The #1 Reason People Fail on the SCD Diet… and Never Get to Feel Better

by Jordan Reasoner

The biggest reason people fail on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that they move way too fast and advance through the diet too quickly. Let’s face it, as a society, we are focused on instant gratification and we are all impatient. It is especially true when it comes to health and feeling good. If you are on this diet, then you most likely are sick of being sick and want to get better right now!

How Do I Slow Down?

In many instances, people fail to see any results on the SCD diet because they simply moved way too fast through the phases. The amazing folks at developed the stages of the SCD diet for people to have a general guideline of what foods to introduce and in what order.

At SCD Lifestyle, we took those stages a step further and introduced the Phases of the SCD Diet starting with the intro diet and moving from phases 1 through 5 with an additional detail. Our phases identify the phenol (salicylates) levels of the foods in each phase from weakest to strongest (you may have heard of this from the Feingold diet). Phenols can cause reactions during the early period of the SCD diet before healing has started to take place. The reaction can be as small as a little constipation or diarrhea or as large as complete brain fog and headaches. You can download our free Phasing charts in PDF format, along with a free chapter of our book here: Phasing into the SCD Diet.

Using this phasing approach will give your body a couple weeks (hopefully months) of low inflammation foods so that you can begin healing before you start trying more advanced foods. At the very least, you should avoid Almond Flour and cheese (preferably most dairy) until you have been free of diarrhea, constipation, and other mental/physical symptoms for four days in a row.

To give you a rough idea of timing, you shouldn’t be entering into Phase 3 foods until you’re 3-6 months into the diet. Keep in mind, everyone is different and some will be faster just as some will be slower.

How Do I Introduce a New Food?

  • Only introduce a new food, if you have been free of diarrhea, constipation, and other mental/physical symptoms for four days.
  • When deciding what foods to introduce next, follow our phasing charts or the stages diagrams from and step through them one by one… don’t jump ahead.
  • When you try that new food, eat it for four days without changing anything else so you can know exactly what reaction, if any, you had to that food.
  • Track all your symptoms in a journal or you will be chasing your tail trying to figure out what happened when you spent the entire day on the toilet!

Final Thoughts…

At SCD Lifestyle, Steve and I are committed to helping you start healing today, that is why we preach a very conservative approach to the diet. No matter how many times we read Breaking the Vicious Cycle, it just didn’t have a plan or the answers we needed to start getting healthy. In the beginning, we would try various SCD legal foods and they would leave us scratching our heads (on the toilet of course). This frustration is what motivated us to finally write a book detailing a step-by-step outline showing how to survive the first 90 days and beyond… by taking it slow and healing properly.

We have been dealt this hand in life and this is the first time in our lives we have the power to fix it ourselves. Take control, be diligent, and meticulously introduce new foods as slow as you can handle to make sure you’re going to be successful.

We have the right to live life feeling good just as much as anyone else… but it’s up to us to take control of what we put in our bodies! Leave others your advice…


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About the author

Jordan Reasoner Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael November 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm

Hello. I have so many symptoms of leaky gut but also have a white coating on my tongue. It is NOT thrush as i have been treated sever times and it does not go away. Severity varies daily. Any idea what thus could be?
I have just begun the scd. Thanks

Lori Jo Berg November 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Hi Michael – my first thoughts is yeast overgrowth…but not totally sure. Great to hear you’ve started SCD – this should help. keep us posted!

sima September 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

hi, in intro diet you can eat yogurt homemade or not? and how long take intro diet?

Mariel Heiss September 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Hi Sima – we suggest staying on the Intro Diet for the shortest time possible (until you see some small improvements) and for no more than 5 days – usually it is between 2 and 5 days. If you don’t feel any better after 5 days on the intro Diet, you still need to move onto Phase 1.

We don’t suggest adding in the yogurt until the 30 day mark on the diet.

Stevie g July 31, 2016 at 2:40 am

Hey guys, been doing intro scd soup and carrots and chicken, for 2 days and ztill have slight
diaharria, csn i add the egss or banana now or not?

Mariel Heiss August 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

Hey Stevie – thanks for reaching out.

We suggest you follow the Intro diet for 2-5 days before beginning to phase in foods one by one. Once you see some symptoms improvement (less diarrhea, for example) – you can start phasing in new foods. Whether or not you’re feeling better yet, we don’t recommend staying on the Intro Diet for more than 5 days.

Our eBook explains all this in a lot more detail:

Rachel March 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Hi, I have recently been diagnosed with SIBO. I have found a lot of great info on this site, and on Dr. Siebecker’s website, as well as the SCDlifestyle podcast interviews with Dr. Seibecker. I want to do Dr. Siebecker’s recommended SCD/ low FODMPAPs combination diet to heal my gut, but am a little stumped regarding how to make the SCD intro diet FODMAPs friendly. Are there fruits that could be substituted for apples and pears in phase 1? Also, most of the fruits and veggies in phase 2 are a no-go. Any tips or recommendations would be appreciated – I don’t want to hinder my progress right off the bat by making incorrect low FODMAPs substitutions on the intro diet.
Thank you!

