The Specific Carbohydrate diet is based on the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet authored by the late biochemist Elaine Gottschall first published in the 1990s though it first appeared in the 1950s. It promises to alleviate symptoms of several gastrointestinal disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac, Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea and ulcerative colitis.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet plan seeks to eliminate sources of complex carbs from the menu on the premise that these lead to the build-up of harmful gut bacteria that cause the disorders. It recommends a diet with a very limited scope of simple carbohydrates considered easier to digest for patients of gastrointestinal disorders.

The Process the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Plan

The Specific carbohydrate diet plan initially starts by banning wholesale many common carbohydrate sources including grains(whole and refined) such as wheat, wheat germ, barley, oats, rye, rice and buckwheat, starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, chickpeas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mung beans, milk and dairy products from cheese, yoghurt to ghee, sugars and sweeteners, canned fruits and vegetables and processed meats.  The Specific Carbohydrate menu eases off if participants show tolerance to the foods which are off the menu.

The Specific Carbohydrate menu allows fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables on the menu while meat, fish, poultry and eggs provide a good dose of protein. The meat should be fresh as processed and canned meat products are strongly discouraged. Some legumes are allowed if they follow certain guidelines explained in the book. Nuts and seeds, natural oils like olive oil, coconut and canola oil are permitted along with spices and herbs.



  • Its intake of vegetables and healthy oils are good for the body.


  • It is backed by little research and most evidence is anecdotal.
  • It is one of the most restrictive diets out there.
  • The elimination of several food groups might lead to deficiency.

Who Should Do It

The Specific Carbohydrate diet is made for sufferers of the various gastrointestinal syndromes and promises to alleviate symptoms that are normally debilitating. This can be great news but it comes with a caveat as most evidence backing the diet is from personal testimony and there is very little verifiable research to support its claims.


Meal Plan Ideas

Day 1

Breakfast: Beef, ground patty

Lunch: SCD chicken soup

Snack: Chicken breast

Dinner: Beef, ground patty

Day 2

Breakfast: Turkey with pears

Lunch: Eggs with  spinach

Snack: Beef, ground patty

Dinner: salmon in olive oil


Day 3

Breakfast: Eggs

Lunch: Beefsteak

Snack: Canned tuna and pear

Dinner: SCD chicken soup