Is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Outdated? (Making Sense of All the Gut Healing Diets)

I had two very important conversations this weekend.

They both went something like this. “I tried Paleo, Low-FODMAP, GAPS, and Gluten-Free. But nothing has worked like this!”

Two new friends I recently met followed our ideas on how to do the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and they’ve never felt better.

It stirred something deep inside me. It reminded me about my pain…  about my struggles and how much testing, tweaking and experience has gone into the work we’ve been doing on this website since 2009.

But as new research is coming out every month about other gut healing diets, I think there’s a fair question that needs answering… Is SCD outdated?

Is Leaky Gut Making You Sicker?


(latest SCD study here)

The Paradox of Incestuous Diet Options These Days

There’s so many options these days: Paleo, Paleo Autoimmune, FODMAP diet, GAPS, Gluten-free, Vegetarian and Gluten-free/Dairy-free. A person with gut issues could easily get lost in the paradox of choice.

Many of these diets are incestuous. GAPS was built on top of SCD. Paleo and Paleo Autoimmune share many of the same qualities with both of them. The Low-FODMAP diet is a product of the work of all of these diets.

Most of them are so alike, sharing 80% or more of the same principles. Honestly, over the years, at times I’ve even gotten confused, annoyed, frustrated.

With SCD not getting as much press lately as these other diet ideas… well why would anyone choose it? If you do it the way we did, the way 10,000+ other people who’ve followed us have… it could be considered the hardest of the bunch.

But it all boils down to one thing – results.

SCD works… when the rest FAIL. See for yourself…

“I had been on the SCD for about 6 months and felt so good that I started to get cocky and think I was better. I would occasionally indulge in foods that had previously made me feel bad. Well, that didn’t work so well. My IBS flared and I became constipated and miserable. I decided to re-start the SCD a couple of weeks ago and I decided that this time I really needed more support than I previously had received. Through people I’m following on twitter, I found Jordan and Steve and decided to order their book. The book has been great in helping me begin again with the intro diet and ease back into the SCD. I’ve only started cooking in the last 6 months so I really appreciate the step-by-step directions for preparing food. I also really like the guides for each stage. I really need the structure right now to keep me on track and this book totally helps.” – Allison

“I was going to the bathroom ten times a day or so, or 12 times a day before I started.  And the first week, actually the first couple of days already, I couldn’t even keep track of how many times I was going to the bathroom because it was like once maybe.” – Read Karl’s Success Story

“I had been a subscriber to SCD Lifestyle for a few months before I finally decided to try the diet. After reading numerous success stories and feeling a newfound hope and determination to take action, I knew what I had to do. I had to find a diet that worked for me, and SCD has allowed me to do just that. But more importantly, I needed to feel alive again. I couldn’t stand living in a state of anxiety and depression anymore.

Once I began SCD, I saw results immediately. And once I started to feel better, I realized that there is no going back. SCD isn’t just a fad or a diet, it’s a lifestyle. What I love most about this diet is that it is tailored to me. No test or doctor can tell me what I need; my body tells me every day. I’m becoming more and more aware of my reactions to food and how important the relationship is between food and our emotions. For the longest time, I felt like food and I hated each other. I couldn’t figure out what agreed with me and what didn’t. SCD Lifestyle teaches you how to discover your sensitivities and it is way easier than I originally thought.” – Read Kara’s Success Story.

There is something deeper going on here, something that most can’t see.

Why Would SCD Work so Well?

It’s interesting to me that, despite all the advances in research, SCD still continues to provide relief, hope and healing when the other diets don’t (of course SCD principles have been around for 127 years but who’s counting).

What is it that makes it different?

Well, I believe that if you just pick up Breaking the Vicious Cycle (great book) you won’t necessarily succeed.

There’s something different about our followers. They’re getting results when BTVC and the rest of the new class of diets don’t consistently deliver.

The reason comes down to the fundamentals.

It’s the intro diet, it’s the 4 horseman, it’s the custom diet creation.

And it’s a reminder that diet isn’t the only answer.

Mastering fundamentals is what makes professionals different than amateurs, whether it’s in tennis, swimming, basketball or golf.

To be a pro means you do the fundamentals flawlessly.

And these other diet ideas are forgetting the fundamentals.

How to Master the Fundamentals of Diet For Gut Health

I just mentioned several of them. Were you aware that there are so many?

