Specific Carbohydrate Diet For Gut Health: Does It Really Help
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a diet often used by people suffering from digestive disorders.
But does it really help to improve gut health?
This article explains SCD and looks at the evidence behind it.
Lowering The Risk Of Heart Disease
It was previously thought that increasing fat in the diet may result in a negative impact on our cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease .
Research studies have shown that intake of fat in the diet can affect cholesterol levels. However, large meta-analyses have found no relationship between saturated fat intake and CVD or mortality rates. This suggests that lowering carb intake and replacing with increased protein and fat will not increase risk of CVD as previously thought.
To further support this, a recent Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study, involving over 135,000 participants from around the world, also found that populations with higher fat intake had reduced mortality rates. Its important to keep in mind that this was an observational study, so we cannot draw solid conclusions from it. However, this study does make the previously held belief that increased fat intake leads to increased mortality much less likely.
- Contrary to previous beliefs, lowering carb intake and increasing protein and fat intake does not increase your risk of heart disease.
- A suggested theory of why low-carb diets protect against heart disease is that they help to protect our blood vessels.
Are There Any Risks With A Low
While a low-carb diet may benefit you in your weight loss journey, it also carries a possibility of a few temporary side effects. These side effects are the result of a sudden and drastic reduction in carbohydrates, which include
Drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake also puts your body into ketosis. Ketosis is a condition in which the fats get converted to ketones. With ketosis, you suffer from bad breath, headache, fatigue, and weakness, especially in the initial days.
In the long run, severe restrictions due to a low-carb diet can also cause problems in your digestive system, along with nutritional deficiencies.
Although many people find a low-carb diet to be an effective diet, there is insufficient evidence to recommend it for all as a go-to diet plan. If you suffer from any preexisting health conditions, do not go on any such fad diets without seeking the expert opinion of a doctor and a registered dietician.
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More Easily Available Energy
One of the biggest reasons we like to recommend a high-carbohydrate diet is for energy. High carbohydrate foods are excellent sources of quick, ready-to-use energy that your body can easily access when you need it most!
Carbohydrates give us a burst of energy because they’re directly processed and sent into the bloodstream as glucose – also known as blood sugar – which our cells can use as fuel.
Since foods that are high in carbs are packed with energy, they’re often the body’s go-to source when you need a quick boost of energy – whether that be from physical activity or just in your day-to-day life! These high-carbohydrate diets are also great for athletes because carbohydrates provide quick bursts of energy that can be used during intense physical activity to help you train harder!
Learn More And Get Coaching
We understand that navigating the world of macros, low carb diets, and adjusted carbohydrate intake can be a complicated one! That’s why we’ve got a whole team of coaches available to get into the “beans and potatoes” of a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet and the exercise that goes into reversing insulin resistance..
If you’d like to learn more about how you can work with our team of expert coaches, you can learn more about the method and apply for a free discovery session on our website!
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Mastering Diabetes has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
Freeman, Andrew M., and Nicholas Pennings. Insulin Resistance. In StatPearls. Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing, 2021. .
Macronutrients and Human Health for the 21st Century. .
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Are Some Carbs Bad
Carbohydrates have taken a lot of heat in recent years. Medical experts think eating too many refined carbs such as the refined sugars in candy and soda, and refined grains like the white rice and white flour used in many pastas and breads have contributed to the rise of obesity in the United States.
How could one type of food cause such a big problem? The “bad” carbs are easy to get, come in large portions, taste good, and aren’t too filling. So people tend to eat more of them than needed. And some are not needed at all sodas and candy are “empty calories” that provide no nutrients.
But this doesn’t mean that all simple sugars are bad. Simple carbs are also found in many nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, which provide a range of essential nutrients that support growth and overall health. Fresh fruits, for example, contain simple carbs but also have vitamins and fiber.
Highly Restrictive With Unknown Long
Insufficient studies exist on the long-term effects of very-low-carb diets, so its especially difficult to estimate the long-term effects of a no-carb diet.
Due to this lack of research, following a no-carb diet over a long period could have severe health consequences .
As a no-carb diet is highly restrictive, very high in fat, and not well researched for safety, its not appropriate for those with eating disorders, children, cholesterol hyper-responders, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
A no-carb diet restricts foods with fiber and most plant foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. This may lead to constipation, low energy, and possible micronutrient deficiencies.
