The GAPS scam - GAPS diet review


Photo: YouTube. Standard YouTube license.
Author allows re-publication for review purposes.

63 more crazy claims debunked in my GAPS diet review.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride got a medical degree in 1984 from the Bashkir Medical University in Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, when it was part of the USSR. Bashkortostan is a backward state and corruption is a way of life, with journalists routinely arrested and where state leaders and judges are regularly caught in taking bribes. Purchasing a degree is the rule, not the exception in Bashkortostan. I do not put much credence in a medical degree from a university of the Republic of Bashkortostan when Natasha Campbell-McBride has zero publications to back up her pseudo-scientific claims pertaining the GAPS diet and how it should cure all disease "Because all disease starts in the gut". She writes nothing but proven voodoo nonsense in her publications and has never disclosed the slightest evidence to substantiate her allegedly autistic son's alleged progress, or even evidence that her son once had autism and now does not.

Together with her husband Peter Campbell-McBride (born in March 1947) Dr. Natasha runs a multi-million dollar dietary supplements empire and claims to be able to successfully treat Schizophrenia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Autism and many other serious mental and physical health issues. As most ambitious scammers do, they went for the big bucks and took things multi-level through an army of affiliate resellers: Natasha trains them from home by videoconferencing for a fee of $1175 per participant, where she evangelises her "Gut And Psychology Syndrome" theory:


It's not a theory she says, because she says she has cured countless people of their mental problems. I have yet to see an independent verification of a single case of autism cured by her "protocol". I take her assault on people on the autistic spectrum personal because I have Aspergers. Everything about her screams quackery, such as "All diseases start in the gut". Dr. Campbell-McBride has never heard of Pneumonia, Chlamydia, Influenza or AIDS. Those all start in the gut, really. With her probiotic supplements, you'll become immune!

The British part of Campbell-McBride's worldwide quackery empire consists of Cambridge Probiotics Ltd., Cambridge Bioceuticals Ltd., Medinform Publishing Ltd., BioKult Ltd., Be Healthy Ltd., Health Foods Institute Ltd and the Cambridge Nutrition Clinic.

Campbell-McBride claims that her son was diagnosed with Autism and she claims that she fully "cured" him with her self-invented diet, which is very similar to the Primitive or Paleo diet. She never published any verifyable evidence for her autism-cure story, neither have medical journals ever published any studies from her, supporting those claims.

Natasha - not being permitted to practice medicine in Europe - married a British supplements marketeer and discovered a "miracle cure" for the most severe neurological problems. In a nutshell, that "cure" consists of taking her probiotics and avoiding certain foods. It will make stupid people intelligent, she claims. "Highly successful in treating patients with learning disabilities." She wrote some books, her husband made a site for her and they recorded YouTube clips where she explains how "toxins" produced by "bad gut flora" cause brain damage leading to autism, and how her diet and supplements provide a cure. Her method also cures depression. And Schizophrenia. And ADHD. And arthritis, intestinal problems, etc. etc. But there is nothing special about her supplements. They're perfectly plain probiotics and the like. But if you do exactly what she says, if you buy her books and supplements, then, with a bit of luck, after some years your child should be cured of Autism. Or you of your depression. That's basically her message. I always get suspicious of such claims, especially when made by people that have something to sell. In Campbell-McBride's case, she runs an online store such as ours, only she sells overpriced stuff with very questionable utility at Products such as "Urban Moonshine Organic Energy Spray - Endurance for the modern world! Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic combines some of the most widely used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the harmful effects of stress". Clever idea! I'll tell my husband we should also do that, charge 8 bucks plus shipping for a tiny bottle of 8 cents worth of herbal extract imported from China and mixed and filled off at home. No FDA trouble, no support issues - we'll get rich in no time! We'll call it "Sarah's miracle potion" or something. Surely, some will believe me and buy it? I'll just make up a nutritional theory that promises to cure cancer or something, since most neurological syndromes are already taken by the Campbell-McBride's. Actually, the "Cancer is a fungus" folks took Cancer already, hm.. We have to be quick, before all major illnesses have been taken! A bit of partnering with the top quack promoters such as Doctor Mercola and the sheeple will buy. Let's do that when dermaneedling goes out of fashion!

