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GAPS Diet

A correspondent asked me to look into the GAPS diet.  I did. I was sorry: it was a painful experience. What a mishmash of half-truths, pseudoscience, imagination, and untested claims!

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It is the invention of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. According to her, a wide variety of health problems can be traced to a single cause: an imbalance of gut microbes.  She cites ancient wisdom: Hippocrates said all diseases begin in the gut. She says science confirmed that wisdom when it discovered that 90% of all cells and all genetic material in the human body belongs to the gut flora. She says the modern world poses many dangers for the gut flora, and once it is damaged, the health of the whole body enters a downward slide towards disease. She claims that autism and ADD, OCD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and numerous other ailments are all digestive disorders.

According to her, the gut flora is “highly organized” (?) and is dominated by beneficial species. When the balance is out of whack, children don’t digest and absorb food properly, and they develop all kinds of symptoms in the digestive tract and elsewhere. The microbes convert the undigested food into hundreds of toxic substances, which clog the body with toxicity. The brain becomes so clogged with toxins that it can’t process sensory information, so children are unable to learn and develop skills. When the toxicity levels are low, they may show single signs like hyperactivity or dyslexia. With higher levels, autism develops. 80% of these clogged children have a mixture of symptoms that don’t fit into any diagnostic category, but it is important for them to be identified as suffering from GAPS early in life to prevent permanent damage.

Explaining the Autism Epidemic
She explains why we are seeing more autism. It’s not so much an autism epidemic as an epidemic of abnormal gut flora. She says autistic children were born perfectly normal (not true), but after birth they developed abnormal gut flora which created toxicity.  Babies get their gut microbes from Mom as they pass through the birth canal, microbes that originated in the bowels of both parents.  They get pathogenic microbes because the parents’ good microbes were wiped out when they took antibiotics earlier in life. The disruption of gut flora leads not only to autism but to many other diseases.

Another factor is that breastfeeding went out of fashion. Bottle fed babies develop abnormal gut flora. Breastfed babies don’t because the mother has developed an immune response to her own abnormal gut pathogens and immune factors are transmitted in breast milk. Another factor: oral contraceptives have “a devastating effect on gut flora”. (Really? Where’s the evidence?) Processed foods allow pathogens to proliferate in the gut. High fructose corn syrup contributes to the problem.

And vaccines are also to blame. She subscribes to the “Too many too soon” philosophy. She says babies with abnormal gut flora are not fit to be vaccinated like healthy people. Their immune systems can’t respond well to the vaccine. And vaccines themselves are harmful. She says they were developed to make profits for Big Pharma rather than to benefit children. She says genetically modified organisms that may not be safe are used in vaccines because natural ones can’t be patented.  Antibiotics directly damage immune cells. Vaccines may cause type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, etc.  Siblings of children with ADD, etc. should not be vaccinated until their gut flora has been normalized. (This kind of misinformation and vaccine rejection threatens herd immunity and public health.)

Is There a Test for GAPS?
She says there are ways to diagnose it, follow its progress, and determine when normal gut flora has been restored. First you get a health history from the parents, then you get a urine test for microbial metabolites, and a stool analysis for gut flora. (As far as I could tell, these are questionable tests offered by questionable labs like Genova, and interpretations of the results are not based on any credible scientific evidence.)

The Diet
It is a healing diet that is intended to last only for a couple of years. It excludes sugars and starches, prohibiting potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, wheat, flour, dairy products, and sugar in any form other than fruit. It allows certain vegetables and fruits, meats, fats, nuts, and broths. You can purchase an Apple app that lists all the foods allowed and not allowed. Die-off phases are to be expected, where the dead “bad” bacteria release toxins and the symptoms get worse.

It starts with a GAPS Introduction Diet and proceeds in seven stages.

The body is starved, so you must start with easily digested foods. The first stage allows only room temperature water, probiotics and a very limited diet. When other foods are gradually introduced, if the patient gets black diarrhea, pain or any other digestive symptoms, wait a week and try again. (Dangerous advice, because black diarrhea could mean gastrointestinal bleeding and a medical emergency.)

As foods are introduced, you can do this (bogus) sensitivity test: put a drop of food on the wrist at bedtime. If there is an angry red reaction in the morning, avoid that food for a few weeks, then try introducing it again starting with a small amount.

In stage two, raw organic egg yolks are added, (a great way to get Salmonella) along with homemade yogurt and kefir, fermented fish, homemade ghee, and certain kinds of stews and casseroles.

Stage 3 adds avocado and special pancakes made with only butter, egg, and squash. Other foods are gradually added. And so it goes, up to Stage 7 which is the full GAPS diet. Eventually patients are allowed some kinds of starches, but sugar and refined starches are permanently banned. Ground-up nuts replace flour for baking, and fruits replace other sweeteners. The whole family should go on the protocol and change their lifestyle.

After the period of the diet, she says many of her patients choose to continue with the diet permanently since it is very healthy and allegedly prevents all kinds of diseases and obesity.

Detoxification
She strongly advocates detoxification. She realizes the liver detoxifies for us, but she thinks it gets clogged up and needs help. She knows this because mercury, lead, arsenic, and formaldehyde can be found on analysis (sure they can, with bogus tests like the “urine toxic metals test”  and and the Heavy Metal Screen Test). Juicing provides effective, gentle detox. Baths with Epsom salts, seaweed powder, bicarb, and cider vinegar provide gentle but “incredibly effective” detox. Fermented foods supply probiotic bacteria that take out harmful chemicals and hold them until detox can remove them. But you must be careful. Too much fermented food can cause a die-off that releases toxins, so you temporarily get worse.  (Isn’t it curious how many alternative treatments make things worse before they get better? It’s a convenient “out” when the patient fails to improve.) You should make fermented foods at home and make homemade yogurt from raw milk (never mind the risk of infection).

She says fasting is another way to detoxify: when you stop eating, your body re-directs its energy to other jobs such as removing toxins and parasites and healing. She says it has an excellent record of curing all sorts of incurable conditions from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. (I don’t think so!)

Who Is This Woman?
Natasha Campbell-McBride earned an MD in Russia, where she practiced as a neurologist and neurosurgeon. After moving to the UK she got a degree in Human Nutrition and now practices as a nutritional consultant in a clinic in Cambridge, England. Her website provides a long list of diseases and conditions she may be able to help with:  GAP syndrome, tummy pain, aggressive behavior, cystitis, epilepsy, PMS, ADD, autism, heart problems, migraine, psychosis, poor memory, and 74 other health problems. I noticed that arthritis is not on the list; I wonder why?

She had never encountered an autistic child until her own child was diagnosed with autism at age 3. This threw her into a fast learning curve as she researched ways to help her child that the medical establishment didn’t offer. She came up with her own hypothesis, invented a new disease (GAPS) and an effective treatment all by herself, and her son recovered completely.

She Sells Things
Her online store offers probiotics, books, DVDs, essential fatty acids, fermented cod liver oil, high vitamin butter, coconut oil, immune support supplements, essential oils, Cinderella’s organic multipurpose cleaner, hand sanitizers, a garden hose filter so your children can engage in “clean water fun”, and Urban Moonshine Organic Bitters, because bitter flavors are essential to good health because they stimulate the digestive system. You can be trained to become a GAPS practitioner in a two-day course for $1175. Training includes a business starter package.

Scientific Evidence
As the Wikipedia article succinctly and politely puts it, “Science is not known as yet to support…GAPS theories, or claims of psychological benefits.”  It seems science hasn’t yet bothered to test it: I couldn’t find any published studies on GAPS or the GAPS diet. Campbell-McBride is not a researcher and has not published anything. She might at least have written up a formal case report on her own son and his apparent cure so we could try to understand what actually happened. Instead, all she has given us is testimonials from grateful patients.

Other Questionable Claims
She says a lot of other things that are odd, questionable, or even demonstrably wrong. Some examples:

  • If you listen to your desires for food, you will be able to digest that food and it will only do you good because you ate it at the right time, when your body asked for it.
  • Avoid perfumes and scented products because they destroy your sense of smell.
  • Processed foods alter your sense of taste.
  • Brush your teeth with olive oil instead of toothpaste: this Ayurvedic procedure detoxifies the mouth. (No fluoride?)
  • Avoid processed salt and use natural unprocessed salt such as Himalayan or Celtic salt that contains more than 90 minerals. (How much of each? Surely not enough to matter.)
  • The autonomic nervous system shifts back and forth from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, which require different foods. One likes meat and fat, the other needs more plant foods. Your body will tell you which you need more of.
  • There are daily and seasonal cleansing cycles and building cycles, each requiring different nutrients: animal foods build, plant foods cleanse.
  • Our needs depend on our heredity. If your ancestors were Vikings or Eskimos, you will need to eat lots of fish.
  • Avoid vegetable and cooking oils. Polyunsaturated fats are bad because they are chemically mutilated. 50% of the fat in our diet should be saturated.
  • Don’t test your blood cholesterol. Testing is pointless and potentially harmful. Old people with high cholesterol are healthier and live longer.
  • Eating cholesterol-rich foods is essential to produce enough vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D deficiency causes cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, autoimmune illness, obesity, bone and muscle disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, poor immunity and susceptibility to infections.
  • Instead of cholesterol, test CRP and insulin levels.
  • Our soils are worn out. We would have to eat 2 kilos of apples today to provide the nutrition one apple used to give us.
  • Using volcanic rock dust in organic gardening improves nutrition, and if used on a global scale, it would enable the soil to absorb enough excess atmospheric carbon to stabilize global climate change.
  • The alarming growth of degenerative disease in our modern populations to a large degree is due to relentlessly decreasing levels of minerals in our food.
  • Black elderberry is one of the most powerful anti-viral remedies known to man.
  • Meat, fish, nuts, oily seeds are easier to digest than other foods.

Red Flags
There are plenty of red flags here: the “lone genius,” the “one cause” of most disease, the die-off and “wait a while and try again” explanations to keep patients on the diet when it is making them worse, the unvalidated sensitivity and diagnostic tests, the detoxification language, the bold but unsubstantiated claim of total reversal of autism, the dangerous recommendations for raw eggs, raw milk, and saturated fat and against vaccines and cholesterol testing, and more. Birds of a feather: she is associated with the Weston Price Foundation and was featured on Mercola’s website (both notorious sources of misinformation).

Conclusion
The GAPS diet reflects serious gaps in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s reasoning and in her understanding of science. There is no published evidence to support it. The early introductory stages may not provide adequate nutrition; the full diet is probably healthy but is onerous. It seems very unlikely that it could accomplish all that is claimed. Without testing, there is no way to know whether it benefits or harms patients.

Posted in: Neuroscience/Mental Health, Nutrition, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (164) ↓

164 thoughts on “GAPS Diet

  1. Do you have an opinion on the FODMAPs diet, Harriet? It’s the new thing in Irritable Bowel Syndrome management. There is some research behind it and many doctors take it seriously. http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

    Whenever I tried to get a person on the diet though, they started losing weight. Good thing if the patient is fat, but not so good if the patient has a digestive illness and is thin. More importantly, its likely a sign of malnutrition!

    About GAPS diet:
    I suspect I would lose 15 pounds and be anorexic if I tried something like that.

    About autism:

    The idea that gut condition imbalance can lead to arrested development has some evidence behind it:
    http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/1/e00019-12.short

    however attempts to find which germs are a problem have so far been unsuccessful:
    http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/study-finds-no-link-between-autism-and-gut-microbes

  2. goodnightirene says:

    @FBA

    Monash University’s Wiki entry is no more than a brochure from the recruitment office. Your other links are equally questionable.

    I’d repeat my question from yesterday (“What’s your point?”), but the point of your posts is becoming clear, so it’s time to stop feeding the troll.

  3. goodnightirene says:

    It is now clearer to me why a certain acquaintance has been buying Himalayan salt, coconut oil, and fermentation equipment. She is already into so many different CAM’s that I can’t follow her path, but I believe she started with the dentist guy (Price-Weston), so I suppose it all makes perfect sense to her. It is notable that her sister (equally devoted to woo) died of colon cancer a few years ago. She didn’t see a real doctor until she was Stage IV as she was sure her symptoms were some kind of “gut flora” problem.

    One question. Wouldn’t the process of making yogurt kill any bacteria in raw milk? Assuming you use a thermometer or a yogurt maker with temperature control. That small thing aside, my larger question remains: Why are some people so drawn to these ideas? No amount of rational criticism will persuade most of them–indeed my friend is still totally committed to her woo in spite of her sister’s death. It’s a “spiritual” commitment for them, a religion. I guess I answered my question, and I can accept that there will always be people who buy into CAM. My larger concern is its infiltration into the mainstream.

    1. 3gmommy says:

      Heating the milk to make yogurt would kill most but not all bacteria. Being a raw milk user myself, as well as a frequent yogurt maker, I can say it is much more difficult to make yogurt with raw milk and ruins both the yogurt and the benefits of having raw milk in the first place.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Considering there aren’t any benefits to raw milk worth the risks in the first place, that’s not hard.

        1. Amy says:

          Oh, it’s you, WLU…nevermind.

        2. I guess you didn’t read the last sentence of that article you linked to: “Overall, these findings should be interpreted with caution given the poor quality of reported methodology in many of the included studies.”

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Aside from adding “the research to date shows…” I see nothing to change. Raw milks benefits are often asserted, but they haven’t been proven (suggesting that if there are benefits, they aren’t strong enough to rise out of the noise; even low-quality studies can be demonstrative in the presence of sufficiently strong benefits). However, raw milk has definite risks, known risks, certain risks of bacterial infections. Given the problems of modern diet tend to be ones of excess, given that we get more than enough vitamins from food fortification, there’s no reason to consume raw milk given its risks.

            More research is great and all, but it won’t change the fact that raw milk presents a serious risk of bacterial contamination, and no reason to expect it to have some sort of unique benefits we couldn’t get from a broad diet. Y’know, the kind that doesn’t carry an inherent risk of pooping out your insides.

  4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    It’s amazing to me that despite mutually contradictory origin myths, all of these “food as medicine” approaches converge on the same, easily-marketable solutions. Coconut oil. Rock salt. Olive oil toothpaste. Herbs.

    Anything to make a buck I suppose (except actual research).

    1. jkim008 says:

      All the more reason to believe that she has nothing to gain from this. Honestly, your post is the most ridiculous post I have ever had the displeasure of reading, on anything. There is NO attempt at all to try and understand where this woman is coming.

      First of, so called scientific based research, especially for medicine is a recent phenomenon. It’s influence on our society have only really been effected since either the civil war of the US, or the last 50 years. Which ever your choice is, relative to the length of time humans have been alive, is almost nothing.

      Also, let me just add, since the advent of evidence based medicine has started, there has been a significant effort of provincialization of philosophy of thought in medicine. Basically the constant effort to understand our bodies by trying to protect it from it’s environment. We now realize that we have to look at the system, not just the bacteria.

      So, how did people ever live before “doctors”? People healed through the things that they eat. The idea that what you put into your body doesn’t directly influence how you feel is an outrageously asinine and uneducated statement. To say that this woman, doesn’t know what she’s talking about, is laughable fallacy.

      But, honestly, the proof is in the pudding. So called Doctors, have nothing to offer besides drugs that kill you a little more quickly, but helps you deal with the pain. I have had Ankylosing Spondalitiis for 5 years and I have been to at least 10 kinds of doctors, the best that Boston had to offer, and I got nothing. They actually, through the prescription of modern meds, almost killed me.

      So, before you go shooting out your opinion, I suggest you really look into this and also look at the ancedotal evidence, you asinine, arrogant, closed minded fool. Evidence based research depends on how you manipulate the numbers and the framework you are looking at the situation from. Any statistician can alter the numbers to fit their needs. The idea that you tarnish the good name of science, by inability to really extracts the truth from a situation, is absolutely appalling. Please take this website down and do us all a favor.

      1. Chris says:

        “So, how did people ever live before “doctors”? People healed through the things that they eat. The idea that what you put into your body doesn’t directly influence how you feel is an outrageously asinine and uneducated statement.”

        Well, first they had to survive birth and childhood, which was not easy. Go back into your own family history and you will see lists like ours, where there were about ten children and only a few lived to adulthood. Perhaps you should read some history books. I just finished listening to the audio book of Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life, where at sometimes child mortality was so high the average age was between 20 and 30.

        Though often it was because there was nothing to eat. Like the children in mines and factories in the 19th century, or (from this book) the almost complete wiping out of the native peoples of North and South America was not just measles, smallpox and other diseases. It was that the adults who provided food got it, and the families who depended on them died.

