History of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

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This diet was developed by a distinguished physician who specialized in treating digestive diseases. In the early-mid twentieth century, children in developed countries were dying from celiac disease. These unfortunate young ones had swollen bellies similar to profiles of starving children but they had access to plenty of food.

After successfully treating more than 600 patients, Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas published a book for the medical profession reviewing the history of celiac disease and explaining the diet he had developed to successfully treat sufferers. This landmark book, Management of Celiac Disease, co-authored with his son, Dr. Merrill P. Haas, received world recognition when it was published in 1951.

This gut friendly diet would prove useful, not only for celiac disease, but for all digestive disorders: Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, chronic diarrhea, etc.

The Haas book and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet could have been been lost in the archives of medical history but for the work of Elaine Gottschall who originally met Dr. Haas as the mother of a patient.

In 1958, a desperate mother, Elaine Gottschall took her eight-year-old daughter to see the Drs. Haas in a last attempt to prevent her daughter from losing her colon. Her daughter had been diagnosed three years earlier with ulcerative colitis. Her parents had tried everything in the New York area and all other treatments had failed. Her daughter was on the brink of surgery.

The Dr. Sidney Haas asked Elaine the pivotal question, a question no other doctor had previously asked, "What have you been feeding this child?" He then placed the Gottschall daughter on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. She began to get better immediately and within two years, she was symptom free.

Relieved and fascinated, Elaine Gottschall wanted to know why this diet worked. She returned to school and obtained a bachelor's degree in biology in 1973, magna cum laude. After graduation, she did research in the Department of Graduate Studies in Nutrition at Rutgers for several years. When the family moved to Canada, Elaine Gottschall became a member of the Department of Cell Science at the University of Western Ontario's Zoology Department, obtaining her Master of Science degree in 1979.

They urged her to pursue a doctorate but Elaine wanted to get the word out about the diet. She wanted to help other mothers whom she knew were as desperate as she had been to help her child. She saw the effectiveness of the diet and she wanted others to know about it.

Initially, no publisher would take the book so she self published. Sales were slow until she did a radio interview and sales picked up. The original title was, The Food and Gut Reaction. Word of mouth and some TV interviews has kept this book a steady seller.

Now with a publisher, her revised book was called, Breaking the Vicious Cycle. It came out in 1994 and the May 2010 edition is the thirteenth printing. Elaine passed away in 2005. It is our mission at SCDWiki.com to help carry on her work and help others to heal.

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