Campbell-McBride: Quack or scammer?

The Encyclopedia of American loons is reluctant to call her a quack because according to them, if the quack believes in it herself, she's not a quack. They think she really believes her own claims so they are content calling her merely an "enemy of science and reason". But I think it is clear that Natasha Campbell-McBride is both a quack and a scammer, and I will elaborate.

Campbell-McBride is an educated MD, which means she is supposed to understand biochemistry. A medical doctor who makes such outlandish claims should be expected to know what they're talking about, which in her case means understanding biochemistry. In this video (downloaded to preserve as evidence) she exposes herself as someone who simultaneously understands an important fact of biochemistry but then goes on to deliberately lie in the same sentence about that same fact of biochemistry. Sadly, only someone who understands biochemistry would catch her in that deception, so all the sentence achieves with a layperson is a sense of awe for her knowledge. I will elaborate.

Why Campbell-McBride is a fraudster

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride knows that bacterial toxins are relatively large molecules and therefore are not easily absorbed through the GI tract. The proper term for such toxins is microbial exotoxins. I am going to prove that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a criminal who belongs in jail for deliberately defrauding sick people for millions of dollars. "Dr. GAPS" has British nationality and British libel law still is the harshest in the world. With her multi-million dollar fraud empire at stake, she may want to sue. I'll list here some of the facts I will use in my defense, since recent libel law reform made the truth a valid defense against libel claims in the UK.

What are bacterial toxins? Let's use a quote from a textbook that she likely used during her studies in the USSR, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, published in 1979, five years before she graduated. I quote: "Chemically, toxins are either proteins or polypeptides. In contrast to other organic and inorganic poisonous substances, toxins, upon entering an organism, cause the formation of antibodies. The molecular weight of toxins exceeds 4,000-5,000".

What follows is this table with the molecular weight of some bacterial and other toxins:

Botulinus toxin A Clostridium botulinum 150,000
Botulinus toxin B C. botulinum 167,000
Tetanus toxin C. tetani 140,000
Ricin Seeds of castor-oil plant 65,000
Taipan toxin Taipan venom 42,000
?-bungarotoxin Krait venom 28,500
Cobrotoxin. Cobra venom 6,782
Toxin II Scorpion venom 7,249

Molecular weight is expressed as Daltons, (nucleons), meaning the total of protons and neutrons in one molecule of the toxin. As the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, her own contemporary study material notes, all toxins, also bacterial toxins are always heavier than 4000 Daltons. As can be seen from the table, many are much heavier. If you want to check the molecular weight of nearly all bacterial toxins known to man, use the following online database: As an example, I've linked to Gardnerella toxin, which has a molecular weight of 56769 Daltons.

Campbell-McBride claims at 1:23 in the YouTube clip that bacterial toxins pass the damaged intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream and then the brain, where they cause damage. She knows that it is not easy at all for the relatively large toxin molecules to pass a healthy intestinal lining, because it does quite a good job keeping such large molecules out. So she correctly mentions that it is the fact that the intestinal lining is damaged that allows the alleged toxins to enter the bloodstream. But in the same sentence she says: "..and get into the brain". This is the moment where that comes out of her mouth:


Sounds legit, right? Bacterial toxins enter the bloodstream, get distributed throughout the body, and get into the brain. However, this is abject nonsense, something that any doctor could tell you. Remember how the lightest ("smallest") microbial exotoxin molecule has a mass of 4000 Daltons? The largest molecule that can pass the blood-brain barrier is ten times smaller. It has to be smaller than 500 Daltons. What does this mean? It means that unless a person has acute meningitis or severe encephalitis, that is it utterly impossible for any bacterial toxin ever to enter the brain. Not a single molecule. The laws of nature, quantum mechanics and microbiology forbid this, and with good reason. Our brain is well-protected against bacterial toxins by either evolution or our Good Lord. Most bacterial toxins are 100 times too big to be able to get into our brain, and even the smallest bacterial toxin ever discovered is about ten times too large.