        Why don’t you to tell us kind of diet cures measles, yellow fever, tetanus, rabies or malaria. Perhaps you would like to ignore these advances in medicine and public health.

        I am sympathetic to your medical issues. My son also has a very serious genetic heart condition, that can be dealt with but never cured. You are correct that modern medicine is very young, and there is more to be learned, because it is very complicated. Which is why diet is not the end all cure of anything except some specific malnutrition issues like scurvy, rickets, beri-beri, etc. It is also difficult to deal with anything to do with the immune system, which can attack your body for no apparent reason (like what happened to Susannah Cahalan when her immune system attacked her brain, see her book Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness).

        You should look in the mirror and repeat this quote from yourself:

        So, before you go shooting out your opinion, I suggest you really look into this and also look at the ancedotal evidence, you asinine, arrogant, closed minded fool.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        All the more reason to believe that she has nothing to gain from this. Honestly, your post is the most ridiculous post I have ever had the displeasure of reading, on anything. There is NO attempt at all to try and understand where this woman is coming.

        I don’t care where she’s coming from – I care about whether she’s right or not (she’s wrong), and whether her actions will affect other people (it’ll probably waste their money, but it might also put their children’s health at risk). Mostly it’s just stupid.

        First of, so called scientific based research, especially for medicine is a recent phenomenon. It’s influence on our society have only really been effected since either the civil war of the US, or the last 50 years. Which ever your choice is, relative to the length of time humans have been alive, is almost nothing.

        Yes, which makes it even more amazing how quickly it has progressed and the kinds of amazing improvements it has made.

        Also, let me just add, since the advent of evidence based medicine has started, there has been a significant effort of provincialization of philosophy of thought in medicine. Basically the constant effort to understand our bodies by trying to protect it from it’s environment. We now realize that we have to look at the system, not just the bacteria.

        Yup, and there’s a lot of research along those lines. Science is analytic and synthetic – it takes things apart, then puts it back together.

        So, how did people ever live before “doctors”? People healed through the things that they eat. The idea that what you put into your body doesn’t directly influence how you feel is an outrageously asinine and uneducated statement. To say that this woman, doesn’t know what she’s talking about, is laughable fallacy.

        Nope, they died in droves. And we know what you put in your body affects it – scurvy is well-recognized both in cause and treatment. But the idea that food is medicine is somewhat belied by the fact that our ancestors got sick and died, despite having adequate food.

        But, honestly, the proof is in the pudding. So called Doctors, have nothing to offer besides drugs that kill you a little more quickly, but helps you deal with the pain. I have had Ankylosing Spondalitiis for 5 years and I have been to at least 10 kinds of doctors, the best that Boston had to offer, and I got nothing. They actually, through the prescription of modern meds, almost killed me.

        So…because they can’t cure your disease, medicine doesn’t work? That seems rather narrow-minded.

        So, before you go shooting out your opinion, I suggest you really look into this and also look at the ancedotal evidence, you asinine, arrogant, closed minded fool. Evidence based research depends on how you manipulate the numbers and the framework you are looking at the situation from. Any statistician can alter the numbers to fit their needs. The idea that you tarnish the good name of science, by inability to really extracts the truth from a situation, is absolutely appalling. Please take this website down and do us all a favor.

        Anecdotal evidence isn’t evidence. Also, your final point is valid, which is why there is a push to release all original data on the web along with the actual publication, which I support.

      3. Sherri217 says:

        Thanks for your post. I felt exactly the same way when reading this article. Certainly Dr. Campbell-McBride is not right about everything, but there is much that she IS right about. I have been a victim of western medicine for almost 40 years (I am 45). Overtreated with antibiotics as a child, misdiagnosed with lupus at 27, treated with steroids, painkillers, antidepressants, and the like. Through the advent of the internet was I able to learn much about what was really going on, mainly hypothyroid & adrenals, yeast overgrowth, and chronic mercury toxicity, and have found integrative medicine physicians to help me at least feel semi-human.

        The natural medicines and foods I have taken have been FAR superior to any Rx drug I have ever been Rx’d. With regard to the whole gut bacteria debate, I only know that when I added probiotics to my regime, I had noticeable, significant improvements. When I run out of them, I definitely feel worse. I have also noticed drastic improvements from: raw organic apple cider vinegar, extra virgin coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, alkaline water, and so on.

        Instead of faulting her and trying to disprove every word, the author ought to open her mind a bit more and try to understand that there has been and continues to be an enormous amount of suffering due to western medicine’s lack of knowledge in the area of gut health, toxicity, hormone imbalance, thyroid/adrenals, autoimmunity, etc. Now thankfully the field of integrative medicine has been growing and there are more and more practitioners trying to help people like me. But I think they are still so limited in what they know. And having seen several of them, so far, I can say that there is not one practitioner with all the answers for me. Alas, I continue to struggle, although I am much better off than I was when I allowed western medicine to be in charge of my care.

        I am not on the GAPS Diet, nor will I ever be. I don’t tolerate sulfur. But I respect that many people have had great results from it. Being someone who has needlessly suffered for decades, I would never question what works for someone else. Healthy skepticism is a good thing, but this article (and the replies from Mr.Utridge) go beyond that. Just my two cents.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          hypothyroid & adrenals, yeast overgrowth, and chronic mercury toxicity, and have found integrative medicine physicians to help me at least feel semi-human.

          So you’ve been diagnosed with a whole bunch of ill-defined conditions with no objective tests, and you took their word for it. Did you have to pay them, and did they urge you to buy supplements or foods that they themselves sold?

          The natural medicines and foods I have taken have been FAR superior to any Rx drug I have ever been Rx’d. With regard to the whole gut bacteria debate, I only know that when I added probiotics to my regime, I had noticeable, significant improvements. When I run out of them, I definitely feel worse. I have also noticed drastic improvements from: raw organic apple cider vinegar, extra virgin coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, alkaline water, and so on.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if you were taking a bunch of medications, then felt better when you’ve stopped, nor would I be surprised if you had a difficult-to-diagnose condition or if you had nothing physiologically wrong with you. I would be surprised if you got any benefit from alkaline water considering how easy it is to adjust the pH of the blood via simple respiration.

          Instead of faulting her and trying to disprove every word,

          The onus is on the person making the claim to substantiate it. Dr. McBride has made enormous claims that either lack evidence, or wildly contradicts what we know about how the body works. To claim things like “curing autism” and that a single factor explains so many diseases, particularly when we know that there is a significant genetic component to so many of them, is startling and frankly extremely unlikely. To claim these things without proof is rather irresponsible.

          the author ought to open her mind a bit more

          Why? Dr. Hall has spent years in medical school and continuing her education after graduation. Why be credulous about something that so blatantly contradicts the enormous body of literature established on human anatomy, physiology and health? Why not place the onus on Dr. McBride to test her theories rather than asserting them?

          and try to understand that there has been and continues to be an enormous amount of suffering due to western medicine’s lack of knowledge in the area of gut health, toxicity, hormone imbalance, thyroid/adrenals, autoimmunity, etc.

          You really think any other medical system does a better job of improving human health? Not to mention, it is “western medicine” (by which I assume you mean “scientific medicine”, or just plain medicine) that identified what the thyroid and adrenal glands are, their functions, the functioning of the immune system, etc.

          Now thankfully the field of integrative medicine has been growing and there are more and more practitioners trying to help people like me.

          Yes, but integrative medicine seems to consist of little more than regular medicine with a bunch of unproven assertions thrown in.

          But I think they are still so limited in what they know. And having seen several of them, so far, I can say that there is not one practitioner with all the answers for me. Alas, I continue to struggle, although I am much better off than I was when I allowed western medicine to be in charge of my care.

          You might be exactly as well off if you simply ceased asking for and taking drugs, and richer to boot. I don’t want to trivialize your suffering, but it’s hard to take anyone seriously when they lay down such a lengthy screed of tropes and talking points they have been fed by dubious physicians and other practitioners.

          I am not on the GAPS Diet, nor will I ever be.

          Then why post here?

          Healthy skepticism is a good thing, but this article (and the replies from Mr.Utridge) go beyond that.

          My problem is with the unduly credulous assertions that so obviously contradict what is known about the human body.

    2. Ex nurse says:

      As opposed to the bucks made from big pharmaceuticals huh!

      1. Chris says:

        Do explain, in greater detail. I am very interested in your diet solution to Type 1 Diabetes. There is one, but it is not very nice and according to the book Breakthrough, some of the kids were so hungry they ate the seed of their pet birds and died.

        I am also quite interested in the diet solution to my son’s genetic heart disorder: obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. And since he had neonatal seizures, do you think I should have fed him something other than breastmilk to prevent more without the phenobarbital he was prescribed?

        I am all ears on your diet plan to prevent measles, pertussis, and polio instead of vaccines.

  5. elburto says:

    I cannot even imagine how disgusting it would be to brush my teeth with olive oil. I’ve read descriptions of “oil pulling” as an alleged curative (usually for functional somatic disorders of course) and I can feel my synapses being scrambled.

    As for coconut oil and rock salt, they make a lovely skin scrub when combined. Coconut oil is also great for taming frizzy hair, moisturising dry skin, and oiling squeaky door hinges. Rock salt is nice on chips (that’s fried chipped potatoes, often served with haddock or cod in batter), and Green and Black’s salt chocolate is fabulous. That’s it though, they’re not remedies, life-changing dietary aids or whatever, just fads for fools.

    @FBA – Lrn 2 cite. You insist on supplying the most bizarre documents as “proof” of various things. They’re proof of nothing but your gullibility.

    1. Healer says:

      The proof is in the pudding! What are the results? Is the GAPS diet curing illnesses? Or are the drugs backed by “science” curing these illnesses? My three-year-old had a tooth infection that the dentist wanted to pull and do a root canal on the tooth next to it. We said no and took our child off the antibiotic. Instead we followed the Weston Price diet, oil pulled, removed fluoride, and used oregano. My daughter’s tooth healed in under 30 days. Since I have four children, we all followed this method. The results are real and have led to so many other amazing results, such as cognitive thinking, digestion issues gone, smoother skin, sleeping, weight loss, thicker hair, nails, sight, sex drive, teeth sensitivity gone, whiter teeth, and less sick days. However, the change in belief and diet was not easy and not designed for the fast life.

      Our diet consists of a lot of fat, so this information about the “science” behind why fat is bad for us will surely rake the minds of the masses: eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believe-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

      Fear of being thought of as gullible will only keep us in the dark.

  6. mousethatroared says:

    Rock salt is important for healthy bones and joints.

    When applied liberally to an icy drive-way or walk-way one can avoid slip and fall injuries of all sorts.

    ;)

  7. windriven says:

    @elburto

    “Rock salt is nice on chips”

    Yes, and on french fries too ;-)

    It is also a wonderful bed for tako sashimi. I have some squares of pink Himalayan salt about 25cm square and 5cm or so thick. I chill them thoroughly in the refrigerator, usually overnight, then slice the octopus and arrange it on the cold salt. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice, garnish if you insist, and serve. The tako picks up a lovely hint of salt.

    These blocks can be heated and used for cooking as well. I had sliced steak in Shanghai that was prepared and served this way.

  8. stanmrak says:

    Why, on an allegedly science-based site, are people pretending to be experts on things that they have clearly no understanding of? This doctor apparently cured her son of autism; shouldn’t we take a more serious look at how she did it?

    1. bwmd says:

      It’s a good question to ask, but I think it is, in large part, due to panacea fatigue. There are lots of people claiming to cure lots of things, often in direct contradiction to known science. If every one was subjected to a rigorous scientific process, we would find ourselves spending lots of time and money unnecessarily. And then the results wouldn’t be believed by the proponents. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t investigate any though. For every ten thousand crack brained theorists, there is typically a Galileo.

      1. Aren’t we already wasting allot of time on being sick, and money to Dr.’s and to the drug companies? If we look at this and every “diet” as eating hollistacally as possible, the way we were intended, instead of processed foods and food products, I think we would be a lot better off.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Aren’t we already wasting allot of time on being sick,

          I don’t think the alot minds its time being wasted.

          and money to Dr.’s and to the drug companies? If we look at this and every “diet” as eating hollistacally as possible, the way we were intended, instead of processed foods and food products, I think we would be a lot better off.

          What does “eating holistically” mean?

          What do you mean by “the way we were intended”? Humans don’t have a designer, so there’s no “intent” to try to meet. If you mean the evolutionary pressures that led to humans separating from their common ancestor with chimpanzees, then we are obvious omnivores. We can eat nearly anything except rocks and cellulose, and we can eat anything that eats cellulose. We could probably even eat the extremophiles that eat rocks, but we wouldn’t get much out of them.

          Have you ever had a doctor tell you to eat more processed foods and food products? My doctor has consistently praised my diet, which is high in fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. At no point has he ever prescribed any drugs that weren’t related to a specific medical issue, and none of those medications were prescribed for longer than a month.

          But I mean, you’re right – the world would be better off if people ate less processed, high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt foods. This isn’t startling or surprising advice. Did you also want to recommend we stop smoking as well, or get our children vaccinated? Where do you get the idea that mainstream medicine says eating more chocolate bars and potato chips is a good thing?

  9. Scott says:

    @ stanmrak:

    Do you not see

    Campbell-McBride is not a researcher and has not published anything. She might at least have written up a formal case report on her own son and his apparent cure so we could try to understand what actually happened. Instead, all she has given us is testimonials from grateful patients.

    Nobody can “take a more serious look at” it because she won’t provide the needed information to do so! Or even to establish that it happened at all.

  10. Angora Rabbit says:

    It’s always such as shame to, once again, see an interesting and cutting-edge topic like the gut microbiota abused by the woosters of CAM. This is an exciting topic scientifically. The advances in whole genome sequencing have finally given us an entre into the topic, because we no longer have to rely on brute-force culturing of what really ended up being a biased fraction of the gut microbiota. There’s really amazing research being published on the potentialinfluence of the microbiota on diseases such as IBD, obesity, kwashiorkor, and inflammatory disease. But it’s research. It’s not Ready for Prime Time. Yet once again the woosters jump all over a nascent field and distort the reality into a vision of their own choosing. Very Pygmalion.

    A tangential thought. Why, oh why, are CAMsters so obsessed over their bowels? Coffee enemas, purges, and now this. I’m no believer in Freud, but on this topic perhaps he does offer an insight.

  11. Angora Rabbit says:

    We recently wandered into a spice – seasoning shop (not Penzey’s, thank you very much!) where the saleslady was bleating on and on about the Himalayan salt and how pure it was and how healthy. We were laughing too hard to point out to her that “pure” salt is white and not pink. Pure salt also doesn’t contain “over 90 different minerals.” Why let fact intrude into an emotional argument?

    There is no way I’d eat that pink stuff – God knows what is in it, and the hawkers certainly don’t appear to have a clue.

    1. Amy says:

      Your comment is laughable…crawl out from under your rock once in a while. More proof how dumbed down we are!!! Now go back to sleep.

  12. mousethatroared says:

    windriven “It is also a wonderful bed for tako sashimi. I have some squares of pink Himalayan salt about 25cm square and 5cm or so thick. I chill them thoroughly in the refrigerator, usually overnight, then slice the octopus and arrange it on the cold salt. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice, garnish if you insist, and serve. The tako picks up a lovely hint of salt.”

    groan—I know that there are internet trolls, but there really should be a name for people who mercilessly induce out of reach culinary cravings…

  13. mousethatroared says:

    I forgot to add – on the internet.

  14. Angora Rabbit says:

    “Fermented foods supply probiotic bacteria that take out harmful chemicals”

    Okay, I can’t let this topic go quite yet. Did anyone else see the recent Nature Med paper from Stanley Hazen showing that gut microbiota produce trimethylamine from carnitine and choline. In turn, liver oxidizes TMA to TMAO, which is a potent inhibitor of reverse cholesterol transport. The paper argues that the gut microbiota is a prominent stimulator of atherosclerosis. It potentially explains quite a lot of the dietary athero data that weren’t making a lot of sense before.

    But this is probably too complex a reality for the woomeisters, who like simple, uncomplicated answers to life’s persistent questions.

    1. John says:

      So are you saying that we should avoid fermented foods and probiotics?

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        Nowhere did I even remotely suggest we should avoid fermented foods and probiotics. I can’t imagine how you could think that’s what I meant.

  15. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Why, on an allegedly science-based site, are people pretending to be experts on things that they have clearly no understanding of? This doctor apparently cured her son of autism; shouldn’t we take a more serious look at how she did it?

