Thursday, November 3, 2011

Personal Doubts About the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Don't get me wrong. I am forever in debt to Elaine Gottschall and the founders of the Elemental Diet and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I know that being on this diet is keeping me from being on dangerous drugs and another victim to greedy pharmaceutical companies. I love that Breaking the Vicious Cycle explains how on a molecular level food has the ability to heal and our bodies have the ability to repair themselves. However, I can't help but notice that the SCD has it's drawbacks. For me personally I have noticed a few alarming things that I can only contribute to being on the SCD.
First of all I recently went to my gastroenterologist to attempt to get LDN (that didn't work out). But their routine blood pressure check showed that I now have (slightly) high blood pressure! This shocked me. I have never in my life even been on the high end of normal blood pressure. I am always very low on the spectrum (not an unhealthy low, but low-normal). How can a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and some meats give me high blood pressure? This is a conundrum. Also, I now have little white marks in my fingernails that I haven't had since I was a kid. I have done some research and found that these are usually an indicator of some kind of nutrient deficiency. Again, how can a diet so healthy produce a nutrient deficiency? I know that this is nothing life-threatening, and these symptoms are certainly no reason to stop the SCD, but I am just curious to know if anyone else has noticed the like? Or if the diet has had (slightly) negative implications for you?


  1. My blood pressure has been normal, and I have been on the diet for eleven years. I had a little time off the diet, but for the most part I have been on it.

    One thing with the diet, is I think it can be high in saturated fat. I try not to eat too much read meat, and I admit I have a weakness for cheese, but I try not to go overboard.

    As far as vitamins - I have periodically had problems with low iron levels, but I don't think that really has much to do with SCD. I've always had that long before SCD.

    One thing that is weird is that when I first went on SCD I lost a lot of weight. I gained weight when I stopped the diet, but I only lost a little when I started again. I am disappointed in that.

  2. Thank you so much for your comments! I recently discovered that I can tolerate dried beans, so I have been subbing out meats for beans for one meal a day. Hope this does help, you are right there are high levels of saturated fats on SCD. I hope to be on SCD for 11 years eventually too; That's great to hear!

  3. I believe white marks on the nails are a sign of zinc deficiency.

    Luckily, I've only had good changes since being on SCD. My vitamin D levels are up, my red blood cells are plumper, my iron levels quit dropping, my tachycardia has gone away, my very low blood pressure is now normal, and my triglycerides have been cut in half. I do have high cholesterol (both good and bad), but I had that before SCD.

  4. As you've found, you'll have a difficult time finding an MD that will prescribe LDN. I don't know what the laws are in your state, but in many states naturopathic doctors, or NDs, can write some prescriptions as well. Perhaps that's one avenue you could explore?

    As for your blood pressure... I would't worry *too* much about it until you've got enough samples to show a trend. Maybe you were experiencing some stress that day? Maybe you were anxious about talking to your MD about LDN? It doesn't take much to momentarily raise your blood pressure, and unless you're seeing a consistent trend, I know that if it were me, I could consider it an interesting anomaly.

  5. I should add an addendum to this post:
    I checked my blood pressure a week later at home and it was perfectly normal. Someone asked me if I was moving or talking while the nurse was checking my bp at the doctor's office. It was then that I recalled I may have been moving, and I definitely was talking because the nurse was asking me what medications I was taking while the bp machine was going! I didn't realize talking would make such a big difference.
    Lesson learned: I should really not sweat the small stuff so much.

  6. I went on SCD due to ulcerative colitis. My 93 year old mother started doing SCD because the food smelled so good. I had been feeding her blackberry pie for breakfast and pumpkin pie for lunch and dinner because pie was the only food I was able to get her to eat. Her blood pressure has come from uncontrollable hypertension with hospitalizations for blood pressure 240/130 to almost weaned off her blood pressure medications. Yesterday, mom went out and burned garbage, today she vacuumed the rugs. Not bad for 93.
    I think eating real food and healing ourselves with diet has some very positive advantages. Thank you Elaine Gotshall!