Carbohydrates have been front and center in diets during the past few decades. While low-fat diets were once trending, during recent decades there’s been a focus on low-carb diets like Atkins, South Beach, and Keto. Besides the number of carbs, there’s also been a focus on consuming “good” carbs in particular. In this article, we will discuss the SCD Diet and how it is beneficial for you.
This diet deals with the effects of certain carbs on the bodies of people with IBD. In other words, consuming particular types of carbs can cause unwanted effects and lead to inflammation. That can, in turn, affect how well a person can absorb food. It’s an issue for someone with serious issues related to the digestive system. The main goal of the SCD plan is to ditch certain kinds of carbs related to their chemical structure. The diet’s plan tries to relieve the symptoms of people suffering from IBD.
What Is IBD?
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) includes a group of health conditions that causes the intestines to get inflamed (swollen/red). It’s likely caused by the immune system’s reaction to the intestines’ tissues.
There are two main kinds of IBD. They include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. As the name suggests, the IBD is known as ulcerative colitis only involves the large intestine or “colon.”
Crohn’s disease can include any area of the patient’s digestive tract. However, it usually affects the colon and/or the small intestine. In other words, usually, just the small/large intestine is involved in this disease.
What are these IBD variants about? They usually follow an increasing/decreasing journey in terms of how serious the illnesses are. In the case the diseases cause major inflammation this is known as the “active” stage that involves flare-ups.
Then when the inflammation is lower or even gone this involves no symptoms. In other words, the disease is in a state known as “remission.”
Both of these conditions usually include the same symptoms. They include ones like fatigue, stomach pain, serious LBM, and weight loss. If you experience multiple symptoms you should contact your doctor ASAP. Tests need to be run to determine whether or not you have one of these conditions.
One factor to consider is IBD has the possibility of being severe. It can also be fatal so it’s critical to get diagnosed and treated in case you have one of the two conditions.
There are a few red flags to watch out for. They include major changes in your bowel habits. The good news is this disease usually doesn’t become life-threatening. However, it is often a severe disease that could cause serious symptoms and conditions.
Scientists aren’t 100% sure about what causes IBD. One theory is the immune system isn’t working properly. Diet and stress might worsen these diseases.
What Is the SCD Diet?
Studies show that IBD rates are spiking in the US. Research reveals that 1.5% of the US population (2015) now has the disease. It’s been spiking during the last decade in particular.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is one type of treatment to deal with IBD. It’s an elimination diet so the goal is to find out which food(s) is causing the condition. This diet focuses on ditching foods with certain carbs based on their chemicals.
The main concept that SCD is built on is that low glycemic index (GI) foods or “complex carbs” cause too much growth of bad bacteria existing in the small intestine.
When the bacteria grow this results in other stuff growing that causes inflammation. Then within time, this causes the digestive tract to take in fewer nutrients.
SCD claims it can slow down the bad bacteria’s growth and help the digestive system to work better. This is done by removing all carbs with 2+ sugar molecules that are connected. In terms of the patient’s diet, this eliminates several carbs.
However, SCD does allow particular carb sources with one sugar molecule that aren’t connected to other ones. The reason is a person’s digestive tract can take them in much easier.
The SCD plan labels certain foods as “illegal.” These are ones with 2+ sugar molecules that are connected. The goal is to remove such complex carbs from your diet.
Here are some foods you can’t eat on this plan:
- Artificial sweeteners (most)
- Beans (dried beans/lentils allowed)
- Dairy (cheese, yogurt, and butter fermented 24+ hours are allowed)
- Grains (wheat, rice, corn, millet, quinoa, etc.)
- Processed meats
- Processed foods
- White sugar (most)
The SCD diet is very strict. The goal is for IBD patients to follow the guidebook to a tee. Sometimes particular “illegal” foods are added back if the symptoms drop.
Diet Tips for IBD Patients
1. Eat the “right” foods
If you’re an IBD patient your diet should be very restrictive. However, there are still many foods you can (and should) eat. They include:
- Bell peppers
- Steamed fruits/vegetables
- Cucumbers (peeled)
- Baked fruits/vegetables
The steamed/baked fruits and vegetables are a good option because they make the foods easier to digest. Another plus is you’ll still get lots of nutrients compared to other methods like frying.
2. Avoid certain foods
While certain diets like SCD require you to swap our particular foods certain ones generally get a thumbs down for IBD patients. They include:
- Red meat
- Poultry (dark meat)
- Cereals (most)
- Brussels sprouts
- Baked beans
- Kidney beans (red)
- Canned fruit
- Milk (full-fat)
3. Consider a low-fiber diet
You should first talk to your doctor about this issue. Some research suggests this is a good option for IBD patients. However, more research is needed. Make sure to check if your doctor will give you the green light.
4. Pick an IBD-specific diet
This is important since IBD involves particular symptoms, causes, and so on. It’s critical to select a diet that’s designed for IBD patients. They include SCD, as well as plant-based diets and anti-inflammatory diets.
These are good choices because they can help to deal with IBD symptoms. There are various goals of these diets including reducing inflammation and swapping out triggering foods.
A doctor can help to pick the right diet for you. This is based on various factors like your symptoms, health conditions, prescription drugs, and so on. After reviewing this info your doctor can determine if the right plan for you is the scd diet.