    We can’t, she did not engage in the kind of preliminary review of data regarding the causes of autism, careful blinded monitoring and exhaustive, detailed record keeping required to gain anything useful from it. We could a) believe that crazy doctor lady somehow picked up on something the thousands of researchers working on the biological foundations of autism missed, or b) assume that her son’s autism was yet another example of developmental delay, not stasis.

    Angora Rabbit – saw it cited in popular press, noticed the wikipedia page was clogged with “carnitine might work for EVERYTHING”, gutted the page and moved on. But please, continue to fail to let this go, I always find your posts extremely informative!

  16. Earthman says:

    “Our soils are worn out. Using volcanic rock dust in organic gardening improves nutrition, and if used on a global scale, it would enable the soil to absorb enough excess atmospheric carbon to stabilize global climate change.”

    OK I am a soil scientist so I can have a stab at these 2 whack a doodle statements. That our soils are ‘worn out’ by modern farming is a myth that has no evidential support. It is a popular mantra of the ‘organic’ farming fraternity, but is not supported by any evidence whatsoever.

    Volcanic rock dust is an interesting idea. As volcanic rocks form at high temperatures they tend to weather rapidly at the kind of temperatures that are common in soil and do release minerals in the process – this is why soils formed on volcanic rock are recognised as being particularly fertile, but you can also get the same nutrients out of a bag. The statement about balancing global warming and atmospheric carbon would appear to be without any value – I cannot envisage any possible mechanism that would come from volcanic rock dust. I do have some ideas about using soils to combat global warming, but the mechanism given here does not seem to have any realistic possibility of making a contribution.

    1. Hey Earthman, biologist here too. So let me say I do agree with your global warming comment. However, the volcanic soil and the depletion of soil minerals comment have me perplexed. There have been many, many studies done on the depletion of soil minerals. So although I do agree with you on you comment of “we can get the same thing out of a bag”, would it not be better to get the minerals from a natural source? I would think that it would have trace minerals in the ash that are not in a bag, not to mention, just take the salts in potting soil. 1) there are vast amounts and will burn a plant where I live in Texas because of the heat and sun strength, and 2) why use something that is engineered rather than natural? Just wanted your thoughts. Thanks

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        There have been many, many studies done on the depletion of soil minerals.

        Can you cite any of them?

        So although I do agree with you on you comment of “we can get the same thing out of a bag”, would it not be better to get the minerals from a natural source?

        Why? Why is natural better? Plants that evolve completely without human intervention tend to be much lower in calories and vitamins than those selectively bred or genetically modified by humans. If we tried to feed people on the wild ancestors of rice, potatoes, corn, wheat, apples, bananas, etc. we would probably starve because there simply isn’t enough farmland to grow these inefficient crops. Have you seen the inside of a “wild banana”? It looks like this, and is borderline inedible (at least without extensive processing). Nature doesn’t exist to meet human needs, and plants are indifferent to where they get the atoms and molecules they need. Plants thrive in the presence of artificial fertilizers as long as it provides them the nutrients they need.

        I would think that it would have trace minerals in the ash that are not in a bag, not to mention, just take the salts in potting soil. 1) there are vast amounts and will burn a plant where I live in Texas because of the heat and sun strength, and 2) why use something that is engineered rather than natural?

        The key word there is “engineered”. The stuff that comes in a bag can be specifically selected and adjusted to meet the exact nutritional needs of the plant. Natural soils may not necessarily be optimal to grow a specific crop, but with a pinch of this and a bucket of that, the soil can be adjusted to become optimal. We can grow more crops in a smaller area, thus mitigating against starvation and preserving scarce wild spaces. Of course, it would be nice if we didn’t do stupid things like growing crops in a desert (or potatoes in Texas), but that’s just common sense. While certain soils might “burn” the plants that live in Texas because of the heat and sun strength, one could change the soil, or grow plants that do well in Texas’ climate.

        Not to mention, where do we get these “natural” soils and fertilizers? Animal feces? There are two problems there – the massive amounts of harmful bacteria such as E. coil (which caused deaths when used as a fertilizer for an organic sprouts farm in Germany a couple years back), and where will we ever get enough poop? Will we burn down all the forests, plant grass, and cover the continents with billions upon billions of methane-generating cows? Should we dig up the sides of volcanos, crush them into powder and transport them across the world? Which we may do anyway… Or, we can get the specific atoms we need from labs, which probably have their own disadvantages, but at least are sterile and potentially convenient.

  17. Chris says:

    Angora Rabbit:

    There is no way I’d eat that pink stuff – God knows what is in it, and the hawkers certainly don’t appear to have a clue.

    What makes that salt pink are halobacteria. I have fun telling folks that the pink salt’s color comes from a microbe:
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtomics/2013/04/22/how-genetic-plunder-transformed-a-microbe-into-a-pink-salt-loving-scavenger/

    Then I have to tell them that the microbes are very important in making pickles and curing meat.

  18. windriven says:

    @Chris

    Thanks for:
    The pointer to Joule Restaurant in an earlier comment. Haven’t been yet but on my list next trip to my attorney’s office;
    The halobacteria information. I didn’t know!

    “microbes are very important in making pickles and curing meat.”
    And in making sour dough bread. Mmmmmm.

    @Angora Rabbit

    “But this is probably too complex a reality for the woomeisters, who like simple, uncomplicated answers to life’s persistent questions.”

    It would seem that even uncomplicated answers are too high a bar, judging from FastBuck. S/he seems to embrace every half-wit notion mooted by anyone with a lab coat and a clipboard (or a website).

  19. Chris says:

    windriven:

    The pointer to Joule Restaurant in an earlier comment. Haven’t been yet but on my list next trip to my attorney’s office;

    This weekend we took the bus to the Food Truck Rodeo in Fremont, and it went right by it. We noticed that the it is right next door to “The Whale Wins”, which we have been hearing lots about. The lower part of Stone Way is really going upscale. I mostly know it for getting plumbing supplies, woodworking tools, paint and being near the garbage transfer station. :-) I guess parking is going to just get worse.

    (the lines were too long at the Food Truck Rodeo, so we got something from the regular food purveyors at the Fremont Sunday Market, along with marionberry barbecue sauce)

  20. Okay, I can’t let this topic go quite yet. Did anyone else see the recent Nature Med paper from Stanley Hazen showing that gut microbiota produce trimethylamine from carnitine and choline.

    It was known that Streptococcus and Enterococcus metabolises trimethylamine for 30 years:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6842395
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15539190

    I am not sure if there is any practical implication to this.. this bacteria is part of normal digestion process and without it we’d have more serious problems than some TMAO in poo.

    1. Vonnie says:

      “this bacteria is part of normal digestion process and without it we’d have more serious problems than some TMAO in poo.”

      Is that anything like The Tao of Pooh? http://www.amazon.com/The-Tao-Pooh-Benjamin-Hoff/dp/0140067477

  21. ARD says:

    The heredity quip bugs me particularly of all of these in that it seems to nullify the entire ‘diet’ plan. “If your ancestors were Vikings or Eskimos, you will need to eat lots of fish.”

    Well, by that logic, every last Indo-European on Earth should be chugging milk (including horse milk) and gulping yogurt, and eating horsemeat, since our ancestors are most notable for domesticating the horse and drinking of its milk. For that matter, they’ve been eating wheat since the Eneolithic, so that part of the ‘diet’ is out too.

    How far back are these ancestors supposed to be to count? Potatoes were introduced on enormous scales to Europe beginning in (IIRC) the seventeenth century–so shouldn’t those be permissible for all peoples of European or Andean descent? Or does it have to be at least a thousand years? Would that mean that cane sugar is out, but honey (wild honey was eaten as far back as people have been able to get at it) is A-OK?

    And what about people of mixed descent? How big a portion of your ethnic background does an ancestor have to contribute before you can eat their food?

    I know I’m probably reading too much into what almost sounds like a parody of all sorts of dietary woo (everything from basic toxin quackery to ‘organic’ drivel to ‘autism is a gut disease’ nonsense), but this just particularly bugged me.

    1. Vonnie says:

      Also, what about African-Americans who would have no idea whether their ancestors came primarily from the coastal regions of western Africa or if they were captured further inland? Also, since most African-Americans have some European ancestry thanks to the generous sperm “donations” from slave owners, do they count that or not?

      I am 1/16th Native American so does that mean I can have corn, but not more than once every two weeks?

  22. Davdoodles says:

    “Die-off phases are to be expected, where the dead “bad” bacteria release toxins and the symptoms get worse.”

    Ah, the old “ingesting this crap will make you feel worse, so that proves it’s making you better” gambit.

    PissWater Stan would be proud.

    But this, of course, is a variation on the “Galileo” gambit: “I’m being persecuted like Galileo was, so ergo etc, I must have discovered The Great Truth.”

    “Chemotherapy makes patients feel like crap, and so does my [AntiNeoPissTons/Coffee enemas/Restrictive diet] so, just like chemo, my ass-pulled nostrum must work…”
    .

  23. Armi Legge says:

    Interesting article Dr. Hall.

    I too am interested in your opinion of the FODMAPS diet.

    How important would you say gut bacteria are in human health, based on the available evidence?

    Thanks

    - Armi

  24. Harriet Hall says:

    @Armi Legge,

    I have not looked into the FODMAP diet, but for what it’s worth, this article http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.06149.x/asset/j.1440-1746.2009.06149.x.pdf;jsessionid=0FDF89AEDF6B184E3922E7E7A69E058D.d02t03?v=1&t=hgy71q4p&s=983aac0fb6929bd2ef995110056c9e25a2f90eb6
    concluded “the low FODMAP diet provides an effective approach to the management
    of patients with functional gut symptoms. The evidence base is now sufficiently strong to
    recommend its widespread application.”

    We now know that gut bacteria are extremely important in human health, but we don’t yet know enough to manipulate the bacterial population for clinical applications. It is always tricky to alter elements of a complex ecosystem.

  25. larkl says:

    Gary Huffnagle, a researcher on interactions between the gut ecosystem and the immune system, wrote The Probiotics Revolution. It is much more science-based than the GAPS book. He is enthusiastic about probiotics. He feels he did a lot for his own allergic rhinitis and asthma over years with probiotics and diet. However his diet recommendations for gut health are different – low sugar, low fat, plenty of fiber, and probiotics.
    He’s one of the pioneers in human microbiome research. He did a study on mice, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15618138 where he artificially caused them to have a candida overgrowth – very unhealthy gut ecosystem – and observed that they developed an allergy from nasal challenge with egg allergen – while the mice with normal gut ecosystem did not.
    One can definitely have a herxheimer-type reaction to killing one’s Candida. Since an allergist suggested I might have a dysbiosis problem, I started drinking pau d’arco tea (antifungal), and promptly came down with a flu-like illness that lasted about 7-10 days. Probably because I have mold and yeast allergies and killing the Candida in my gut releases allergens. And I started doing anaerobic lacto-fermentation of fruits and vegetables, to get more good bacteria.
    However, I didn’t notice all that helping my allergies in two months’ time. They are a little better but the improvements seem more associated with starting medications. From books, research articles and people’s personal accounts, it sounds like those methods – probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3′s – help, if they do, over a timescale of several months to years.
    It’s too bad that a good book like The Probiotics Revolution is ignored, while commercializing attempts like GAPS get attention.

  26. larkl says:

    When I first heard of “gut and psychology syndrome”, I thought it meant psychological and psychiatric effects from immune reactions to food.
    This is because in 2003 I found after doing hypoallergenic elimination diets and food challenges, that my personality and my reactions to the world had been drastically, fundamentally affected by food. I probably have celiac disease, and people with celiac disease often say they have reactions to other foods as well.
    After quitting gluten and dairy, as well as other grains and a couple other foods, I found that a quasi-hallucinatory aspect to my vision had gone away and I was MUCH less anxious,tense,paranoid. Later I found more delayed food allergies, and quitting those foods cured my reactions to carbohydrates (my “reactive hypoglycemia”) and ended my spells of suicidal depression.
    I had read similar accounts of the mental effects of gluten on a celiac mailing list, and seen preliminary research supporting a connection between immune reactions to food and mental problems – for example,
    “Novel Immune Response to Gluten in Individuals with Schizophrenia” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2856786 and
    “Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit
    hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial” http://www.adhdenvoeding.nl/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Pelsser-The-Lancet-2011-Publication-INCA-study.pdf
    I found that taking cromolyn before taking a pill with trace amounts of food allergens, decreases the reaction a lot and prevents the emotional aspects of food reactions, like high emotional reactivity and irritability. Cromolyn is a mast cell inhibitor so that suggests that there is a process that starts with mast cells, and can have intense emotional effects. So these food reactions involve IgE antibodies or some other way of degranulating mast cells.
    There is a grain of truth in the GAPS diet contentions.
    But, I don’t know of any evidence that the other aspects of the GAPS diet – avoiding starches for example – help. Those things might be helpful when they are, simply because the diet is gluten and grain free as a result.
    Ironically, the GAPS diet does allow (natural) honey. Honey has a lot of fructose, which I’ve read encourages bad gut bacteria (and probably candida). And the “natural” part is completely ideological. Unfiltered honey actually has more allergens in it!
    There are a lot of anti-carbohydrate attitudes. I even had an otherwise good allergist question my vegan diet because he thought it would have too much carbohydrate. It seems that fructose and refined carbohydrates, with the fiber removed, are what need to be limited. But unprocessed carbohydrates, like starchy vegetables, are good for the gut flora according to Gary Huffnagle.
    There’s a huge area that medical research is only starting to find out about it. People have long observed, as I did, that a food allergy can have drastic psychological effects. And mainstream medicine has long ignored this phenomenon. I had never been told this by any doctor or therapist!
    The economy abhors a vacuum. So people rush in to exploit this vacuum. They make money from this hidden fact, by decorating it with unproven theories. And promising the world, promising a cure for everything, sells books.
    There are responsible books about delayed food allergies, like Brostoff and Gamlin’s “Food Allergies and Food Intolerance”. They don’t promise a cure for A-Z.
    That isn’t popular. I’ve suggested over and over, to people with mental health issues, that a hypoallergenic elimination diet followed by food challenges may help. I don’t know anyone who has followed my advice, it isn’t jazzed-up enough.

    1. JackMatthew says:

      I agree. I wish people were actually informed about the connection between mental illness and food intolerance, especially grains. I think the some of the appeal of the GAPS diet comes from the hope that people can get rid of their intolerance to common foods. I simply do not think it is realistic to think one can avoid many commonly eaten foods for life. I have read most of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and I agree with some of it, especially Dr. Campbell-McBride’s take on Schizophrenia and the improper digestion of some or all foods.

      1. Luara says:

        I haven’t noticed a connection between probiotics and my mental or emotional state.
        The Gaps diet is a mixture of good and bad ideas.
        Good ideas: probiotics, fiber, may help people because of avoiding grain allergies, perhaps a good omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
        Bad ideas (in my opinion): high fat content, avoiding starches in general, too much saturated fat and cholesterol, other things Harriet Hall mentions above.
        The Gaps diet seems influenced by low-carb ideas. It’s high in fat. Some of the popularity of high-fat diets likely also derives from delayed food allergies.
        For 25 years I had “reactive hypoglycemia” – I would get tense, irritable, hostile after eating sugar, sugary fruits, starches without added fat. I would have to slather potatoes with fat, in order to eat them without getting anxious and irritable.
        But my “reactive hypoglycemia” disappeared after I eliminated foods that made me sick after doing a hypoallergenic elimination diet. I can eat as many starches or sugary foods as I want without getting anxious or irritable. Now I eat a lowfat starch-based diet.
        If people doing the Gaps diet tend to have delayed food allergies, this would suggest that the high-fat component helps them tolerate foods they’re eating on the Gaps diet that they are allergic to.
        I’ve tried to design a long-term healthy, healing diet for myself:
        - elimination diets/food challenges and avoiding foods that make me sick after food challenges
        - low fat, starch-based
        - omega-3 supplements + chia seeds as a source of omega-3
        - probiotics in the form of lacto-fermented (anaerobic with salt) veg’s and fruits.
        Avoiding foods I’m allergic to is trivial compared to avoiding inhalant allergens … I have a virulent allergy to dogs and cats – now try avoiding THAT! Dogs pop up everywhere …

  27. Maroulofilo says:

    I love GAPS diet. I discovered it 1,5 years ago and I am forever grateful for it. My whole family is on gaps.
    I will never, ever, ever change it.
    I never had any serious health issues apart from anaimia, but from the first few weeks on gaps I saw a major change on my body for the best.
    I have so much energy, my skin is glowing, my hair looks healthier, my body is more firm with the same amount of excircise as before, my weight is always stable no matter what i eat. Due to anaimia I was told I could never be a blood doner, but since on gaps I give blood twice a year. My health check -ups have never been better since on gaps.
    In the occasions when I cannot adhere to gaps protocol eg. if I eat sugar, I feel ill afterwards. My body does not like it at all. I used to be a chocoaholic and now I cant stand commercial chocolate anymore. I cant stand anything processed. my taste has changed and anything processed just tastes bad.
    Maybe gaps isnt for everyone and it sure needs a lot of preparation and cooking and discipline but it certainly works for me + Im greek so the gaps protocol is easy because its very similar to the mediterranean cuisine.

