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Specific Carbohydrate Diet Reviews

Thinking about starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)?

Already started the SCD Diet?

Did you stop the SCD Diet?

It’s no mystery that there has been, and will continue to be lots of talk about treating your ulcerative colitis with diet here on iHaveUC.  We’ve conducted a survey in the past about diet, but there needs to be a simple place for people to share their own personal reviews of how SCD Diet has worked or not worked.  And I’m hoping this page will do just that.

This diet is based on a fundamental idea that by regaining control of the gut bacteria within our digestive system, we as patients living with IBD can also overcome the auto-immune inflammatory reactions that lead to the symptoms we are all too familiar with.

So, if you have already used the SCD diet to treat your Ulcerative Colitis, please do the following:

  1. Write your review of your experience
  2. Rate the diet (1-5 stars)
  3. And submit your review so it will appear below
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Specific Carbohydrate Diet - SCD
Average rating:  
 46 reviews
 by Lee
GAPS diet

When I was first diagnosed with colitis, the gastro doctor wanted to put me on Humira. Since I rarely take aspirin or antibiotics I refused and went to see my Naturopathic Doctor who practices Chinese medicine and acupuncture, both of which helped me immensely. I worked with a Kinesiologist who does muscle testing as well. Between the two I got my gut back to a healthy state in 8 months. PATIENCE and determination is needed if you do not do pharma drugs for colitis. I mostly what I realized was like a GAPS diet. After losing like 30 lbs and not being able to absorb protein, I eliminated grains, sugars, gluten, bread, dairy...pretty much everything except proteins (turkey, eggs, fish, etc) and cooked green vegetables. I avoided sugary vegetables like carrots and beets. The only fruit I ate were blueberries (they are the lowest sugar fruit and I love them). I drank a lot of water and made BONE BROTH (simmered bones for 36 hrs with kale, cilantro and vitamin rich veggies), which I think saved my life. When I have a flare, I go back to a clean and healthy diet. For a while there I was even able to drink coffee again, within limits. Having a flare now die to my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer that moved into her liver, She is 89. BUT the STRESS kicks right into my gut. IT is very clear to me tat stress causes flares. I meditate, practice Yoga Nidra and lots of yoga. I teach yoga as well. I am back off of coffee and back on to clean diet when I have stress in my life. Who does not have stress with COVID???

 by Q
SCD works

I read the book Food And The Gut reaction in 2005. I believe this was the original title of Breaking The Vicious Cycle. Diognosed with crohn's in Sept 2004. Theory in book made sense to me but the diet restrictions seemed impossible to me. I am allergic to all tree nuts and peanuts. So I carried on with the drugs, surgery to remove 18" of small intestine in Nov 2007 followed by more drugs and eventually all the same painful symptoms. April 2011 a scope showed ulcerations were back and my disease was back in full force. The medications did little to control the advance of the disease. Doctor gave me two treatment options, both expensive and still only bandaids. My first thought was I am going on the diet in the book I had read 6 years previously. Next say I searched and found the SCD legal and illegal list. The first week was hard as many of the staple foods that included nut flours etc. I could not eat. Then I found that coconut flour was legal. Wow, I made my own biscuits once or twice a week, and found several foods I could snack on. After a month of being hungry most of the time I found my stride and was able eat enough and get the nutrition necessary. 5 weeks in I felt better than I had in 10 years. I read every label prior to purchasing any packaged food. My wife as a big help and by July 2011 was off all meds. I tried to make an appt with my Gastroenterologist but I believe the receptionist was so busy with appointments and patients that I fell through the cracks. I did not call back because I felt so good. August I travelled to Spain with my wife and was able to stick strictly to the SCD diet, not easy but totally possible. I eat all the meat and fat I want, and also all legal veg and fruit. After two years of strict adherence to the diet I introduced brown rice and it went well. Since then I have tried everything and if I eat too much of low quality carbs or beer or similar, I suffer for a shot time, so I go back to SCD but also include rice and a sweet potato which I can tolerate. Cheating even a little in the beginning will stop the process and set you back. Once your gut flora is back to "normal" and your gut is healed as much as it is possible( I had some permanent damage) you will be able to tolerate more and more, at least for short periods. Gut flora is very, very important and everyone will have their own unique flora which will result in a wide variety of complications and results. Good luck.

