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The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD diet) - Elaine Gottschall

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) as outlined in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" by Elaine Gottschall B.A.,M.Sc., a biochemist and cell biologist, has been proven in thousands of instances, by countless testimonies, to provide relief for forms of bowel disease, including indigestion, a "nervous stomach", chronic diarrhea or spastic colon, to the more serious and debilitating problems such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's disease, Diverticulitis, Celiac and Cystic Fibrosis. "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" is devoted to bringing information to light regarding the use of diet, the specific carbohydrate diet (scd diet) to overcome the affects and symptoms associated with these illnesses.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet strictly eliminates grains, lactose and sucrose from every meal. Carbohydrates have the greatest influence on intestinal microbes (yeast and bacteria), more than all other dietary components that are involved in intestinal disorders. Most intestinal microbes like pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts require carbohydrates for energy. THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET limits the availability of carbohydrates to intestinal microbes.

When carbohydrates are not digested, they are not absorbed. This means that they remain in the intestinal tract where they allow pathogenic organisms to multiply by providing food for them. This results in the formation of acids and toxins which can injure the small intestine. Once bacteria increase in the small intestine, they destroy the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface, which does not allow carbohydrate digestion and absorption. This often leads to production of excessive mucus as the intestinal tract tries to "lubricate" itself against the irritation caused by the acids, toxins, and the presence of the unabsorbed and incompletely digested carbohydrates.

Elaine Gottschall's Specific Carbohydrate Diet (scd) is based on the principle that specifically selected carbohydrates, requiring minimal digestive processes, are well absorbed and leave virtually none to be used for furthering microbial overgrowth in the intestine. As the microbial population decreases due to lack of food, its harmful byproducts also decrease, freeing the intestinal surface of injurious substances. Malabsorption is replaced by absorption. As the individual absorbs energy and nutrients, all the cells in the body are properly nourished, including the cells of the immune system, which then can assist in overcoming the microbial invasion.

The simpler the structure of the carbohydrate, the more easily the body digests and absorbs it. Monosaccharides (single molecules of glucose, fructose, or galactose) require no splitting by digestive enzymes in order to be absorbed by the body. These are the sugars we rely on in the specific caarbohydrate diet. They include those found in fruits, honey, some vegetables, and in yogurt. The starches in all grains, corn, and potatoes must be strictly avoided in the specific carbohydrate diet. Corn syrup is also excluded since it contains a mixture of 'short-chain' starches.

Some starches have been shown to be tolerated in the scd, particularly those in the legume family (dried beans, lentils and split peas only). However, they must be soaked for 10-12 hours prior to cooking, and the water discarded since it will contain other sugars which are indigestible, but which are removed in the soaking process. Small amounts of legumes may only be added to the specific carbohydrate diet (scd) after about three months.

Finally, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet - SCD diet - relies on properly fermented yogurt, and in some cases, acidophilus supplements, to help repopulate the gut with healthy intestinal flora. By increasing the population of 'good' bacteria in the gut, the overgrowth of harmful bacteria is put in check.

Read more about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (scd) in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" by Elaine Gottschall B.A.,M.Sc.

Read a review about Elaine Gottschall's 1st book.

Read about Autism & Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)