  28. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Given GAPS, much like conventional dietary advice, places so much emphasis on avoiding refined sugars which are hugely obesogenic and extremely easy to over-consume, it’s not really surprising your health improved. You probably would have had the same effect if you just ate more fruits and vegetables, less refined foods, and avoided the raw milk and eggs that GAPS recommends. Which has the added advantage of reducing the risk of Samonella and E. coli exposure.

    Why people feel the need to go to bizarre and unscientific extremes rather than just following basic advice for healthy eating is beyond me.

    1. Luara says:

      “Why people feel the need to go to bizarre and unscientific extremes rather than just following basic advice for healthy eating is beyond me”

      Because some people have delayed food allergies that are difficult to diagnose. For example if they have allergies to grains, they might feel dramatically better on the GAPS diet, which is grainfree.
      Allergies don’t necessarily show up on skin or blood tests. This is true for inhalant allergies (look up “local allergic rhinitis”) and it may be true for food allergies as well.
      Diet is not a one-size-fits-all matter.
      I have a lot of delayed food allergies and I found that cromolyn, a mast cell stabilizer, makes the allergic reaction much more mild. So my food allergies seem to be related to mast cells, even though I haven’t had any definitely positive IgE RAST blood tests for food allergy.
      These delayed food allergies had intense psychological effects for me. Perhaps this is through H3 histamine receptors, which lower levels of some neurotransmitters. The food allergies make me irritable, emotionally hyper-reactive (among other symptoms). This could be from low serotonin.
      (Also of course people could be affected by non-immune food reactions)

  29. Maroulofilo says:

    Who says that I havent been eating fruits and vegetables? I always have! It has always been a big part of my nutrition and GAPS nutrition.
    The GAPS protocol is hardly bizzare and extreme….but yes, once you walk into the super-market you realize that 90% of what is sold cannot be eaten because is processed, full of sugar and additives.
    All fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats etc. are from sources I trust. In greece its so easy to have a farm, grow your own fruit and veg or know someone close to you that does that and everything is fresh and natural – including raw milk and eggs. In my 28 years I never had any problems of salmonela or anything like that.

    1. I think you have a point here, whether you are on the GAPS diet or not. Growing your own food and preparing it instead of eating processed is a big KEY in all of nutrition and how you feel eating certain foods. I grow everything I can, I have organic eggs from my free range chickens, and I grew up on raw milk in which I NEVER got sick from. We made our own butter from the raw cream also. I think allot of the things added to our foods like iodine in salt for thyroid is BS! I would love some of your recipes from Greece :)

      1. Chris says:

        Do you live in climate that allows food cultivation year round? What about people who live where there are cold winters that have to preserve foods for winter?

        I wonder what terrible things happened to my Norwegian ancestors who preserved fish with lye, lutefisk. They even ate it when they moved to Wisconsin. You should have seen the canned veggies and pickles in their basement! My mother had stories of her hanging around the farm of her aunt and uncle one summer, and getting to close to a young pig. She was none to happy when the next summer she visited that little pig was in the basement was cured bacon and sausages.

        What is interesting thing I have noticed as an edible gardener is that there are now classes at “sustainable” urban farming groups to teach how folks to can, cure, ferment and all the things that my grandparents and their parents did to survive cold cold winters.

        I’m not that ambitious. I mostly make applesauce out of my apples, and hold the pears in a spare fridge often through February. Otherwise I just enjoy the tomatoes, peppers, chard, peas, beans, etc as they ripen. Because, seriously, you really cannot grow all of your own food on a 5000 square foot city lot.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Growing your own food and preparing it instead of eating processed is a big KEY in all of nutrition and how you feel eating certain foods.

        I frankly have neither the time, nor the interest. Fortunately the grocery store has an extremely large fresh produce section where I can buy, at a relatively low cost, the ingredients I need to make my own meals (which I do enjoy). I’d much rather shop, and spend my spare time arguing with people on the internet, than garden. My wife’s family had a large garden when she was young and did indeed grow many of the foods they ate (in the short growing season of Canada, which can’t provide fresh produce year-round). She has a lot of vivid memories of eating delicious, fresh carrots – and of spending hours upon hours weeding.

        I grow everything I can, I have organic eggs from my free range chickens, and I grew up on raw milk in which I NEVER got sick from.

        Have you ever been in a car accident? Do you still wear your seatbelt? But the larger problem isn’t so much with people who milk their cows, then immediately consume the milk. The problem is when the milk sits for a long enough time for the bacteria to reproduce (such as when raw milk is sold as part of a co-op), it becomes increasingly dangerous.

        I think allot of the things added to our foods like iodine in salt for thyroid is BS!

        Here is a link to the definition of “goiter belt”. Iodized salt is one of the most effective public health measures available for the prevention of goiters. Why do you think iodine is added to food, for fun? However, much like fluoride in water (a safe, effective, equitable public health intervention for communities with no fluoride in the water, that dramatically and disproportionately reduces cavities in low-income households for whom dental care competes with food in their budget) given the importation of foods from around the world, it would be an interesting public health exercise to determine whether iodized salt is still necessary to prevent goiters.

        1. Amy says:

          Ahhhh, WLU…you never seem to tire from using the seat belt analogy.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Yes, because there are few more widely-accepted analogies for low-likelihood, high-impact events which require almost no inconvenience. Normally I’d use vaccination (getting your kid vaccinated is a low-inconvenience act for an outcome which is unlikely – catching polio – but high impact – paralysis or death event) but CAM promoters often fallaciously see significant (and usually imaginary) risks to vaccination where the actual risks are low, transitory, minor or outright absent.

            If you want me to vary my metaphor, here are a couple more:

            - house, auto or health any other type of insurance
            - looking both ways before crossing a street (depends on the street though)
            - wearing a lifejacket while in a canoe
            - locking your door during the day while you are in the house
            - safety goggles in any lab situation
            - using a bookmark (though, naturally, the consequences are hardly comparable to being forcibly ejected from a moving vehicle, your child dying of measles complications or having E. coli burrow its way through your intestinal lining and causing you to shit out your entire blood volume)
            - not petting strange dogs
            - steel-toed workboots
            - hardhats
            - safety presentations on airplanes before take-off
            - air masks in airplanes
            - testing for PKU
            - a second round of sterilization when making jam
            - getting that weird-looking mole examined by a doctor
            - breast self-exams
            - checking with the BBB before contracting with a business

            However, none of these are as familiar, socially sanctioned or widely-supported as buckling up. It has an intuitive grasp, underscored by a whole lot of gruesome movies from our high school years that add an emotional punch to what should be an intellectual no-brainer.

            Thank you, by the way, for your tacit acknowledgement that you regularly read probably all of my comments. Compliments from strangers on the internet are so rare and appreciated.

            1. Amy says:

              Thank you for noticing, WLU…to be honest, I do read all your comments, as they show up in my newsfeed. I have to give credit where credit is due…I feel your comments are intelligent and far more sane than I gave you credit when I first read your words. You make very good points and I have become fond of reading your replies. Continue on, as I will continue reading with an open mind…I respect your comments, but please, do expect an occasional jab if deemed necessary. With sincerest respect -Amy

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            It would be nice if you helped me improve my arguments by providing valid criticisms, suggestions, and indications where I have made mistakes. I like correcting my errors. I don’t mind explaining my points when they are unclear. I often write long and complicated sentences, and this could be improved. Please feel free to use your comments to criticize the substance of my points or engage me in a discussion about them. Even venture statements in defense of CAM, though of course I will respond regarding them being universally baseless, wasteful or unethical, as that is their nature.

            I would much prefer valid comments about my errors or unwarranted hyperbole than your hitherto-ambiguous, rather empty statements. Thank you.

            1. Amy says:

              The intentions of my “jabs” are to provide “empty statements”, not to change your opinion or point of view. If a situation arises where I feel compelled to provide valid criticisms or suggestions to your arguments, I will do so. The intention of my previous comment was to acknowledge my respect for your intelligence, which is rare on internet threads. Thank you.

  30. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Driving without a seatbelt is quite safe, so long as you don’t get into an accident. Wearing a seatbelt has never saved my life. Yet still I wear one.

    Realizing processed foods are not good for you is hardly a revelation, it’s quite standard dietary advice.

  31. jdennisgnis Garber says:

    You are doing the same thing that you are critical of; stating things without any sources for your statements. Where is the research to back up your claims? The absence of nutrition in today’s foods is well known and a big reason for the advances in scientific Permaculture, where soil health is the first thing to work on so that the food you grow have the correct vitamins and minerals in them, and indeed, rock dust has been demonstrated to improve the mineral content of foods grown on healthy soil.

  32. Freewheelin says:

    All you close-minded know-it-alls are a bunch of sad human beings. There is something to soil health and plant yield. Same with meat, dairy and other industrially farmed food coming from dirty, feces filled “farms” versus clean, natural farms where animals live as they were intended. I hope you do continue to eat your “fat-free”, “sugar-free”, aspartame filled, margarine laced, processed grocery items. That way the diet and lifestyle will speak for itself. Your loss, our gain.
    As far as the blogger/original poster- good for you that big pharma has served you so well with the science that is so “pure” and untainted when it is heavily, heavily influenced by lobbyists and paychecks and the pockets of CEOs. Just because it comes out of a lab doesn’t exclude it from bias or mistakes. Labs need funding- follow the money. They certainly don’t invent drugs or gmos to help people. Why would conventional medicine and science want people to eat better to help heal their ailments? Then, there wouldn’t be as much demand for their over-priced drugs and processed industrialized crap.

    1. Chris says:

      So what kind of dressing would you like on your word salad?

      A free range herbal oil and vinegar?

    2. weing says:

      You do realize that feces is the original organic fertilizer?

    3. Amy says:

      My faith in civilization has been restored a bit, thank you, Freewheelin! I was getting very discouraged reading most of this drivel!!!

  33. Carolyn says:

    This is disgusting. This is worse than disgusting… this woman is, in my opinion, participating in malpractice by suggesting, for example, that you not give anybody vaccines. Vaccines were created LONG before Big Pharma ever came to be, and they certainly aren’t making money on most of them! (You wanna check the brand-name drugs trade to find out where they make that. Oh, and cancer drugs.) And so many of the things she says are just… gahhhh. It makes me want to punch her until she refutes every claim and she admits she was wrong.

    Also, kids do not get “cured” of autism. Such a claim is absolutely ludicrous.

    1. Amy says:

      Said the uneducated person!!!

  34. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    The nice thing about “plant yield” is that it is objective. You can count your yields, and determine if you’re getting more food out of the same plot of land. Those yields have been increasing steadily for a rather long time, due to the application of the scientific method to farming practices. Same with “soil health”, if you quantify it rather than assuming it’s based on magic. In fact, the two nicely tailor if you assume good “soil health” results in higher crop yields.

    How are animals supposed to live? Evolution is blind and indifferent, there is no “supposed to” in it. Animals can and do adapt to situations, and arguably the animals we eat are now among the most successful on earth (almost certainly more numerous now than before the advent of commercial agriculture). Plus, they are killed much more humanely than they would be in the wild. And you really think animals in the wild aren’t covered in feces?

    I think if you ask most scientists, they did invent drugs and GMOs to help people – but companies are pretty much required to produce them in scales useful to more than a tiny handful of people. Merely because a product makes a profit for a company doesn’t make it evil, any more than because a company makes something, that product is automatically evil.

  35. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    That’s great, but that second brain doesn’t really think (and the study linking changes in an fMRI isn’t showing changes in cognition, it’s just changes in blood flow on a statistical basis). My gut does not make my skeletal muscles move, it can’t read a book and it doesn’t link to my sense organs. It’s about as much of a brain as a clockwork mechanism.

    1. Luara says:

      The “second brain” in the gut communicates with the brain, and this is a possible mechanism by which microorganisms in the gut and food can affect brain function. The article mentions that histamine released in the gut can cause diarrhea or result in the “gut brain” sending a signal to the brain. Which could be why food allergies can caused diarrhea and CNS symptoms.

      1. Carolyn says:

        EVERY organ and such communicates with the brain in exactly the same way. That doesn’t mean these organs or processes have a brain of their own. They are biologically set up to do a job, and they either do the job (with a varying range of successes) or they don’t (with a varying range of failures). Some things can be not ideal while other things run at base normal or above. THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY HAVE BRAINS.

        1. Luara says:

          From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enteric_nervous_system

          The enteric nervous system has been described as a “second brain” for several reasons. The enteric nervous system can operate autonomously. It normally communicates with the central nervous system (CNS) through the parasympathetic (e.g., via the vagus nerve) and sympathetic (e.g., via the prevertebral ganglia) nervous systems. However, vertebrate studies show that when the vagus nerve is severed, the enteric nervous system continues to function.[11]

          In vertebrates the enteric nervous system includes efferent neurons, afferent neurons, and interneurons, all of which make the enteric nervous system capable of carrying reflexes and acting as an integrating center in the absence of CNS input. The sensory neurons report on mechanical and chemical conditions. Through intestinal muscles, the motor neurons control peristalsis and churning of intestinal contents. Other neurons control the secretion of enzymes. The enteric nervous system also makes use of more than 30 neurotransmitters, most of which are identical to the ones found in CNS, such as acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin. More than 90% of the body’s serotonin lies in the gut, as well as about 50% of the body’s dopamine, which is currently being studied to further our understanding of its utility in the brain.[12]

  36. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    It’s wonderful that we have a second brian in our guts. A second brain dedicated totally and completely towards moving food through our guts. If it does “think”, all it thinks about is how to get food from mouth to anus. I’m guessing if they ever identify the purpose of this second brain, it will be the control of smooth muscles and little else.

    The signal it sends to the brain upon having diarrhea would probably be “you should find a toilet rather soon”.

    Assuming the statistical changes in the brain identified by fMRI have any impact on actual cognition beyond “poop time”, I very much doubt they’re impacting anything beyond perhaps mood. Mood is a landscape for thought and action – it’s not an actual thought or action. At best it may predispose you to certain thoughts or actions, it won’t make you do them, and I’m quite sure there are numerous other, far more salient factors than your gut that impacts your mood.

    Also, delayed food allergies doesn’t seem to be a thing, see the first result here (having Natural News at the top of your google search results means you automatically lose the argument) and here. I’m sure there are people quite willing to sell you tests and treatments for delayed onset food allergies, but that doesn’t make them real.

    1. Luara says:

      “It’s wonderful that we have a second brian in our guts. A second brain dedicated totally and completely towards moving food through our guts. If it does “think”, all it thinks about is how to get food from mouth to anus.”

      We certainly don’t know such a thing. It’s known that the “second brain” is involved in regulating digestion, but there’s no proof that it is limited to that. As the article I cited said, the gut/brain neural traffic is mostly from the gut to the brain.

      I was pointing out that there are the rudiments of a mechanism by which probiotics and immune reactions to food can affect mood and how the brain operates. Histamine H3 receptors in the gut (?), neurons there, histamine produced as a result of allergic reactions in the gut, the histamine H3 receptors regulate other neurotransmitters, etc.

      I was curious if anyone could give more (solid, referenced) information on how this might work. I haven’t investigated very much the research in this area. The things I have seen have been about various novel immune reactions to gluten in the gut (non-celiac gluten sensitivities); food allergies may be involved in ADHD according to Lidy Pelsser’s study.

      It’s known that there are food allergies that don’t show up on skin or blood tests, but pass double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges. Researchers on such food allergies filter their research subjects by whether they pass DBPCFC’s.

