What is the SCD diet?
The specific carbohydrate diet or SCD is one that restricts certain carbohydrates from the diet in order to help those with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis, celiac disease as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was initially developed by Dr. Sydney Valentine Haas in order to help manage Celiac Disease. This diet was popularized in the 1980’s by Dr. Elaine Gottschall book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”. The theory is that by restricting certain types of carbohydrates, the overgrowth of bacteria and yeasts that cause issues in the gi tract will be controlled and corrected.
The SCD diet restricts carbohydrates containing disaccharides and most polysaccharides, yet allows monosaccharides. On this diet, grains, lactose and sucrose are limited as these may be harder to digest for those with digestive disorders.
Who is the SCD diet for?
Recent studies have shown that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet may be an option for those suffering from Chron’s, ulcerative colitis, SIBO and even irritable bowel syndrome. This therapeutic diet may help decrease inflammation and improve symptom relief.
How long should I follow the SCD diet?
Similarly to the low-FODMAP diet, the SCD diet should be used therapeutically and not followed long-term. In order to judge its efficacy, the SCD diet should be continued for 4 to 6 weeks, then reassessed by a healthcare provider. After this period, foods that were restricted can now be reintroduced.
What foods can I eat on the SCD diet?
Meats and proteins: eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, wild game, lamb, bacon.
Vegetables: asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkin, spinach, squash, string beans, tomatoes and watercress.
Fruit: apples, avocados, bananas (ripe with black spots), berries of all kinds, coconut, dates, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi fruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, prunes, raisins, rhubarb, tangerines.
Dairy: SCD yogurt, natural 30-day aged cow and goat cheeses (not Kraft), butter, ghee, and dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC).
Nuts: almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts.
Legumes: peanuts, white beans, navy beans, lentils, split peas, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans.
Spices: most non-mixed spices are allowed, screen for anti-caking agents, and make sure the ingredients are listed.
Drinks: weak tea or coffee, water, mineral water, club soda, dry wine, gin, rye, Scotch, bourbon, vodka.
What foods should I avoid on the SCD diet?
Grains: wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, bulgur, spelt, quinoa.
Meats: ham, processed sausages, lunch meats, bratwurst, turkey dogs, hot dogs.
Vegetables: canned vegetables are not allowed due to the usual addition of sugars, processing aids, and preservative chemicals.
Fruits: canned fruits and most fruit juices are not allowed due to the common addition of sweeteners, preservatives, and processing aids.
Legumes: soybeans, chickpeas, bean sprouts, mung beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans.
Dairy: commercial yogurts, milk of any kind, unnatural cheeses (Kraft and most other mainstream shredded cheeses fall into this group), all of the following cheeses: cottage, cream, feta, mozzarella, neufchatel, primost, ricotta, processed cheese spreads.
Starches: including potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, arrowroot, parsnip, cornstarch, tapioca starch.
Spices: curry powders, most onion and garlic powders are filled with anti-caking agents.
Drinks: instant coffee, most commercial juices, milk, soda pop, sweet wines, flavored liqueurs, brandy, sherry.
Sweeteners: sugar of any kind (cane, coconut, table, etc), agave syrup, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners.
SCD Meal Plan
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be difficult to adhere to without the help of a qualified nutrition practitioner. That’s why I created a 21 day meal plan containing over 40 SCD safe recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time.
And if you feel like you need personalized help, get in touch with me.