The Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ (SCD™) can be an effective tool for treating IBD. It has helped countless people achieve remission and continue living symptom free for as long as they adhere to the diet. The SCD™ is generally a balanced and healthy diet, and many followers report increased energy and improved quality of life when following it.
Following the diet can be challenging. The SCD™ essentially bans the consumption of most complex carbohydrates, thereby eliminating all grains and most commercially available sweeteners, with the exception of honey, which is made up of sugars with a single molecule structure. The SCD™ also prohibits the consumption some starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, because they include complex carbohydrate molecules. However, most other foods, including fats and protein sources, are allowed on the SCD™.
As we discuss in Examining the Science, there is research supporting the use of diet to control the symptoms of IBD. The SCD™, in particular, has a basis in established science, with various studies supporting the use of elemental diets that restrict consumption to nutrients that can be easily absorbed by the body. To date, most of the studies specifically examining the effectiveness of the SCD™ on patients with IBD have been relatively small, but the results have been encouraging.
We believe that larger studies are needed to validate the efficacy of the SCD™. While many SCD™ followers swear by its effectiveness, carefully designed studies will be needed for the diet to become more widely used in the mainstream medical community. In designing these studies, researchers will have to overcome the challenges of finding sufficient funding, carefully monitoring patient compliance, and controlling for lifestyle choices which may impact disease activity. Food Rx will continue to look for opportunities to fund this research.
In summary, we recommend the SCD™ because (1) the core principles of the diet are supported by science; (2) the available studies examining the effectiveness of the diet have been encouraging; (3) there is a large community of SCD™ followers who report excellent results following the diet; and (4) the diet is a safe alternative to try before an invasive approach like surgery.
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