      Here’s a review article on it: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21679125 This article mentions local allergies in the gut as one possible cause for “perceived food hypersensitivity”. I think my own food reactions might be local allergies in the gut

      I’ve had extensive experience with food allergies as well as inhalant allergies, and heard from many people on a celiac mailing list. There is a typical kind of food reaction that is specific and acquired (I’ve never had this reaction to a food eaten for the first time) – suggesting adaptive immunity is involved. It’s a typical reaction that celiacs have if they accidentally ingest gluten, after being on a gluten-free diet for awhile Symptoms tend to be: groggy (dazed, mentally impaired) state that starts coming on about 1/2 hr after eating the food and comes on fully 4-5 hrs after eating; physical clumsiness; diarrhea (often); itching; frequent urination; AND psychological effects like irritability, emotional hyper-reactiveness, tension. Some celiacs and other people have such reactions to foods that don’t contain gluten.

      With my inhalant allergies I have experienced no such psychological effects, so I think there is something special going on with the food allergies that is specific to the gut.

      “having Natural News at the top of your google search results means you automatically lose the argument”

      You’re making a typical error of “skeptics” here. There are no shortcuts to truth, and having Natural News mention something does not make it wrong. Some skeptics tend to assume that what is scientifically established is all there is to know, which is what you assumed about the function of the “second brain”. It’s a kind of credulity that is like the photographic negative of the credulity of people like the GAPS diet adherents. Researchers do appreciate what is unknown about their area of research.

      I’m very science-minded, I’m curious about what might be going on with these kind of food reactions. I’m interested in thoughtful, informative replies. Having food reactions of a type that is not well understood, doesn’t make me an “altie”. I’m not a GAPS diet believer; it would be truly astonishing if this Dr. Campbell McBride were right in all details. More likely there are some aspects of the GAPS diet that help some people.

      Like I said earlier, I found that using cromolyn, a mast cell stabilizer, makes my food reactions much less intense. So that suggests to me that my food reactions do involve mast cells. Other than IgE, mast cells can be degranulated by VFLC’s – variable free light chains. They seem to involve adaptive immunity, and I don’t know if other kinds of antibodies besides VFLC’s and IgE can degranulate mast cells.

      The usual explanation for delayed food allergies has been that they aren’t IgE-mediated. However, it’s looking to me like they may be IgE-mediated, but local allergies. It may be the local allergies in the gut are more common than the systemic food allergies that show up on skin or blood tests.

      With classical systemic allergies, there’s an immediate reaction – mast cells degranulating – that happens within seconds of exposure, and also a late-phase reaction that starts hours after exposure. It’s called the “allergic cascade”, from what I understand it’s initiated by immediate reaction and the later phases are consequences of the immediate reaction. Inhalant allergies also have a “delayed” aspect.

      With the delayed food allergies, perhaps the late phase reaction is simply a lot more noticeable than the immediate reaction.

      1. Luara says:

        Sorry, instead of “variable free light chains” you will find them described as “free light chains”. An immunoglobulin is composed of heavy chains and light chains, but the light chains also wander around by themselves, having an inflammatory effect.
        The FLC’s can be specific to antigens and cause mast cells to degranulate, so they provide a non-IgE hypersensitivity mechanism.
        Here’s an abstract of a dissertation
        “Immunoglobulin free light chains in inflammatory diseases: New findings on FLCs fitted into current concepts of immune regulation”
        http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2012-0120-200303/UUindex.html
        I wonder if FLC’s are elevated in the blood of people with delayed food allergies.
        FLC’s are involved in sensitization to casein (a milk protein) in mice:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20434201
        There’s even a FLC antagonist called F991.
        Also, prebiotic oligosaccharides reduce the blood level of FLC’s and reduce symptoms of atopic dermatitis in infants:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771085
        A “prebiotic” encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
        Very interesting …

        1. All of that is sure allot of copying and pasting, but I wonder if you know what it all really means.

  37. Autumn says:

    With all of the REAL science research and real medicine, the health of the population is improving tremendously. Illness has nothing to do with the unnatural foods and toxic products that we use and consume. So its obviously a ridiculous notion to get back to our ancestral roots of consumption. Especially when we are living in an age where a pill cures everything.

    Himalayan sea salt? Yuck! The man-made stuff tasted so much better ! And I get to spend less. After all, why invest an extra dollar into my body and my health? I’m going to need those dollars for pills and surgery later. :) smile laugh ignorance is grrrrrrreat!

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Even with the smiley face, I can’t tell if this is Poe’s law in action or not.

    2. weing says:

      “With all of the REAL science research and real medicine, the health of the population is improving tremendously. Illness has nothing to do with the unnatural foods and toxic products that we use and consume.”

      I am surprised you didn’t cite all the statistics showing the decreasing life expectancy over the past 50 years, the increasing infant mortality, etc. Why no one even comes close to Methuselah lifespan nowadays.

      1. Luara says:

        True, there is an obesity epidemic which is thought to be the result of some of the unnatural aspects of modern diet and lifestyle. This is a huge health problem.

        1. weing says:

          “True, there is an obesity epidemic which is thought to be the result of some of the unnatural aspects of modern diet and lifestyle.”

          Yes. It is unnatural for us to have so much food, with so little energy expenditure required to obtain it.

          1. Luara says:

            And a lot of the processed food really is bad for people.
            Another (sort of) example of “natural is good” is the “hygiene hypothesis” – that being very clean and the common use of antibiotics increases the risk of allergies and autoimmune diseases. There are advantages to the “state of nature” where people are always ingesting bacteria and parasites.
            Actually there’s a treatment for allergies and autoimmune diseases that involves getting infected with hookworms. It’s thought to distract the immune system from the allergens.

    3. bwmd says:

      I’m also really confused about the level of sarcasm in this comment. Have the people who talk about the horrors of modern medicine/science ever left America? I mean, come to some of the clinics in West Africa where I have worked and let’s have a chat.

  38. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    What’s unnatural about it? There is more food available, it’s cheap and it’s delicious (in a rather three-note fat, sugar and salt sort of way) – so it’s easy to overeat and gain weight. Perfectly natural for humans to gain weight. Perhaps having access to that much food is unnatural, but I much prefer it to starvation.

    Also, you say unnatural as if it’s a bad thing – what’s so great about nature? Dying of cancer (or paralytic polio, or type I diabetes, or living in constant pain due to joint breakdown, or being eaten by a lion, or losing a tooth with every child, or watching five of my children suffer and die so two can live) is perfectly natural, I’d rather unnaturally live a long life with my suffering constrained and often alleviated through modern medicine, while the birth rates drop because more children are living to adulthood. I’d much rather my unnatural world of controlled breeding, where the death of a child (and often a spouse) is traumatic and unexpected rather than routine.

    Nature does not exist to serve humans or reduce our suffering. Nature is supremely indifferent to our suffering, indeed the suffering of any animal. Nature changes constantly. Massive species extinction due to meteor strike or climate change is quite natural. Assuming humans are warming the planet, the massive die-off of a large number of species would be quite natural, but humans are unnaturally working to prevent this. Nature doesn’t care about our hopes and dreams, our gene flows and our lives. Nature is a massive void of empty space, speckled here and there with stars and planets occupying far, far less than a billionth of one percent of the existing space, and even within that tiny percentage, we are aware of only an infinitesimal amount of rind on one rocky planet actually covered with what we would call “nature”, only a tiny portion of which is used by humans.

    Frankly, fuck nature. Though happily would I endorse the use of intensive agriculture to allow more crop land to return to wildspaces, because as much as I consider indifferent to my suffering or pleasure, I still don’t begrudge animals and plants a livingspace if it’s not necessary to preserve human life.

    1. Luara says:

      The element of truth in “natural is good” is that humanity evolved with a certain kind of environment and diet. So it is often true that there’s a price for deviating from what our hunter-gatherer ancestors were adapted to.
      People often take this as a truth that trumps anything else. They figure they can make good choices simply by choosing the “natural” way.
      Medical decisions are complicated. So many people simplify their decisions by deciding on a “philosophy” such as “better to be natural” rather than trying to understand complicated medical matters.
      With nutrition – our ancestors got fat, sugar and salt as special treats, not very often. The Chumash Indians’ traditional diet was based on acorn mash. Apparently they pounded the acorns, there was a detoxifying step, and they ate this stuff. Day after day after day. They were the Native Americans where I grew up, but other hunter-gatherer peoples had similar dietary patterns. Loads of fiber, not much sweetness, some (lean) wild meat, not much fat.
      Occasionally there would be a treat, like honey or maple sap.
      But what our modern diet does is to give us those “treat” foods, concentrated calories, in great abundance, and often without much fiber.
      Even our fruits and vegetables are bred to be “treats” – sweeter and easier to eat than their wild ancestors. I saw a talk once by a paleo-anthropologist about the “real paleolithic diet”, the wild ancestors of apples, broccoli, corn, etc. etc.. She showed pictures of the wild ancestors, little lumpy plants that look more like deer-food than people-food. They would have been a challenge to eat.
      And that ancestral diet resulted in a different microbial ecosystem in people’s guts, than the modern diet does, which influences health in a lot of ways that we’re just starting to find out about.
      Psychologically the human environment is very different from what we evolved for, also. Hunter-gatherers went around in small groups where a lot of the people were related.
      No question that humans aren’t well suited for the environment we’ve made for ourselves, and our psychological and physical health suffers for it in many ways.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Medicine is rather inherently unnatural. Proper nutrition, in a world of cheap food and particularly cheap processed food, requires individual responsibility and parents and schools teaching their children about proper nutrition and exercise. What’s your point about what hunter-gatherers ate? My ancestors haven’t been hunter-gatherers for thousands of years, but they have experienced considerable selection pressure for lactose tolerance in adulthood and the consumption of grains. Not to mention, even the hugely obese and type-II diabetics still live longer than actual hunter-gatherers. And I consider myself psychologically rather happy despite not running down antelopes all day (and my family gets on my nerves at times, I’m thankful I don’t have to live with them day-to-day).

        It’s easy to get along when everyone has a similar mindset and experience, and is horribly ignorant of the world over the next set of hills. It’s much harder to have a pluralistic society with diversity of background, experience and thought. Thankfully we manage it. Hunter-gatherers usually just went to war (quite a lethal war at that, see Sick Societies).

  39. e says:

    I was just starting to think maybe this person (who wrote this article) was legit. Maybe these particular health claims from this woman were not correct. But then she lists some of the questionable claims. Many of which were ridiculous! Fluoride has been researched forever and has been proved over and over that it is not good for you and that it truly does not prevent cavities at all! (and if you are going to say that dentists still push the whole fluoride thing, you would be right. all I can say to that is drug companies are greedy and its hard to teach old dogs new tricks.) That was just a small issue I have with this article. Maybe she is right about the GAPS diet and maybe not. For a “science” article though, I would have expected more science and not just a spewing of old school ideas that have since been proven wrong.

    1. john says:

      The elderberry part is also very well researched.

  40. e says:

    Also I totally understand the weariness of anyone trying to sell something. You have to take a much closer look at the “facts” before being pulled into it. But one side thought there, if these so called scientists or pharm. companies found the cure to lets say… anything. Do you think they would give it to us free of charge? In your dreams! They would have something to sell us at a completely unreasonable price! So as long as you are being weary of someone selling you something, think about all the drugs “they” are selling to all of us all the time!

    1. Jim says:

      The problem is you never even got a choice in the sell. Your doctor got sold and now youre dropping a copay without even thinking about it.
      Talk about hard sell v soft sell…

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Doctors are often faced with biased evidence, but do the best they can with what they have. Dr. Ben Goldacre, in his book Bad Pharma, gives some advice and suggestions on how to address this. His use of “pragmatic trials” would be an interesting and useful approach, but I don’t know if it would work in the US. Perhaps with the push and assistance of the insurance companies it could be done.

  41. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @Laura – yes, processed food is bad for you in large amounts, which is why the USDA recommendations are to consume it in limited amounts, and instead to consume large amounts of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables – so you’re rather tilting at a straw man there. Incidentally, Dr. Hall has discussed the hygiene hypothesis and hookworms specifically before, concluding that the evidence is suggestive, but a long way from being a standard or positive recommendation. You are rather oversimplifying things by proclaiming that living with parasites and diseases is a good thing. It’s certainly easier and more comforting to pretend that complicated issues are simple, but that obscures reality.

    @e

    I’ve never understood the opposition to fluoride. The worst possible harm I’ve ever seen linked to it scientifically (lots of nonsense of course, almost nothing scientific) is fluorisis (which is aesthetic, while giving you the ability to chew rocks) and perhaps a small increase in hip fracture in elderly Chinese women at doses of fluoride well-beyond the point at which it would be removed from the water supply if found in North America. Fluoride has indeed been extensively researched, and the opposition to fluoride is largely not based on that research. The very fact that you proclaim fluoride a major health hazard essentially reduces your credibility to zero. It also means you are uninterested in a genuine scientific discussion, since the science has consistently failed to provide evidence of harms outweighing the benefits. So I’ll just drop off this link and leave you to your conspiracy theories.

    1. Luara says:

      “You are rather oversimplifying things by proclaiming that living with parasites and diseases is a good thing.”

      I “proclaimed” no such thing – you are repeatedly turning what I said into a cartoon of itself.

    2. Amy says:

      Oh, WLU, go back to sleep, it will all be over soon.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Can you call me a “sheeple”? That always makes my day!

    3. Jim says:

      Yet you provide no scientific evidence of why it should be added to the public water supply.
      Youre not going to say its gives children stronger teeth are you?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Search for the words “this link” in my post above, it links to an ADA statement about fluoride. But again, you seem convinced that fluoride is dangerous, and you may feel that no evidence will change your mind. If that’s the case, further discussion is worthless.

        1. Jim says:

          Oh, The ADA.. Enough said.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            If you find the most respected and expert scientific body within dentistry to be unconvincing, there’s little point in continuing to discuss the point.

  42. weing says:

    “Psychologically the human environment is very different from what we evolved for, also. Hunter-gatherers went around in small groups where a lot of the people were related.”

    Speak for yourself :) I was under the impression that we are constantly evolving. This is not an end state. The environment has constantly been changing, and those with traits better suited to that environment ended up reproducing more. Look what happened to the successful dinosaurs, the environment changed drastically and presto, they were gone. Our progeny are not identical to us, there is always variation. We don’t know which ones will be more successful in the coming environmental changes, physical, social, and psychological. Who knows, we may be thrown into an environment where stone age skills will ensure success, those that can’t adapt won’t survive. Then again it may be that totally different skills and traits will be needed.

  43. Josh Brancek says:

    Dr. Hall, great article. I will give a GAPS diet a try and will try to post my feelings and results if there is enough interest!!!

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Sounds like you didn’t actually read the article. Even if you did, your anecdotal experience adds nothing. And clicking on your profile, your post looks like robospam trying to suck some sweet, sweet link juice out of SBM.

  44. Chris says:

    Carolyn,
    Did you even read the book? There is no place within the GAPS book or protocol that suggests to not vaccinate your child. Actually the oppposite is suggested. On pages 69-70, Dr. Campbell-Mcbride actually lays out a case that vaccines are beneficial to children with unimpared immune systems, however, she suggests all parents be given a questionnaire prior to administering vaccines regarding the their health history and a comprehensive stool and urine analysis of the child to assess any risk. Finally ahe suggests that if any risks are discovered, delayed vaccinations until future test results are confirmed as better or a single vaccination protocol with 6-8 months in between. Again, it is not the vaccines that are the problem, she states, even emphtically saying that the MMR is not to blame for autism, but the bundling and timing of the vaccines on an impaired system can be problematic. Please read and know what you speak of before you comment. You could unknowingly discourage a person from exploring an option that may be beneficial due to your ignorance.

  45. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    The results are real and have led to so many other amazing results, such as cognitive thinking, digestion issues gone, smoother skin, sleeping, weight loss, thicker hair, nails, sight, sex drive, teeth sensitivity gone, whiter teeth, and less sick days

    I find it creepy as hell that you seem to be tracking your children’s sex drive.

    Also, what kind of thinking did they have before, noncognitive thinking? Gastrointestinal thinking?

    1. Chris says:

      Yeah, I also find following a child’s sex drive to be creepy. Though one son has shown times when he did think with something that was a bit nearer the bottom of his gut. Though it does give him incentive to clean up his apartment, which he certainly does not do for visiting parents.

  46. Anonymous says:

    You are guilty of many of the things you are accusing. Your lack of evidence, jabbing remarks and closed mind only makes you appear childish. Good luck in life.

  47. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    It’s funny, you say “good luck in life” but it really seems like you just want to pass on some sort of vague criticisms without any substantiation. A mind is not closed merely because it requests evidence before changing.

