How the Diet Works
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet has proven to be highly successful for many who suffer from various bowel disorders as well as the many related problems which actually stem from imbalances in the intestinal tract. Originally the premise for the diet was put together by Dr. Sydney Haas and brought to the attention of the public by Elaine Gottschall, a Bio-Chemist who researched the diet to help heal her daughter who was suffering from severe ulcerative colitis. She went on to produce a best selling book called 'Breaking The Vicious Cycle'.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a strict grain-free, lactose-free, and sucrose-free dietary regimen intended for those suffering from Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Dr. Haas believed that undigested carbohydrates, being forms of sugar such as polysaccharides and disaccharides, could promote and fuel the growth of bacteria and yeast in the intestines, causing an imbalance and eventual overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. Bacterial overgrowth can impair the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface from functioning and prevent the digestion and absorption of these carbohydrates. This would cause the carbohydrates to remain undigested in the intestines and provide even more fuel for bacteria and yeast.
Toxins and acids can be formed by the bacteria and yeast and injure the small intestine lining. Excessive mucus may be produced as a defense mechanism against the irritation caused by toxins, acids, and undigested carbohydrates.
With time, a number of illnesses can develop from this altered digestive balance:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was designed to correct the imbalance by restricting the carbohydrates available to intestinal bacteria and yeast. Only the carbohydrates that are well absorbed are consumed on the diet, the monosaccharides, so that intestinal bacteria have nothing to feed on. This helps to correct the bacterial overgrowth and the related mucus and toxin production.
Digestion and absorption of nutrients improves, leading to improved nutritional status. Immune system function improves. The diet is continued until there is a return to health.
Proponents of the diet claim that there is an 80 percent recovery rate for Crohn's disease and a 95 percent recovery rate for diverticulitis. Improvement can occur after as little as three weeks. Full recovery has been achieved in many cases of diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease after one year.