Foods that are typically allowed on a no-carb diet include:
- Meat and low-carb animal products: chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, venison, bison, pork, eggs, butter, lard, cheese
- Seafood:salmon, tilapia, cod, shrimp, sardines, herring, crab
- Seasonings: herbs and spices
- Zero-calorie beverages: water, black coffee, and plain tea
- Nuts and seeds : almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, cashews
- Non-starchy vegetables : broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower, leafy greens, rutabaga, turnips, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms
- High-fat fruits: coconut, avocado
A no-carb diet restricts foods that are high in carbs and relies primarily on meat, dairy, seafood, and low-carb plant foods.
A no-carb diet is highly restrictive and eliminates several food groups, such as:
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Should I Try A High Or Low Carb Diet
In a typical diet, carbohydrates are the main energy source for the body. The body uses them as fuel for the cells.
Many people have turned to low carb diets, such as the keto diet, for their potential health benefits and weight loss. However, some types of carbohydrates including whole grains and dietary fiber have substantial health benefits.
In fact, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, those who eat the most carbohydrates especially from natural sources such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables have a lower risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Other types of carbohydrates, including simple carbohydrates such as white bread, have much lower nutritional value.
Added sugars are a type of carbohydrate that can have adverse health effects. Eating large amounts of foods that contain added sugars can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
When making dietary changes, it is important to aim for a healthful diet that contains the range of nutrients that the body needs.
Consult Your Healthcare Provider Before You Start A No Or Low Carb Diet Know Many Foods That You Will Be Able To Eat To Make Weight Lose Easy
Carbohydrates are compounds that can be converted to saccharides or sugars. The two types of carbs are simple monosaccharides and complex polysaccharides. The simple carbs are those found in fruit, pasta and white sugar. The complex carbohydrates are harder to digest, making them more filling and providing the body with more energy. These complex carbs are those found in rice, vegetables and whole grain cereal and bread.
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The Rise Of Macro Counting
In recent years, the common person trying to get a handle on their health has moved past just counting calories to something called macro counting.
Macro counting is a method of counting macros, or “macronutrients,” which are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. This approach to choosing a diet has gained popularity because it allows people to eat until they are full, rather than feeling like they need to limit themselves on portions, as long as they maintain a target balance of proteins, fats, and carbs.
How Are Carbs Measured
Carbs are measured in grams. On packaged foods, you can find total carb grams on the Nutrition Facts label. You can also check this list or use a carb-counting app to find grams of carbs in foods and drinks.
For diabetes meal planning, 1 carb serving is about 15 grams of carbs. This isnt always the same as what you think of as a serving of food. For example, most people would count a small baked potato as 1 serving. However, at about 30 grams of carbs, it counts as 2 carb servings.
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Which Fruits And Vegetables Are Lowest In Carbohydrates
Fruits are packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants essential for our bodies. Seasonal picks provide the most amount of nutrients. Low-carb fruits should be a part of the ketogenic lifestyle. Examples of low-carb fruits are raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, peaches, clementines, and grapefruit. Vegetables contain fewer carbs, lower calories, and higher fiber than fruits. They are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and are an important part of any healthy diet. Low-carb vegetables include: alfalfa sprouts, celery, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables , broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, and radishes.
An Essential Glossary Of Popular Carb Terms
Below youll find a sampling of some of the common terms well be using as we dissect this macronutrient.
Glycemic Index This is a score from 0 to 100 for how sharply a 100 g serving of a given food spikes your blood sugar. Foods that score low on the index are known to cause your blood sugar levels to rise gradually, while the highest score, 100, is assigned to pure glucose, which is a sugar.
Glycemic Load This is a measure of how quickly makes glucose enter the bloodstream and how much glucose per serving it can deliver, explains the Harvard Health blog. Glycemic load considers a typical serving of a given food. One food may be high GI, but if it contains few carbs, its glycemic load will be lower.
Net Carb This is a carbohydrate counting method used when following a low-carb diet and often for those with diabetes. This number is calculated by taking the total number of carbs minus the grams of fiber and sugar alcohols . Although people on low-carb plans, like the keto diet and the Atkins diet, commonly use net carbs to regulate their carb intake, the federal government doesnt recognize this term as an official way to track the macronutrient.
