What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?
According to Sanford University, the specific carbohydrate diet is a nutritional therapy in pediatric Crohn's disease. It is a well established and effective treatment to induce remission of active inflammation. SCD was developed from the work of Dr. Sydney Haas, a biologist an scientist who helped her daughter with Ulcerative Colitis using SCD. There are only a few clinics that use this diet as therapy. There is no actual scientific evidence for this restrictive diet for autism. There is anecdotal evidence but this does not hold up in a scientific study.
- meats without additives, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs
- certain legumes, including navy beans, lentils, peas, split peas, unroasted cashews and peanuts in a shell, all natural peanut butter and lima beans
- Dairy limited to cheeses such as cheddar, colby, swiss, dry curd cottage cheese and homemade yogurt fermented for at least 24 hours
- most fresh, frozen, raw or cooked vegetables and string beans
- fresh, raw or cooked, frozen or dried fruits with no added sugar
- Most nuts and nut flours
- most oils, teals, coffee, mustard, cider or white vinegar and juices with no additives or sugars
- Honey as a sweetener
- sugar, molasses, maple syrup, sucrose, processed fructose including high fructose corn syrup or any processed sugar
- All grain including corn, wheat, wheat germ, barley, oats, rice and others. This includes bread, pasta and baked goods made with grain based flour
- canned vegetables with added ingredients
- some legumes
- seaweed and seaweed byproducts
- starchy tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnups
- canned and most processed meats
- canola oil and commercial mayonnaise
- all milk and milk products high in lactose such as mild cheddar, commercial yogurt, cream and sour cream, and ice cream
- candy, chocolate and products containing FOS (fructooligasaccharides)
Another Restrictive Diet Appropriated by MAPS
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is another restrictive diet appropriated from a real treatment claiming to be an effective dietary intervention for autism and is recognized by MAPS. It is endorsed by TACA. The co-founder of DAN! has said, "SCD is the best treatment that I have found so far for many children on the Autism Spectrum."
Haas says that certain sugars feed microbes such as bacteria, yeast and fungi. These microbes are in the gut (the gut again?) and cause GI problems, autism and other conditions. They claim that SCD eliminates these microbes by starving them while nourishing the body. This allegedly repairs the gut/brain connection.
SCD is very similar to the GFCF diet. It is gluten free but does not allow starch and sugar. SCD includes dairy that is lactose free and contains denatured casein. Dairy foods are not mandatory on SCD. The first three months on this diet should be dairy free. "The majority of ASD children beginning SCD without dairy and many successful integrate dairy back into their diet after some healing occurs."
TACA says if the GFCF diet does not work, this one will. "Often taking the diet one step further can be the key to success for many children on the spectrum. That one step depends on the unique issues to the child."