The Specific Carbohydrate Diet - what is it?

In my experience my doctor's recommendations regarding diet were useless. They never helped. Not in any significant way.
The SCD has not only helped, it has put my life back into my control.

Nancy (28 Feb 1999)

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is developed by the Canadian biochemist Elaine Gottschall who has published the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" - which is the book about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Elaine Gottschall has spent four years at the University of Western Ontario researching the effects of various sugars on the digestive tract at cellular level, and one year researching the changes that occur in the bowel wall in inflammatory disease. The results of her work are published in the journal Acta Anatomica 123:178(1985). And the details of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be found in her book.

Elaine Gottschall, book, and radio show host

The basic principle of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is: never eat something that your intestines cannot digest. There are specific carbohydrates which are trouble makers in the digestive system...

It has done wonders for thousands of people, all around the globe. However, it is a tough diet to get a handle on, and many people do not or cannot stick with it long enough to find some benefits in it. It is after all a fairly simple diet, that is in so much as you ingest no starch or refined sugars. But that simple statement requires a complete change of life style. That requires a great deal of determination.

But, it is a loooong story - so, first of all, get hold of the book!

Read some reviews of the book:
in the Townsend Newsletter for Doctors and in The Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology.

At the book home page you'll find information about how to order the book from the Canadian publisher. Also, video and tape interviews with Elaine Gottschall are available.

Other places to get hold of the book here.

I keep reading and re-reading the book - and one thing is clear
IT IS A TWO YEAR PROGRAM (with the possibility of relapses)
It is not a quick fix.


Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 12:30:39 PST

Subject: Give it a try newcomers

I have some personal advice to any newcomers to the diet, especially those who are quite sick at the time they are starting the diet.
Start slowly, gradually, and carefully. You can't just jump into it, eating all the allowables in the beginning. You should start out with foods that are easier to digest and when the diarreah goes away you can introduce more foods gradually like raw fruits and vegies and nut breads. But in the beginning, be sure to peel, remove seeds, and cook all fruits and vegies well, and hold off on the nut related recipes. If you have any questions, ask us on the list and we can walk you through it.
The book does explain this, but sort of in a round about way, and some people who just skim through the book and then start the diet tend to miss this crucial introductory phase. It upsets me because then they tend to get worse and blame the diet, when in reality, if they had followed it more carefully it may have worked. It's not complicated, really.
Give it a try.

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 09:06:20 -0400
From: Rachel Turet <>
Subject: we've all been there

Dear Very Worried Mother,
I remember when I was first diagnosed, thinking "what the hell is UC?" Never heard of it, didn't know anyone who had it and was sure I'd been struck by some rare, unheard of deadly disease. The most amazing thing about your letter and those you'll see on this site, is that it seems that at one stage or another, we've all been there. Same road, same shock, same feelings of helplessness and isolation. We've all had variations of the same doctors, some well-meaning and ignorant of this disease, others arogant and ignorant (worst combo) of this disease. As far as I know, nothing (with the exception of removal of the colon) has had the same success rate as this diet. It works to varying degrees in different people and for an unfortunate few doesn't seem to work, but there's tons of testimony (see ) that proves that there are scores of people like myself (4 years of remission on 4/1/99) who've had their lives turned around by the diet. Good luck and hang in there.

...Also, read some personal explanations on the diet, answers to frequently asked questions from newcomers on the SCD mailing list.

...And, among the many others, don't miss reading Jim Prousalis' testimonial.

... There are numerous of opinions and advice on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet on these three pages: [1], [2] and [3]

If you're having trouble finding the book, try the online book store at They are supposed to be great to deal with and have more books available than any conventional book store. When searching for "Gottschall, Elaine", you'll find both of her books - the old and the new version.
Here's some of the page they returned for her latest version:

Elaine Gottschall: Breaking the Vicious Cycle
Rev Edition
List: USdollar 16.95 - Price: USdollar 15.26 - You Save: USdollar 1.69 (10 percent)
Published by Kirkton Pr
Publication date: December 1, 1994
Dimensions (in inches): 8.95 x 5.81 x .58
ISBN: 0969276818

Availability: This item usually shipped within 2-3 days.

A direct link to the book on Amazon's site may be found at:
Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Please note, though, that it is a buck cheaper to buy it from John Chalmer ( than from Amazon

Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 21:11:20 EST
Subject: Re: getting the book

<< Is the book available in Australia, or only North America and Europe?
<< Getting books from one hemisphere to another is a long and slow journey at
<< the best of times, but especially this time of year.
<< Garry Rodan
<< Perth


The book is available from Barnes & Noble on their web site:

They can ship anywhere in the world. I have no idea what the shipping charges are to Australia, but I'm sure you can find out at the website before

Good Luck,


I purchased the book from and it took about a month to arrive in Darwin. The cost of the book with postage and handling was $29.00 American working out to $50.00 Australian. Yes its a bit pricey but its worth every cent.

Dani (UC)

If you live in Europe, you might like to know that the book is also available at 13.95 pounds, including P&P - at:

Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy, SPNT
P.O. Box 47
East Sussex
TN21 8ZX

Tel (+44) 1-435867007
Fax (+44) 1-435868033

William R Gills in England also distributes the book. Contact:

William R Gills
31 Oakdale Glen
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Tel: (+44) 1-423 568313 & (+44) 1-860 226463
Fax (+44) 1-423 531292.

Check for the price there...

If you live in Denmark, you might like to know that Arnold Busk Boghandel in Købmagergade 49 in Copenhagen can get you the English version of the book in app. one months time. The Danish edition can be purchased or ordered in any book store in Denmark

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:03:11 -0600
From: "Brad Lait" <>
To: "SCD List" <>
Subject: canadian book ordering site

For you Canadians that want to order Elaine Gottschall's book via the internet there's a site at

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