How IBS Sufferers Benefit from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is a diet for Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS, and other intestinal conditions developed by Elaine Gottschall. The premise underlying the SCD is that certain bacteria (the ones that produce disease) and yeast overgrow to such an extent that they spread their byproducts, which become toxins in the intestines that cause irritation and are absorbed in the blood stream, disrupting the immune system.
The overgrowth also interferes with the natural balance of good bacteria in the intestines, and masses of yeast and bacteria cause abnormal food fermentation. The foods these bad guys most often go after are double sugars (fructose, sucrose, and lactose) as well as carbohydrates in grains and some starchy vegetables.
SCD belief maintains that yeast alone or bacteria alone don’t cause bowel symptoms. Rather, bacteria and yeast are partners in crime, living together in groups and helping each other survive. In fact, research shows that a bacterial toxin called LPS transforms yeast into a harmful pathogen.
The SCD does not completely omit any one food group and consists of most vegetables, nuts, some fruit, lactose-free dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. The diet relies on nut meal rather than flour to make bread and cookies. Though the SCD may appear to be restrictive, you may be amazed at how healthy and tasty some SCD-friendly recipes are.
In the vast clinical experience of Dr. Ronald Hoffman, he has found that patients with IBD often note significant improvement in their symptoms within three weeks of starting the Gottschall diet. By twelve weeks, the majority are recovering definitively.
Although the SCD tends to focus more on helping folks with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) than it does those with IBS, we still want to do our small part to introduce the IBS community to the potential benefits of an SCD program.