Let’s cover a quick list of what you should be concerned about if you want to make a pro-level recovery from your digestive issues:

  1. Start with a proven, simple intro diet
  2. Systematically add foods to create your safe zone diet
  3. Expand to a broader custom diet (listen to your body)
  4. Be aware of the 4 horseman and other common food reactions
  5. Remember basic supplement support is needed (it’s not just diet)
  6. Get to the root issues after you’ve stabilized
  7. Eat what you want and what your body wants
  8. Learn to enjoy food again, to love your gut and smile more

At the end, what’s the goal? Well, my goal for you is for you to learn the fundamentals of food from the framework of SCD. And when the time comes I want to get rid of the “diets” and remember that as a human we must eat to live – it’s a lifestyle.

SCD is a POWERFUL tool. It’s the most comprehensive and yet simplest construct for gut issues that we know of, that is if you follow our SCD eBook guidelines and the fundamentals above.

So, start there. Follow the plan above. The 100’s of testimonials, success stories and our personal journeys should be all the proof you need. What do you have to lose?


Of course, you might want to know more about time before you begin.

Are You a Mild or Tough Case?

There is one thing that you likely want to know about. How long is this going to take? How long before I’m healed?

Deep down you know, whether you want to admit it or not, there’s no way we or ANYONE can answer this for you.

If they attempt to do anything other than show you what the averages are… well that’s a really bad sign.

We are all unique snowflakes. Our journeys follow a similar story arc but the time and “steps along the way” variables always differ.

There’s one thing I can tell you, the SCD intro diet, plus supplements, plus stress relief typically helps everyone. Plenty of people fail to try these 3 at the same time and end up not seeing results. Don’t be that person.

Beyond that…

We’ve found that people typically fall into 2 categories:

Mild Cases and Tough Cases.

And we’ve put together a free quiz that can help you understand which one you are and what that will mean about how long it will take you to heal.

Take the gut health quiz here.

Relief Should Come Quickly… or Change it Up!

One thing I don’t believe in is wasting time.

More specifically, I’m talking about wasting time on things that aren’t working, not taking an afternoon off to day dream. Now that’s totally different.

What I mean is if you’re doing something that’s not working and you keep doing it the same way… well that’s wasted time.

The engineering way, the way that has always helped us when we felt overwhelmed, confused and frustrated, is to keep trying different tweaks.

It could be as simple as eating too many bananas, not taking enough digestive enzymes, having stomach acid issues or a parasite. What I want you to do, if you aren’t getting the relief you want from your diet changes, is keep going! Keep changing it up.

And if you’re looking for a framework that has worked for people with all kinds of IBS, Celiac disease, Diverticulitis, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis and everything in between…

In the end, you MUST create a custom lifestyle diet for you that doesn’t have a name. It’s the “Sue Diet.” It’s the “Steve Diet.” It’s the “Jordan Diet.”

And our book can help you do that, which is exactly why we created it – to help you create your custom version of SCD that’s going to work for you.

I hope you give our eBook a try because I believe our way of executing SCD is as relevant and important as ever.


Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

Is Your Body Secretly
Suffering from a Leaky Gut?

Take this 3-minute quiz to find out if you have the #1 problem missed by modern medicine...

Take the Quiz NOW
(NOTE: The results of this quiz could save your life)

19 thoughts on “Is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Outdated? (Making Sense of All the Gut Healing Diets)

  1. Avatar

    What are your thoughts on the FODMAP specific diet for treating SIBO? I’ve had horrible IBS for 9 years since getting my appendix out, and then acquiring a parasite while in hospital (which went undiagnosed for 3yrs). By the time it was diagnosed, I think it caused my gut so much damage, and I now have horrendous problems – but I really think the amount of antibiotics I ended up taking to try and get rid of it has caused me to develop SIBO (I have a lactulose Hydrogen breath test on the way – not sure if I should also do the Glucose test?). Suffice to say I’ve gone back to university and in my final year of my Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics, due to the constant frustration with the medical and dietary approaches to IBS. I’ve found that every diet (SCD, GAPS, FODMAP, RPA elimination all have things I can’t handle – onions and garlic And that family are clearly problems, as are all nuts and legumes. But then weird things like Avocado are a major problem. Coconut flour and desiccated shredded coconut is also off limits, and I can’t understand why honey is ok in the SIBO app as that really makes me sick. The FODMAP specific diet looks like it might be the closest one for me so far, but still would need some tweaking – but that might be the case for everyone? It probably sounds crazy, but I was devastated when my coeliac biopsy was negative – that would have been such a simple answer compared to this… many thanks, Helen

  2. Avatar

    I’ve been eating SCD for at least 8 years now to hel my leaky gut and celiac. But recently developed SIBO and diverticulitis. I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about the Fast Tract diet. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts and to understand the difference. Thanks so much.