Campbell-McBride knows about cellular-molecular barriers very well, otherwise she wouldn't have said that because of the damaged intestinal lining, the toxins can pass into the bloodstream. It does not fit her story to mention that the blood-brain barrier filters out even ten times smaller molecules than the smallest bacterial toxins, so she omits that. Because it would collapse her story like a house of cards. There are nearly no chemical compounds that can pass the blood-brain barrier (the lining of the cappilary veins in our brain). A molecule has to be not only very small but also lipid-soluble, which many bacterial toxins are neither. That is why 98% of all pharmaceutical drugs can not enter the brain. Our blood-brain barrier, this extremely effective toxin-filter is the #1 problem in neurological medicine. Nearly nothing passes. It is fiendishly difficult to design a drug that can reach the brain. Dr. Natasha knows this and she therefore knows that her theory on how bacterial toxins cause neurological disorders in the child and adult is fallacious, and therefore she knowingly sells books, training and supplements on a knowingly false premise. This is fraud of the worst kind: Knowingly selling false hope to sick people and leading them astray from a possible real cure in some cases. Appropriate punishment? I'd propose forfeiture of all profits and aquired assets, striking off the register of the pair's companies, a lifelong ban on health-related business activities, restitution of all received funds, a fine, a prison sentence as well as a public apology.

More nonsense from this quack

In the GAPS diet, "Dr. GAPS" makes a few long-discredited claims about "alkalizing foods" and "body pH" which I have debunked here. She studied nutrition. Someone should revoke her nutritionist license, if she has one. She advises against non-organic butter due to its alleged harmful levels of pesticides and antibiotics (I disagree with both), while advising honey, even though I think it has been documented that honey is a lot more detrimental to health than bio-industry butter. Honey contains every pollutant known to man, from heavy metals to radionuclides. Everything in the air ends up concentrated in honey. She advises against canned fish, even though freshly canned sardines are one of the healthiest food available. Low on the food chain, they are the least contaminated seafood, full of essential nutrients. I think there is no food with better value for money than canned sardines.

I debunked 63 more of her crazy claims in this long article. This woman is not a researcher. She has discovered nothing and can prove nothing, otherwise she would have published something. The only thing worthy of following is the general dietary advice she gives. But in that regard she simply regurgitates old news. The rest is bunk. The woman is a complete fraud, calling herself "Recognised as one of the world's leading experts in treating children and adults with learning disabilities and other mental disorders, as well as children and adults with digestive and immune disorders". If you substitute "treating" with "scamming" you're getting closer to the truth. She's a nobody in the scientific world, but her husband, Peter "make money online" Campbell-McBride is a damn good manager, albeit that he got a little carried away, splitting up their enterprise into at least half a dozen companies. It seems that they think that if one or two get shut down, they still have a few cash cows left. As long as you keep believing their stories.

More on this shameless liar, a traitor of her Hippocratic oath:

GAPS-cultists retaliate with libel campaign against OwnDoc / Sarah Vaughter / Vaughter Wellness

The GAPS-cultists started their own libel campaign in an attempt to shut down my company: Convicted child abuser Robert Kindelan started an entire WordPress blog where he alleges that I "sue people for 100,000 dollars", "refuse refunds", "sell stuff that doesn't work", "threatens people" etc. He told me he would, unless I would pull my articles on the GAPS diet, not rest until my company was destroyed. We have this threat in our customer support system, which logs IP addresses.

63 more crazy claims debunked in my GAPS diet review.

Update: After having been verbally brutalized for years by GAPS-believers this horrific child abuse was published today. The child may die. Campbell-McBride and her husband belong in prison.

1.  Johnny Silverseed    Saturday, December 14, 2013

My goodness! Sarah, you seem to be a wonderful person, knowledgeable in science and endowed in the social graces. Your expertise is appreciated and I am grateful for your offerings. I look forward to having something to say in the way of personal experience concerning Lufenuron and C60 Oil

2.  Bernhard    Friday, March 21, 2014

I think you are being too harsh to the Gaps concept. Yeah well, it may have become business; To treat otherwise "hopeless" conditions. We have done Gaps (and some other diets and a multitude of different interventions) as well in such a hopeless case - and went far beyond I must add. We have experienced the power of nutrition, microbiota and so forth - in both directions, for worse and for better.
At least the diet didn't threaten her life as the so called "medications" did, got ever worse and worse, "doctors" only idea was: More of the drugs, one could call this approach; Successfully medicated until death did part us from the patient.