 by Nora Marks
Went off diet, symptoms returned

I ran out of meds in August, was between Gastroenterologists, ordered meds from Canada to save $$$ but had a long wait to see new Dr. and get meds. I was desperate and tried the SCD diet, hoping it would not work. Well, it did and in 3 days I felt better, bloating was gone, diarrhea was minimal, achiness was gone. I stayed very strictly on the diet for 6 months, was symptom free and off the expensive meds (Canasa). I am a PhD, so scientific research is my passion....I decided to challenge the diet. I ate a few corn chips here and there, then added some wheat crackers, a cookie here and there and I tolerated it pretty well. So really loaded up on cake with frosting, chicken with breading, a milkshake....within a week, my symptoms returned. The more sugar I ate, the more I HURT all over. The constipation and bloody stools have returned and am bloated. So, I did my ABA design, am waiting for the toxic stuff to leave my body and back on the diet. I think it was encouraging that my body could tolerate the grain and sugar based food for so long, telling me I am getting stronger, but not there yet. This diet has really saved my life. Back on SCD and looking forward to not feeling crappy again!

 by Marge

For years I was in almost constant flare up and taking high dose drugs & enemas. My life was a living hell. There were so many social occasions I had to miss due to severe pain & constant loo trips.

Eighteen months ago I started the SCD. Yes it was hard at first losing some of the foods I loved. However, the benefits far outway denial. At first I controlled and got over flare ups with the diet, I haven't had a flare up for a year now.

I used to smoke and prior to the SCD every time I tried to stop I'd start flaring after 3 days, so back to the cigs. I'm 3 months smoke free now, no flare up although I am vaping at the mo. I tried vaping before SCD and still had flares. To me that's proof that the diet works.

My next trial will be to stop taking top dosage Balsalaside and see if the diet alone keeps me flare free. I thought stopping smoking was the prime benefit first.

I'll let you fellow uc'rs know the results, I'm looking for a positive outcome.

It's thanks to Adam for showing me the way. I've suffered needlessly for years.

Take care guys & wishing better days for you all.

 by Kat S
Yes to Food, No to Meds

I was diagnosed with UC 8 1/2 years ago; I had just started a new job and I was having to excuse myself to the bathroom every half hour, embarrassing! I was put on Canasa and thankfully it worked. A year later, I had a terrible flare. Many times, and I am sure many of you can relate to this, I would have things coming out from both ends. I went back to my gastro doctor and he pretty much looked at me like I was crazy. It was at that moment that I decided to fire him as my doctor and find alternate ways to treat my symptoms.

That was when I started on the SCD. It worked! It was hard, no pizza, no processed sugar, no popcorn, etc....but it worked. I was symptom free for about 6 years and was able to introduce some of the "old" foods into my digestive system.......big mistake.

I have been experiencing another flare recently and have decided the diet will be my way of life for the rest of my life. I don't want to make sure that there is a garbage can near me when I use the bathroom. I don't want to feel like I can't leave the house because there will not be a bathroom around with privacy.

I encourage anyone who is thinking about the diet to try it. There are SO MANY blogs, websites, cookbooks, etc...with great recipes.

And besides, the diet is about the foods that we should be eating anyway.

I am not quite over my flare, but I can get up in the morning and go to the gym and go to work, as well as attend social gatherings. Life is good.

