Glutimate Aspartate Restricted Diet (GARD)

Glutimate Aspartate Restricted Diet

Glutamate Aspartate Restricted Diet (GARD)

Developed by a veterinarian, DogtorJ, who treated cases of Canine epilepsy successfully with the diet.

According to DogtorJ:
The G.A.R.D. originally stood for the "glutamate-aspartate restricted diet" after its limitation of these two non-essential, neurostimulating amino acids that are also the parent compounds of MSG and aspartame (Nutrisweet) respectively. They are now termed "excitotoxins" and known triggers of seizures and inciters of some neurodegenerative diseases. However, the G.A.R.D. also stands for the "gut absorption recovery diet" due to its removal of the "big 4" foods (gluten, dairy, soy and corn), which are all capable of inducing the damage to the intestinal villi that characterizes celiac disease and the related food intolerances.

The GARD is an elimination diet. It specifies foods (and food products/ingredients) that should be avoided:

  • gluten - commonly derived from wheat and grains
  • casein - protein found in cow milk (and most dairy products)
  • soy
  • corn - including corn syrup and corn derivative products
  • MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) - this a very common food ingredient in processed foods even though it is rarely clearly labeled as such
  • aspartame - commonly used as a sugar substitute
  • glutamate - found in high concentrations in most beans/legumes
  • hydrogenated oils


There aren't any published medical/clinical studies for the GARD diet that I can find. There is anecdotal evidence from first person reports in internet forums from people who tried the diet and claim it helped them with seizure control.

DogtorJ claims to have positive testimonials from people he assisted with advice on the diet. He also often claims a 100% success rate. However, Stacy tried the GARD diet for two and a half months and had poor results.

It scores a zero for the chart until some large scale study on it is published.

Potential Adverse Events

There are no published studies addressing the long term safety of the GARD diet, so it gets a zero for the chart.


For the cost of a little research, you can pretty much try this diet on you own with just a little supervision from your doctors. I rated it a 10 for the chart because there isn't any real additional cost associated with trying the diet.


This is a diet that likely needs to be adopted as a permanent lifestyle change. It requires continuous active participation to maintain seizure control (assuming it works).


Seizure control could start occurring within days to weeks of starting the diet.

Special Notes

This diet is the only "seizure control" diet that does not restrict carbohydrate consumption. In fact, it recommends potatoes (high glycemic and loaded with carbohydrates) as a staple food. Anyone who has a sensitivity to dietary sugars should consult with their doctors before/while trying the GARD.

Anyone diagnosed with MTLE (Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) and atrophy of the hippocampus should strongly consider trying this diet (or a variant which eliminates dietary glutamate). See Human Herpesvirus-6B with Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy for more information.

This page last modified September 9, 2019.

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