When you’re always searching for the nearest bathroom or unable to join friends at certain restaurants, digestive issues can really hinder your quality of life. You may start secluding yourself from social situations if you’re having constant bouts of intestinal issues.
It’s not fun when you feel as if your body has turned against you, taking away your freedom.
There’s a diverse community of microbes, both good and bad, in your gut. These gut microflora are all trying to compete for real estate on your intestinal walls since it’s the perfect environment for them.
This is a good thing if most of the bacteria settling down in your intestinal tract are beneficial bacteria. These healthy bacteria help strengthen your immune system and promote digestion and absorption.
But if pathogenic bacteria overpopulate your beneficial bacteria, it can really cause a commotion in the neighborhood. These harmful bacteria release gas and toxic byproducts which can lead to constipation, diarrhea, inflammation, and other digestive issues.
An overgrowth of unwanted bacteria in your small intestine, also known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), could be the culprit taking away your digestive freedom.
What you feed this rich ecosystem of microbes in your gut plays a significant role in letting you get your independence, and your health back.
Reverse the Vicious Cycle
An overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine is prompted by certain environmental factors which disturb the balance of your gut bacteria.
Certain triggers which can cause SIBO include:
- Overuse of antacids
- Reduced stomach acidity
- Poor nutrition
- Prior bowel surgery
- Heavy alcohol use
- Oral contraceptive pills
If there’s an imbalance in your gut bacteria, consuming and avoiding certain foods can either hinder or help rebalance your gut microbes.
Harmful bacteria thrive off of complex carbohydrates in your diet. These non-digestible molecules are leftover for your bad microbes to gobble up through the fermentation process. During fermentation, these bacteria leave behind harmful waste products which irritate and damage your gut.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is designed to help digestive disorders by eliminating many complex carbohydrate sources including all grains, dairy products, most sugars, and many starches.
Digestive disorders including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can also affect your intestines resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be helpful in reversing the vicious cycle happening in your gut and begin to heal your gut.
Studies show The Specific Carbohydrate Diet can vastly improve symptoms in the following digestive disorders:
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic diarrhea
- Leaky gut
By altering your nutrition, you can alter your gut microflora species and population, restore your beneficial gut bacteria, and heal your digestive tract.
The Art of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was developed by Elaine Gottschall to help her child whom was suffering from severe ulcerative colitis. After years of clinical studies with Dr. Sidney Haas, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, when followed strictly, has shown improvement in up to 75% of patients.
Food is a powerful substance for your digestive tract. It has the ability to change the diverse ecosystem of microbes inhabiting your gut. This could be a good thing if you’re eating nutritious food. But, on the other hand, if you’re consuming a poor diet, it can catapult you into a spiral of digestive health issues.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet allows you to eat simple carbohydrates such as monosaccharides. Monosaccharides are easily broken down by your digestive tract. These single molecular structures don’t leave leftovers for pathogenic microbes to thrive off of.
Complex carbohydrates such as disaccharides (double molecules) and polysaccharides (chain molecules) are finger-licking good for your bad bacteria, helping them dominate your beneficial bacteria.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet Basics
For those struggling with mild digestive issues, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be just a short-term diet. Once the bacteria is finally eliminated, you can usually start to slowly introduce restricted foods back into your diet.
But if you’re severely affected by intestinal bowel disorders you might want to consider making this a long-term diet.
At first, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can seem overwhelming. Reading labels, looking up ingredients, and changing your lifestyle is a big challenge. But once you form a habit and start feeling the results, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can become second nature.
Some legal foods on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet include:
- Most vegetables
- Homemade yogurt fermented at least 24 hours
- Organic and unprocessed fish, eggs, meat, and poultry
- Specific low sugar fruits
- Healthy fats
- Certain soaked/sprouted legumes
- Unsweetened and unprocessed drinks
- Cheddar cheese
- Spices, but avoid spice mixtures
Illegal foods to avoid on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet:
- Complex sugars
- Grains and grain-based products
- Processed fish, meat, and poultry
- Most dairy products
- Potatoes, corn, canned vegetables
- Canned fruits (fruits canned in their own juice are allowed)
- Refined oils and fats
- Sweets and packaged snacks
- Food preservatives
- Sweetened drinks, beer, and juice
- Most beans and legumes
You can download and print a full list of “illegal and legal” foods for easy access while following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
Functional Medicine Doctors in the Kansas City Area
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a very restrictive diet no doubt, especially if you are used to the Standard American Diet. Consider thinking of SCD as starving off the harmful bacteria causing all of your unwanted digestive symptoms.
Once you continuously restrict their fuel sources, these pathogenic microbiota populations usually have no choice but to leave.
At Jellison Integrative MD, we can help guide you on your journey to digestive recovery. Dr. Jessica Jellison and Dr. Paul Reicherter understand how confusing and frustrating sticking to a new diet can be. But eradicating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can make all the difference in your digestive health.
If you’re in the Kansas City area and battling with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or inflammatory bowel disease, request an appointment today with Jellison Integrative MD or call (913) 568-0608.