The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or Restricted Carbohydrate diet (a version modified to include those who are also GFCF), offers another approach to treating the GI symptoms associated with autism. Originally designed for patients with Crohn’s disease & Ulcerative Colitis, the SCD is based on research which has found that by consuming certain carbohydrates & avoiding others, gastrointestinal malfunction can be reversed.
Detailed in the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, by the late Elaine Gottschall,., the diet is based on the theory that many with compromised digestion are unable to completely break down certain carbohydrates, and the by-products of incomplete digestion provide fuel for yeast & bacteria, perpetuating the cycle of GI malfunction and disease. On the SCD/RCD, the “allowed” carbohydrates have a molecular structure small enough to be transported across the surface of the small intestine into the blood stream, and do not need to be broken down by pancreatic or intestinal cell surface enzymes, which allows the gut to heal. The goal of the SCD or restricted carbohydrate diet is to heal gastrointestinal damage, rebalance flora and heal leaky gut so that the health of the entire body may be restored.