Mariel Heiss March 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Hi Rachel – thanks for asking!

We still recommend following the Phase charts and just skipping past high-FODMAP foods for now or limiting the amount you eat. So you don’t really need to ‘Sub” anything in – jut move to the next food on the charts.

Please also read this:

Del July 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Hi. Thanks so much for detailing the scd diet. My 15 yr okd son and I are on day 1 and alright e aren’t doing dairy we ate doing the gelatin and chicken soup and beef but I’m nervous because we did good sensitivity testing about 1 year with a company called ALCAT and our results showed a high sensitivity to chicken a moderate sensitivity to grapes and mild sensitivity to beef. What are your thoughts on food semeitivy blood tests?

Mariel Heiss July 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

Hi Del, thanks so much for commenting! First, we recommend this video:

Jordan and Steve don’t recommend you eat anything you have a reaction to. In their experience, most people can tolerate foods they were once intolerant of when they’ve healed their guts.

If you find that you’re reacting to beef, chicken, and the grape juice here are some suggestions for substitutions:
Shrimp broth (or turkey or lamb) for the beef or chicken broth >>> Directions for shrimp broth are in the eBook!
Use water, lime, or lemon juice to make the gelatin (or eliminate the gelatin entirely, as it isn’t necessary for healing)

I hope this information helps! There is a ton of great info in the video 🙂 Here’s how to create your food safe zone:

Mother June 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm

I have a question please I’m so lost and confused. My daughter has symptoms of autism and her dr found out she has yeast more than the normal level so I looked up online and saw the significant change in a lot of autistic kids who go on this diet. Idk if my daughter needs this diet because she has no bowel movement problems like constipation or diarrhea. Her bowel movement is normal. Is this diet for people that has no bowel movement problem as well? I would appreciate any answer to help me. Thank you

Brent Kovacs June 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Hi there Mother, while this diet was designed to help those specifically with digestive illness, not everyone with GI illness displays gut symptoms… issues may present themselves elsewhere. With that said, the SCD diet has helped many people without gut symptoms. We recommend giving it a shot.

Ruth June 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Hi, I stumbled upon this site looking for recipes for the SCD diet. I’m 67 years old & was diagnosed one year ago with UC with a very active flare up for one year. Taking Lialda for ten months, took a 20 day round of prednisone last August with no success, take pre & probiotics every morning & now on the SCD diet for 17 days. I really like the phase concept since I know that there are foods I’m eating that don’t agree with me. I’ll probably purchase this book & read it along with Breaking the Vicious Cycle to find out just which foods trigger my haywire stomach. Thanks to all who have posted their experiences with these dreaded gut ailments plus any advice would be most helpful. My doctor feels UC is not food related so poo on him!

Lori Jo Berg June 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

HI Ruth, thanks for taking the time to share. Please keep us updated on how your progress is going and you can email us at [email protected] if you need any assistance.

UrbanMama March 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Dear Steve and Jordan,
My 2-year old has been diagnosed with SIBO and has had loose, foul stools all her life, with undigested food parts in them. We are trying this diet with her. After 4.5 days on the intro diet, and another week after that on Intro foods + ripe banana and applesauce, I have seen no change in her loose stools, in fact her stools are now watery/diarrhea, and black (I assume from all the meat). She seems hungry as she eats 5 eggs for breakfast and gets upset if I don’t give her enough. When can I expect to see a change in her stool? Is a deterioration to be expected before we see improvements? I feel so discouraged that not only is she not getting better, but the stools are even runnier now.
Separately, I had read that for SIBO, it is good to add Swedish Bitters as well as Wormwood & Black Walnut to help stimulate production of hydrochloric acid and reduce bacterial overgrowth. Both of those contain “pure grain alcohol” to preserve the potency of the herbs, but I wonder whether that would be considered illegal? I read that for my child’s size I only need 10 drops of each twice a day, but still, could this interfere with the diet?
Thank you so much!

Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Hi, thanks for reaching out! This is tough because she is so young and can’t handle the supplements at this age. We highly suggest a trusted functional medicine practitioner to oversee these decisions for your daughter and to get her on some supplements that are safe for her young body. If you are in need of one, you can go here: we suggest continuing with the diet portion and do your best to make tweaks where they are needed to find that balance for her dietary needs. Keeping a journal is very helpful in these situations.

