Powerful New Research on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (and How to Get Started)

by Lori Jo Berg

New SCD Research (apple on stack of books)

I can tell you that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet works because I’ve followed it myself. In fact, I’ve seen it work for thousands of people with all sorts of different issues.

But I also recognize that this is all just anecdotal evidence. And while anecdotal evidence (like our pages of success stories) is great, many people want more.

That’s why I’m so excited that new scientific research on the power and effectiveness of the SCD diet is being published all the time.

The research helps reiterate what we already know: the SCD diet is effective in healing the gut.

We’ve seen it help people heal from Celiac disease, put Crohn’s disease into remission and give thousands of people their lives back.

Not into reading the research?

We’ve done that part for you (and then some).

3 Latest Clinical Studies on Effectiveness of SCD Diet

1 – 2015 Case Study Provides Clinical Details on Effectiveness of SCD Diet in Decreasing IBD Symptoms and Achieving Remission

The Details: In this clinical description, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, data was collected on 50 physician-documented IBD patients, all who were following the SCD diet and in remission. The participants followed SCD for a mean (average) time of 35.4 months.

Participants had either Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s or indeterminate colitis. Forty-four subjects (88%) reported eating SCD yogurt, 33 of whom (67%) ate it daily and twenty-six subjects (52%) used a supplementary probiotic. Adherence to the diet was self-reported at a mean of 92.5%.

The Results: Out of 22 patients who weren’t taking medications, 16 had discontinued all steroids, 3 had discontinued TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) inhibitors, and 5 had discontinued Mercaptopurine and remained in remission while following SCD.

Thirty-three subjects (66%) noted complete symptom resolution, which did not occur until a mean of 9.9 months after starting the SCD diet.

The SCD diet was rated as 91.3% effective in controlling acute flare symptoms and 92.1% effective at maintaining remission (as a mean).

Why This Is Important: This study gives us a detailed look at the clinical characteristics of those who are actively following the SCD diet for a long period of time. This is the largest study of its kind and the results suggest that SCD is effective for managing IBD.

2 – After SCD Was Initiated, 2016 Pediatric Crohn’s Case Study Results in Cessation of Pharmacotherapy and Remission

The Details: In early 2017, Digestive Diseases and Sciences published work by Stanford School of Medicine researchers who reviewed the case of a 15-year-old boy diagnosed with Crohn’s after 4 months of diarrhea and pain.

Inflammatory markers in the blood were still high after oral prednisone and methotrexate treatment, as well as Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN), so doctors tested the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

The Results: After 2 months on the SCD diet, his inflammation improved and he was even able to stop his methotrexate treatment. Six months after the diet, inflammation remained in control.

Why This Is Important: This study shows the potential for the SCD diet as an alternative to medication. And for children who could face a lifetime of medication, the SCD diet may be an effective dietary intervention with little to no side effects.

3 – Clinical and Fecal Microbial Changes With Diet Therapy in Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The Details: This Dec 2016 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, looked at 12 pediatric patients diagnosed with IBD who were then put on the SCD diet for 12 weeks as the sole intervention to treat Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.

The Results: At the end of the 12 weeks, eight out of the 12 patients showed significant improvement and achieved remission from the dietary treatment alone. 2 participants showed no improvement from dietary intervention and 2 participants failed to complete the study.

Why This Is Important: This study demonstrates that dietary interventions can be effective as both the sole treatment for IBS, or in tandem with other interventions.

The head researcher of this study, Dr. David Suskind, M.D., said it best:

For decades or longer, medicine has said diet doesn’t matter, that it doesn’t impact disease. Now we know that diet does have an impact, a strong impact. It works, and now there’s evidence.

I Don’t Have an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Is the SCD Diet Right for Me?

While there are definitely some differences between IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), they have one important factor in common:

Inflammation…

Chronic inflammation to be more exact.

Those who suffer from IBDs, such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, can experience inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract – in the colon, small intestine, or the innermost tissue of the gut wall. IBS sufferers are more likely to have inflammation predominantly in the colon. Both IBD and IBS sufferers alike often experience diarrhea or constipation, gas, bloating, and general fatigue (among others).

Chronic gut inflammation is a key player in developing a leaky gut. And whether you have Crohn’s or general IBS, a leaky gut is involved in some way.

Because of this, the functional approach to treating IBD, IBS, and a leaky gut has one main goal – eradicate gut inflammation at a cellular level. This is typically achieved by changing the diet to remove inflammatory foods and populating the gut with beneficial bacteria. Tougher cases may need the support of a skilled Functional Medicine practitioner who utilizes root cause testing, like advanced blood, hormone and gut infection panels.

Your body doesn’t care what the diagnosis is nor how the inflammation got there. Whether it’s due to diet, chemical exposure, or a toxin overload, all it knows is that there’s inflammation present and it’s affecting the way the gut is supposed to work. At the end of the day, it all comes down to getting rid of inflammation in the gut, something the SCD diet does very well.

Will I Be on This Diet Forever?

