Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is the trademarked name of a highly restrictive diet, created by Dr. Sidney V. Haas and popularized by biochemist and author Elaine Gottschall, which limits the use of complex carbohydrates (disaccharides and polysaccharides) and eliminates refined sugar, all grains and starch.
The diet has not been shown to be effective by scientific studies and may pose a health risk.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is promoted through the use of testimonials. It is claimed to be a way of reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease and autism. Elaine Gottschall said that, due to damage to the microvili in the body, these microvili lack the ability to break down specific types of carbohydrates (i.e., disaccharides and polysaccharides), resulting in dysbiosis, the overgrowth of harmful bacterial flora.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has published The Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Does It Work?, in which several doctors say that there have been no clinical trials to prove or disprove efficacy, so no conclusions can yet be drawn about the diet.Edward V. Loftus, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and member of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, said, "We're not ruling out the possibility that it works, but you need more than a few successes to establish proof. In the absence of that, it's hard to recommend this or any diet."
According to WebMD the diet has not been proved by scientific evidence, and may pose a health risk because of its low nutritional quality; anybody thinking of taking the diet should consult their doctor first.
- Gottschall, E (1994). Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet (Revised ed.). Kirkton Press. ISBN 0-9692768-1-8.
- Zelman, Kathleen M. "Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Diet Review". WebMD. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "The Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Does It Work?". Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Brown, Amy C; Rampertab, S Devi; Mullin, Gerard E (2011). "Existing dietary guidelines for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis". Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 5 (3): 411. doi:10.1586/egh.11.29.
- Hall, Sarah E.; Riccio, Cynthia A. (2012). "Complementary and alternative treatment use for autism spectrum disorders". Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 18 (3): 159–63. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.03.004. PMID 22789791.