The Specific Carbohydrate diet was developed in the 1950s by a doctor named Sidney Valentine Haas. It was later revived by a nutritionist named Elaine Gottschall in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet. The GAPS diet by Natasha Campbell-McBride is largely based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
We think the diet is an exceptional healing diet.
Here’s the science behind the diet:
If a sugar is a monosaccharide (1 molecule), a compromised gut can absorb it and use it as fuel. Monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Fruit and honey are made of monosaccharides.
If a sugar is a disaccharide (2 molecules) or a complex molecule such as starch or carbohydrate, a compromised gut lacks the enzymes needed to break it down. The sugar then ferments and feeds the bad yeast and bacteria in the gut. Table sugar, Maple Syrup, lactose (milk sugar), grains, potatoes, and corn are all made of disaccharides or complex carbohydrates.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a British Neurologist with an additional PhD in Nutrition. She has identified a link between many of the psychological disorders and a poorly functioning digestive system. She calls it Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). Her book and website is a magnificent guide for anyone trying to heal their gut. We think it is better than the Anti-Candida Diet because it eliminates all grains and starches, so you do not perpetuate the vicious cycle. The good news is, according to both Elaine Gottschall and Natasha Campbell-McBride, a person can resume eating many things that have bothered them after they’ve spent a year or two on the GAPS or Specific Carbohydrate diets.
DAIRY – Here’s a very short summary of what the GAPS book suggests for dairy (She has 4 pages about dairy): Lactose is a disaccharide and Casein causes problems all over the body if the gut is leaky. As the gut lining heals, you can introduce dairy slowly, in this order: 1. ghee 2. organic butter 3. home-made yogurt fermented for 24 hours to get rid of the lactose 3. hard cheeses 5. commercial yogurt. She suggests that you eat a food and then wait 3-4 days and see if you have a reaction.
BEANS – If you soak your beans overnight and rinse them thoroughly, the GAPS diet allows white (navy) beans, lima beans, string beans, lentils, and split beans. Kristin would recommend soaking them in water and a tablespoon of Apple Cider vinegar.
FRUIT – eat only ripe fruit and avoid if you have active diarrhea.
Again, this is a gross oversimplification, so I encourage you to visit the GAPS website and buy the book.