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Nutritional therapy in pediatric Crohn disease: the specific carbohydrate diet


J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Jan;58(1):87-91. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000103.
Nutritional therapy in pediatric Crohn disease: the specific carbohydrate diet.
Suskind DL1, Wahbeh G, Gregory N, Vendettuoli H, Christie D.
Author information

Crohn disease is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in the absence of a recognized etiology. Nutritional therapy in the form of exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) has an established role within pediatric Crohn disease. Following exclusive enteral nutrition's success, many dietary therapies focusing on the elimination of specific complex carbohydrates have been anecdotally reported to be successful.
Many of these therapies have not been evaluated scientifically; therefore, we reviewed the medical records of our patients with Crohn disease on the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).
Seven children with Crohn disease receiving the SCD and no immunosuppressive medications were retrospectively evaluated. Duration of the dietary therapy ranged from 5 to 30 months, with an average of 14.6±10.8 months. Although the exact time of symptom resolution could not be determined through chart review, all symptoms were notably resolved at a routine clinic visit 3 months after initiating the diet. Each patient's laboratory indices, including serum albumin, C-reactive protein, hematocrit, and stool calprotectin, either normalized or significantly, improved during follow-up clinic visits.
This chart review suggests that the SCD and other low complex carbohydrate diets may be possible therapeutic options for pediatric Crohn disease. Further prospective studies are required to fully assess the safety and efficacy of the SCD, or any other low complex SCDs in pediatric patients with Crohn disease.
Thanks for posting.

"all symptoms were notably resolved at a routine clinic visit 3 months after initiating the diet" Seems too good to be true! I will definitely look at the full paper.


Naples, Florida
I'm a big fan of SCD and the Paleo diet.

Why do I think they work for many people?

Because they force you to eat whole, healthy foods and ditch the crap. You get the nutrients you need. Same with enteral nutrition. Same with juicing. You get the nutrients you need.

I still believe that they will find that a SUBSTANTIAL aspect of the pathogenesis of some forms of Crohn's disease are due to nutritional deficiency.
So I looked at the study and the children all had mild symptoms per the PCDAI of 10-30 before the diet.
Several of the kids were near remission before the study started from the look of it, so it's possible they would have simply continued into remission regardless of the dietary intervention.

It was also a very small study with only 7 kids involved (even though the chart lists 10, it says 3 were excluded because they had to be put on immunosuppressants). There were also too many variables here - some kids were on supplements, other kids were newly diagnosed, only two girls were part of the study, etc...

It also says nothing of the previous diet these kids were on. If they were typical American kids eating a standard American Diet, I'd assume any positive dietary change would have benefited them.

Hopefully, we can see a more robust, long-term study at some point.
It is just a chart review not a peer reviewed study, but I just think it is great they are looking into making this into a controlled study and it is published which makes me hope doctors might stop saying eat whatever bc it doesn't cause it. Diet never helped my kiddo get to remission but I think each case is different and I hope someone might get somewhere faster with its use. :)

Lady Organic

Staff member
Dr Suskind is also working on fecal transplant. Hopefully he has not given up the SCD diet experiment. Looking forward to more of his observations with both SCD diet or FMT. looks like this doctor is really dedicted into finding natural approaches to treat IBD. I wish more doctors would step out and take leads in exploring diets with patients, but at least its a trend that is growing.