Question: You often recommend the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Could you please comment on the list of allowed and forbidden supplements for this diet I have seen on the Internet?

Answer: As I have frequently said, the SCD is a useful diet that should be considered for children and adults who have digestive and other health issues. Like any diet, it is not perfect and should be customized based on each individual’s specific needs and circumstances.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is described in a book written by Elaine Gottschall entitled “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” Ms. Gottschall did not invent the diet – she just wrote about it and made it easier to follow by developing many excellent recipes.

Ms. Gottschall was always very clear in stating that she is not an expert on dietary supplements, and that only doctors and nutritionists are qualified to make decisions or give advice in this area.

However, in recent years various SCD websites have made thousands more people aware of this diet and able to benefit from it. Many of these people simply didn’t have a doctor or nutritionist who would work with them and asked Ms. Gottschall for advice on supplements. I believe her intention when she put together her supplement recommendations was simply to give people who are working alone some basic guidance.

Her list doesn’t imply at all that “forbidden” supplements cannot be used or are harmful, just that she doesn’t recommend taking them without professional supervision. In fact, the “forbidden” list contains many of my favorite products, including some that have been very helpful for my patients in conjunction with the SCD or similar diets. If you are working with a qualified healthcare professional, you should not concern yourself with such general recommendations but stick with what helps in your unique circumstances.

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