Every one of us suffering from IBS knows this: We have so called "trigger foods", that makes us run to the bathroom within minutes. And of course, we have all banished these foods from our diet. But there is more to diet than just suppressing a few ingredients. In fact, some diets are known to give a tremendous relief to a lot of IBS sufferers.
On my last post, I presented the Fodmap diet for IBS. Here is the other renowned diet for IBS, the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).
Origin, theory behind the diet
The SCD was created by Doctor Sidney V. Haas in the 1920s. Elaine Gottschall, in her book breaking the vicious cycle helped popularize it in the seventies. In the book, she stated that lots of bowel related diseases are actually caused by the presence of bad bacteria in the intestinal tract, and that by strictly following the SCD, it was possible to cure these syndromes.
The theory, or vicious cycle, is as follows:
- Our modern diet contains lots of complex sugars (also known as carbohydrates: (disaccharides and polysaccharides)
- These types of food are hard to digest, especially in certain situations, due to illness or stress, or food intolerances.
- When the carbohydrate is not correctly digested, it stays in the tract, becoming food for bad bacteria.
- Being well nourished, the bacteria flourish.
- Bacteria overgrowth follows.
- The presence of harmful bacteria causes injuries and mucus in the digestive tract.
- The digestive tract being inured, it becomes less efficient, therefore carbohydrates become even more difficult to digest. Go back to 2.
By forbidding every type of food that nourishes the harmful bacteria, the SCD should allow the overgrowth to stop, thus breaking the vicious cycle.
I would also like to point out that, if this theory holds, l-glutamine also helps, by curing the digestive tract.
Elaine Gottschall claims it is possible to get rid of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and coeliac disease using the diet.
Description of the diet
If you found the Fodmap diet hard to follow, wait until you see this one.
- No grains, and that means no cereal, no rice, no corn, nothing wheat based
- Nothing processed, everything must be natural and prepared
- No starchy foods, and that includes potatoes
- Nothing canned.
The author claims it is possible to get cured from IBS, or any other bowel illness, by very strictly following the diet for a whole year after the symptoms have totally vanished.
So, in the end, what can we think about such a diet? For me, the impossibility to stuff myself with rice or potatoes makes it almost impossible to follow. I would starve eating only vegetables with meat.
But to be fair, the diet still remains very popular 30 years after the publication of the book, and you can find a lot of SCD success stories on the internet. And this is one of the very few methods that claims to make IBS disappear.
During the last 30 years, science has made some progress, and came up with the low FODMAPs diet for IBS sufferers. A legitimate question is "which one should I choose?" In my last article of the diet series, I will compare both diets to help you make a decision.