  48. Carla says:

    You all are obviously not suffering from health conditions such as allergies and debilitating asthma. I am a fairly young woman in good shape and healthy, other than asthma/allergies with the only possible thing contributing to the development of my asthma being my use of antibiotics over the years. I have seen remarkable improvements in the intensity of my asthma attacks from change in diet (much more effective than any medicines or allergy shots my Dr. gave over the yrs.) and Gaps is my next goal. I KNOW there is a connecting between the gut and health because I have symptoms based on what I eat..even beyond food allergies which developed around age 20. Please have an open mind and support natural remedies that may help people. I personally am grateful for the natural remedies I have learned so far and am glad to know I can try something such as Gaps to further have a chance at improving the quality of my life.

  49. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I happily support natural remedies, if they are proven to work. There’s no proof for GAPS. Get proof, and we’re happy. The problem is, “nature” is complicated. In addition, there is no reason for “nature” to help us live. For instance, cancer is natural. Smallpox is natural. Deathscap mushrooms are natural. All are deadly. Nature doesn’t exist to help man survive.

  50. sushimole says:

    I find the above article quite offensive, as it seems that the author may have read outlines of the Intro Stages and the Full GAPS Diet along with some blogs that describe the GAPS diet. I do see some statements that are not in the book at all (like the statements about vaccines) and it seems that the author did not read the book before bashing the diet as whole. In my opinion, it is ridiculous to demand proof of ones work when you are not even willing to invest the time to read the text in its entirety.

    That glaring oversight aside. The arguments made by many of the comment above seem more emotionally based than scientifically based.

    The fist I would like to address is this whole “nature is good/bad”, as it relates to human “comfort/discomfort”. Nature does not care whether you are comfortable or not because nature doesn’t have feelings. However, people do. People used to die, people used to get sick, people used to be uneducated… blah, blah, blah. The same is true today; only now they die more slowly, their symptoms from their illnesses are more easily managed, and people can read.

    I agree that humans, along with all other things, evolve. Evolution isn’t bad or good, it is unavoidable. We are a unique species with the powerful ability to choose our own evolution… to a point. We have the ability to choose the rate and direction of our evolution. The rate is how quickly we move from one society changing idea/action to the next. The direction is largely the choice between two conflicting/different ideas arising at the same time.

    People that cling to the “back to our roots” paradigm are stressed by the rate of our evolution. They see many problems with our current living situation and want to go back to a time they find easier to understand.

    People that “progress is good” paradigm are stressed, and even afraid, of the problems we have seemingly overcome. They see certain statistics as a win for progress without taking actual quality of life into account.

    The simple fact is, whether you think that our rate/direction of evolution is good/bad, you have to take into account that the evolution of the human body is obviously not keeping up. Epigenetic expressions occur within our own lifetime, that can then be turned into generational heredity over time. How much time depends on the gene, the amount of interference, and the consistency over generations.

    I tend to agree with the “back to our roots” minded people more because I do not believe in speeding up the rate of evolution until we fully understand the direction we are taking it in. There have been too many inventions/ideas that were not fully understood until long after they were implemented. I again agree more with the people that cry about “corporate gains and evil corporations”. Mainly because we are accelerating the rate of evolution without understanding the ramifications so that a few can profit from the product/service/idea.

    Look at the huge GMO debacle going on right now. GMOs are evil… GMOs are awesome. They’re being grown, fed to animals, and fed to humans without understanding what they will do to the entire planet. It seems to me that there is something terribly wrong with these plants, but that’s my opinion. I have a few heavily documented observations to go on, but no real scientific evidence.

    That’s the problem with this whole society on both sides of most issues. A bunch of people that don’t really know what they’re talking about, talking a lot. We need to stop and, yes, maybe even take a few steps back. We need to get a grip on things that we actually know and understand and progress from there. We overstepped our own understanding a long time ago.

    Some of us will get sick, some of us will lose loved ones before we’re ready to give them up, all of us will die, some of us will be smart, some of us will be dumb, some of us will be strong, and some of us will be weak. Why can’t everybody just accept it and stop trying to control everything all the time? You don’t just walk through any ol’ door because you’re afraid of being in the dark. Prove a theory… actually prove it… and then do it. This one study here, one study there, referencing BS is just that… BS.

    I’m not saying either side is right or wrong… because nobody actually KNOWS.

    1. sushimole says:

      I realize that I said “the first issue i would like to address”.

      Sorry for the confusion as that was the only one I wanted to address, and failed to edit before I posted.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Humans evolve over geological spans of time. Changes to society are not evolution in the same sense. Not to mention, we don’t really “choose” our evolution. We could, if we adopted eugenics, but whatever evolution happens to be taking place is at this point rather haphazard and unguided. You are conflating biology and society.

      The rest of your comment is largely incoherent, and I don’t really see how it relates to the GAPS diet.

    3. Harriet Hall says:

      @sushimole,
      No, I didn’t read the book. My article was not a book review, but an evaluation of the diet. I depended on the information available on the author’s website and elsewhere. Do you think I missed something crucial by not reading it? If so, please educate me. If it contains evidence that the diet is effective, that evidence should available elsewhere. It is not ridiculous to demand proof outside of a book. No matter what the book said, I would demand published peer-reviewed evidence from primary sources outside the book itself. As for the vaccine statement, I found that on the author’s website.

  51. Robin Gaura says:

    There is quite a lot of research linking gut dysbiosis to a plethora of the diseases Dr. Campbell-McBride cites. This article in Entropy Magazine cites many research articles, and of course more studies are needed. The research centers on the role of glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, the world´s most popular herbicide, and also the material imbedded into genetically modified `RR´ crops. Its a 48 page article, but half are citations of research. This is chilling. I had colitis for 3 years, american doctors didn´t help me at all. My children suffered from other seriopus symptoms. We left the country and went on the GAPs diet, and have recovered to an amazing degree. We owe our health to Dr. Campbell McBride. Read this article, it could save your life; Entropy 2013, 15, 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416, published in the April 2013 edition of Entropy.

  52. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Roundup-ready crops do not contain roundup. They are genetically modified to prevent roundup from being effective as a herbicide. It’s rather surprising that the only people to notice an effect on humans would be an “independent scientists” and a researcher in artificial intelligence. It’s also amazing to me that roundup seems to cause all the diseases of modern life – cancer (which is only a “modern” disease in the sense that “modern” people live long enough to die of cancer), heart disease, autism, diabetes and obesity. That’s a remarkable set of conditions, with diverse etiologies, to all be caused by a single entity. I also notice Med. Hypotheses is cited four times, which is a curious choice. I wonder why was it published in the pay-to-publish journal Entropy, which focuses on “entropy” and “information studies” rather than something more specialized in, say, biochemistry? Interestingly, the 48 page paper you cite was authored by Stephane Seneff, who coauthored a total of seven papers in an entire issue, or at least a variety of articles, focused on the idea that autism is caused by autism, including, of course, vaccines. Orac has discussed some of Ms. Seneff’s, rather critically. Meanwhile, Joe Mercola discusses her approvingly – the combination of which is almost enough to discount anything Ms. Seneff says without bothering to read it. Oh, and she’s apparently a fan of the Weston A. Price Foundation. In fact, Seneff doesn’t seem to get that much good press.

    There’s a webpage out there that maintains a list of open-access, pay-to-publish crap journals. I’d be intrigued to know if Entropy is in it.

    Anyway, I look forward to the scholarly community coming to appreciate the importance of glyphosate in causing, well, all diseases I guess. Surely such an impressive looking paper must be convincing to the relevant experts!

    1. Jim says:

      “Roundup Ready crops do not contain Roundup”
      Well then who washes off all the residue after application? Since farmers have different weed problems which Monsanto advises using its older herbicides(24D) against and in conjunction with Glyphosate(Roundup) at varying amounts, how can you possibly make a statement that the crop does not contain these chemicals when delivered to the public marketplace?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Yes, pesticides are washed off as part of food processing, and glyphosate, despite the histrionic claims of those who think it is evil because it is manufactured by a company, appears to be safe. I’m not claiming it never arrives in crops, only that the amount consumed by humans is probably not toxic (particularly given it acts on an enzyme system humans lack, is quickly degraded – one of its selling points – and would be deactivated by the first pass effect of the liver).

        Much of this has been discussed in another post (particularly in the comments), but I have a question for you – will any evidence, will any peer reviewed studies, be sufficient to change your mind? If not, I’m uninterested in further discussion.

        1. Jim says:

          You offer, “Appears to be safe” and “Probably non toxic” and then you ask for peer reviewed studies?! Fine, Ill link them if you do.
          First off, Glyphosate is deemed safe by the EPA and FDA only at the exact amounts stated by the manufacturer, as Ive stated before, farmers have different weed problems which requires the use of older herbicides(24D) in conjunction with Glyphosate. In addition, many farmers have stated that not everyone uses the same amounts as dictated on the instructions and this is well documented in surveys. The majority of farmers tend to do this because of the old adage “more is better”, so you cannot make an accurate statement that this is washed off in processing or is probably non toxic. You have nothing to base that on, even Monsanto states they have no control of the application rates administered

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            There are several links in my comment – they’re the blue bits of text where the cursor turns into a hand when you hover over it. Generally it is thought that the detergent mixed with roundup is more dangerous than the glyphosate itself.

            “Appears” and “probably” were deliberately selected because science is always tentative – to state absolutes is inappropriate. Often the lay public is unaware of this, and see these qualified statements as signs of weakness or indecision. If you are interested in what is actually true rather than what is assumed to be true – watch for qualification. Absolutes are the domain of quacks and charlatans. All that can be said is that glyphosate is safe at the doses indicated, and indeed is significantly safer than other herbicides (one of the reasons glyphosate-tolerant crops are seen as beneficial).

            Do you have any peer-reviewed evidence of harms due to glyphosate that you can link to? Because otherwise you’re asserting in the absence of evidence. You appear to be uninterested in evidence, which is fine, but perhaps in that case you might want to contribute to a website where “science” isn’t found in the url.

  53. Jim says:

    “She sells things”
    So what?
    At least you have a choice not to buy as opposed to your doctor that “prescribes” something to you and your insurance picks up the tab, Rather than being sold something in which you have a choice, you have been coerced. You have no choice of your own. You just take it because you have no research of your own to prove its efficacy.
    Its ridiculous to use such a statement to qualify someones integrity when pharmaceutical companies are selling to the medical profession daily.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      @Jim,
      “Its ridiculous to use such a statement to qualify someones integrity”

      It was not meant to qualify her integrity. It was meant to show that she has a vested interest in the diet and stands to profit from it. It raises the possibility of bias. It incidentally shows that she espouses a number of other non-science-based remedies. And that speaks to poor judgment, not lack of integrity.

      1. Jim says:

        Then that means the national medical community is corrupt. Why arent we addressing that marketing scheme?
        You cant call it out on one hand and then deny it exists on the other

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          Doctors don’t usually personally profit from the sale of medications. People like McBride do directly profit from selling products on their websites. There are lots of problems with the pharmaceutical industry, and we HAVE addressed their marketing scheme. Perhaps you missed this post: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bad-pharma-a-manifesto-to-fix-the-pharmaceutical-industry/ But that doesn’t mean the whole medical community is corrupt.

          1. Jim says:

            “Doctors do not profit from the use of prescribed medications” Really?
            Naivety is really getting in the way of this discussion now. I think you know better than to put your faith in that statement. Ive linked you just one out of many and you’ll see its a neutral source:
            http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/05/business/what-s-new-prescription-drugs-doctors-profit-medicines-yet-beat-retailers-prices.html

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Jim, do you have any sources other than a news article from 1989? And did you note the statement “While doctors dispense all medications in Japan, the world’s second-largest prescription drug market after the United States, few in America do so“? I added some emphasis for you. Do you have any evidence that currently a significant portion of doctors in the United States currently dispense their own drugs?

            And of course, drugs have an evidence-base indicating risks and benefits, they aren’t dispensed for fun.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          It’s less “wholesale corrupt” than it is distorted. Fortunately there is postmarketing surveillance independent funding for research and disclosures of conflicts of interest – imperfect corrective tools, but better than nothing. In the cases of specific upticks in risks, specific studies will be done, and drugs will be pulled from the market. In cases of outright deceit, substantial fines have been levied.

          If you genuinely want this problem to be improved, you could lobby your congressperson to change funding/approval regulations, improved disclosures, or alterations to campaign funding for Presdential or state candidates.

          Or you could voice distorted, second-hand complaints about how corrupt things are on a website devoted to improving and criticizing the science of medicine. You could act as a thoughtless puppet of what you have heard CAM-promoters say about medicine. You could create enormous straw-men of medical practice, then knock them down to great fury. You could accuse me, and everyone else here, of being puppets of Big Pharma, and ignore any content or evidence to the contrary.

          Up to you.

          1. Jim says:

            I dont have millions to lobby at that level and I dont dwell on it much. I eat primarily organic from local providers, stay away from processed foods as much as I can, exercise and basically take responsibilty for my own health.
            Riding the conspiracy train is just too far left as is blind faith in western medicine too far right and all of it gets us nowhere

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            You don’t really need millions to lobby – a simple website, an e-mail to a congressperson, a phone call, a stamp, are all forms of lobbying.

            Your diet and lifestyle activities (aside from organic food) are simply mainstream medical recommendations that any doctor would approve of. Has a doctor ever tried to convince you to take drugs? For what condition? Did they offer advice about changing your lifestyle as a way of avoiding or reducing the need for these medications? I’m curious where you get the idea that doctors prescribe pills in lieu of recommending lifestyle changes, certainly that is not my experience with my doctors. The only medications I am routinely given are antibiotics in the rare even that I get a bacterial infection. They’ve even refused to give me antibiotics when they suspected viral infections.

            Organic food is, of course, wasteful in terms of land and resources, is more expensive, and seems to offer no nutritional advantages compared to conventional produce. To feed the world organically we would need to plough over every single scrap of forest still in existence, and nobody is sure where the all poop will come from.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      You have the choice not to take the medication, and further – your doctor isn’t prescribing it simply for fun. Medications are prescribed to help with an illness and have main effects as well as side effects. Vioxx (rofecoxib) was an effective pain reliever, but did have greater cardiovascular side effects than initially disclosed. Not to mention, if you want to you can always look things up on pubmed. It’s just a matter of being able to understand what you read (doctors, with over a decade of schooling, generally can).

      I’m surprised at your double-standard. You don’t seem to believe in the safety and efficacy of drugs because they’re sold at a profit by pharmaceutical companies – yet the author of the GAPS diet, with no research and no oversight such as is provided (imperfectly) by the FDA, you believe without question and somehow think the profit motive doesn’t affect her in the slightest. Why do you think companies are greedy but individuals are not? And do you think financial motives are the only relevant motives? You don’t think people can lie to themselves or others for reasons other than money, say the desire to believe their child is getting better, or has gotten better because of something they did? You don’t think the illusion of some control over life and health can be a motivation for cognitive distortion?

      1. Jim says:

        I do not support or refute the author of the GAPS diet, in fact I find some of it to be inaccurate. I merely stated that it should not be assumed that just because an individual sells something on his or her site that the the information they share is biased and should be discounted, purely based on that point.
        As far as prescription medicine, thankfully I dont need to use any, but that does not mean I am against every single one, however several including Vioxx were deemed safe by the FDA and have now been recalled due to deaths and now face multi million dollar lawsuits. I guess you could say Im letting the latest disasters speak for themselves:
        “In a June 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, study authors said that in looking over records that spanned from 1976 to 2006 (the most recent year available) they found that, of 62 million death certificates, almost a quarter-million deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.
        An estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the U.S. every year.
        The costs of adverse drug reactions to society are more than $136 billion annually — greater than the total cost of cardiovascular or diabetic care.
        Adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in 1 of 5 hospital patients.
        The reason there are so many adverse drug events in the U.S. is because so many drugs are used and prescribed – and many patients receive multiple prescriptions at varying strengths, some of which may counteract each other or cause more severe reactions when combined.
        Merck: With a long list of deaths to its credit, and more than $5.5 billion in judgments and fines levied against it, it was five years before Merck made its $30-billion recall of the painkiller Vioxx that I warned my readers that it might be a real killer for some people. After the drug was withdrawn, and 60,000 had already died, Merck picked up the pieces painlessly by getting a new drug fast-tracked and on the market.

