What is SCD?
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a dietary regimen that eliminates all grains (including gluten), potatoes, refined sugar and food additives.

How it Works
SCD was originally designed by Dr Hass for the treatment of children with Celiac disease. It was first called the ‘banana’ diet because bananas were the primary source of carbohydrates used and tolerated by the children he treated. The sugars in bananas are simple sugars (mono-saccharides) which are easily digested and don’t cause diarrhea. Mono-saccharides are also found in honey, fruit and some vegetables. Dissacharides and polysaccharides are sugars that are not easy to digest and contribute to diarrhea. These sugars and starches are found in grains, potatoes and sugars which are all to be avoided on this diet. It is believed that because these complex sugars are not digested easily, bacteria and yeast which feed on them are prone to overgrow in the intestine. When bacteria and yeast overgrow, the byproducts and toxins excreted by them irritate the lining of the digestive tract causing digestive distress. Eliminating the sugars that feed these organisms will return the digestive system to a more balanced state. Elaine Gottschall, author of the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, was instrumental in making this diet known to others.

Who Would Benefit From SCD?
The diet was originally intended for those suffering from digestive ailments. It also works for other diseases, conditions and symptoms. The following is a list of conditions that have shown benefit from this style of diet:
-Celiac disease
-Crohn’s disease
-Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
-Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
-food allergies
-seasonal allergies
-Rheumatoid Arthritis
-digestive symptoms

Allowed Foods
This is not a comprehensive list of allowed foods. Please see the Legal/Illegal list.
Meat: Any unprocessed meat including red meat, fish, seafood, poultry, game meat, organ meats, bones, bone marrow, unflavored gelatin
Dairy: SCD yogurt, hard naturally lactose-free cheese, kefir (advanced)
Vegetables: most vegetables excluding potatoes, rutabaga & turnips are considered advanced and should not be tried right away
Fruits: all unsweetened fruit including frozen
Nuts: all nuts with no added ingredients, nut flours, nut butters
Sugars: honey
Oils/fats: all animal fats, cultured butter, ghee, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vegetable oils

Disallowed Foods
This is not a comprehensive list of disallowed foods. Please see the Legal/Illegal list.
Meat: all processed meat (check for added ingredients)
Dairy: all fluid milk, cream, buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, cottage cheese, feta, cheese slices, processed cheese
Vegetables: potatoes, seaweed, all canned vegetables
Fruit: canned fruit, sweetened fruit, fruit stored in syrup
Grains: all grains including wheat, corn, rice, kamut, barley, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, oat
Sugars: white sugar, cane sugar, maple sugar, maple syrup, coconut/palm sugar, brown sugar, sucanat, rapadura, molasses
Legumes: chick peas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mungbeans, faba beans, and garbanzo beans
Oils: margarine, butter substitutes

Weight Management
Most people find that this diet helps to normalize their weight. That is, underweight people will gain weight appropriately and overweight people will lose weight. I did manage to gain weight from being too low. It will take time, as your body has to heal and balance out before weight can finally be normal. Many overweight people benefit from low-carb SCD. I benefited from low-carb SCD at time to manage symptoms, but did not follow low-carb for prolonged periods.

You don’t need to take supplements while doing SCD, other than those prescribed to you by a doctor or other health care professional. I highly suggest looking for SCD legal foods that are good sources of nutrients rather than taking supplements. Beef liver is very high in vitamin A, vitamins B, and iron. Oysters are high in zinc. Grass-fed beef, wild salmon, and fish oil are good sources of Omega 3s. Consider finding food sources of nutrients you need and including those in your diet. I use Nutrition Data to see the nutritional value of foods. I also use FitDay to input all my food for a day to see where I might be coming up short.

Some people choose to use supplements to make sure they are getting enough of certain nutrients. I did off and on during the first 2 years on SCD. Some people use probiotics or beneficial yeasts to help re-balance the digestive system. Here is a list of good sources:
Freeda Vitamins also available at, Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, and mailing address.
Probiotics available at GIPro Health, Kirkman Labs, Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, and
Saccharomyces Boulardii

See this List of SCD legal/illegal Supplements for more specific information.

Also see the FAQ page. If there’s a question you have that you can’t find answers to, feel free to contact me.


  1. Hi, I have 20 days to SCD, the image could not stop diarrhea – 6 times a day, morning is a drop of blood. Can diarrhea of chicken broth, apple juice? I drank tea and added 1 / 4 teaspoon honey. I do not know what to do .. help, now I eat

    Lunch: turkey and stewed apple juice (20% juice and 80% water)
    Dinner: baked salmon and apple juice
    afternoon: 2 fried eggs
    Dinner: stewed beef and 1 teaspoon of pear puree.

    2 days I did not eat eggs, and diarrhea was still, I thought that the eggs I eat normally today and two fried, and then for 1 hour in the evening was in the bathroom 3 times

  2. Hi. I was recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I’ve been doing some research and I found this site that helped me create my ulcerative colitis diet. It helped but not all the way. Now I am thinking about starting the specific carbohydrate diet. Yes, I will give it a try. This should be interesting.

  3. Christina – you may be fructose intolerant, cut out the apple and pear juice and see how you feel. You can also get a breath test to confirm.

    I also have a problem eating salmon as I thing it’s too fatty. But other than that the SCD diet has been working fantastically for me. I have UC.

  4. Kat has been fantastic in helping me weed out what is going on in my diet. I’ve done this diet in 1991 for 7 years, and now for the second time things seem to be very different in my body. Stuff that used to be ok, is totally not anymore, giving me trouble and lots of pain. I’m truly grateful that Kat helped me out. Thank you.

  5. For the first two weeks on the SCD diet I made chicken soup in the crock pot and that is all I ate. Chicken, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Then each day, I would try one different thing that was allowed on SCD; such as an apple or pineapple, or avocado. I found I couldn’t eat uncooked pineapple right away, but I could eat apples and avocados and bananas. I still can’t eat more than half an orange each day …. too much sugar. So basically, I did elimination and then onto SCD. It has been highly successful. I will also share that stress has played a huge part in all of this. Sometimes I thought I was eating wrong things when in fact it was my stress level. I have found that vaping and eating CBD is quite helpful for the stress in my stomach from driving in SOCAL … but not a total cure.

  6. This is helpful information. Do you think animal proteins cause inflammation and bleeding, being acidic and longer/harder to digest? I’m on a macrobiotic diet with only rice (rinsed & soaked), vegetables, but I’m having a hard time attaining protein, not being able to eat animal meats. I tried wild Atlantic salmon the other week and it caused lots of bleeding. Thoughts? What about whey?

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  8. Hi – I think its really super important that people get the SIBO test done. If SIBO is indicated it is advisable when starting SCD to do a SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet to start. This means 4-6 weeks with no fruit sugars. When the gut is severely impaired in the beginning it can take time to work up to fruits and dairy for example. I have found cookbooks helpful but haven’t yet found one that models a start-up SCD / SIBO formula for the beginning phase when the gut is most impaired. If anyone has ideas, please comment:)

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