Gaps may be business, compared to what most of health (sickness) industry does, there is way more logic in a life affirming approach like Gaps, though in my opinion the method also needs to evolve further.

3.  Sarah Vaughter    Friday, March 21, 2014

I haven't been harsh enough. If you found flaws in my proof that her central premisse is fraudulent, let me know. People who follow her recommendations (those who buy her book and do what it recommends) cause the death of children. This quack believes vaccines cause autism:

And this disinfo (for her profit..) leads to new, lethal epidemics:

I debunked 63 more of her claims here:


4.  Kat    Thursday, May 29, 2014

Interesting, I have followed the GAPS Diet for years for UC. I strongly believe that it has helped me tremendously and I am able to manage my condition without any prescription drugs.
I never knew that she had her own supplements line.
Unfortunately, it is very common that people just want to cash in on the sick and desperate. However, from what I see she is very popular , so people must be getting good results.

5.  Sarah Vaughter    Thursday, May 29, 2014

But it is not under dispute (not in general but by me, the author) that a (relatively! - relative to what's common today) low-carb diet is the only healthy diet.

Your Ulcerative Colitis could be a symptom of Gluten sensitivity and a zero-gluten diet solves that. But I'm not attacking her diet - I'm attacking her claim that all cancer, all AIDS, all mental illness including Autism and Schizophrenia "start in the gut" and that she has the cure for all those diseases.

What is under dispute are her claims that "all disease starts in the gut" as well as her 100+ other insane claims that I've debunked in a followup article:


With all due respect, saying: "The GAPS diet helped my UC and hence McBride's claims must be given credit" is like saying "I like dogs just like Hitler did, so Hitler's ideas are probably pretty good as well".

I have never claimed that her diet is an unhealthy one. On the contrary - her diet makes sense and I'd recommend it to anyone currently eating an average carb-rich diet.

Of course, even though she tries to muddy the waters, her diet is nothing special. It's the plain-old "limit your carbs" advice. Not something to get rich from. For that, outrageous claims have to be made, such as the ability to cure autism. I am autistic and take her nonsense personally. On top of being autistic, I also have Lyme disease, and I take offense to her claim that Lyme infection can be cured with her dietary advice and that it's "over-diagnosed". This person is either a dangerous loon or a cynical scammer.

I'm saying that Natasha Campbell-McBride is a cynical scammer, a sociopathic "make money online" conwoman, claiming you will get cured of whatever ails you when you buy her book, go to her seminar, take her supplements. She lies and deceives ill people and takes their money. Either that, or she's extraordinarily stupid as well as ignorant.

I do not believe the latter, since she's built a small empire, plus she has a medical degree.

McBride lives in the UK and UK libel laws are perhaps the harshest in the world. She has plenty of money to sue me, a resident of Europe. I'm looking forward to the lawsuit. European law is such that I will be obliged to abide by a ruling in my disfavor and if I don't, I can be extradited without question or delay from any EU country as well as Switzerland, Norway and others that signed the EU association agreement. She has no leg to stand on, because what I wrote is the truth.

6.  TelePete    Monday, November 16, 2015

Sarah, I am puzzled. How can you write such a good, insightful and well researched article like "Bread Our Daily Poison", and then write this article about the GAPS diet that is completely wrong? Were they both written by you? Open your mind and look deeper! Please.

7.  Sarah Vaughter    Monday, November 16, 2015

Can you tell me WHAT is wrong in my article and in my "deeper looking" article here: // where I debunk 63 of her claims? Because I will of course immediately rectify any journalistic, logical or scientific errors that I made. It would be helpful if instead of saying that my approx. one hundred arguments are "wrong" and that I need to "look deeper", that you could actually point out an actual error (and provide counter-arguments that thoroughly disprove my own arguments, thank you very much).

8.  credence lucious    Saturday, May 7, 2016

you said "She advises against non-organic butter due to its alleged harmful levels of pesticides and antibiotics (I disagree with both)." How can you disagree that animals fed mostly gmo pesticide laden food and given antibiotics,steroids, hormones is not contaminated by these things and imply that organic butter made from cows fed organic feed or natural grass without the other things is not better. I don't eat dairy but I think it is careless to assume what the animal eats does not end up in the food and until you can prove what levels are in conventional butter and at what levels these substances damage the body in short and long term exposure your statement seems unfounded and misleading.

