The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is intended to stop the cycle of malabsorption and intestinal overgrowth by removing the source of energy from the microbes. The SCD allows simple sugars that do not need to be broken down in order to be absorbed. By eliminating foods that cannot be properly digested, the energy for the undesirable gut organisms is eliminated. These organisms then die off, inflammation is decreased and the immune system can return to normal. Once the immune system is returned to adequate levels, it can begin to keep the intestinal microbes in proper balance leading to healthy digestion. The SCD allows simple carbohydrates, but prohibits complex carbohydrates. For the most seriously affected patients, all carbohydrates should be eliminated for a period of time to allow the intestinal tract to heal. For others, the beginning stage of the diet requires that all fruits and vegetables be peeled, seeded and cooked in order to make them easier to be digested. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are added later.

The next stage of the diet allows many more foods. To properly follow this diet, it is advisable to read “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall. The book details the progression of allowed foods as well as providing many delicious recipes.