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Specific Carbohydrate Diet



The SCD is based on the theory that IBD is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria lining the digestive tract, and that undigested carbohydrates feed these bacteria. The diet aims to a) starve out the bacteria by only allowing easily digested foods to be eaten and b) repopulate the intestines with ‘good’ bacteria.

The early stages of the diet are very strict, allowing only a limited number of foods (mostly proteins) to be eaten. This is designed to clear the system out before the main diet begins.

The next stage of the diet, foods with simple sugars (those which cannot be digested further) can be eaten. This is because simple sugars can be absorbed directly through the wall of the small intestine, thus there is no unabsorbed carbohydrates to feed the bacteria. As well as this, homemade yoghurt must be consumed to begin repopulating the intestines with beneficial bacteria. The yoghurt must be homemade as a)commercial yoghurt does not have the same number of live bacteria, and b)commercial yoghurt contains lactose (which is a complex sugar and not allowed), whereas the SCD yoghurt is fermented for longer, breaking down the lactose.

The only carbohydrates that can be consumed on this diet are the sugars found naturally in honey, fruit, SCD yoghurt, and allowed vegetables and nuts. All other sugary foods are banned, as are starchy foods. Most processed foods are banned, due to additives. The diet is therefore based on fresh meat, fish and vegetables, and bears some resemblance to the Paleolithic diet.

Once all symptoms are gone, some fibrous vegetables and correctly prepared pulses can be slowly added into the diet, provided they are well tolerated.


Antibiotics such as Flaygl can be used for the treatment of IBD. They work by killing bacteria in the intestines, which can lead to an immune response in patients with IBD. The SCD aims to eliminate these bacteria naturally, and at the same time reintroduce benefical bacteria.

There are many anecdotal stories, and a few published case studies, of patients who have achieved remission by following the diet.


It is important that, especially in the early stages, you adhere 100% to the diet, as the consumption of any illegal foods can allow bacteria to repopulate. The early stages are the hardest, as symptoms may occur from the bacterial die off, the diet is stricter, and it takes time to get used to the recipes. It is recommended to make large quantities of SCD legal snacks, and freeze, as it works out cheaper to buy specialist ingredients in bulk, and means that you will always have a supply ready, and you are not tempted to cheat.

Like any form of treatment, some people report complete remission from following the diet, others have limited success, while others have no success even when following the diet to the letter. Some people find that the diet does not agree with them, due to too many of the legal foods being intolerable because of the IBD, or because of the time and effort required. People who are underweight may find it a struggle to gain weight on SCD, as carbohydrates are a main source of calorie intake.

To date, there have been no randomised, controlled clinical trials of the diet.

External Links

For more information, and to help decide if SCD is right for you visit the following:

The CCFA’s take on the SCD


Remember to consult your doctor before embarking on any sort of treatment or major dietary changes.

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07-08-2014, 11:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
On my way to pick up the book mentioned in the above... excited to learn more.
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