The Official Website for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

The Official Website for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet The Official Website for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

DAN 2004: MOTHER AND SCIENTIST

DAN 2004: Mother and Scientist

April 22nd, 2004

Two Views: Mother and Scientist

A Mother's View:
From 1952 to 1960, there seemed to be no answers to the series of health problems facing our child. Periods of severe diarrhea, severe constipation, spontaneous nosebleeds, night-time siezures, failure to thrive, and, finally, the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. The years of treatment with prednisone and sulfonamides, plus innumerable other medical approaches, had been unsuccessful and surgery seemed imminent. The prospect of the removal of an eight year old child's colon can be described , as one Mother said when faced with the same prospect, "it was like every black cloud ever created was hovering over us." And then, it happened! An acquaintance pointed us to the office of Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas, a specialist practicing pediatrics in New York City. Ninety-two year old Dr. Haas placed our child on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and within days, the neurological symptoms went, never to return, the colitis symptoms were completely gone in one year . She began to thrive leaving all the previous problems behind and making up for lost time.

How could a simple diet cure an "incurable disease?" The mystery haunted me and launched me on a "treasure hunt" through academia for the next 12 years.

A Scientist's View:
The pieces of the puzzle began falling into place during the process of integrating old and new findings in the science of digestion, immunology, nutritional biochemistry, microbiology, cellular biology, and histology. Even as this odyssey progressed, discoveries were rapidly being reported in the medical literature. It became apparent that in those suffering with intestinal problems there is injury to the intestinal surface, specifically, to the digestive enzymes residing on the intestinal cells. This prevents
the completion of digestion of most carbohydrates and some protein and, therefore, these undigested foods provide excess nutrition for the unseen world of intestinal microbes. Result: they overpopulate. Their increase in numbers results in an increase in fermentation. This results in :

  1. The production of an excess of short chain organic acids (thus lowering of the pH of the colon);
  2. An increase in the production of metabolic byproducts of fermentation as well as bacterial toxins; and
  3. A possible mutation of some harmless bacteria into pathological forms. Additionally, excess mucus production on the surface of the intestinal cells prevents further digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, developed by Dr. Sidney V. Haas, provides an intervention to this vicious cycle by depriving intestinal microbes of their energy source while providing excellent nutrition to the patient. By providing a diet that contains predominantly "predigested" carbohydrates, the individual with an intestinal problem can be maximally nourished without over-stimulation of the intestinal microbial population.

Slides show biopsies taken from children, all with chronic diarrhea, (including soy-protein, milk protein, and gluten sensitivities). It can be seen that the intestinal mucosa has an increase in mucus covering in which colonies of microorganisms are found. There is increased cell shedding and turnover, damage to the intestinal microvilli, partial and complete villous atrophy, and resulting carbohydrate intolerance.

To summarize, the continual, indiscriminate feeding of undigestible, and, thereby, unabsorbable carbohydrates to individuals with chronic diarrhea (with various diagnoses) can only perpetuate and exacerbate the problems.


 
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It sounds crazy but if you are a chronic sufferer of colitis, you will understand why I was so thrilled. I continued to follow the specific carbohydrate diet that Elaine has described in "Breaking the vicious cycle." Gradually all of my symptoms resolved over one year. For the last two years, I am completely symptom-free, back to my normal weight and pursue all of my activities including a busy medical practice.
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- Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi M.D.
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