  3. Avatar

    I had recently been diagnosed with SIBO. I didn’t have diarrhea or constipation, only pain and took an antibiotic and am still taking a probiotic. I didn’t know anything about any of these diets and I found this diet while researching my diagnosis, but I didn’t start the intro diet. Is that okay? I have been on the SCD diet for 2 weeks. I found out that it takes months to heal, if ever. I have found many recipes from various books. I am amazed how delicious this diet can be without grains, dairy, and sugar. I am anxious to see if there is an improvement in my condition like many people claim.

    • Avatar

      Hi J – thanks for reaching out!

      We’re really happy to hear you’ve found SCD and we hope it can help you the way it has helped many other people.

      We do recommend you start with the Intro diet. Some people feel better when they switch to just eating SCD-legal foods, but for true healing to occur, we think you need to start with the Intro Diet and then phase in foods.

      Our eBook explains how:

  4. Avatar

    I’ve been looking at the leaky gut diet and have followed the scd in the past. SCD has helped me earlier but not so much now. How do the two fit together? What do you recommend? I’ve had Crohns for 31 years now and am having troubles now due to fistulas that caused sphincter damage as well.

    Thanks, karen

    • Avatar

      Hi Karen,
      Solving Leaky Gut is SCD compliant, and even more restrictive. It combines diet, lifestyle and supplements, whereas the eBook focuses mostly on the diet and some lifestyle. The most updated research is included in the Solving Leaky Gut product whereas the eBook is a few years old now.

      The course also provides extra meal plan advice, recipes, and recommendations as well as a quiz to customize each person’s plan. The bundle gives a step by step approach whereas the eBook is more of a higher level overview. The Solving Leaky gut bundle also includes supplemental protocols.
      The meal plans are included in the product bundle and are for tough and mild cases specifically.

  5. Avatar

    Do you have printed materials that could be mailed out versus online. My mother has colitis and I would like her to hear about this but don’t really want to be that involved with printing out emails and having to listen to her about it. Correct, we aren’t that close and she doesn’t have a computer, she’s 74 and not interested in one.

    I will provide her name and address if you have a mailing program for seniors and technophobes.


    * this query is not giving permission to send ongoing marketing materials to my email.

    • Avatar

      HI Dee,
      I’m really sorry for any confusion about our book. Right now we are only offering our book online in eBook format (PDF file) so that people can instantly download it upon purchase and start the diet as soon as possible. It also helps us get it to more people on the web without dealing with shipping all over the world. It can be read on any computer or using a Kindle, Nook or other eBook readers.
      If you do want to print it all off you could download it to a disc or a thumb drive and take it to a library or print shop (like Kinko’s) to print it. I’d like to point out that it is 160 pages so it might not be cost effective depending on the rates. The few folks that have emailed us with printing questions have found that they actually read through the book on their computer and just printed the key parts of the book that they wanted to use in the kitchen. It proved to be cost effective and simple that way and they really enjoyed the flexibility it provided them.

  6. Avatar

    I have followed the SCD Lifestyle for a few years now, and it was a great blessing! My husband is a minister, and we have recently come to BANGLADESH and India for a prolonged missions trip. Since we are staying in hotels and other places, we are eating the local cuisine. I have been able to eat a larger variety of foods here, without becoming sick. I feel that it is due, in a large part, to the lack of genetically modified food supply. Most of the grains are locally grown. In countries where rice is the staple food, it was important to me to be able to eat a little because we are guests in many homes, and they may not have other foods available to serve. God bless you all, and thanks for doing what you do!

  7. Avatar

    I have been on Koufmann’s reflux diet and Norm Robillard’s diet. I have Gerd and Barretts and LPR. Doc says Barretts and LPR very mild. And I have had chronic constipation my whole life. Since doing Robillard’s diet my constipation is worse then ever . I can go some with CALM magnesium. PPI gave me a body rash . I am making an appt with a Integrated functional medicine doctors. I prefer to handle this holistically. Would the SCD work for gastro issues? I get very little pain. It is mainly a sore throat from LPR and constipation. Thanks Connie

  8. Avatar

    I agree with Leda, it does seem to be more of a marketing ploy. Especially when we have followed GAPS for three years and seen amazing results from just simply following the diet. As you said, SCD is what GAPS is based on, and your 8 pillars that you describe above are exactly what are covered in the book that is only a $30 investment. I’m not sure what the cost of your program is, but if it is helping people I am glad for it as I know a lot of people do need individual help which is often very hard to find. I do agree with you however about the paleo autoimmune diet. I feel that that is not getting at the root cause and just deceptive to helping people heal.

Leave a Reply