9.  Sarah Vaughter    Saturday, May 7, 2016

In science, the onus of supplying the evidence is on the one making the claim. In this case, the originator of the GAPS scam claims that non-organic butter is laden with antibiotics, which I happen to know is not the case - from scientific studies and my own scientific understanding. The residual levels of antibiotics are not biologically active, so they are negligable. That is the basis of my disagreement, in spite of the unsubstantiated anti-antibiotics hype. I speak as someone who made the study of antibiotics a special interest, because as a chronic neuroborreliosis patient I have depended on them for my survival for the past 16 years. The GAPS-scammer offers no evidence whatsoever for her claim. Anyone can claim anything - the burden of proof is on those who make the claims always. A negative can't be proven - she made a positive claim and all I ask for is evidence, which is the proper scientific response in this case.

Pesticides are also over-hyped and the trace amounts of these substances (which have even in high concentrations little to no effect on mammals) have no biological effect. I also am an expert on pesticides, since I've consumed large amounts of them (Azoxystrobin, Lufenuron and Diflubenzuron by the spoonful, in yogurt) without the slightest negative effects on my liver values etc. If you are not an expert on these matters, you have no reliable way of recognizing disinformation because it all sounds logical. Besides - I pointed out nearly seventy outrageous claims - you deliberately focus on a triviality, in the hope to discredit my exposure of her scam and her hundreds of absurd claims.

10.  Anna Presswell    Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thank you for this piece. I am VERY new to all these concepts in trying to research my own situation. I have type 1 diabetes, and have recently been diagnosed with Graves' Disease along with having 4 lots of trigger finger, two lots of wrist tendonitis, capsulitis in my foot, frozen shoulder and chronic tiredness (all at once). I also had two previous carpal tunnel ops. I just keep being told 'your diabetes makes you more susceptible', which is struggle to accept given that I am very well controlled and during pregnancy was described as 'the perfect patient'. I had been exploring gluten intolerance and had recently come across the GAPS protocol and honestly, having read all the pro-GAPs websites, had started to consider it. This is a very well written piece which appeared unbiased (although definitely against it) and made more sense to me. Not for a minute did I consider that autism could be cured, or that vaccines cause autism (!!) but I did wonder about joint inflammation and inflammation on the immune system. I think I will keep looking at gluten free, but will give this ridiculously difficult diet a miss.

11.  Thomas Jones    Thursday, September 1, 2016

Getting good results? She claims to have cured Autism, and you claim she is getting good results?

12.  Irene    Saturday, October 22, 2016

As far as I can tell, she has never published any peer reviewed research to support her claims.

I don't want to have a closed mind but I do want some proper rigor and defensible arguments from those making such immense claims.

She may have qualifications from the USSR, but as she stated herself, she is not licenced to practise medicine in the UK. I can't see anywhere that she has expertise in understanding or working in paediatric neurology, yet she makes claims for Autism Spectrum disorders and the danger of vaccines for children and babies.

Actually, I ponder on why someone who claims to be a neurosurgeon/neurologist would fail to register to practise as such in the UK? Normally one would expect that a Dr of such standing would register to practise and then provide additional services as a nutritionalist.

Other than information relating to the GAPS diet (which seems to be built on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Elaine Gottschall ), why can I not find any information relating to her stated period as a qualifying and then practising neurosurgeon/neurologist in the USSR? Her own web page seems very carefully worded in that regard. Not even on Wikipedia.............I wonder why that is?

13.  lactoferment    Monday, December 19, 2016

Sorry I'm a little late to the game.

I'm curious, do you take any responsibility for the ads shown on your site? Have you taken a look at them recently? Things like

"a double lifespan for rats given Buckminsterfullerene C60"


"This man is 73 years old! Dermaneedling pioneer Dr. Desmond (Des) Fernandes dermarolled his own face more than 50 times. The result: Skin that looks decades younger than his age, in spite of the South African sun."

I understand if you claim to have no control over these ads. But they definitely detract from your credibility when you attack Dr. NC-M for selling the products and services that she sells...

