Specific carbohydrate diet

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Specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) is a restrictive diet created by Sidney V. Haas (1870–1964) and later popularized by Elaine Gottschall, the mother of one of Haas's patients.[1] The diet is claimed to treat inflammatory bowel disease and various other gastrointestinal and systemic diseases. However, scientific evidence of the diet's effectiveness is lacking, and the diet may pose a health risk due to reduced nutritional quality.[2]


The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was developed by Sidney V. Haas (1870–1964) as a treatment for celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease, and described in his medical textbook The Management of Celiac Disease.[3] The diet was later popularized by biochemist Elaine Gottschall, M.Sc., the mother of one of Haas's patients, whose 1987 book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet outlines the diet and provides guidelines and recipes.[4]

Details and effectiveness[edit]

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet limits the use of complex carbohydrates (disaccharides and polysaccharides). Monosaccharides are allowed, and various foods including fish, aged cheese and honey are included. Prohibited foods include cereal grains, potatoes and lactose-containing dairy products.[1]

The diet is described in Gottschall's 1987 lay book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet and in supporting websites, in which it is claimed to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea and autism.[1] Support for the diet's effectiveness comes only from users' testimonials.[2] In general taking the diet confers no proven health benefit while risking imposition of an undue financial burden and potentially causing malnutrition.[2] The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America say that "there is no evidence to suggest that any particular food or diet causes, prevents or cures inflammatory bowel disease" and that there have been only limited studies of the SCD in relation to Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Brown AC, Roy M (2010). "Does evidence exist to include dietary therapy in the treatment of Crohn's disease?". Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 4 (2): 191–215. doi:10.1586/egh.10.11. 
  2. ^ a b c Hou JK, Lee D, Lewis J (October 2014). "Diet and inflammatory bowel disease: review of patient-targeted recommendations". Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. (Review). 12 (10): 1592–600. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.09.063. PMC 4021001Freely accessible. PMID 24107394. 
  3. ^ Haas, Sidney Valentine; Haas, Merrill P. (2011). The Management of Celiac Disease. Literary Licensing. ISBN 1-258-19621-2. 
  4. ^ Gottschall, Elaine (2004). Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. Kirkton Press. 
  5. ^ "The Specific Carbohydrate Diet". Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown AC, Rampertab SD, Mullin GE (2011). "Existing dietary guidelines for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis". Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 5 (3): 411–425. doi:10.1586/egh.11.29.