Comparing the SCD Diet to the GFCF Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was formulated in the ‘50s by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas. It is also known as the SCD Diet, and it is the direct precursor to Dr. Elaine Gottschall’s GAPS Diet. While it is not entirely gluten-free and casein-free, it does have similar objectives to the GFCF Diet and other autism diets: To help free those with gluten and casein intolerance from the gastrointestinal and behavioral issues that sometimes come along with disorders in the autism spectrum.

How does the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Work?

The initial diet is called the “Intro Diet,” and it is practically identical in most ways to the GAPS Introduction Diet. There are a few exceptions. SCD allows a few things that GAPS does not such as peanuts, navy beans, white beans, and cottage cheese. The allowed foods in this diet more closely resemble the same foods that the GFCF Diet permits.woman cutting vegetables

However, the SCD Diet closely follows the same stages as the GAPS diet from the Introduction part, which consists of several stages, and then the full-on diet stage. Just as with GAPS, the SCD Diet takes a while to implement. Each stage takes weeks or months to get through, and there are quite a few exceptions to rules. For instance, one rule is to avoid dairy, but cheeses made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk that undergo at least 30 days of natural aging are permitted.

The foods and beverages that are disallowed are:

  • Alcoholic beverages like brandy and sherry
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Curry, onion and garlic powders
  • Freshly brewed coffee
  • Grains such as rice, barley and wheat
  • Instant coffee
  • Juices made for commercial sale
  • Milk and milk-based drinks and creamers
  • Processed meats like ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausages, salami and other sandwich meats
  • Starchy foods such as potatoes, corn starch, parsnips and yams
  • Sugar sweetened beverages

Unlike most diets of this type, this one actually allows the consumption of dry wines, vodka, and whiskeys like rye, scotch and bourbon.

So How Does it Compare to GFCF?

As a diet that is seen as an alternate autism diet, it is a mostly gluten-free and casein-free diet, with the exception of the very limited dairy allowance, and it certainly seems to help in similar ways to the GFCF Diet. However, the Specific Carbohydrate diet is just as complicated to follow and as difficult to implement as GAPS.

If there is any criticism of GFCF compared to SCD, it is that GFCF is slightly more lax with the inclusion of occasional sugary treats. Nonetheless, GFCF is, out of all the autism diets, the easiest to follow and the strictest in terms of gluten-free and casein-free foods.

For additional information, please visit:

SCD Lifestyle

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

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