I don’t blame you for letting that question creep into your mind. The truth is that no one knows how long you’ll need to follow SCD – but the following 3 variables can help you determine the answer:

  1. Your Unique Needs – We classify those with digestive issues as either “Mild” or “Tough” cases. If you’re a Tough case with multiple gut infections and adrenal fatigue, you’ll most likely need to stick closely to your “safe food zone” longer than those who had mild symptoms that cleared up relatively quickly.
  2. Stress ManagementStress, whether emotional, physical or psychological, is a silent killer. Cortisol (often referred to as the stress hormone) is directly impacted by stress causing us to both over and under-produce this critical hormone. Healthy cortisol levels are critical for keeping inflammation at bay. If you’re under chronic stress and it is impacting your cortisol production, you’ll need to adhere to the diet more strictly. This is why changing your diet is just one step toward healing – learning to manage stress can be equally as important.
  3. Your Health Goals – If your goal is to feel your absolute best every single day, you’ll most likely find yourself sticking quite closely to your customized SCD diet. Testing, tweaking, and listening to your body is the name of the game when it comes to expanding your diet. If you’re OK with that minor stomach ache you get from straying too far, that is totally up to you. Keep in mind that completely reverting back to your “old ways” will most likely lead you right back to the place you started from.

The SCD Diet Has Your Back

It’s natural to be leery of a new diet.

(I know I was when I first started.)

But over the years the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has been more and more validated by ever-growing stacks of research and anecdotal evidence… which simply cannot be ignored.

The fact that the SCD diet is supported by over 100 years of research, as well as numerous testimonials from real people gives me a lot of confidence in the diet.

Plus, these 3 new studies only continue to show us just how impactful this diet can be and for a wide range of conditions.

And starting this new journey is much easier than you might think, thanks to our Free Quick Start Guide and the step-by-step instructions of our eBook “Surviving To Thriving.”

If you or someone you know is looking for a safe and effective treatment for digestive issues (big or small), the SCD diet has your back.

In good health,

Lori Jo

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About the author

Lori Jo Berg Lori Jo’s health journey started 13 years ago as an eager Freshman about to begin her dream of playing college basketball. But the stomach aches, extreme fatigue, depression, and recurring panic attacks began to take their toll, and she was no longer able to meet the demands of a college athlete. After numerous doctor’s appointments, she was left with a pile of medications, bills, and zero answers. She decided to take matters into her own hands and slowly began to regain her health primarily through a paleo/SCD based diet and lifestyle changes. This journey has led her to work for SCD Lifestyle as one of the Customer Happiness Engineers. Lori Jo is a busy wife and mother of two young girls and has a passion for helping others on their own journey back to health.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Sinclair March 13, 2017 at 2:21 am

I have two young daughters who are suffering from constant bloat and constipation… fatigue and other issues that make living just miserable. I have gone in circles with doctors and various healthcare practitioners. Please – if you are a real person – i am so interested to speak with you. Can you let me know How to reach you. I am at my wits end and truly grateful for anyone that can recall or imagine what this feels like … and is willing to help through a little bit of time and the sharing of information. Thank you. God Bless.

Reply

Lori Jo Berg March 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

HI Ann, please reach out to us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

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Adrijana Traeska May 23, 2017 at 11:50 pm

I’ve been suffering from chronic heartburn for four years now. No matter what I eat or drink it’s there.. some foods make it worse(pretty much all of them), it’s only manageable with salad, chicken, avocado, cucumber and bananas. I don’t have any other issues besides mild constipation( which I have had my whole life probably) and gas sometimes. What could be the root cause of this? The pain is agony.. unbearable.. after I eat something bready it goes away usually for a while only and that’s why I keep eating.. I have tried all natural remedies out there.. nothing helps. If I drink baking soda the pain is worse, if I drink ACV again the pain is worse and I don’t know what to do anymore.. at this moment I’m taking Licorice tablets which maybe helps little bit but nothing significant, I cannot drink herbal teas they give me pain, also I cAnnot eat nothing hot like soups it gives me pain and after that I have to eat something hard to relieve the pain. Whole wheat and other whole grains are a big NO for me. Please if you have any ideas what could it be let me know. Thanks…

Reply

Lori Jo Berg May 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

HI Adrijana – it’s going to be important that you start with the SCD diet and begin to heal your gut. http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ We also suggest testing your HCL levels as well as getting on some digestive enzymes to support the digestion process. Here are some resources for you to read through: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Colleen Moriarty September 17, 2017 at 12:23 am

I’m currently on this diet for about 3 weeks now. I have cheated several times but am determined to master this diet for my health. I have IBSD and have just had a food allergy test done as well. I can not tolerate casein which is in all milk products including SCD yogurt. I am trying to make my own coconut yogurt or nut based yogurts instead. Do you have a probiotic that you would recommend as a substitute? Or another non dairy way to make probiotics to eat?

Reply

Lori Jo Berg September 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Hi Colleen – You could try other fermented foods like sauerkrout, kimchi, kombucha (test them out and see how you do first!)

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