SCD Review from WebMD

I’m not sure how old this review is, but I just came across it recently. It’s a review of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet from WebMD.

Periodically I like to search what the medical community thinks of SCD. We all know there is not a lot of support from doctors about the diet. I know they can’t really use it as a treatment. That would be too much of a liability for them. I just wish they wouldn’t be so dismissive about food causing inflammation.

This review from WebMD is somewhat mixed. They do say that it can’t be ignored how many people are helped by the diet. I would like to address some of the criticisms they have of the diet:

They say the diet eliminates too many foods so we can’t pinpoint what foods actually cause problems.
I think what we have learned from SCD and what is talked about in Breaking the Vicious Cycle is that all these eliminated foods are detrimental to IBD. It is also stated that someone needs to follow the diet as outlined for a long time (different for different people) and then new foods can slowly be added back in. There is no need to specifically pinpoint problem foods until symptoms are gone and someone is trying to add foods back into their diet.  SCD is not about finding problem foods. It’s about controlling bacteria and inflammation of the digestive track.

They say the diet is too hard to follow and that people will lose too much weight from consuming too few calories because they won’t know what to eat.

I found this argument to be kind of strange. Yes, the diet can be hard to follow at the beginning. In the nearly twelve years I have been following this diet, and talking with others who do, I have never heard of anyone losing too much weight. Some people do lose weight. I did when I first started it, but it was weight I needed to lose anyway. Some people gain weight though, and it’s weight they need to gain. There are plenty of people who start this diet after they have hardly been able to eat at all. The diet actually puts more calories into their system, not less. There is really no basis to make the claim that people won’t be able to eat enough to sustain themselves. I also don’t think something being “too hard” (and I don’t actually think it is too hard) is a reason not to try something.

They say the diet will be deficient in vitamins and minerals because of the elimination of grains and dairy.

The first thing I would say is that dairy is not eliminated from the diet. Yogurt is a big part of the diet, and cheese is also allowed. I think if someone is diligent they can get all the vitamins missing from grains. I have personally been concerned about eliminating whole grains from my diet for life,  which is why I eat quinoa and millet every once in a while. That’s the thing, not everyone will have to eliminate these foods from their diet for the rest of their life. Some people will be able to add these foods back in. Some won’t, but if the foods make them sick, they won’t be helpful anyway.

They say the diet is completely inappropriate for children.

They basically say the diet is too overwhelming physically and emotionally for children. I don’t have any personal experience with this, but I do know people have helped their children be successful with the diet. Of course Breaking the Vicious Cycle is about how Gottschall successfully treated her young daughter’s UC with the diet. I also know a lot of people use the diet for kids with autism.

So that’s basically the points in this review I wanted to address. They consulted some doctors for their opinions about the diet, but no one with any actual experience with it.  It would have been nice to get another viewpoint from someone who has worked with the diet.

What does everyone think of this review?



Sherry Lipp

Sherry Lipp

Sherry is a writer/blogger specializing in entertainment and food writing. She has been following a gluten, grain, and sugar-free diet for over 15 years and is the author of Don't Skip Dessert: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free & Sugar-Free Sweet Treats. She also enjoys writing about movies and television. You can find her entertainment articles at
Sherry Lipp

2 thoughts on “SCD Review from WebMD

  1. Hi there, just found your site, and I love it! I’m about to start the SCD, and this will be a great resource for me 🙂 May I ask, regarding the whole grains: what do you mean about being “diligent” to replace the vitamins lost from whole grains??

  2. Hi Lizzie – Welcome to SCD! I just mean it’s a good idea to make sure a variety of foods are eaten to get complete nutrition. I used to make lists of what types of grain free foods were high in iron, calcium, and folic acid since I didn’t used to have that varied of a diet when it came to vegetables. I had a few staples that I stuck with. Now I eat a lot more different kinds of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Just eliminating non-SCD foods will probably not give most people enough calories and nutrients. I found I had to try eating foods I wasn’t used to.

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