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Specific Carbohydrate Diet Review

3.60 1 2 3 4 5
Short-term Weight Loss4
Long-term Weight Loss3.1
Nutritional completeness4.3
Ease of Use3.5

How the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a diet that was created by pediatrician Sidney V. Haas back in the 1920's, and then became popular by Elaine Gottschall, whose child was a patient of Haas. Originally, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was intended to help people who had Irritable Bowel Syndrome or one of the other common intestinal diseases, but it later became just as well known as a weight loss plan.

As the name suggests, only some carbohydrates are supposed to be consumed when using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The theory behind the diet is that if people remove carbs that don’t actually help their bodies, they will have fewer digestive issues and will become healthier.

Unfortunately, not only does the Specific Carbohydrate Diet not have any backing from the scientific community, there is also a chance that it is an unhealthy diet because of the nutritional elements that it lacks.

Do Dieters Lose Weight on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

How much weight someone will lose on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet depends on just how much they eat, but there is a good chance that all dieters will lose at least some weight when they use this plan. The reason being it is a very low calorie diet because the majority of foods that don't have “bad” carbs will have a lower calorie count than the foods that do.

The problem with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that its only proven effectiveness for people looking to lose weight is that it just lowers the amount of calories that dieters eat. That goal can be achieved with a number of other diets, so there really doesn't seem to be anything special about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and it also happens to come with some health risks.

Level of Effort

Like other diets that have people eat only certain foods, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be tough on anyone who is used to eating what they enjoy. It isn't very hard at first because those early motivations can help dieters get over their food cravings, but after a few weeks it can be very hard to stick with this diet plan.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet also doesn't have any type of exercise plan to follow, so dieters have to come up with their own to compliment their new low-calorie diets. This only makes the diet harder to stick to, which is why there are far more failures than successes when it comes to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.


The Specific Carbohydrate Diet may have seemed like a good idea back when it was created, but these days there are far better diets out there that are known to actually be healthy diets. On top of being a risky diet to follow, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet book is also currently $60, which is pretty expensive considering that it is an unproven diet with no exercise plan.

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User Feedback
5 comments / 50% approval
posted 15 December 2017, 17:31   *
I follow this diet for colitis. It took about 8mths, but there was results. The book breaking the vicious cycle was very helpful. I have been med free, however use supplements to Digest protein (Betaine hcl) etc. Good luck. This should not be a diet used for weight loss.
Lisa Herzberger
posted 22 October 2017, 12:21   *
In response to Deborah Cannon, I'm really frustrated! My daughter was first diagnosed w/ CGD (Chronic Granulomatous disease ) which brought on Crohn's disease. She has been seen by BOTH Seattle Children's Hospital AND University of WA Medical Center and at BOTH places they gave us absolutely NO diet advise or recommendations! So I'd REALLY appreciate any info you have that "Adult studies may be in process at University of WA Medical Center" because I'd want to get her in on that for sure!!
Deborah Cannon
posted 13 February 2017, 23:48   *
The plan is on the web, the book is $25.95 from Amazon. Diet has proven useful in a study recently published by a gastro MD at Childrens Hospital in Seattle. Adult studies may be in process at University of WA Medical Center. Not intended to be a weight loss diet but to address potential cause of specific gastro disorders - ulcerative colitis and Crohns by correcting imbalanced gut flora, over time. People using this diet are trying to stop losing weight.
posted 24 December 2014, 02:08   *
60$ for a book?
posted 13 December 2014, 14:26   *