Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

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Dec 29, 2015

Specific Carbohydrate Diet for Pediatric IBD

By Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator, @kanaazpereira

Dietary intervention such as the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), initially used to treat celiac disease, has been effective in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well. Dr. Jeanne Tung, M.D., discusses a study, published in the journal Nutrition, where pediatric gastroenterologists at Seattle Children's Hospital looked back at their patients who had tried the specific carbohydrate diet.

In general, the SCD tries to avoid the following foods:

  • Grains, chickpeas
  • Refined sugars or sugar substitutes, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup
  • Chocolate
  • Processed foods, processed meats and fish
  • Soy products
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Root vegetables
  • Milk, cream, commercial yogurt
  • Nut milk, rice milk, hemp milk

What is allowed?

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Most nuts, peas, beans
  • Fresh or frozen meats, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs
  • Some hard cheese, homemade yogurt
  • Honey
  • Juice that is not concentrated

Although the mechanism of action for the SCD is not known, it is hypothesized that the diet decreases intestinal inflammation by changing the fecal microbiome from a proinflammatory state to noninflammatory state.

Read the full study online here.

For more information about IBD, visit

Dr. Tung is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic.

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