14.  Sarah Vaughter    Monday, December 19, 2016


The big difference between her products and our products is that we have a respected scientific study to PROVE the claim that C60-EVOO doubles lifespan in rats, and that we have Dr. Fernandes' own word and highly respected professional reputation as the INVENTOR of the dermaroller and a highly successful plastic surgeon that he indeed achieved these results with dermaneedling.

Whereas The GAPS diets is a proven scam, proven by the fact that countless dozens of her claims are provenly false, many of them I debunked here. They are not just provenly false, she also has no proof for them. The GAPS scam is not merely a money-making scam, it is a very HARMFUL scam, since it claims to be able to cure deadly diseases such as AIDS by just following their diet plan and purchasing her products.

15.  Aaron M.    Saturday, November 4, 2017

Most excellent write-up and debunking of this fruitcake!

16.  Sarah Vaughter    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The GAPS scam enterprise makes Russian scammer McBride and her Internet Marketing expert husband so much money that now they scan the Web for mention of "GAPS" and illegally (and with a commercial goal) auto-spam people! This is what I received yesterday and you can see that they robo-mail anyone mentioning GAPS, since my article was scathingly critical:

Dear Sarah,

I was searching the web for information on the GAPS diet and saw your great post here: //

I noticed you mentioned in your post, and just wanted to give you a heads up that I recently wrote a blog post you might like. It’s a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on 7 health benefits of the GAPS diet according to science, and includes 8 delicious recipes.

If this is something you’d be interested in, here is the link to the blog post:

This is completely free and if you like it, all I ask is for you to link to or share the article on your site. In return, would love to share your post with my followers and newsletter subscribers (currently 50k+).

Either way, keep up the great work!


Unsubscribe | P.O. Box 135, Whitianga 3510, New Zealand

17.  Sarah Vaughter    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

And did you notice that this "blogger" was not only paid to SPAM anyone mentioning GAPS online, but also paid by these GAPS gangsters to write fake positive reviews on GAPS?

No wonder people believe in this crap.

18.  MrsMoriarty    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Okay first, let me be very clear: Not only am I aware of how objectively correct you are (none of this is a matter of opinion, nor should it be), I also greatly appreciate the hard work you do in order to provide a solid dose of critical, scientific thinking and insert it into the conversation. You've done a great job and in my opinion, a meritorious service so nothing but big, big respect here.

I do have one small request, and I hope you won't take it as a criticism - I would greatly appreciate if you'd make a small edit to the following:

"It will make stupid people intelligent, she claims. 'Highly successful in treating patients with learning disabilities.'"

You're obviously quite intelligent yourself and it's clear you know what you're talking about (and you also know when you don't know, which is when you know you need to get more info). Thus, I'm going to assume you're aware that while intellect and learning disability are related variables, their relationship is not such that presence of learning disability predicts or even suggests intellectual deficit. Rather, a learning disability is present when a gap exists between objective academic function/performance and that which would be predicted/expected based upon the same person's IQ. In order to be diagnosed with learning disability, one has to be more intelligent than they're able to *demonstrate.* So learning disability can feel the same as stupid and look the same as stupid but it's not only *not* the same as stupid, it's somewhat the opposite.

The way you've worded the section above sound very much as if you're drawing a parallel between being a stupid person and having a learning disability. I recognize you may not intend to say that, but it does read as such. As an intelligent person (a scientist, even!) who has struggled with learning disability at every point in my education and elsewhere in my life, I would very much appreciate if you made a slight adjustment to the words above so that those who find your writing credible and trustworthy don't come away with an erroneous and hurtful belief.

Once again, thank you so much for taking up this cause and fighting the good fight against pseudo-scientific "cure all" fads.

19.  Sarah Vaughter    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I knew that someone would complain about this, because you underestimate me - I am very well aware of what is politically correct and what is not. I wrote exactly what I meant because the term learning disabilities is the current politically correct euphemism for being stupid. The fact that a few intelligent people have learning disabilities does not compel me to use politically correct, but factually incorrect speech just so that I will be safe from the SJW brigade or from those precious few clever folks with trouble spelling or subtracting. I am one of those people myself.

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