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Side Effects of the Gaps Diet

author image Aglaee Jacob
Aglaee Jacob is a registered dietitian. She has experience working with people who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity issues. Jacob obtained a bachelor of science and a master of science, both in nutrition, from Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.
Side Effects of the Gaps Diet
The GAPS diet can cause some side effects at first. Photo Credit voltan1/iStock/Getty Images

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

Side Effects of the Gaps Diet
The GAPS diet contains fewer carbohydrates than the standard American diet. Photo Credit Olha_Afanasieva/iStock/Getty Images

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

Side Effects of the Gaps Diet
Some individuals may experience die-off symptoms. Photo Credit AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Weight Regulation

Side Effects of the Gaps Diet
The GAPS diet can help you achieve a healthy weight. Photo Credit Bine Å edivy/iStock/Getty Images

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

Side Effects of the Gaps Diet
The GAPS diet can help heal and seal your gut. Photo Credit Ana Blazic/iStock/Getty Images

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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