The following is an article written by Denise Joffe, parent of a child with Crohn’s disease. Denise attended this event and thought it would be of interest to other CCFA constituents. If you would like to submit an article to CCFA Northwest, please email northwest@ccfa.org.

“On January 24th, Seattle Children’s Hospital held their annual nutrition symposium and this year’s topic was nutrition and diet in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with an emphasis on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) pioneered by Dr. Haas and promoted and further researched by Elaine Gottschall in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle (The Kirkton Press; Fourteenth edition, October 2012).

About 25 attendees from across the country participated. Many were gastroenterologists, nutritionists, dieticians and nurses who care for patients with IBD. In addition, there were several authors of cookbooks and blogs on the SCD who traveled as far away as Massachusetts and Newfoundland, Canada to attend. Among the patients in attendance, there were well over 70 years of the SCD diet experience in one room!

Two outcome studies looking at the SCD were presented. A study conducted at Seattle Children’s Hospital by Drs. Suskind and Wahbeh as lead authors and published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition is the first pediatric study that looked retrospectively at the effect of the diet on symptoms and laboratory markers of inflammation on seven children with moderate Crohn’s disease. The study demonstrated resolution of symptoms and significant improvement or normalization of inflammatory markers in all patients. (JPGN 2014;58: 87–91) (Click here to read the paper.)

A second study conducted at Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. Cohen looked at the effect of the diet on the surface of the intestinal wall by comparing pre- and post-diet video capsule endoscopy on nine patients with mild Crohn’s. Results were very impressive and showed normalization of the mucosal surface including healing of ulcers in all patients.

There were several excellent lectures on the gut microbiome and some theories about how the SCD works. There was also an outstanding lecture on the logistics of starting and progressing through the diet with some online resources to help navigate the details.

There is no question that there is interest in nutrition therapy in the management of Crohn’s especially from patients and families. Anecdotal results from hundreds of people with IBD who have been helped by the SCD are extremely encouraging and must be investigated. Although available studies are small or retrospective in design, the results seem to corroborate what many who have been on the diet have experienced. However, more study is needed and larger prospective studies are now recruiting patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital and elsewhere and will hopefully confirm the benefit so that patients and physicians have more options for therapy.” 

-Denise Joffe, Parent of a child with Crohn’s

Click here to read the paper on SCD from Seattle Children’s Hospital.