GAPS diet…uncertain, useless and maybe harmful ?

Sorry french readers, nothing new !

I just discovered this report about two weeks ago. It is called “Efficacy and safety of gluten-free and casein-free diets proposed in children presenting with pervasive developmental disorders (autism and related syndromes)”, and it’s written by some french scientists working for the AFSSA (French Agency For Food Safety).

You can download it here.

régime gaps
Oh noes, french scientists debunked GAPS diet ! Surely not…

I did a lengthy web 2.0 analysis with some sarcasms here, in french, sorry. I just want to share some of my conclusions.

1 – Arguments related to opioids seem clearly weakened. Maybe we should try to prove clinically that food containing caseomorphins and gluteomorphins act on the brain more than other type of opioids do. In any event, I don’t find opioids hypothesis convincing if other types contain other types of opioids.

2 – Studies that conclude by a lack of efficacy of these diets are surprisingly weak, methodologically speaking. One of them talks about children who are not observed at home (did they cheat ?). Or they are using some milk soy to replace milk cow…poor children ! Even a bad mother would not treat them with that soylent green milk. Cited studies are rather careful about efficacy of GFCD diets. But the AFSSA report is somewhat in a hurry to refute the utility of these diets.

3 – GAPS Diet is not a simple GFCF diet. GAPS diet is more complete, it goes further. It’s a more holistic approach, that doesn’t forget pedagogic methods. And, of course, GAPS diet not only excludes foods that contains gluten or casein, but reduces drastically refined or high GI carbohydrates (in the early stages, at least), promotes animal fats, bone broths, detox methods, etc. It’s not just about casein and gluten (even if they are avoided too).

4 – Basically, the central phenomenon explained by the GAPS Diet book is more about gut dysbiosis or candidosis than about opioids (even if they seem to play a considerable role). Even if opioids hypothesis is false, this is not which debunks GAPS theory. This report doesn’t talk about gut dysbiosis or candidosis…

5 – Testing GFCF diets is not testing GAPS diet (or Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is much closer than simple GFCF diets). By the way, I don’t think the gut-brain link is about to demonstrate. I doubt François Pinel (who says the seat of madness might be found in disorders of the intestines) thought this way by chance. To me it’s not just a pure intuition, but an empirical advice, which can be hard to scientifically prove. Sometimes we need clinical studies properly led by honest scientists. But, we have also to see practitioners working with GAP children and see the results they obtain. I don’t know why excellent results from Natasha Campbell-McBride would be opposed to “real science” (if this french report is real science, it’s pure joke !). We can learn from both.

And to summarize more briefly ? So…GAPS diet, is of course, nor debunked nor refuted. But we know now that opioids hypothesis is too weak to fully explain GAP syndrom, and a far too simplistic gluten free, casein free diet can be totally useless…

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