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Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Diet Review

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Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Experts' Views continued...

Calories along with protein are essential to help maintain the immune system, stay healthy, and be able to heal, Sandquist says.

Another concern is the nutritional inadequacy of the diet.  Eliminating whole food groups from the diet sets up the dieter for potential nutrient deficiencies. “When you don’t eat grains you miss out on B vitamins, fiber, and iron.  Eliminating dairy pulls out the best source of calcium and vitamin D along with potassium," Sandquist says. 

On the positive side, there can be a psychological benefit for adults who are proactive and empowered by taking charge of their disease with the diet. 

However, when it comes to children, it could be an emotional burden and an even greater nutritional concern.

“Children and teens have extraordinary nutritional needs to support growth and to combat their disease. Therefore, the additional restrictions of this diet could be overwhelming emotionally and physically," says Mason, who does not recommend the SCD diet for children.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Food for Thought

The SCD has been around for years because for some people with GI diseases, it minimizes symptoms. But the diet, because of its severe restrictions and nutritional inadequacies, needs to be studied further and validated by the medical community.

If you want to try the SCD, consult your doctor first. "If any of my patients wanted to try this plan (which they have not), I would be willing as long as they agreed to being monitored very closely," Mason says.

You may also want to consult a registered dietitian to make sure you're meeting all your nutritional needs while you're on the SCD diet.

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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