        That drug is Gardasil, a vaccine that so far has been linked to thousands of adverse events and at least 49 unexplained deaths. It’s a situation that the FDA and CDC have been denying repeatedly, keeping their heads buried in the sand even as the adverse reports mount.
        Baxter: Dozens of recalls of products that caused deaths and injuries, at least 11 different guilty pleas to fraud and illegal sales activity, more than 200 lawsuits – many of them stemming from selling AIDS-tainted blood to hemophiliacs – and more than $1.3 billion in criminal fines and civil penalties.
        Pfizer: In the largest health care fraud settlement in history, Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, the antipsychotic Geodon, the antibiotic Zyvox, and the anti-epileptic Lyrica.”

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Of course, the real reason the GAPS diet is nonsense (aside from “eat healthy”, which is redundant to usual recommendations) is because it makes magnificent claims without any evidence to back it up. As Dr. Hall said, the fact that the originator sells products is merely another reason to be suspicious.

          Vioxx’s safety profile is a point of concern, mostly because it was concealed. Reanalysis of the data suggests that it may be no worse than any comparable medications. Further, its removal from the market is evidence that the approval process is not perfect (duh) and that postmarketing surveillance works (which wouldn’t be necessary if we had a perfect approval process – any fruitful suggestions would be appreciated, though of course one must always keep an eye on the effects of such a process on how quickly new medications can be developed, and the cost to do so). Again, lobbying for more government money for medical research would be helpful.

          almost a quarter-million deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.

          So you found a peer-reviewed article written by doctors noting the need to improve the process to reduce medical errors? What’s your point? That medicine makes mistakes (duh) and is actively involved in the process to improve itself? If you have a way of ensuring zero medical mistakes are ever made, while still ensuring patients get medications they need to survive, that would be greatly appreciated. If you have a way of producing medications with only main effects and no side effects that would be great as well. Unfortunately, given the evolutionary history of humans has ensured the replication of the same receptors and transmitters on both sides of the blood brain barrier (and in fact, throughout the body), it is extremely difficult to have medications with only desired effects. The body is not designed to respond cleanly and neatly to drugs – it’s not designed at all.

          The reason there are so many adverse drug events in the U.S. is because so many drugs are used and prescribed

          Yep, because without those drugs, many patients would die. It would be nice if patients got off their fat asses and exercised while eating better, but that’s not really the doctor’s fault and wouldn’t address congenital disorders, biological senescence, acute trauma, the long-term effects of injury, cancer, and a host of other medical issues unrelated to lifestyle. Certainly, a nation without a BMI greater than 30 would go a long way of reducing medication problems due to type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

          That drug is Gardasil, a vaccine that so far has been linked to thousands of adverse events and at least 49 unexplained deaths.

          And your source for this is? If it cites the VAERS database, I’m going to laugh at you. Also note that “unexplained deaths” means “not caused by the HPV vaccine”, otherwise it would be explained. And incidentally, the HPV vaccines work, which is great. I urge you to follow the links in that article, it is written by a virologist who knows what she’s talking about and includes links to the peer reviewed literature.

          The rest of your examples do underscore the need for a highly regulated medical system. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma has more examples, and examples of how you could take action. Yes, oversight needs to be improved, I’m glad we agree.

  54. hvcavendish says:

    I find the sneering, sardonic tone of these articles as off-putting as the blind fanaticism of the alt med crowd.

    I was hoping Hall might have actually read the book.

    I’m waiting for someone to dissect the book, and provide a level-headed analysis.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Why don’t you read the book, consult the relevant scientific evidence, and write your own respectful review with a tone you feel appropriate?

      It’s hard, knowing anything about the body, to take any of this seriously. If someone believes even a small portion of the above, then you can pretty much dispense with anything else they say because their grasp of even basic anatomy and physiology is simply wrong.

      I’m never sure why people think that just because someone wrote a book, it means their ideas deserve to be taken seriously.

  55. Stephanie R says:

    Good afternoon,
    I personally have experienced the GAPS diet with a very sick son. GAPS diet has changed our lives. He is a perfectly normal after walking out the GAPS diet! I think your comments are unfounded and you must experience it first hand with a child that crys every time he or she eats and you have no idea what to do.
    I think your article is arguementive and mean.

  56. Stephanie R says:

    One more thing, drugs of any kind mask the root o the problem and only deal with the symptoms. It can never heal the body.

  57. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I personally have experienced the GAPS diet with a very sick son. GAPS diet has changed our lives. He is a perfectly normal after walking out the GAPS diet! I think your comments are unfounded and you must experience it first hand with a child that crys every time he or she eats and you have no idea what to do.

    How are the comments and analysis unfounded? Because it worked for you? Did your child have autism? Were you aware that it is a diagnosis of developmental delay, not stasis? Children, even without any interventions, will often approach or even surpass their peers given a long enough time.

    Also, if the GAPS diet is an effective intervention, wouldn’t we be able to test this in scientific trials? Wouldn’t that be excellent? If the GAPS diet works, then upon demonstrating this in the scientific literature we could then recommend it universally and thus assist more children in their recovery.

    I think your article is arguementive and mean.

    “Mean” is subjective and in the eye of the beholder, but more importantly – kindness is irrelevant to whether a treatment works or not. By taking an empirical question (does the GAPS diet work, do its assumptions withstand scrutiny, is there any reason to expect it to work?) and turning it into a popularity contenst, you are rather missing the point. You may think that it is “mean” to point this out, and I can’t help that. Personally, I like it when my errors are pointed out, so I can correct myself and improve my knowledge over time. There is no reason to perpetuate an error merely because it will hurt someone’s feelings.

    One more thing, drugs of any kind mask the root o the problem and only deal with the symptoms. It can never heal the body.

    What about antibiotics for infections? Clot-busting drugs in cases of acute stroke? That sees to rather neatly address the problem. Vaccines actually go a step further and outright prevent infection by the wild-type virus or bacteria. In some cases, yes, drugs do little more than mask symptoms – but they are used because we currently have no way of dealing with the disease itself. What should we do instead? Deny pain medication? Let people die of blood clots or aneurysms? In some cases, all that is needed is acute supression of symptoms in order for the body to repair itself, but without that supression the person will die. The human body is not perfect, it is the product of evolution – which is more interested in expedience and hack-work than perfection. Plus, you might also be discussing problems that are behavioural, such as obesity or type II diabetes, where the solution is weight loss but weight loss is difficult and patients fail to follow their doctors’ recommendations (or, for that matter, weight loss takes time and they are at acute risk of death and need something to keep them alive while they lose weight). There are also some chronic or congenital genetic conditions which can only be managed by medications, and without those medications then the sole response would be “getting to watch your child die”. Do you believe that doctors and drug companies are withholding a cure in favour of symptom management? Do you have any evidence for this claim? It’s a rather standard plot for fiction, but that doesn’t mean it is true.

    Did you want to expand the discussion into surgery as well?

    1. judge not... says:

      Our bodies are made up of what we put into them. Why is It so hard to believe that diet could play a determining role in some diseases? The wrong fuel in any machine will cause it to fail. You imply that the human body is immune from that general truth.

      Just because something hasn’t been proven (yet), doesn’t mean it never works. Why isn’t there research to support some of the simplest nutrition-based claims Because there’s no money in a simple, natural cure. Pharma drives the medical research, and pharma can’t satisfy Wall St. selling digestive enzymes and vitamin E supplements. I would be able to acknowledge your valid points more easily if you admitted some of the weaknesses in your own arguments.

      My healthy son was stricken with sudden, extreme behavioral issues that interfered with his daily functioning. The steroids and antibiotics didn’t help (but yielded side effects). The pediatric neurologists recommended research-based medicine — a tonsillectomy and immunoglobulin transfusions. These are the most effective treatments according to the research, and are expensive and invasive.

      We found an integrative doctor (who is not afraid of prescribing drugs), and he ran a full nutritional panel (metals, vitamins, and yes, gut bacteria). My son had yeast levels many times higher than normal, and signs that he was not properly digesting casein, which can lead to toxic elements in the body. After a few weeks of high doses of probiotics coupled with digestive enzymes and dietary changes (no dairy), the symptoms subsided. It cost maybe $200. My son has been fine since. I can hear your “harumpf!” from here…too bad.

  58. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Our bodies are made up of what we put into them. Why is It so hard to believe that diet could play a determining role in some diseases? The wrong fuel in any machine will cause it to fail. You imply that the human body is immune from that general truth.

    Who denied the role that diet couldn’t play a role in human health? Certainly it can. Overconsumption of macronutrients can lead to obesity, type II diabetes, and for type I diabetics can be lethal (excess simple sugars). Deficiency of micronutrients can leand to scurvy. Excess can lead to hypervitaminosis or high blood pressure. The various national food guides, which emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, is an example of a healthy diet that is quite attainable, affordable and flexible

    What is denied is that there is a magical formula for diet that prevents or cures diseases which don’t seem to have a dietary component (like autism). Also denied is that by some sort of act of ritual purity, we can achieve perfect health (particularly when a diet is so restrictive, it could easily lead to deficiencies if held to over the long term, or by children).

    Just because something hasn’t been proven (yet), doesn’t mean it never works.

    Yes, but a rational, and in particular science-based approach asks for proof before proclaiming a solution, particularly a solution that is so restrictive. There are specific diets that are science-based and restrictive for things like PKU or high blood pressure, but they have been tested and shown to improve health or stave off death. GAPS is not one of them. If GAPS is as miraculous and curative, particularly for something as obvious and dramatic as autism, then surely it would be trivial to prove it – right? Then everyone could adopt it and cure their child! The burden is on the claimant to prove something works, why should we just believe someone is right because of their say-so? Do you believe used car salesmen when you buy a car, that the price is appropriate, or do you check independent sources like the blue book value? When a vacuum cleaner salesman shows up at your front door and says it’s the best vacuum in the world, do you believe them? Have you ever bought the Brooklyn Bridge?

    Why isn’t there research to support some of the simplest nutrition-based claims Because there’s no money in a simple, natural cure. Pharma drives the medical research, and pharma can’t satisfy Wall St. selling digestive enzymes and vitamin E supplements. I would be able to acknowledge your valid points more easily if you admitted some of the weaknesses in your own arguments.

    First off, learn what pubmed is – there are 273,000 hits for “nutrition” (38,000 if I restrict my results to review articles) and 355,000 hits if I search for “diet” (37,000 for reviews). There are 63 review articles for “diet autism” and 46 for “nutrition autism”. There is a lot of research for nutrition-based. There are none for “Gut and psychology syndrome”. And incidentally, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride sells a whole mess o’ stuff on her website, but none of it seems to be tested or proven to work.

    Oh, and Big Pharma are the primary manufacturers of vitamins and other supplements – it’s a wonderful source of revenue for them because they don’t have to invest any money in research and development.

    As for your claims about your son – there are not enough detials to indicate whether it might be what the “integrative doctor” said it was, or if you got sold the results of a bunch of bogus tests. Candida overgrowth does exist, but it’s rare. If your child is neurotypical, they might just have enjoyed the attention, or they might have developed lactose intolerance (for which there is a simple solution, lactose-free milk or lactase drops). Incidentally, what “toxic elements” did this cause to develop? Was it something specific, or just vague “toxins”? A toxicologist, or toxicology screen, will be quite specific. It won’t just be a matter of “toxins”.

    1. judge not... says:

      Thanks for the reply. We agree on some things: there is no known magic dietary formula and there are risks of nutritional deprivation from “cleansing” diets. And of course false claims are always bad. And to reiterate, I don’t know or have a view on GAPS generally or the doctor you mention.

      My comment was more to do with the closed-mindedness of your observations, which you demonstrated again with your reply. You don’t hold yourself to the same fact-standards as those you evaluate. Pfizer sells about $58 billion of drugs, and a non-material amount of supplements. (In fact they recently sold their modest vitamin business to Nestle.) They spent about $8 billion on R&D to develop new drugs, not investigate if low-margin vitamins can cure illness more cheaply. Pharma makes its money on drugs. Look at any of their investor presentations and you’ll figure that out.

      I was most surprised by your dismissive comments regarding my son. (Casomorphin was the substance in question.) His condition was sudden and profound, and incredibly painful for our family. To suggest it was simple attention-seeking is insensitive. The fact is that something was wrong with him, and research-based medicine couldn’t figure out how to treat it effectively. A non-research-based program worked exceptionally well, without invasive procedures and at a low cost. It is too bad that bothers you. Research breakthroughs start with someone saying, “what if…?” instead of dismissing a reality because it can’t be explained by current knowledge.

      I won’t be reading your commentary in the future.

  59. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    My comment was more to do with the closed-mindedness of your observations, which you demonstrated again with your reply. You don’t hold yourself to the same fact-standards as those you evaluate. Pfizer sells about $58 billion of drugs, and a non-material amount of supplements. (In fact they recently sold their modest vitamin business to Nestle.) They spent about $8 billion on R&D to develop new drugs, not investigate if low-margin vitamins can cure illness more cheaply. Pharma makes its money on drugs. Look at any of their investor presentations and you’ll figure that out.

    Why am I closed-minded, because I refuse to accept the GAPS assertion in the complete absence of any evidence? That hardly seems closed-minded, Campbell-McBride is suggesting massive changes in diet, disruptions in lifestyle, enormous restrictions on what you can eat (and where you can eat) all to support a “cure” for autism that contradicts much of what is known about it – notably its strong genetic component. You bringing up Pfizer is an utter tangent – whether Pfizer promotes its drugs or not has no bearing on whether GAPS works or what a healthy diet is. We know what a healthy diet is, though people are spending a lot of time and energy looking for magic bullet ingredients that probably don’t exist, but even the best diet will not necessarily cure or prevent disease.
    You don’t seem to understand it, but I’m applying the same standards to Campbell-McBride that I am to Pfizer. The difference is, flawed as they are Pfizer has actually tested their drugs and proven there is a benefit (and risks) to them. In addition, they work within a recognized paradigm in which bodies are made up of molecules, and those molecules can be manipulated through other molecules (drugs). Their testing protocols build on previous knowledge about specific diseases and biochemical pathways, are iterative, are reported to third-parties, and are monitored after the fact, all the while reconciling themselves with the existing peer-reviewed literature. Campbell-McBride has nothing, opposes well-established science-based interventions like vaccinations, ignores much of what is known about autism, and still tries to make a profit off of her sales.
    If you’re talking about diet and vitamins more broadly, you’re still off-track. Vitamins are extremely well-understood and studied molecules, which is why they often are not seen as particularly promising interventions beyond deficiency. There are rare exceptions – high-dose niacin for cholesterol for instance, or high-dose vitamin K to improve blood clotting or oppose blood thinning medications – but when vitamins are used as drugs, they are recognized as such and their risks are also recognized. Understanding how vitamins are absorbed, created, processed, used and excreted by the body, there’s frankly not much reason to suppose that megadoses of vitamins are effective treatments for any diseases, particularly the common diseases. Vitamins prevent deficiency, and probably have long-term health effects if a vitamin-rich diet is regularly consumed. What illnesses do you think can be cured by high doses of vitamins? Why do you think they will be effective? Why do you think that studies to date have failed to bear out these claims? If your answer is “conspiracy”, that’s just lazy and credulous, and carries within it the idea that vitamins are not merely vital ingredients to live, they are actually magic. There’s no reason to expect vitamins to cure diseases; they might, but there’s no a priori reason to assume that they must.

    I was most surprised by your dismissive comments regarding my son.

    Why? Are you familiar with the statement “anecdotes are not data”? If you can’t understand why I dismissed your anecdote, I can explain it to you if you’d like but you might try simply reading this page. There are ways to assess individual reactions to confirm hypotheses, notably challenge-dechallenge-rechallenge. If you’re really interested in determining the causes of your son’s behaviour changes, that would be a way to do so. You probably aren’t, because for your purposes the important thing is that your son’s behaviour has improved. Perfectly reasonable, but utterly unhelpful as part of a scientific explanation.

    To suggest it was simple attention-seeking is insensitive.

    That is a valid possible explanation for changes in behaviour, particularly in children. Not knowing the specifics, I can’t exclude it (but I’m not a doctor, or your son’s parent, so does it really matter?) but skeptics generally are uninterested in “it worked for me” stories anyway. I’m sorry you find it offensive, but attention-getting is a valid explanation for many behaviours. I used to work with autistic children, certain types of attention were rewarding, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. Further, Münchausen syndrome and Münchausen syndrome by proxy are both recognized psychiatric diagnoses that are maintained by sympathetic attention – they demonstrate that mere attention is indeed a valid source of pathological behaviour change. This only demonstrates that it can be a strong source of motivation, and one that needs to be excluded, not that it applies in your case.

