Is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Outdated?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

person holding an apple in one hand, orange in another


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is coming out every month about other gut healing diets, I think there’s a fair question that needs answering… Is SCD outdated?

(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.


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