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First, I'll tell you something about the different types of food we humans eat. Our meals primarily contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Fats and proteins cause no problems. The problem is caused by some carbohydrates. More specifically, the di-saccharides and the poly-saccharides are causing the problems.
Monosaccharides are built out of one sugar molecule. The holes in the lining of the intestines are exactly the size of these sugar molecules. The body can readily use these saccharides when they pass through the holes and enter the bloodstream. They don't even have to be digested, since they can be absorbed directly by the intestines absorptive cells. Monosaccharides are primarily found in (ripe) fruit and honey (in the form of glucose and fructose).
Disaccharides and polysaccharides
Disaccharides consist of two sugar molecules. Disaccharides are too big to
pass the filter in the intestines (only monsaccharides can pass). The body
has special enzymes in the first part of the small intestines, the duodenum,
where these enzymes are produced. For example, lactose is a disaccharide.
The body produces lactase to digest/split the lactose into two monosaccharides.
These monosaccharides can then pass the filter. Disaccharides can be found
in table sugar, brown sugar and milk (lactose).
Polysaccharides are even bigger molecules. These consist of many sugar molecules. These molecules are even more difficult for the digestive system to handle. First, the pancreas releases a fluid, which contains for an enzyme that can split the polysaccharides (starches) into disaccharides (maltose). Next, the enzymes (maltase), which are produced in the duodenum, must break down the disaccharides (maltose) into monosaccharides, before the body can utilize this kind of carbohydrates. Starches mainly contain polysaccharides.
In a healthy person all these processes work perfectly. However, in a small
group of people, the duodenum can't produce enough enzymes to digest all the
carbohydrates (di- and polysaccharides). This is what happens next: Large
amounts of undigested carbohydrates remain in the intestines. This would normally
be no problem, because whatever the body doesn't utilize will end up in the
toilet. However, the intestines also have natural inhabitants: Bacteria. The
bacteria have been waiting for a long time for such a feast ! Lots and lots
of disaccharides, their favorite meal !
To thank you for the meal, they start to produce large amounts of gas (they fart) and they start to produce acids. As a result, the gas pressure in the intestines gets higher and higher. The body wants to relieve itself of the overpressure, and the host (you) starts to burp and fart. Also, the gas is giving the stomach some false signals. The stomach replies by producing more digestive acids. The result for the host: heartburn and throwing up and nausea.
I almost forgot: The bacteria are also producing acids. The acids start to degenerate the intestines lining, its absorptive cells and its enzyme producing cells.
The vicious cycle
This is the introduction of a severe vicious cycle:
The enzyme producing cells in the intestines (duodenum) are dying because of the acids. So, while eating your next meal, there will be an even larger shortage of enzymes. So, more bacteria can eat more undigested disaccharides and they produce even more acids. The acids destroy even more enzyme producting cells. This is where the cycle restarts and restarts and restarts... Until you one day go the physician and complain about heartburn, burping, farting, throwing up, etc.
The solution is very simple: Stop eating complex carbohydrates !
Complex carbohydrates are the disaccharides and the polysaccharides.
The list of foods that can be eaten is still very large. It consists mainly of: Fruits, vegetables, oils, honey and nuts. Wheat and every other granes are forbidden. Table sugar, brown sugar are also forbidden. For a complete list of foods, check www.scdiet.org, a really nice site, made by Mik, from Denmark, who has completely healed himself using the SCDiet. The www.scdiet.org you can find a large number of recipes. It's even possible to bake your own bread by using almondflour !
I find it not too hard to eat by the diet. Some think it's very hard, but after a couple of weeks on the diet, you start to feel so much better. Next, you even start to like the foods, because they are so much more natural than what you used to eat before. Not much later, you won't even bother when your friends are eating a Big Mac menu and you are not. It's very important to not cheat on the diet.. I learned it the hardway.. After being on the diet for seven weeks I ate some cookies and within 5 days I felt completely misserable. It took another seven weeks to regain my condition !
Does this diet help every Crohn/Colitis sufferer ?
Crohn's sufferers will get relief by following the diet very quickly.. In a
couple of weeks you feel so much better, and within a year about 80% is symptomfree
Ulcerative Colitis sufferers will need more patience.. After three years, about 60% is symptomfree. After 3 months only 10% is feeling better. Check the figures and charts of the healing curve as published by Dr. Lutz. If after 3 months no improvement is observed, you might want to consider the Iron-Crohn treatment.
Is it true ?
Yes. This theory is so logical, I personally believe with all my heart that this theory is correct. Also, the list of testimonials on www.scdiet.org is so large, that nobody will be able to deny the SCDiet. Much credit goes to Elaine Gottschall, the author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle, to Dr. Haas, who invented the diet (alas, he is no more) and to Mik, who made the SCDiet public knowledge, by creating the www.scdiet.org site.
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