By: Nikki Nies
It’s interesting how much one’s friends influence you. I applaud my one friend, she has dealt with Celiac disease quite gracefully. She seems to have adapted well over time, however, after learning in addition to having celiac disease, she has developed hiatal hernia and mild gastritis she is currently following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. When she mentioned this diet, I had never heard of it. I thought I was up to date on diets, but it was news to me.
She tried explaining an overview of the diet, but it was too much information for me to grasp at the time. I’m surprised I haven’t been exposed to this diet as I’m currently taking medical nutrition therapy and I just had an exam on bowel disease. Have no fear, if you hadn’t heard of this diet as well, I’m going to provide the ins and outs of it for you.
Created by Elaine Gottschall, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) has effectively helped many with Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, cystic fibrosis and as a treatment for autism. It is warned that one’s color of stool may change as a die off of bacterial overgrowth.
The basic premise:
“no food should be ingested that contains carbohydrates other than those found in fruits, honey, properly prepared yogurt and those vegetables and nuts listed”
The diet is dependent on fermented yogurt and/or acidophilus supplements to produce healthy intestinal flora. It is hoped with “good” healthy intestinal flora the bad will be weeded out.
|Allowed||Should be Avoided||Limited Amounts|
|Monosaccharides—fruits, honey, vegetables and fermented yogurt||Starches—potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes||Legumes after 3 months of diet **|
|Almond Flour||Disaccharides and polysacharides*|
|Poultry—chicken, beef, bacon, lamb, turkey||Refined and processed sugars—agave syrup, artificial sweeteners|
|Spices—non||Processed meats—sausage, lunch meat, hot dogs, bratwurst, ham|
|Fish including shellfish||All grains—wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, triticale, bulgur, spelt|
|Unprocessed meats||Canned vegetables|
|Nuts—almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts,||All milk and lactose containing cheese|
|Weak tea or coffee||Bread|
|Dry wine–gin, rye, scotch, bourbon, vodka||Pasta|
|No curry, onion or garlic powder|
|Sweet wine, brandy, sherry, flavored liqueurs|
*lactose, sucrose, maltose and isolmaltose
**i.e. dried beans, lentils and split peas
This list may seem daunting, but it provides one a complete list of what one can eat. Yes, one might have to become more creative when cooking, but cooking is an art in itself.
So, why are the recommended carbohydrates selected? It is because the recommended carbohydrates have limited digestive processes, since they do not contain complicated structures and are well absorbed into the body’s system. Dissacharides and polysaccharides must be broken down to monosaccharides before they can be absorbed.
Since many ingredients can be listed with multiple name, an avid nutrition label reader can be tripped up with ingredients. To eliminate any doubt of what’s consumed, it is highly recommended to ONLY eat what is listed in Chapter 9 of the book and/or as Legal on the Legal/Illegal List.
I have not bought the book yet, however, I have read as much as I can online about this diet. It has been seen that strict following of this diet has positive effects, bringing one’s intestinal flora back in balance, healing one’s digestive tract and restoring proper absorption.
One critic, Dr. Arthur Heller, a gastroenterologist points out that fruits are high in fructose, which is allowed in the diet. It has been seen that consumption of fructose can cause cramps and diarrhea, symptoms that are originally hoped to be avoided. Many might not be familiar with this diet and more research will definitely be required to produce a definitive stance on this diet.
In addition to adhering to a comprehensive diet, it is highly recommended to not only list one’s daily food patterns, but symptoms of that day. It will be very easy to track when adverse effects began and for one to see a correlation between food and certain reactions.
The official website for the diet strongly urges one to book their book “Breaking the Viscous Cycle”, which can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and/or Lucys Kitchen Soup online with additional information.