The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Helps Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis
“Breaking the Vicious Cycle” is a book written by the late Elaine Gottschall B.A.,M.Sc., She was a biochemist and cell biologist. In her book she outlines all the details of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet has shown over and over again, by countless testimonies, to give relief for various forms of bowel disease, particularly Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease, Diverticulitis, Celiac and Cystic Fibrosis. Other conditions that respond well to the SCD diet are indigestion, chronic diarrhea or spastic colon.
“Breaking the Vicious Cycle” tells all about the use of diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (scd diet) to overcome the affects and symptoms associated with these illnesses.
Grains, lactose and sucrose are eliminated from all meals. It has been found that carbohydrates have the greatest influence on intestinal micro organisms, such as yeast and bacteria, and more than all other dietary components that are involved in intestinal disorders. Most intestinal microbes like pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts, need carbohydrates for energy. The SCD diet limits this 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 provide food for pathogenic organisms that leads to the bad bacteria multiplying. As a result of this the small intestine may be compromised by the formation of acids and toxins which can injure the small intestine. When bad bacteria increases in the small intestine, they kill the enzymes that live on the intestinal cell surface.
This often results in the production of excessive mucus because the intestinal tract is attempting to “lubricate” itself and protect itself against the irritation that is caused by acids and toxins and also because of the presence of the unabsorbed and incompletely digested carbohydrates.
Principles of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Elaine Gottschall’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (scd) is based on the principle that specifically selected carbohydrates that need minimal digestive processing, are well absorbed so they hardly leave any to be used for encouraging microbial overgrowth in the intestine.
As the bad microbial population decreases due to lack of food, its harmful byproducts also decrease. This frees the intestinal surface of injurious substances. Now instead of malabsorption, it is replaced by absorption. This is how all the cells in the body are properly nourished, including the cells of the immune system and as a result the person absorbs energy and nutrients more efficiently and this helps in overcoming the pathogenic microbial invasion.
We know that the simpler the structure of the carbohydrate, the more easily the body digests and absorbs it. Monosaccharides, which are the single molecules of glucose, fructose, or galactose, don’t need to be split by digestive enzymes to be absorbed by the body. These are the sugars we rely on in the specific carbohydrate diet. They include those sugars found in fruits, honey, some vegetables, and in yogurt. However, it is essential that the starches in all grains, corn, and potatoes must be strictly removed from the diet in the specific carbohydrate diet. Corn syrup is also excluded because it contains a mixture of ‘short-chain’ starches.
Legume family (dried beans, lentils and split peas only) have been shown to be tolerated in the Specific Carbohydrate diet, however, they need be soaked for 10-12 hours prior to cooking, and the water thrown out. This is because it will contain other sugars that are indigestible, but are actually removed in the soaking process. Small amounts of legumes may only be added to the specific carbohydrate diet (scd) after about three months.
In conclusion, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet – SCD diet – helps repopulate the gut with healthy intestinal flora by increasing the ratio of ‘good’ bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut and so the overgrowth of harmful bacteria is put in check this way. SCD diet also relies on properly fermented yogurt, and in some cases, acidophilus supplements to achieve this.