Insulin Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. After you eat, the pancreas releases insulin to help drive blood sugar into cells, where it can be used by the body if not used, it will be stored.
Glucagon When blood sugar levels dip, this hormone converts stored glucose into energy in order to regulate blood sugar levels.
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What Is A Low
Low-carbohydrate diets are popular because they are based on claims that carbohydrates cause weight gain.
Although there are different variations, essentially low-carb diets restrict carbohydrate foods and replace them with foods usually high in protein and fat to lose weight.
There are many unhealthy misconceptions about weight loss and the claims that carbohydrates can make you fat are misleading.
Typical foods eaten on a low-carbohydrate diet include beef, chicken, bacon, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and fats .
Foods that are restricted include many types of fruit, bread, cereals and other grains, starchy vegetables and some dairy products .
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It looks from the graph that although initial weight loss is better with low carb the Mediterranean diet finishes with a weight loss that is similar to low carb but just as sustained. In general youve made no mention of this and the documented advantages of the Mediterranean diet. Being sponsored to promote low carb?
Hi Sam, thanks for your comment. Were not sponsored to promote particular diets, instead we evaluate and follow the latest scientific evidence. As you said, the Mediterranean diet finishes with a similar weight loss to a low-carb diet after 2 years on the graph. However, you can see that its still less weight loss compared with the low-carb diet. A Mediterranean diet is extremely vague and there is no agreed upon definition unscientific literature. Some versions of this diet can be moderate/high carb and some variations can be low-carb. For that reason, its challenging to discuss its benefits from research, unless the exact nutrient analysis of the diet is included. On top of this, a low-carb diet provides the added benefits of managing our blood sugar levels, which can have knock on effects on our mood, weight, and risk for long-term chronic disease like type 2 diabetes. The sustained weight loss, combined with these benefits, are the main reasons we discuss the advantages of a lower carb diet in this guide.
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Instead Of Potatoes Pasta And Rice
In short, we can show you plenty of great low-carb alternatives that are both tasty and healthy. You may even end up liking them better than their carb-heavy predecessors.
How To Decide Your Daily Carb Intake
If you simply remove the unhealthiest carb sources from your diet, such as refined wheat and added sugars, youll be well on your way to improved health.
However, to unlock the potential metabolic benefits of low carb diets, you also need to restrict other carb sources.
There are no scientific papers that explain exactly how to match carbohydrate intake to individual needs. The following sections discuss what some dietitians believe about carb intake and weight loss.
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Our Favorite Foods For A Low
So what are some of our favorite foods to make your staples? Well, we’re happy to say that you can always find a variety of fruits and vegetables on our plate!
Fruits like bananas, apples, mangos, pears or grapes are sweet treats that are great for any time of day! Vegetables such as broccoli and spinach go well with any meal — so we often take those “side dishes” front and center! We also recommend lots of whole grain rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, legumes — don’t limit yourself!
Really, there’s a ton of healthy options, and as long as you’re focusing on natural carbohydrate intake, you’ll be on the right track!
Is It Better To Be On A High
Unless your doctor tells you to go on a low- or high-carb diet, the healthiest diet doesnt actually count carbohydrates and it doesnt aim to stay under a certain number, says Katz. There are so many ways to go bad when focusing on one nutrient. Lets talk about foods instead of macronutrients, he says. Your aim should be to eat the right foods rather than count grams of carbs.
Katz advises eating wholesome foods in a sensible, balanced combination and appropriate portions. He recommends filling your plate with minimally processed vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and plain water for thirst. Add in some eggs, fish, and seafood, and meat like poultry on occasion if desired. If you want to eat dairy, do so in moderation. A sprinkle of cheese on top of a meal here or there wont hurt you, but know that its a major source of saturated fat, which may be harmful to your heart if you overdo it.
That said, some people may want to follow a low-carb or moderate-carb diet, says Farrell Allen. That includes people with prediabetes and diabetes. If you take insulin to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may be advised by your doctor to count carbohydrate grams to help manage blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, be sure to speak with your healthcare team before making changes to your diet, as theyll want to make sure your carbohydrate level and medication are appropriately balanced.
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