    The fact is that something was wrong with him, and research-based medicine couldn’t figure out how to treat it effectively. A non-research-based program worked exceptionally well, without invasive procedures and at a low cost. It is too bad that bothers you.

    It doesn’t bother me. As I mentioned above, I recognize that you are solely interested in the pragmatic issue of whether you and your son’s suffering was reduced. What bothers me is that you are attempting to extrapolate your single, isolated example more broadly. And, unsurprisingly, that it is accompanied several common CAM tropes – pharmanoia, “vitamins cure”, dietary obsessions, criticisms of mainstream medicine, and the conviction that personal experience is more important than rigorous testing.

    Research breakthroughs start with someone saying, “what if…?” instead of dismissing a reality because it can’t be explained by current knowledge.

    Yes, absolutely. But it doesn’t move from “what if” to “I can sell this”. Real research requires, well, research, not proclaiming a win based on imperfect and preliminary results. GAPS is about someone making something up, assuming it is correct, then moving on to publicizing and sales. Your own experience is about post hoc ergo propter hoc and moving on to accepting a whole bunch of superficially-convincing but irrelevant tangents and conspiracy theories I’m fairly sure your “integrative physician” or some other CAM promoter fed you. What you don’t seem to realize is that, at best, these examples are the very starting point of real research. You don’t know if GAPS or whatever happened with your son is actually effective. You don’t know the long-term consequences. You don’t know if there are side effects. You don’t know how much placebo comes into play. Real research must examine these things. It is only quacks, the greedy and the incompetent who can look at the body of data and proclaim the work done. A real scientist would look at it and say “OK, how can we be sure?”

    I won’t be reading your commentary in the future.

    1) That’s a shame, I always find it illuminating.
    2) I don’t really believe you, I’ve heard that said many times yet people still return to argue. But please, feel free to be the exception.
    3) I mostly post these comments for fence-sitters, not the already-convinced, so that’s fine.
    4) Rather than posting such a comment in the future, why not just not post anything at all? Posting the message board equivalent of “you’re a poopy head” just seems like a way of trying to hurt my feelings or score a cheap point. If you’re genuinely uninterested, why post your follow-up comment?

    1. Amy says:

      WLU, it is very clear you have absolutely NO EXPERIENCE with autism or autistic children, other than what you read in articles…you are extremely close-minded. Another thing, the validity of all pharmaceutical testing is laughable at best. The mere fact that you honestly believe Pfizer’s, or any other mainstream drug company’s “scientific data” without question, destroys your credibility.

  60. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Really? That’s odd, can you explain who the heck’s behaviour I was attempting to modify for the three years I was a therapist using applied behaviour analysis? I was told they were autistic, perhaps there was something else that was causing them to not develop language, show poor reactions to social stimuli and generally have problems developing abstract reasoning. I guess the bite mark on my wrist from one child (who appeared astonished at my lack of reaction – an example of how attention, or more accurately reaction, can lead to behavioural trapping) is pure imagination. Say, do you know the difference between manding and tacting, and how echolalia can be to induce spontaneous speech in nonverbal children? I do.

    I don’t accept Pfizer’s data without question. I am generally skeptical of Big Pharma, and more so after reading Bad Pharma. I generally stick to review articles for most of my sources because I am keenly aware of the ability of individual clinical trials to be subverted, false or misleadingly reported. The validity of the initial phase III clinical trials for drugs is certainly questionable, which is why I am heartily in favour of, and relieved to see, such things as postmarketing surveillance and follow-up trials conducted by independent researchers. I would dearly love to see Ben Goldacre’s real-world approach to randomization and testing (when the doctor is writing up a prescription for a particular condition, just before they select the drug they get a popup asking “want to be part of a trial?” and if they click “yes” they are randomized to one of several drugs for which clinical effectiveness has been demonstrated but head-to-head comparisons have not occurred) be used as a “phase V” form of clinical trial, it would tremendously improve our ability to understand how drugs work in the real world, in addition to being a simple and elegant way to demonstrate clinical superiority via head-to-head comparisons of drugs.

    You seem to be mistaking my failure to believe that drugs are bad because they are made by Pfizer for a lack of skepticism. Drugs probably aren’t as good as portrayed by the phase III trials. They definitely aren’t as good as portrayed by pharma reps. But the fact that a big company makes something doesn’t automatically make it a bad thing, harmful or ineffective. Though chances are, it’s less effective and more risky than most people believe. And just because something is “natural” doesn’t make it superior. Lots of natural things can kill you, and lots more are little more than food.

    You seem to be mistaking “closed-minded” for “could I see the evidence please?” It’s funny – if I think drugs might actually be useful tools in the practice of medicine I’m unduly credulous. But when I ask for proof before accepting dramatic changes in diet are effective medical treatments, I’m closed-minded.

    I’ll ask again – is there any reason to believe the GAPS diet can cure autism? How does it reconcile with the known etiologies of autism? Why are you so willing to believe Campbell-McBride when she offers not a sausage of proof but just asks you to trust her? Don’t you think such dramatic claims deserve some sort of critical scrutiny? If not, why the double-standard? Why so much skepticism about drugs but absolutely none about GAPS?

  61. Sean says:

    Another story that you won’t believe -
    I have controlled my arthritis with diet changes for last 20 years – all your BS about drugs being molecules that work on other molecules in your body… Correct but irrelevant to this discussion – are you sponsored by Pfizer?

    Based on my own “healing” I have no reason to dismiss what Dr McBride says – in fact she is one of a group of main stream doctors turned nutritionist that are a big threat to drugs companies and the food industry. My arthritis IS caused by an immune response bacteria in my gut and by food intolerance – similar to some with autistism.

    I can switch on my arthritis by eating foods that 1) Promote bacterial growth 2) I am intolerant / allergic to 3) Promote intestinal permeability

    You are either stupid or complicit in the suppression of facts and suppression of good research in this area!

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      I do believe your story. I am aware of evidence suggesting a role for diet in the treatment of arthritis. I just don’t see any good evidence that anyone knows enough at this point to specify what patients should and shouldn’t eat in the way McBride does.

      The GAPS diet targets autism, ADD and other psychological and psychiatric conditions, not arthritis. McBride says it is only intended to be used for 2 years, so it wouldn’t apply to your continued need for your diet over 20 years.

      Your accusations and insults are uncalled for. Please try to keep the discussion civil and focused on facts rather than individuals.

      For the record:
      I have never disbelieved anyone’s testimonials about their personal experience, although I often question their interpretation of that experience and I do not think conclusions can be drawn from anecdotal evidence without proper testing.
      I am not sponsored by Pfizer or anyone else, drug company or otherwise. I have never been paid anything for what I write here.
      I am not stupid.
      I am not complicit in suppressing facts or research. I couldn’t find anything to suppress. I could not find any published evidence that the GAPS diet had ever been tested in a controlled fashion. If such evidence exists, please enlighten us with references. I don’t doubt that you can find peripherally related studies that give grounds for theoretical speculations, but I am looking for clinical evidence.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Another story that you won’t believe

      You’re right in that.

      I have controlled my arthritis with diet changes for last 20 years – all your BS about drugs being molecules that work on other molecules in your body…

      I don’t believe there are any drugs that control arthritis, usually people are restricted to pain control. I could be wrong.

      What type of arthritis did you have? How was it diagnosed? How did you change your diet? How did you deal with your arthritis before? Did you lose weight as a result of dietary changes? How long did it take for your arthritis to get better? Why aren’t you discussing your approach with a research team, so it can be empirically tested and, if possible, replicated, eventually becoming a valid intervention that can be used by all with the same kind of arthritis? Are you too busy being smug about how stupid everyone else is?

      Note that there may be something to your beliefs, though actual research is “in it’s infancy”.

      Correct but irrelevant to this discussion – are you sponsored by Pfizer?

      Nope – though “irrelevant” is certainly accurate. Even if I was, how is that relevant? It’s a lazy claim used by people lacking real arguments that one can dismiss one’s opponent merely because of a conflict of interest – even if it exists. Certainly “you’re a drone of big pharma” isn’t an argument, and above all – isn’t proof that I am in fact such a drone. I merely refuse to beileve people when they make extreme claims.

      Based on my own “healing” I have no reason to dismiss what Dr McBride says – in fact she is one of a group of main stream doctors turned nutritionist that are a big threat to drugs companies and the food industry. My arthritis IS caused by an immune response bacteria in my gut and by food intolerance – similar to some with autistism.

      Are you autistic? Her main claims are about autism. She’s not mainstream. Her beliefs about autism and vaccination have been refuted – repeatedly.

      I can switch on my arthritis by eating foods that 1) Promote bacterial growth 2) I am intolerant / allergic to 3) Promote intestinal permeability

      Great, please do a bit of googling to find a researcher interested in this sort of thing, and offer yourself as a research subject. You can do a great service to humanity – imagine the millions of arthritis sufferers the world over you could help! What are you doing here? Dr. Yeoh at the University of Otago in New Zealand might be a good starting point.

      You are either stupid or complicit in the suppression of facts and suppression of good research in this area!

      Oh certainly not. I’m far from stupid, and I’m not suppressing facts. I’m merely pointing out that:

      - making a claim isn’t the same as proving a claim
      - prior probability matters
      - the research on diet and arthritis appears to be in its infancy; the research on diet and autism appears to be even further behind

      I hadn’t looked up arthritis and diet before. Now that I do, I see there is some discussion. So you’re creating a bit of a straw man to knock down. In fact, one could say that rather than there being anything to your belief about the vile mendacity and supressions of doctors and big pharma around diet and arthritis, there’s rather an active research community focussing on the question. The next time you show up to proclaim how arrogant and stupid science and scientists (and in my case, a mere skeptic) are, perhaps you take a pit stop at pubmed to look up a couple review articles. You could have helped the discussion by noting that there is indeed research that tentatively supports diet and arthritis.

      Of course, diet and autism are compeletely different so I’m still not sure why you’re bringing it up here.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        Just to set the record straight, there are drugs that control arthritis. There are disease-modifying agents (DMARDs) that slow the progression of joint damage and help prevent permanent disability in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritides.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Ah, thanks for the clarification. Plus, as noted above, there are studies and review articles that link diet and arthritis, belying Sean’s tangent.

          However, I somehow doubt that the link will ever be found to be near so profound as the risk factors we already know about.

          1. mousethatroared says:

            What risk factors do we already know about in auto-immune arthritis? I’ve hadn’t heard of any profound ones.

  62. Harriet Hall says:

    The only known risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis are sex, age, family history, and smoking.

  63. mousethatroared says:

    Thanks Harriet Hall – I got excited when WLU referred to “profound” risk factors… thinking that might mean controllable risk factors, which seem few and far between with my diagnoses, Undifferientiated Connective Tissue Disease – in fact I’m not even sure that UCTD has defined risk factors, most of my searches give me results on the risk factors for UCTD evolving into a defined CTD ( Lupus, Scheloderma or Rhematoid Arthritis). Those condition’s risk factor seem similar with some differences in age and ethnicity. My Rheum said there’s not much to do prevention wise, although there do seem to be some individual things to try to avoid flares, like getting a flu shot.

  64. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    MTR – I wouldn’t trust my opinion on much here (or really, anywhere I don’t include a hyperlink). I know very little about arthritis (just enough to realize that one can’t generalize about it as there are 100+ types).

  65. mousethatroared says:

    WLU – well my plan was to harass you for a source, or at least to use keywords from your response to look for more information… I tend not to trust much I hear or read online unless I can verify it with a solid source.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Sorry, it was just pubmed searching for “arthritis nutrition” and “arthritis diet” and several review articles showed up. Given one of the few facts I do know about arthritis is that there are many kinds, I suspect you’d get a lot more meaningful information if you plugged in the specific type you are interested in. There are two links in my original post if you’d like to look at ‘em.

  66. I am wondering where the science is to refute the GAPS diet? I’ve seen lots of people recover from this kind of program including myself so why not try food – certainly was much easier than the medical approach which I tried for 10 years.

  67. weing says:

    “I am wondering where the science is to refute the GAPS diet?”
    You are asking the wrong question. The better question would be where is the science to support or prove it? If all you get is anecdotes, then I have a perfect formula for getting rich. As John Paul Getty, I believe, once said. Buy land, find oil.

  68. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I am wondering where the science is to refute the GAPS diet? I’ve seen lots of people recover from this kind of program including myself so why not try food – certainly was much easier than the medical approach which I tried for 10 years

    You’ve got it backwards – there is no science to support the GAPS diet, and that’s the problem. If there was evidence, we could discuss how good-quality it was, and if it was in any way superior to a conventional healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grain with moderate consumption of lean meats and lots of exercise. Since the GAPS diet has no real science behind it, we are forced to examine it in terms of its prior probability, and that’s where it stretches belief. Diet shows little evidence to be a cause of, or cure for, autism (and many of the other conditions it is claimed to work for).

    If Dr. McBride had bothered to do any science, to test her theory, we might be discussing this wonderful and novel cure for (whatever). She hasn’t, she’s just said “it works, trust me”. As a mental exercise – would you accept the equivalent rationale from the CEO of Pfizer for a new drug? If not, why is Dr. McBride’s “trust me” approach acceptable?

  69. mandy says:

    Forget your science based evidence, we all know that it can be manipulated any which way. Look again at her book and see how many people that this approach to health has really helped. What’s more, it is a harmless and simple way to cure a great many ailments. This is what upsets those of you in the business of science based evidence, it’s cheap, simple and it works.

    1. Chris says:

      So, do tell us how it works for type 1 diabetes. Perhaps I should add more non-self-limiting diseases to the list. Or just answer the question I asked Ex-nurse on July 28.

  70. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Forget your science based evidence, we all know that it can be manipulated any which way.

    I’m not sure why you consider evidence (which can be manipulated, which is why we look for multiple converging lines of evidence and alignment with basic science) to be something to be forgotten. Why is Dr. McBride’s bare assertion, with no proof beyond her word, superior to existing volumes of evidence which suggests, among other things, that autism has a strong heritable component and is a neurological issue unrelated to diet? And how does infant diet impact fetal development, which occurs in a sterile space with no gut bacteria whatsoever?

    Surely if Dr. McBride has discovered something as effective and noteworthy as a dietary cure for autism, we would want to know about it – and if it’s as effective as she claims, it would be trivial to demonstrate this. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for that testing to occur before we make a massive change in how we approach treating and researching autism.

    Look again at her book and see how many people that this approach to health has really helped.

    I dunno, it sounds like you’re suggesting an evidence-based approach. It would be great to know how many people this approach to health has helped. Are you aware of any work by Dr. McBride in this regard?

    What’s more, it is a harmless and simple way to cure a great many ailments.

    It’s generally harmless (it’s just food after all, bar a long-term concern over dietary restrictions leading to nutrient deficiencies) but it’s pretty far from simple. The claim that it is a “cure” is just that – a claim. We’re just taking her word for it. There are lots of people who will try to convince you that their diet is a cure for disease or (slightly more likely) obesity. Witness “wheat belly”, or paleodiet, or macrobiotics, or raw foodism, or the Atkins diet, or the Ornish diet, or the alkaline diet, or eating according to your blood type, or your prana. All of them have about the same amount of evidence as Dr. McBride’s solution – which one is right? In every single case, the originator of the diet claims it cures X health problem(s). Are they all right? They’re mutually contradictory, and all but the Ornish diet has no evidence to back them up – just the author’s musings.

    Why do you accept Dr. McBride’s claims without any proof? Would you accept the same claim that “X pill cures everything” from Pfizer? Why not?

    This is what upsets those of you in the business of science based evidence, it’s cheap, simple and it works.

    Except it’s not cheap – an emphasis is on organic ingredients, which charge a premium for what comes down to questionable assertions of benefits. Cheap flour is replaced by ground nuts, an order of magnitude more expensive and harder to buy. She advocates for questionable tests, which are not free. Plus, much of the foods are time-consuming to prepare, and only cheap if you consider your time to have no value. Her books cost around $30 each. Her training course is over $1,100 – not cheap!
    It’s not simple – seven steps, much of which involve complicated home-made dishes and foods, testing, and a shift from readily-available ingredients to far rarer, more expensive and more complicated ones.
    It might work, but the evidence seems to be against it. More accurately, basic probability for most of the conditions is questionable, and there’s no actual evidence even if we ignore basic probability.

    This looks like a one-size-fits-all approach, and like so many such approaches, probably doesn’t work. And there are so many drive-by accounts making the same comments that I wonder if Dr. McBride is the source of them. Perhaps not, but all share a common failure to appreciate why people are skeptical.

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