walnuts.

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