WHAT IS THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET?
SCD is the autism diet that is in accord with the latest scientific findings. Research confirms that gut pathogens (the microorganisms in the gut) cause digestive and brain problems. This research has established that gut pathogens can damage the GI tract and impair the brain function of autistic children. It attests that harmful gut pathogens survive because they feed and thrive on carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. When SCD eliminates the pathogens' favorite carbohydrates, it starves them out. They can no longer live and continue destroying our children's guts and brains.
What is the success rate for the SCD?The DAN (Defeat Autism Now) clinics that are very supportive of SCD report almost 100% success! This is an astonishingly high rate of success. Dr Sidney Baker who was one of the founders of the DAN movement wrote the following about SCD: "No other among the dozens of biomedical therapies I have suggested or witnessed has met with such consistent success. None out of more than two dozen patients, have elected to abandon the treatment for good." Pam Ferro is a nurse who runs a DAN clinic for autism in Massachusetts. Pam reports she too is having a nearly 100% success rate among the young patients she monitors on SCD. The doctors and nurses who run similar clinics give a lot of knowledgeable SCD counseling to the parents and stress strict compliance. The degree of success is lower in the clinics where doctors have not yet learned a lot about SCD or advocate some protocols that oppose those of SCD.
at first, it is easy to make mistakes with SCD, it is also easy
to make corrections. Parents who attempt to do SCD without help
or do not read the book and
use the websites carefully tend to make errors.
Subscribing to the free Pecanbread list for prompt guidance
plays an important
role in succeeding. This latest new edition of the Pecanbread
has been carefully formulated to help parents avoid the most
made on SCD. No parent should give up on SCD without seeking the
of an SCD counselor. Ideally, parents having difficulties should
from an SCD counselor once a month.
The SCD diet excludes and removes ALL starches and complex sugars. This removal helps kill major yeast and bacterial overgrowth. Malabsorption decreases, rebalancing gut flora and encouraging healing. Feeding SCD yogurt or probiotics repopulates the gut with "good bugs" that keep yeast and bad bacteria in check. Digestion normalizes. Behavior, cognitive and language development begin to improve. We have seen how well it works for many, many children.
When the diseased intestines are inflamed by the effects of *dysbiosis, they cannot break down molecules that are too large to be transported across the small intestinal surface into the bloodstream. Instead of entering the bloodstream, undigested starch and sugar molecules serve as a continual source of food for bacteria and fungus. The mission of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is removal of all sources of those carbohydrates with a molecular structure that is too large for entry into the bloodstream.
Removal of starches and complex sugars corrects dysbiosis and is followed by a decrease in intestinal inflammation so the gastrointestinal tract can heal.
The SCD priority is to deal with the CAUSE of the gluten and casein intolerance rather than just treating the symptoms. SCD looks at things from an advanced scientific perspective and takes things a step further than some other diets because SCD deals with the structure of the gut wall first, not just the gluten and dairy culprits.
When the gut wall is severely damaged, instead of just patching up and supplementing piecemeal, SCD works to repair the underlying damage, It targets what the body is ABLE to digest. It is selective about the food and its components and where and how that food gets digested. Major problems are attributed to carbohydrates in combination with pathogenic bacteria, yeast and parasites. And current scientific findings support this conclusion. Research by Horvath (University of Maryland) and Buie (Harvard) uncovered carbohydrate malabsorption in ASD children; the work of Shaw reports gut microorganisms are the culprit in ASD *dysbiosis - an imbalance and its symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract of chronic nature.
Why SCD Goes Beyond The GF/CF Diet
GF/CF means "no gluten and no dairy." SCD is not only completely gluten free, it is also starch free. GF/CF allows several starchy foods which Elaine Gottschall has said are as harmful as gluten. Many parents who follow the GF/CF diet mention problems with corn, rice, buckwheat and soy and decide to exclude them. They are not allowed at all on SCD.
SCD legal dairy products made from goat milk are the preferred dairy choice for ASD children who have previously been CF, because problems with casein are most often linked to cow dairy. The twenty four to twenty-nine hour fermentation/incubation period required for making SCD yogurt renders the casein harmless. The casein in SCD goat yogurt is more digestible because the fermentation process helps to denature the casein molecules. Use of goat dairy yogurt and other approved dairy products like cheeses listed in BTVC made with cow milk are optional.
IMPORTANT: Pro-biotic supplements are essential for those who remain completely dairy free while on the diet.
Dr. Haas, the doctor who pioneered SCD, spent years investigating which foods celiacs could tolerate. (SCD was originally developed as a diet for celiac disease and has always been gluten-free). Haas found people with celiac disease could tolerate lactose free dairy. This is why the specified dairy products, yogurt, home incubated for twenty-four to twenty-nine hours and designated properly aged cheeses ( a minimum of thirty days) are allowed on this diet.
We are challenged daily by parents who are implementing SCD for their ASD children and are extremely reluctant to try any dairy, even lactose free SCD dairy. Yet, those who were formerly on the GF/CF diet can and do reconcile the differences when making the transition between the two diets. Their children are absolutely able to remain strictly gluten and casein free and still follow the SCD diet. The children will still receive a well-balanced diet packed with the essential nutrients.