 by Maria C
SCD Diet Review

This diet has saved my life. I went from being loaded on steroids, Mecaptopurine and almost losing all of my hair to being in COMPLETE remission as told by my colonoscopy today. Hearing the news was probably the happiest moment of my life. Although the diet itself is extremely hard to maintain and requires incredible will power, it is absolutely worth it. I went from being in pain and having bleeding to absolutely NO symptoms UNMEDICATED. This is honestly a big HAHA to the countless doctors that told me nutrition had nothing to do with this disease and that something such as the SCD diet would not help me. I have proved you all wrong. I have been on the diet since January 1, 2015. Of course I have had moments of weakness and cheated--some of those times came along with some stomach cramping and gas, and other times no symptoms. I try to really limit myself when I do cheat as to not overload my system--and I recommend this to all UC patients in times of weakness. ALSO, I must add that I started out of this diet COMPLETELY strict and didn't let go of the reins a little until I felt my body and system was strong enough to take a bit of a hit. If you try this diet, you must be strong and you absolutely must be motivated to conquer your illness--nothing else will get you through it. Sticking to it is the hardest part, and my recent test results have given me even more will power to push through and continue eating this way. It takes time...a heck of a lot of time, and an insane amount of chewing (haha) since it takes a lot longer to get your daily calories when you are limited to low calorie foods. My strategy has been to eat a bunch of little snacks throughout the day, as well as full meals. Not going to lie, this gets extremely tiring. And there are days when it almost just feels easier not to eat because of how restricted you are--but you push through. For anyone out there who is tired of all the medications, side-effects, and little to no relief, you MUST give the SCD diet a chance. More importantly, you must have a hard head and unbreakably strong state of mind to continue the diet long enough to see relief and positive results. Good luck to you all.

 by Richard
Good diet

When nothing else works on my U.C. I go on the SCD for a couple of weeks. My body doesn't like it, I seem to need a certain amount of 'bad'(?) carbohydrate for balance. You must drink plenty of water with this 'regime'. However it soon gets rid of all the symptons and I usually lose a bit of weight. However this time it's really messing with my head, I suppose this is temporary - I read about this with the GAPS diet. One tip - don't cheat!

 by Meredith
Yogurt didn't work for me

I tried the scd diet after coming across Breaking the Vicious Cycle in Dec 2005. My symptoms persisted while on the diet, which I was following to a T. I bought the yogurt maker and was following all the rules and eliminated all illegal food. While on a three day trip I ran out of my homemade yogurt. Two days off the yogurt I was symptom free. The mucus and bleeding just stopped. I realized at that point that dairy is my trigger. Milk, yogurt, whey, non-fat milk powder etc. I stayed on Asacol 400mg 4/3x day and stayed in remission for 1 1/2 yrs. as long as I stay away from dairy - I'm good. The flare was mild and enemas got me back on track.

I was diagnosed in May 2005 with proctitis, sent away from the hospital with canasa suppositories and was back three weeks later with full blown pancolitis. Was put on prednisone for 6 1/2 months. Every time I tried to tapper down the bleeding would start again. Once I eliminated dairy I was able to take just asacol for maintenance. It's been nine years now and I've had four flares, usually triggered by cross contamination and/or stress. Except for the first one I've managed all flares by cleaning up my diet and eating rice and chicken till the symptoms pass).

I currently take 800mgHD Asacol 3/2x day.

I hope this helps anyone who isn't having luck with the diet.

 by Pauline
It's SCD for me!!!

I've been on the SCD for almost ten years now and loving it. It is a major adjustment, and the first month or so is brutal as you wean yourself off all the crap you're used to eating and your body cleanses itself and adjusts, but as you advance you will find there are so many wonderful websites and cookbooks available with fabulous SCD recipes that it's easier than ever to follow. Just as someone chooses to eat vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc., I choose to eat the SCD way. By making it MY choice, I'm in control and not feeling like I'm deprived of anything.

Truth be told, I did dream about food for the first year or so on the diet, chocolate, corn chips, etc. I kept a journal of symptoms and what I ate and looking back at it now, I can see how far I've really come. The diet hasn't cured me; I still take two sulfazine a day but that's way better than 16 Asacol or Prednisone or Humira with all their serious side effects.

 by Janet
life changing

I've had UC for 19 years. Have always been told that diet doesn't matter and have taken all the usual poisons they prescribe. During a bad flare back in Feb I started doing a lot of research and found that gluten causes most auto immune diseases. I stopped all wheat consumption and by the third week I was getting constipated. It was that quick, that easy. I have ditched all my meds and I'm doing great. Getting my energy back and the body I lost to steroids. Never going back to being sick or taking poison

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