3 Popular Healing Diets [KETO-GAPS-AIP] Compared, Everything You Need to Know
Traditional and Nourishing Diets
We believe the most important way to maintain optimal health is first through a consistent, rounded, traditional whole food diet like Weston A. Price or Paleo with natural whole food supplementation when needed. These diets are very similar and both stress the importance of real, nutrient dense traditional foods which provide the body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, strong and active.
Read about the similarities and differences here:
However, for those who may be suffering from a medical condition or ailment, it may be necessary to take these diet lifestyles to another, more restricted level for healing purposes. Cue- healing diets!
*Medical Disclaimer. We are not medical professionals. The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.
Healing diets follow basically the same criteria as a Weston A Price or Paleo but with specific restrictions for those looking to heal or improve upon an ongoing health condition such as autoimmune disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.
Healing diets are temporary restrictions that help bring the body back to a healthier, more stable state. Eventually, most people are able to resume a traditional diet once again.
Here are basic descriptions of the top 3 most popular healing diets ...
The Standard Ketogenic Diet [KETO]
What is it?
The Ketogenic diet is an extremely strict low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. The diet plan is
- 75% healthy fats
- 20% quality protein
- 5% carbs per day
Typically your body will burn carbohydrates for energy, but the extreme limitation of carbohydrates will force the body into ketosis where it will product ketones that burn fat for energy instead of carbs.
Is it safe?
Most experts agree that the KETO diet is safe if done correctly, however it can be difficult to manage as you have to be very strict in order for it to be safe and effective. Such an extreme low-carb diet could cause fatigue, thyroid or adrenal issues and muscle loss if done incorrectly for too long. If too many ketones enter your bloodstream it can be potentially dangerous. It is recommended to use Ketone strips to measure your ketone levels daily to make sure your diet is safe and effective.
The Paleo Mom agrees that the Ketogenic diet can be beneficial for some, but warns against its potentially dangerous adverse reactions in this post-
Does it work?
Studies have shown that following a Ketogenic Diet can be beneficial for a wide variety of health conditions such as
- Type 1 and 2 Diabetes- The diet can result in extreme weight reduction and insulin boosts which can reduce or eliminate the conditions of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
- Alzheimer’s disease- The diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and slow down the disease’s progression
- Epilepsy: Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in epilectic seizures
However results vary and it is not meant for long term sustainability. The Keto diet must be done correctly and a healthy diet & lifestyle reinstated in order to maintain any results achieved.
Autoimmune Paleo [AIP]
What is it?
The Autoimmune protocol was developed by Dr Sara Ballantyne (AKA the PALEO MOM) for individuals with varying autoimmune conditions or those not experiencing optimal health through the Paleo diet alone. The AIP Protocol is a version of the Paleo diet with very specific restrictions on foods that may cause inflammation or immunity responses in the body.
Restricted foods include
- Refined and processed sugars and oils
- Eggs (especially the whites)
- Seeds (including cocoa, coffee and seed-based spices)
- Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries, etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
- Potential Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods
- NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Non-nutritive sweeteners (yes, all of them, even stevia)
- Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives
The plan advises to eliminate all the restricted foods at first and then slowly introduce them one at a time as to help identify any that may be causing negative symptoms for an individual. It’s recommended that people do the elimination phase for between 1 and 3 months, and then start re-introducing foods gradually, one at a time. The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to fuel the body with as many nutrient-dense foods as possible while also avoiding any food that might be contributing to disease or interfering with the bodies abilities to heal.
Is it safe?
Most experts agree that the AIP protocol is safe because you are still able to consume a healthy, balanced, nutrient-dense diet despite the restrictions.
Does it work?
The AIP diet may work for some and it may not for others. It is a sort of trial and error elimination and reintroduction diet. The AIP diet can help an individual identify specific foods that trigger negative reactions in their body so that they can be avoided. Avoiding these foods may help ease symptoms dramatically, but the symptoms may reoccur once exposed to the food again. Also, if the reactions are caused by something else other then the eliminated foods, a blood test may still be needed to determine the culprits.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome [GAPS]
What is it?
The GAPS diet is a protocol focused on the gut health/brain health connection developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride that includes 3 parts (outlined in detail in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome).
- Therapeutic diet- focuses a diet rich in gut healing foods such as fermented foods, broths, etc. and a strict list of foods to eliminate at certain stages of the program
- Supplementation- detox supplements and probiotics are encouraged
- Detoxification therapies- saunas, detox baths, etc. encouraged
The diet consists of the 6 stage Introduction Diet (3 – 4 weeks) and then moves on to the Full GAPS Diet, an 18 month to 2 year protocol.
- Processed Food (canned & packaged foods)
- Emulsifiers and Thickeners (guar gum, carrageenan, etc.)
- Refined Oils
- Refined Sugars
- Grains (soaked & fermented grains are allowed when transitioning OFF GAPS)
- Some legumes (lentils & great northern beans are allowed after Intro)
Is it safe?
Most experts agree that as with any low-carb diet, GAPs may cause tiredness, disturb metabolism, and possibly cause Adrenal issues. GAPS is extremely restrictive but, if done correctly, will be safe for most people.
Will it work?
The GAPS diet is a very detailed, outlined diet plan that if done correctly has been reported to help ease or eliminate symptoms related to the brain/gut health connection such as
- Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms
- ADHD/Learning and or Behavioral Issues
- Autoimmune Disease
- Digestive Issues
Diet Similarities That Are Essential For Optimal Health
As you look through the basic descriptions of each diet plan you might notice they have very similar aspects. They all agree on these basic limitations-
- NO PROCESSED FOODS
- NO REFINED SUGARS
- NO COMPLEX CARBS
Just like Weston A. Price and Paleo, these diets stress eliminating processed foods, GMOs, additives, artificial ingredients, etc. For just about any person, a diet focused on whole, nutrient dense foods should help result in these similar goals which are all essential in preventing and/or healing chronic diseases.
- reducing inflammation in the body
- balancing gut flora for creating a healthy microbiome
- boosting the immune system
Have you experienced the benefits of a Healing Diet? Please share in the comment section below!