Eating away autism? The GAPS diet

December 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Atkins diet, South Beach diet and weight watchers. They all claim to help people fight the fat, but one mom says a unique diet saved her daughter from a disorder that hits one in 88 kids.

She became one because her daughter Zizi was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"We spent about a year trying to figure out what was going on," Kati Hornung told Action News.

Not wanting to give Zizi drugs, Katie turned to the guts and psychology syndrome -- or "GAPS" diet. The belief is toxins from bad bacteria in the gut created by undigested foods can severely affect brain function. By healing the gut, you heal diseases.

"All of a sudden, our kid was talking in three and a half weeks," Kati explained.

"It's still new. People are still learning what it is. People are still discovering it," certified GAPS practitioner Mary Lynn Lipscomb told Action News.

She said the secret to healing is adding homemade fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt and broths to your child's daily diet that contain probiotics, and removing foods that are difficult for the body like all sugars, all grains, and all fibers.

"If you look at how traditional people ate, they ate this way."

But does it really work?

Austin Mulloy, Ph D., assistant professor of special education and disability policy at Virginia Commonwealth University has some questions.

"There needs to be scientific data that either confirms that claim or effuses them." (:06)

Dr. Mulloy is conducting a first of its kind study testing the GAPS diet as a treatment for kids with autism spectrum disorder. He will analyze behavior, such as language use, and measure any physiological changes in the body, like inflammation in the gut.

"One of the possible outcomes of this study is that we do produce some evidence that has the potential to change people's minds on the effect of diet on people's behavior."

Whatever it shows, Kati believes the diet cured her daughter.

"Our specialist told us by 2nd grade, she will be undistinguishable from any other kid."

Unlike diets that help you lose weight, Lipscomb tells us butter and animal fat are important components of the gaps diet because she says they promote healing.

The only processed foods allowed in the diet are sea salt, olive oil and coconut oil.

For more information, contact:

Mary Lynn Lipscomb,RN, AHN-C
Certified Holistic Nurse and GAPS Practitioner
mllipscomb@gapsconsulting.com

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