Let there be no mistake! Since SCD parents started networking with each other, more hesitant parents are trying the goat yogurt and getting positive results. What does happen to those who decide to give their child the SCD goat yogurt? Many are surprised by their child's dramatic improvement.
Yogurt is a remarkable healing food. Trying yogurt is not risky. Gluten can stay in the body for eight months. The denatured casein in our yogurt remains there less than ten days. Also, we are very careful to recommend beginning with an extremely small amount, one eighth of a teaspoon. Again, remember that yogurt and other approved dairy is not mandatory; the decision to try yogurt and/or cheese belongs to parents.
What Can I Do if I Cannot Decide between GAPS and SCD?
Enhanced SCD combines the best from GAPS and SCD.
Are There Carbohydrates On This Diet?
SCD is about the type of carbohydrates that will heal and not hurt. It is not about the quantity of carbohydrates and should not be confused with "low carb diets" or even the Paleo or "Caveman" diets to which it is sometimes compared. Elaine Gottschall was emphatic in stressing that SCD is a balanced and wholesome diet.
Thinking of SCD as a low carb diet is one of the most common mistakes made by those who are not sufficiently informed. Eliminating carbohydrates can lead to a condition called "ketosis" which is why it is essential to include adequate carbohydrates in the daily menu. Carbohydrates contribute energy, essential nutrients, and fiber. People who have validated concerns about yeast may moderate the use of fruit and honey until things improve but should not have to eliminate them.
Rest assured! You may include plenty of carbohydrates on SCD. Former choices of starchy foods like rice and potato are replaced with filling items like squash, bananas, peas, apples (and applesauce), avocados, almond flour muffins and others. These are carbohydrates that are easier to digest and more nutritious. Their nutrients are absorbed directly into the bloodstream without taxing a compromised digestive system.
That is why the word "SPECIFIC" was chosen to name SCD.
Dairy Free Recipes
You can order an SCD cookbook with many recipes that are dairy free from the source below. Only about twelve of the over one hundred and fifty recipes include dairy. Note also, SCD guidelines advise waiting at least three months before eating bean products. A few of the recipes in this book call for bean flour. Elaine eventually determined bean flour is very difficult to digest. Please make sure to use nut flour instead of bean flour. Kids love things from this book. Our founder was inspired to refer to it often and thrilled when her daughter praised the recipes.
SCD WITH TASTE AND TRADITION
There are also dairy free SCD recipes right here in the recipe section of our website.
Can I just give probiotics instead of doing SCD?
This would be a serious error! Using probiotics without altering diet sets the stage for bacterial overgrowth and intestinal dysbiosis. Since probiotics usually contain bacteria that ferment carbohydrates, we must limit their numbers in order for them to have desirable effects. We can't give fuel that fosters overgrowth. Some of the pathological types have already done that.
Isn't rice a super-food?
There are two main reasons why children with weak digestive systems or ASD should avoid rice:
Rice is a grain. It contains anti-nutrients, the part of a grain's seed system for preserving the ability to sprout until conditions are right. Anti-nutrients in whole grains contain irritating tannins and complex sugars which the body cannot break down. Enzyme inhibitors which affect digestion and put stress on the pancreas are also present. A weak digestive system is unable to properly process complex sugars like those found in rice and cannot utilize them. The unused carbohydrates become food and fuel for intestinal pathogens. These pathogens take control, poison the intestinal tract and blood stream, damage the gut wall, and impair brain and nervous system function.
There is an another negative factor. Genetically engineered rice fortified with iron is now being produced.
Reports show that too much iron is as much of a danger as other toxic metals for ASD children (and all people except pregnant women and anemics.) There is a Yahoo group providing scientific discussions about ASD and the danger of excessive iron:
What is the relationship between PST, Feingold, Salicylates, and SCD?
A damaged digestive system sets the stage for allergies and problems
with the *PST pathway. When the gut heals, these problems often resolve
and the child is able to eat foods that he previously was unable to
Pesticide sprays have been known to cause severe problems. Organic produce is not an SCD requirement. However, buying organic produce is always the better option.
Why is it important to do SCD while chelating?
Healing the GI tract and getting rid of the intestinal pathogens restores and enhances the body's ability to detoxify naturally. Chelating is important as a supportive measure. SCD is the ideal diet to implement before attempting chelation, since SCD heals Leaky Gut Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Those conditions are present in most ASD children and are counterproductive to the detoxification process. If the two conditions exist in a leaky gut during chelation, the toxic metals are able to re-enter the blood stream and other bodily systems. The irritation level of an already inflamed bowel is only worsened by the presence of toxic metals. Once heavy metals become mobilized during chelation detox, they can linger in the bowel for anywhere from six to twenty-four hours (or sometimes longer) before evacuation takes place. The bowel of a healthy person may not be as prone to free radical damage, but the damaged bowel of the toxic patient is a vulnerable area demanding added concern and monitoring. IMPORTANT NOTE: The use of Vitamin C will quicken the evacuation of the toxic heavy metals from the body.
The decision to chelate rests with parents. Some will choose not to chelate and prefer to follow the slow, steady, strengthening path of SCD, using the above mentioned Vitamin C for a more gentle detoxification process.