The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) was originally used by Dr. Sidney V. Haas in 1924 to treat patients with celiac disease. It was later brought back by biochemist Elaine Gottschall, who used the diet to heal her daughter from debilitating ulcerative colitis and wrote the book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” The book outlines the diet and has been used to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea, and autism.
The SCD is a diet based on the chemical structure of carbohydrates. The allowed carbohydrates on the diet are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that is easily absorbed by the intestines. Complex carbohydrates that are disaccharides (double molecules) and polysaccharides (chain molecules) that are more difficult to absorb are not allowed because complex carbohydrates not assimilated are left behind and become food for bad bacteria in the digestive tract. These bad bacteria overgrow, causing damage and inflammation in the intestines. The goal of the diet is to starve these bad bacteria by taking away their food source and restoring bacterial balance in the gut.
The foods not allowed on the diet include grains, starches and starchy vegetables, most dairy and sugars, and processed, refined and packaged foods. For a complete list of permitted and forbidden foods click here. Recipes that are SCD safe will be labeled with the icon below.