JoAnne April 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm

I am glad to find this information. I was never told I had IBS or Diverticulosis until I had gall bladder surgery and ended up with severe pain in lower left side of abdomen. Then it was Diverticulitis and I was on antibiotics for that. Always had problems with diarrhea and had eliminated some foods already. But now, no seeds, nuts, etc. allowed. A friend recommended the “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” book and I bought it. It’s been about a month now and I feel amazing. I am keeping a log book of what I am eating and if there have been any symptoms so I will know what to avoid. I wasn’t sure when or how to go about adding new foods so this has been very helpful for me to read. Thank you.

Brandi H. November 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

How long is each phase supposed to last?

Thank you,


david January 13, 2014 at 12:15 am

I’d also like to know this? Anyone out there who can answer this question?

Siba March 1, 2014 at 9:38 am

They said in the post that the intro diet + phase 1 + phase 2 together should take about 3 to 6 months, depending on the person’s symptoms. So for each new food in the phases, give it 4 days. In phase 1, for example, there are 12 new foods (summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash, spinach, zucchini, pearsauce, applesauce, banana, homemade pecan milk, homemade nut milk yogurt, and homemade blanched almond milk). 4 multiplied by 12 is 48 days. So if you’ve had no complications or setbacks, you should be able to step into phase 2 after 48 days of being in phase 1. BUT, if you do not have any bad reactions to cows milk (or goats milk) yogurt, and you would not like to ever try the homemade nut milk yogurt, then you could probably skip that food and therefore reducing phase 1 to 44 days instead of 48. So it really depends on the person, their health, and their preferences.

Barb February 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hi there, I was diagnosed with lympocytic colitis and put on entocort for a month – saw no changes. Have been living a gluten free lifestyle for 4 months yet no change in my bowels. I have lost 30 lbs and now weigh 123 lbs at 5’6″ – GI specialist doesn’t agree with this diet and told me that if entocort doesn’t work for me either will prednisone so didn’t give me anything else. My stools have been green and I asked him about it and his rude comment was “have you been eating frogs lately?” And I thought canada was supposed to have an awesome medical system. I left frustrated and he said to come back in 5 weeks with blood work to see where my nutrional level is at after this diet as he feels it is not enough. I have now been on it for 3 days with no change. I feel the soup makes me nauseated and the yogurt with honey gives me more diarhea depending on time of day i eat it which seems weird to me. I am starving so I am thinking am i just eating too much of the same thing?? I do have a plain hamburger patty for supper every night and 2 bananas a day (not ripe like they say as that gives me a stomach ache). I know it has only been a couple of days but should i stop the yogurt and just eat bananas and the meat as they seem to be the only things that don’t bother me. thanks so much !

Ilona Burbach December 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thank you for answering-I had forgotten to check here-sorry.
I am taking the GIhealth prozymes-but Wobenzyme seems to go further and has been clinically tested for years in the German health system. There is, however , a caution about taking them while taking aspirin type meds.
I am on Salofalk and have decided to quit that for a while and replace it with wobenzyme and prozyme. I have been off the prednisone for 1 month now, and feel more inclined to contribute my experience on the SCD diet. I think it has been very good for me-I have been on it for 126 days and I have only strayed 2x with fresh blueberries. I have lost 35 lbs so far-which I could never lose before , despite being very disciplined. I literally saw the puffiness (toxins and water) flushing away .Must have had a gluten allergy for a long time and never knew. Sorry to ramble on , but I have hope and I thank you both for all you are doing to help. Ilona

Jordan Reasoner January 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

Thanks for the update IIona – glad you’re doing so well!

Keep up the great work taking control of your health and inspiring others 🙂


Ilona Burbach October 21, 2011 at 9:48 am

dear Steve and Jordan
I have just done a little research on a product called Wobenzyme. It is manufactured in Germany by Douglas Labs. It sounds very good to me. Do you know anything about this as it relates to ulcerative colitis and SCD ?
I have been doing the SCD diet for 68 days now and my health has improved very much-but-I have also been on prednisone and Salofalk and prevacid the entire time so I do not want to make too many commnents until I am free of the prednisone. Please let me know what you think about the Wobenzyme.
Thank you

Jordan Reasoner November 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

@ IIona – thanks for the question. Wobenzyme looks interesting, but I hate to say much about something unless I’ve tried it myself (anyone out there have experience?).

Digestive enzymes are always going to help support digestion, are you taking any form of them now? If you’re stuck, they might be the next step in getting a strong foundation of health.

Let us know,


Jordan Reasoner November 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

@ IIona – thanks for the question. Wobenzyme looks interesting, but I hate to say much about something unless I’ve tried it myself (anyone out there have experience?).

Digestive enzymes are always going to help support digestion, are you taking any form of them now? If you’re stuck, they might be the next step in getting a strong foundation of health.

Let us know,