Paleo. SCD. Whole 30.Say what?
Are you confused by all of the different “diets” out there? We understand! You are not alone.
We’ve created a mini crash course to help you decipher What’s What…
Let’s first visit the term diet: for all intents and purposes, a diet is “food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health”. We know the term diet is often preconceived as a weight loss program. Even though some of the “diets” outlined below can aid or result in weight loss, they are intended for improved health and wellness.
Now that that’s out of the way…let’s take a look.
SCD: the Specific Carbohydrate Diet™
SCD is the diet that I followed when I began my journey of healing. It changed my life and I am a big believer in its ability to heal the body. The diet has received a lot of support lately in the autoimmune community; it is mostly recognized as a treatment for various gut and bowel diseases. Specifically intended to heal those with Crohns and ulcerative colitis, it has also had resounding success in helping heal celiac disease, diverticulitis, ADD/ADHD, Autism and chronic diarrhea. However, it is also a very healthy, balanced and safe diet that has health benefits for everyone. My family follows the diet with me and while none of them have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, they have each enjoyed improved health in many ways. Seasonal allergies, eczema, and colds have all but disappeared.
The foods that are allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ are based on the chemical structure of these foods. Carbohydrates are classified by their molecular structure. The inlcuded carbohydrates are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that allows them to be easily absorbed by the intestinal wall. Complex carbohydrates (disaccharides/double molecules) and polysaccharides (multiple chain molecules) are not allowed.
More simply stated, it removes all grains, gluten, starch, refined sugar and certain dairy from your diet.
Much easier than it sounds.
The allowed foods are mainly those that early man ate before agriculture began including meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts and low-sugar fruits.
Our GI tract contains billions of necessary bacteria that help keep our immune system – and body – healthy but is also host to harmful bacteria. Complex carbohydrates that are not easily digested feed the harmful bacteria in our intestines, creating overgrowth and inflaming the intestinal wall. When the inflammation is long lasting and continuous, our immune system kicks in and starts to fight back. This constant inflammation and battle eventually leads to autoimmune disease. SCD works by starving out these bacteria and restoring the balance of good bacteria in our gut.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ was clinically tested for over 50 years by Dr. Haas and biochemist Elaine Gottschall with very convincing results yet it was never widely acknowledged in the medical community. Today, many doctors and hospitals are embracing this diet as a potential treatment for Crohns and ulcerative colitis with little to no medications involved (refer to our earlier Suskind post).
The Paleo diet is almost identical to SCD. Two exceptions: the Paleo allows chocolate and sweet potato; SCD does not. However, the SCD diet allows for peanut butter and certain dairy items.
The Paleo diet was founded by Loren Cordain, PhD, author of the NY Times Best Seller “The Paleo Diet”. The basic premise of the Paleo Diet is to eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts & seeds and healthy fats and to avoid dairy, grains, processed food & sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol.
For many people the Paleo diet delivers excellent results for improved blood lipids, weight loss, reduced pain from autoimmunity and reversing signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
The basic premise of Whole 30 is very similar to SCD and Paleo, however, this program could be classified as an elimination diet. The basic premise of Whole 30 is to eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables, some fruit, plenty of natural fats and herbs, spices, and seasonings. It encourages eating foods with very few ingredients (all pronounceable) or even no ingredients at all…just the whole food.
For 30 days, do not consume sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, baked goods or junk foods. “When in doubt, leave it out. For 30 days.”
In addition, it suggests you do not step on the scale or take body measurements for 30 days.
Whole 30 is meant to provide dramatic, lifelong benefits by providing a 30 day healing cycle that “resets” your digestive tract.
A vegan diet, very simply, is one that includes only plant-derived foods. Vegans don’t use or consume any animals or animal by-products including flesh (land or sea animals), milk, eggs, or honey.
Most vegans choose to follow the diet for health, environmental and/or ethical reasons. Many believe this lifestyle promotes a more humane and caring world and have a responsibility to try to do their best, without being judgmental of others.
Gluten Free Diet
This has a bit more ambiguity to it. The basic gluten free diet is defined as removing the protein gluten from your diet, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
As discussed in previous blog entries, it was a diet originally designed for those with celiac disease which causes inflammation in the small intestines. It suggests you consume naturally gluten-free foods including fruits, vegetables, meat & poultry, fish & seafood, dairy, beans, legumes and nuts.
However, many gluten-free foods in the marketplace actually contain processed ingredients that could be detrimental to your health. For example, rice, soy, corn, tapioca and potato are all allowed on this diet, all of which can be categorized as inflammatory and highly processed.
Overall, there are many overlapping similarities between all of these different programs. The important take-away is to find something that works best for you. There is no one size fits all when it comes to diet and your health.
Hopefully this crash course helps answer some of your questionsAnd, if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at our new “What’s What?” card at the bakery, listing most of our offerings by “diet” to help make it easier for you to choose according to your needs.
Cheers to the diet that’s right for you!